Monday, December 31, 2012

Something You Don't See In Just Any Bowl Game

Yes, that is Georgia Tech linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu going through the stands (for presumably an x-ray) after being injured.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Notre Dame Has A "SEC" Defensive Line

Its nice to have others agree with you.

Alabama Blog Roll Bama Roll breaks down the Notre Dame defensive line pointing out the home states of Irish defenders and their offers.

Back in September after their dominant performance at Michigan State I took a look at NDs defense noting its SEC likeness.

This unit on defense is what has allowed the Irish to beat teams like Oklahoma and likely keep it close against Alabama

Roll Bama Roll: Breaking Down Notre Dame: the Defensive Line

SEC Leads Pro Bowl Rosters With A Surprising Frontrunner

Tennessee? Tennessee!

Welcome to Butch Jones best selling point as he hits the recruiting trail to rebuild the Volunteers football program.

Tennessee tied Miami with six 2012 NFL Pro Bowl selections.

The SEC, once gain, led all leagues with 20 selections from its 14 members.

In a more surprising development, the ACC was second with 16 selections from its 12 members according to a press release from the league. The Big 12 was third with 11, followed by the Pac-12 (10), the Big Ten (8) and Conference USA (4).

Miami and Tennessee are a bit of a surprise considering their recent lack of success.

Only one of the Hurricane Pro Bowlers actually played in the ACC (Chris Myers) and they did so for only one season (2004). Since joining the ACC in 2004, Miami is just 59-40 after going 46-3 the previous four seasons in the Big East.

Likewise, Tennessee has struggled for the better part of a decade going 57-44 since 2004.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Former Duke Football QB To Make NFL Start...

...for the Cleveland Browns.

Thad Lewis who ACC football diehards will remember throwing for more than 10,000 yards in college will assume the long line of Brown signal callers.

Other Duke quarterbacks to start in the NFL were Sonny Jurgensen, Bob Broadhead, Leo Hart, Al Woodall, Dave Brown and Anthony Dilweg.

Who knew Sonny Jurgensen played for Duke (besides Duke fans)?

UGA, Georgia Tech Football Wine and Dine With State Legislators May End

As if you didn't know about all of the politics in college football you may not have been aware of all the politicians at football games each Saturday.

The Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are both public schools fighting for money from the state legislature each year. Writing the check becomes a little easier for politicians after they have been wined and dined in a football suite.

For UGA, most of the “legislative day” games in recent years have been on days they face SEC opponents. This year’s, on Sept. 22, was against the Commodores of Vanderbilt. It turned out to be a good day to bring in more than 60 lawmakers and their spouses: UGA romped 48-3. UGA lobbyist Patricia Chastain reported spending about $15,000 on legislators, and another $360 on tickets for Attorney General Sam Olens, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Kristy Lindstrom, communications director for Speaker David Ralston.

Tech had its “legislative day” Sept. 15. It cost about $4,800 for lawmakers and $50 for tickets given to Olens. Again, it turned out to be a good day to show off the team and school: Tech pounded Virginia 56-20

Yellow Jacket fans may remember Attorney General Sam Olens for sending this tweet about Georgia Tech's appearance in the ACC Championship Game.
Olens later deleted the tweet and posted an apology tweet.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Have Seen It All...Paul Johnson Dancing

In addition to this message board and twitter avatar gold, apparently USC showed up an hour late to the Sun Bowl welcome dinner. The Georgia Tech ate, got tired of waiting and left.

A USC reporter said the Trojans practiced today (while the Yellow Jackets did not) and that was likely the cause of the lateness.

Showing up late to a bowl dinner after being ineligible for the last two seasons may be the most Lane Kiffin thing ever.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012-2013 College Football Bowl Picks With Confidence Points

Better late than never.

If you are like me than you signed up for 1 or 2 or 6 bowl pools online and made a couple of cursory picks just to get through the first weekend. Then, you completely forget there is a bowl game literally every day from now until the Super Bowl and you fail to fill out your confidence pool picks.

Never fear, here are some last minute bowl pool confidence picks to get you back in the standings and fortunately most pools made automatic picks for you with the lowest available points so you haven't missed out on much.

Even missing out on the early games confidence points I am 5-1 and an onside kick away from 6-0.

And after going 25-14-1 ATS this season I am feeling good lucky about taking on some more picks. Maybe if I have time I will even make some ATS picks.

2012-2013 Bowl Winners with Confidence Points

Winner Margin Confidence Notes
CIN 17.8 35
BOIST 15.7 34 (Auto Pick - 5 pts!)
UTAST 15.0 32 (I actually did submit this one)
OKLST 13.6 31 Safe bet since Cowboys are biggest bowl favorites at 18pts
GEO 10.5 30 UGA should crush Nebraska but is their mind still stuck on 15 seconds?
CENFL 10.5 29 (I did not submit this one and kicking myself for it)
ARZST 9.5 28
ALAB 9.1 27
TULSA 8.7 26
FLA 8.7 25
TXTCH 8.5 24
VAN 8.1 23
OREST 7.6 22 The Beavers don't have a single player Mack Brown offered at Safety
WKEN 7.2 21
RUTG 6.8 20
ORE 6.6 19
ULLAF 6.5 18
TXAM 6.1 17
BYU 6.0 16
PITT 5.9 15 This one surprised me but Panthers had some closs losses
USC 5.4 14 Will Barkley play?
SJST 4.5 13
UCLA 4.4 12
FSU 4.1 11 Seminoles should really be ranked a lot higher but will they be motivated?
SOCAR 2.9 10
ULMON 2.5 9
NEV 1.3 8
CLEM 1.2 7 LSU played much tougher a schedule that comparable stats are really hard
TCU 1.1 6
ARKST 1.1 5
SYR 1.0 4
NWEST 0.9 3
RICE 0.7 2
WISC 0.4 1 May be only person outside of Wisconsin picking this one

The Story Behind Former Georgia Tech and NFL Record Setting Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson

The former Georgia Tech star known as Megatron set a new receiving yards in a single season record last night breaking the mark held by Jerry Rice.

The former Yellow Jacket was heavily recruited, but Rivals ranked him as 4 start recruit and their 6th best WR nationally in 2004 behind Early Doucet, Cameron Colvin (who?), Fred Davis, Lance Leggett, and Xavier Carter. Scout did a little better pegging Johnson as a 5 star and third best receiver.

But Johnson was hardly considering an NFL career when he was catching passes at Sandy Creek High School just south of Atlanta. "Professional football wasn't even on the radar at the time", education and staying close to home was the biggest draw for Johnson.

Watch Calvin Johnson's story from E:60 (and Johnson's top 5 catches while at Georgia Tech)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Urban Meyer Comes To Georgia To Steal Your Recruits

Source: My TV, My Phone
The head coach of the 12-0, undefeated, untied, and on probation Ohio State Buckeyes was utilizing his non-bowl practice time to check out some of the top prospects in the Georgia High School Football State Championships on Saturday.

Meyer was there to see DB Vonn Bell of Ridgeland who is uncommitted and heavily considering the Buckeyes but was probably also checking out Shaq Wiggins (UGA) of Sandy Creek as well as Junior Demare Kitt in the 5A game. 

In the 6A game the Buckeyes head coach got a look at Georgia Tech commits Travis Custis and JuMichael Ramos as well as Norcross star RB Alvin Kamara and Junior Myles Autry. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

UGA vs Georgia Tech Basketball Preview

Source: Savannah Now
The Georgia Bulldogs and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets renew their basketball rivalry this Tuesday in Atlanta.  While the hard court rivalry is not as fierce as the gridiron one it is always the most anticipated non-conference game of the year for each school and does have some bragging rights.

Last season, Tech won in Athens for the first time since 1976. In his first season as head coach, Brian Gregory gained a needed boost over his in state rival and curried him some much needed favor in a rough season.   Overall, the Yellow Jackets lead the series 101-86.

The biggest news coming into the game this week is a potential injury to starting Georgia Tech point guard Mfon Udofia.  The senior went down with an ankle injury on Wednesday night against Illinois and is listed day to day.

His presence is huge for a young, but talented Tech squad.  Udofia is averaging the most minutes per game of any player on the Jackets roster at over 30mpg and the dropoff to his backup Pierre Jordan is significant.  

Season Breakdown



Recruiting Comparison

Georgia Tech Avg Stars: 3.44
Georgia Avg Stars: 2.76

Position by Position Recruiting Breakdown:

GT Stars
UGA Stars
PG Mfon Udofia 4
Vincent Williams 2.5
SG Brandon Reed 2.5
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 4.7
SF Marcus Georges-Hunt 4
Marcus Thornton 3.3
PF Robert Carter 4
Nemanja Djurisic 2.7
C Daniel Miller 3
Donte Williams 2.3


Key Reserves

F Kammeon Holsey 4
Sherrard Brantley 2
G Chris Bolden 3
Charles Mann 3
F Jason Morris 4
John Florveus 2.3


The Yellow Jackets possess the higher recruited starting lineup and have a significant recruited talent advantage coming off the bench. 

But not all 4 star recruits are created the same.  It is logical to think a 4 star in their third or fourth year would be be better than a 4 star in their first or second year.  This talent + experience model is what allows programs like Butler or VCU to compete on the highest level as their key contributors are typically upperclassmen and rarely true freshman. 

Now with "Experience Points"

GT Stars Pts
UGA Stars Pts
PG Mfon Udofia 4 16
Vincent Williams 2.5 10
SG Brandon Reed 2.5 7.5
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 4.7 9.4
SF Marcus Georges-Hunt 4 4
Marcus Thornton 3.3 9.9
PF Robert Carter 4 4
Nemanja Djurisic 2.7 5.4
C Daniel Miller 3 9
Donte Williams 2.3 6.9

3.5 40.5

3.1 41.6

Key Reserves

F Kammeon Holsey 4 12
Sherrard Brantley 2 8
G Chris Bolden 3 3
Charles Mann 3 3
F Jason Morris 4 12
John Florveus 2.3 9.2

3.7 27.0

2.4 20.2

Here I have attempted to assign what I am calling "Experience Points".  For each year the player has played at the collegiate level (including the current) they get a point.  For example, Mfon Udofia is in his fourth year and since he was a consensus four star recruit he has 16 "Experience Points".

Based on this model, UGA actually outpaces Georgia Tech in the starting lineup.  However, the Yellow Jackets again have a significant advantage off the bench.

Again all of this, the recruited talent, the "Experience Points" are a moot point if Mfon Udofia is not close to 100% for Georgia Tech. He is that important to the Yellow Jackets.

Assuming Udofia is able to go, I see this game being tight for the first 30 minutes, but Georgia Tech pulling away late as their depth will overwhelm Georgia.

If Udofia is not 100% then this could be a big win for a struggling Bulldogs squad at 2-5 and give Mark Fox so much needed momentum. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher Discusses Georgia Tech Prep Without Star Lineman

"As [Jimbo] Fisher noted, this won't be easy. [Tank] Carradine was very good. He'll be on the All-ACC first team.His replacements will consist of Giorgio Newberry and Mario Edwards Jr., both of whom were highly rated recruits, but who have not been standout players on their second and first years, respectively. Florida took advantage of them Saturday, and they'll have to show more discipline against Georgia Tech."

Tomahawk Nation: Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine tears ACL: Who replaces him?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Story of Matt Barkley Is Good For College Football

I know it helped Barkley's family was ok with or without a NFL paycheck, but something tells me he will be successful in the pros and beyond because of this experience.

Barkley and the Trojans thought they had a shot at the Heisman Trophy and the national title. They'll get neither, yet they're still having fun.

"It didn't turn out the way I planned," Barkley said. "But I think over these last four years, and especially this year, I've learned so much. (I've) grown, matured a lot since last year I really think, and that will prepare me for the next level and for later in life. I don't regret it one bit."

Barkley: I'm not sorry I stayed at USC

SEC Domination of College Football Revealed

2012 November 23 18 7 57
30FPS: You, too, can be on the SEC Academic Honor Roll:

ESPN Showed This In The Clemson South Carolina Game


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Orange Bowl or Bust For Georgia Tech?

According to Jerry Palm of NCAA Tournament brackets and RPIs, Georgia Tech will have to beat Florida State in the ACC Championship Game or their season will be over.

The Yellow Jackets thought they were bowl eligible after beating Duke last week to get to six wins, but a loss to Georgia today couple with 70 teams now being bowl eligible means GT will not get into a bowl at 6-7.

Wins by Rice, Purdue, Ole Miss, and West Virginia push the Yellow Jackets out of the bowl bids unless Georgia Tech can pull off a monumental upset of FSU.

Georgia vs Georgia Tech Recruiting Rankings Make Bulldogs Win No Surprise

UGA's wins on National Signing Day Makes wins in November easy
UGA defeated the Yellow Jackets 42-10 on Saturday for their fourth straight win in the series, and it could have been a lot worse since the Bulldogs pulled their starters for the last 10 minutes of the game.

Georgia scored easily on their first possession after getting to midfield on the opening kickoff return.

The Jackets responded with a drive down to the one yard line before fumbling having the ball ripped out of their players' hand after carrying two defender for several yards. Georgia Tech would not get any closer than this Saturday.

But the outcome of this game was decided back in February, the last four February's in fact.

I could have coached UGA today and won.

 I am not taking anything away from Mark Richt (still don't understand why UGA fans want to fire this guy every year), but it is a fact I could have been on the headset and beaten Georgia Tech today.

Over the last four years Georgia's recruiting classes have ranked 6th, 15th, 5th, and 12th by  Over the same period, Georgia Tech's have ranked 49th, 43rd, 41st, and 56th.

That is a huge talent disparity that even a coach as good at X's and O's as Paul Johnson cannot close.  

Georgia vs Georgia Tech Recruiting Rankings Last 5 Years From

School 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 5 yr avg 4 yr avg Weighted" Avg
Georgia 7 6 15 5 12 9.0 9.4 8.9
Georgia Tech 49 49 43 41 56 47.6 47.3 46.5

I have used what I am calling a "weighted" average to incorporate all five classes which could still be on the respective rosters.  It gives 11 "points" among the five classes - 1 for 2008, 4 for 2009, 3 for 2010, 2 for 2011, and 1 for 2012.  The rankings for the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets don't change much with this ranking either.

Georgia Tech has many reasons why it does not recruit at a level near what Georgia does - some self inflicted, some note.  

Paul Johnson likes to dismiss recruiting rankings whenever they are brought up, but on Saturday they were staring him right in the face (and bodyslamming his recruited players to the ground in the process).

Yellow Jacket fans should save their angst for losses to other schools and in other sports to Georgia. 

Until Georgia Tech can close this talent disparity, results like Saturday's will continue against UGA on the gridiron.  

UGA vs Georgia Tech Prop Bets

As of Friday night, has eight prop bets up for the Georgia - Georgia Tech game.

The most tempting bet to me is the "Will Either Team Score in the First 5 Minutes?" I would take Yes on this one considering the way the Yellow Jackets have been moving the ball recently and how poorly their defense has been all season combined with a powerful and underrated Bulldogs offense.

However, I normally stay away from prop bets. Do you like any of these bets?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rivalry Week ATS Picks: Notre Dame Survives USC To Advance To BCS Championship Game

The Song Girls may not have much to cheer about vs Notre Dame
Two straight 2-3 ATS weeks have not deterred me with a season mark of 22-12-1 still going strong. I should have gone with my "other games to watch" where I was 3-1.

Rivalry week presents some new dynamics into games, but we have also at least 10 games of data to go off so motivation can take a team only so far. Don't be fooled into an "Auburn can win this one because they want to ruin Alabama's season" mentality. The Tigers simply do not have the talent nor the coaching to beat the Tide Saturday (though maybe they can cover 33 points? - I will leave that up to you).

On to this week's picks hoping to improve on my 65% winning percentage.

Northwestern -19 vs Illinois 12ET

The Wildcats have largely been good to me posting an ATS and SU win last week at Michigan State. All of my metrics have Northwestern covering by at least 19 and most have the spread even higher.

While Pat Fitzgerald's club has not done quite as well recently, they still have an overwhelming advantage over Illinois. The Illini have a putrid 12.5 yards per point on defense, one of the worst of BCS conference teams. Their offense is not much better average just 302 yards and 17 ppg.

You might as well take the Illini opponent plus anything these days.

Utah State -37.5 vs Idaho 3ET

I have not watched either of these teams play more than a quarter, but the statistics tell me this is a 45+ point win for the Aggies who are a rising program in the soon to be defunct WAC.

Nobody wanted Idaho in conference realignment and apparently their players don't want to play much competitive football this year standing at 1-10 coming into Saturday.

Vanderbilt -10 at Wake Forest 3:30ET

This is one of those lines I wished I had grabbed at opening when it was 8.5.  I was wrong about Vanderbilt as it looks like they will finish 8-4 on the season.

Yes, the Demon Deacons are playing for a bowl bid, but they simply do not have the same talent as Vandy. The Commodores have struggled a little bit away from home this season, but those opponents were much stiffer the Wake.

FSU -7 vs Florida 3:30ET

A second ACC vs SEC matchup, but this one I have marked up for the Atlantic Coast Conference. The fact that FSU is a touchdown favorite against a team ranked #4 in the BCS tells you something is wrong with that system.

Both teams have awesome defenses, but the Seminoles offense is decidedly better and that is before a hobbled Jeff Driskel takes the field for the Gators.

Notre Dame -5 at USC 8ET

Everything is laid out in front of the Irish to play for the BCS Championship Game if they can take care of the Trojans.  

Name the best team USC has beaten all season?  Is it Arizona State?  Washington?  The Irish have beaten Michigan, Oklahoma, Stanford who are all markedly better.

Southern Cal is starting their backup after former Heisman candidate Matt Barkley was injured in a bruising loss to cross-town rival UCLA.  The Trojans were being blown out early one but came back against a sub par Bruin defense.  There will not be any opportunity to come back against this Notre Dame defense who has recruited the South, specifically ACC states, to build a top notch unit.

No Sports Illustrated jinx here as a rookie QB up against a tough defense is a good combination for a cover by the Irish. 

Other Games To Watch:

Fresno State -16 vs Air Force 3:30ET
The Bulldogs are quietly putting together an 8-3 season in their first year without Pat Hill as head coach.  Their three losses are to Oregon on the road, Tulsa on the road and Boise State on the road; all very respectable games.

Tennessee -13.5 vs Kentucky 12:20ET
The Volunteers only have themselves to play for after their head coach Derek Dooley was fired this week.  That my be enough as this group of Seniors wants to get the taste of losing to Kentucky last year out of their mouths.  Plus, Joker Philips is still coaching for the Wildcats and that may be a good thing for UT.

Duke +6.5 vs Miami 12:30ET
The Hurricanes announced on Monday a self-imposed post season ban.  Last year they did this hours before their final regular season game against Boston College and got smoked by the Eagles.  Announcing five days prior allowed the Miami players to let reality sink in that this is their last game this season. Still you have to wonder how fragile their psyche is especially since a win against Duke would have put them in the ACC Championship Game.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What Should The ACC Do If Maryland Leaves For The Big 10?

Maryland and their crazy uniforms may be on their way to the B1G

When conference pangea began with addition of Nebraska to the B1G, I started wondering how the ACC might counteract the move. The two teams the ACC added were #3 and #4 on my list.

Multiple sources are reporting the University of Maryland is in serious discussions with the B1G about becoming the 13th member of the conference. If the Terps join, Rutgers would become number 14.

The price for the Terps to leave would be hefty as $50 Million based on the recent exit fee change after Notre Dame joined the league in all sports except football a few months. Maryland, along with FSU, voted against the increase from $25 Million.

Adding fuel to the fire is Under Armour CEO and Maryland alum Kevin Plank selling $64.5M worth of stock this week.  Would he use his wealth to pay the buyout?

The B1G has its reasons for wanting Maryland, mainly the DC television market, more recruiting territory, and a AAU member school. The same apply for Rutgers.

The Terrapins wanting to leave is a little more curious considering the school has had to drop sports in recent years due to budget constraints.

Would the B1G members be willing to pay part of the buyout when it is not certain the two additions would actually increase each team's payout?

But if the original ACC member does leave what should the ACC do?

1) Convince Notre Dame to join as a full member

This is by far the best option, if the ACC can pull it off.

The Irish have their big toe in the league already competing in every sport except football at the very latest in 2014-2015 if not sooner.

Getting the Irish to agree to full membership was probably easier when they were struggling on the football field and in the TV ratings. A season like this one will add fuel to the idea ND can still make it is as an Independent.

The ACC could use an unequal revenue sharing platform like the Big 12 did with Texas, but I don't think John Swofford is that desperate nor stupid. Agreements like this are a recipe for disaster.

The announcement of the ACC going back to an 8 game conference schedule definitely helps since Notre Dame will want to continue playing Navy, USC, and Stanford every season.

Convincing the Irish to play just three more ACC games would Swofford's biggest coup yet.

2) Cincinnati

UPDATED 11/27: Source Cincinnati making push to join ACC

The Bearcats have a solid basketball program and have one of the best futures in football of the remaining Big Eat due to recruiting in the state of Ohio.

Of the next three likely schools in the Big East, the Bearcats rank the highest in the US News and World Report. Louisville and South Florida rank 160th and 163rd respectively taking them out of consideration.

But at only at 139th that would put U of C 33 spots behind the lowest ranked school. Also, Cincy would be in a non-contiguous state a first for the league.

3) Navy

The Midshipmen recently accepted a bid to join the Big East, but they are certainly aren't beholden to it.

Navy has been a respectable football program the last 10 years beating Wake Forest and Duke. All time the Middies are a 36-39-4 against ACC teams.

The Annapolis school would add nothing in basketball though and likely finish at the bottom of the league every year.

Maybe the ACC gets creative making a football only deal with the Midshipmen?

4) Vanderbilt

The Commodores would not leave the SEC for money where they can make a lot. They would only leave for a chance to compete for a BCS bowl bid.  The Commodores have won 55 percent of their games vs ACC compared to just 25% in the SEC.

Academically, Vandy is a great fit for the ACC where they would rank second behind only Duke at 17th nationally.   The ACC has seven other schools in the top 50 whereas Vanderbilt is the only SEC school with that honor. 

James Franklin can talk all he wants about competing in the best conference in the country but an 8-4 season like this one is about as best he can ever hope for. Barring disasters for Florida and UGA, Vanderbilt will never play in an SEC Championship Game and a BCS bowl. 

They could have that chance in the ACC.

5) Penn State

Hear me out on this one.

Before the Nittany Lions joined the Big 10 they were Independent and when it looked like they were going to join a conference Joe Paterno wanted to create an East Coast league with the ACC and others.

The money in the B1G is greater, but geographically and rivalry wise Penn State aligns more with the ACC.  Plus they would get into much more fertile and more importantly growing recruiting grounds.  Pennsylvania used to put out a ton of BCS prospects but population shift has caused Penn State to look elsewhere.

It would be the classic buy low, sell high scenario for the ACC with Penn State in serious trouble for the next 5-7 years but one I think could benefit the league more than a UConn addition.  

6) UConn

The ACC is not going to grab a program that will suddenly change its football fortunes. The league needs to focus on a school that can compete academically and athletically. The Big East has been the poaching ground as of late and UConn would seem like the next school in line if Rutgers does in fact go to the B1G.

The Huskies rank 63rd nationally which would put them 10th of 14 full members in a future ACC without Maryland.

UConn allows for a contiguous state to be added and a top notch basketball program, but the Huskies have been very, very mediocre in football and would probably hurt the leagues reputation.

An addition of UConn to the ACC would be very meh, but may be out of necessity.

Honestly, if Maryland leaves this is where I see the ACC ultimately settling for a 14th football team.  Sigh. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

November 17 ATS College Football Picks: 69% on the Season

The Vols turned up the heat in this rivalry with last year's locker room celebration/
Last week was my first losing week in the last six going 2-3 ATS.

Despite the sub .500 week, my record is still a beaming 20-9-1 (69%) on the season.

Onto this week's picks:

Northwestern +7 at Michigan State 12ET

The Wildcats lost an absolute heart breaker last week in Ann Arbor which they had no business losing on a tipped hail mary.  QB Kain Colter is a little banged up but expected to play.

The Spartans defense gets a lot of credit, but the Wildcats are not that far off.  Pat Fitzgerald's team has a respectable 16.6 yards per point average to Michigan State's 17.7.  Where Northwestern has a decided advantage is on offense where they are much more efficient.

Even though this game is in East Lansing, the road won't face the Wildcats who have actually played better away from Evanston.  This game always reminds of my biggest win ever in Vegas in 2005 when I took Northwestern as +13.5 underdog and they won outright 49-14.  I had seen the Randy Walker coached team the previous week at Purdue and came away very impressed.  But I digress....

FSU -31 at Maryland 12ET

I am going against my stats in this one which has this line pegged right at 31.  This pick is completely off feel.

The Terps just lost their top running back this week and still have a LB at QB so they can't pass and now can't run very well.  Plus, the Seminoles defense is one of the best in the nation at yards per pay allowed.  I could see this unit scoring at least once defensive and creating several more turnovers in Maryland territory for easy scores.

The only hesitation if Jimbo Fisher pulls starters early to prep for Florida next week. 

Clemson -17 vs NC State 3:30ET

This will be a revenge game for the Tigers who were stomped 37-13 last year in Raleigh without Sammy Watkins.

The Wolfpack are on shaky ground and so is there coach with rumors he will be released at the end of the season (who does NC State think it is firing a coach who is 5-1 vs UNC and three straight bowls?).  They may come out playing for their coach, but they may lay an egg like they did against Virginia two weeks - didn't see that one coming.  

I think Dabo Swinney's club gets up early on offense and gives their mediocre defense a chance to play against a one-dimensional NC State offense playing catchup the rest of the way.

Vanderbilt -3.5 vs Tennessee 7ET

Derek Dooley's time is short in Knoxville.  James Franklin wants you to think his time in Nashville is just beginning.  One team clearly has more talent, the other clearly has a better coach.

The Commodores finally have something they have always lacked: a competitive SEC defense giving up a point every 18.8 yards (that's really good for those who don't follow yds/point).

Franklin will be sure to drill into his player's head the Vols locker room celebration after beating his team a year ago.  Normally, I don't buy into the motivation angle, it may be just what the Commodores need to push a coach out the door for good. 

All of my metrics point to a Vandy win by at least a touchdown so I feel safe taking the field goal plus spread at home.

Oklahoma -10 at West Virginia 7ET

Taking the Sooners in a road game at night is risky business considering their history, but taking anything from West Virginia after September has been costly for bettors.

The Mountaineers stopping Oklahoma's offense from scoring at least 35 would be a Jesco White type miracle.  Throw in a solid defense from Bob Stoops' team who has plenty of film to review on how to slow the once thought impenetrable Geno Smith and QB and I think Oklahoma could win this game going away.

Other Games to keep an eye on:
Georgia Tech -13 vs Duke
This could be for the Coastal Division title.  The Yellow Jackets have been playing much better lately and getting some much needed defensive help.  The Blue Devils had a week off to prep but that didn't seem to help UNC much last week.

Indiana +17 at Penn State
The Hoosiers have actually played better on the road than at home this season.

Boston College +10 vs Virginia Tech
Not really sure by my stats love BC in this game.  I am not brave enough to take them though.

UCLA +3.5 vs USC
Same as BC, above the stats love UCLA.  But if the Trojans want this one they have it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why An Athletic Director At Georgia Tech Would Leave For Clemson

Radakovich trades a gold blazer for an orange one/
Dan Radakovich made it a monthly habit of communicating with his fan base during his "The Good Word" column.

Last week was his last as his tenure at Georgia Tech ends on November 15.  After a two week vacation, he will take over as Athletic Director 2.5 hours up I-85 in Clemson.

Radakovich acknowledged this rivalry with the Tigers in his newsletter this week:
"Tech and Clemson will compete frequently and I look forward to those competitions. In this business, it is always more enjoyable to compete with folks whom you respect."

His time in Atlanta can be described as mostly positive  (tons of facility upgrades, largely solid coaching hires) but with a huge blemish (NCAA stripping 2009 ACC title).

The reasons why he left for Clemson are fairly obvious.

1.  Clemson does not have better programs than Georgia Tech, but it is easier to win big.

The Yellow Jackets have a 50-26-2 all-time advantage in the football series.  Most of that series advantage was built prior to Tech's joining the ACC but the Yellow Jackets have certainly held their own in conference play.

But the Tigers have a much bigger stadium with 30k more seats to sell and they fill them up a lot better than GT normally does.  Bigger, fuller football stadiums means more revenue in the future which means Radakovich can do his magic with facilities to give Clemson an SEC type setup.

When you have a 55k capacity and a tepid fan base ceilings are in place.  No ceiling exists at Clemson as to what they can do.

2. It is much easier to recruit at Clemson - recruit players and coaches.

US News and World Report ranks Georgia Tech 36th nationally in their latest rankings.  Clemson comes in at number 68.  Incoming freshman at Tech had an average SAT score of 1340 while the Tigers gave admission to SAT scores of 1217 on average.  On the new 2400 scale the disparity is even greater, Clemson's average is 1800 to GT's 1983.

The Yellow Jackets offer about 25-30 major programs, of which half are Engineering compared to Clemson's normal state university allocation with nearly every major under the Palmetto tree.

It is harder to get into school at Atlanta and they offer less majors.  Throw in new APR requirements and Georgia Tech has its work cut out to say the least in recruiting players to compete at the BCS level.

And when it is harder to recruit players, it is harder to recruit coaches.

3. While his coaching hires have won, his biggest hire is showing signs of weakness. 

An AD never wants to fire the coach he hires, especially when it is a football coach.  Paul Johnson is having a rough year in his fifth season, including a 21 point loss to MTSU, still needing another win to become bowl eligible.  He was 20-7 after his first two seasons, but is just 19-17 since.  The Yellow Jackets are likely staring at another loss to in state rival Georgia, which would be their 4th in a row under Johnson.  

The second most important hire, but a ways down the list, is basketball coach.  It is way too early to draw conclusions on Brian Gregory.  He has recruited well, but he also has a big hole to dig out and his track record at Dayton was mixed.

When head coaches fire coordinators, their leash is shortened.  The same holds true when you move up the chain of command for Athletic Directors and their reports.

Unless Johnson starts to turn around the program, the fan base is going to dwindle which means less people in the seats and less athletic revenue.  Even if Gregory continues his upward trend he will need a raise to be kept around.  To give you an idea how little Gregory and his staff are paid, which has a lot to do with how cash strapped GT is, last season NC State paid its ASSISTANTS more than the ENTIRE Tech staff (this info is from a bball insider I trust).

Radakovich walks into a much better coaching situation at Clemson.

Dabo Swinney appears to be heading up and Brad Brownell looks to be solid.

But even if they falter, the new AD didn't hire them so it is much easier to fire.  And those 30k additional football seats give you the money to fire head coaches.  This is where the SEC has such a huge advantage.  They can fire a mediocre coach at any time because of the football money pouring in.

Update 12/23: Georgia Tech football attendance was down 9% this season while Clemson was up 3% giving more credence to what may have to be tough decision the next Yellow Jacket AD will have to make about the future of the football program.  

4. If you got a 15% raise to go to an easier job there is you wouldn't take it?

This needs no discussion.  I don't care what social workers or teachers think. Radakovich was well paid at Georgia Tech, but is getting over $700k per at Clemson.

And yes, Georgia Tech fans, it is tough to have someone move to a rival school but Dan Radakovich left Yellow Jacket the program in much better shape than he found it.  

Summarizing Mike Leach's First Season at Washington State In One Play

2012 November 11 1 21 0
From Mocksession

The 5 Most Underachieving College Football Programs

Texas has every advantage possible in college football/
The Texas AM win over Alabama prompted me to wonder how I would list underachieving programs I have had in my head for some time.

Until Saturday, I would have ranked TAMU very high on this list, maybe even number one.  But when you go into Alabama's place, lead the entire game, and beat a team some thought could compete in the NFL you are not underachieving any more.

Here are the five most underachieving programs playing FBS football.

1. Texas Longhorns

That's right. The Aggies former rivals are number one on my list.

You will not find a better job in college football.  Let us count the ways the Longhorn job is the best in the country: 1) You are the flagship university in the richest recruiting state in the country 2) You are in one of the best cities in America - big enough to have everything, small enough to avoid major crime and traffic 3) Your coeds can stack up with anyone and Natalie Portman goes to your games. 4) Your academics are good enough to offer a very attractive degree, but not so tough you can't hide kids who simply meet NCAA requirements in easy majors. 5) You have your own television network to give your program maximum exposure.

No disadvantages exist at Texas.

Yet despite all these advantages, the Longhorns have won four national championships in their history.  This is the same number as Minnesota.  Alabama has 9 in the national poll era (or 14 if you ask them) and rival Oklahoma has 7.  The Sooners have far fewer advantages than the Longhorns yet have been much more successful historically and recently. 

2. UCLA Bruins

Your campus is literally in Hollywood. Rolls Royce drive by your campus and it is not because of an NCAA violation.  Some of your best coeds appear in Playboy.  Your campus has palm trees and 70 degree weather almost every day.

And you have 1 national title and your last Pac 12 title was in 1998.  Washington State and Oregon State have won titles more recently than that.

California produces 300+ plus FBS players per season and most of those are from your backyards in Southern California. 

3. Arizona State Sun Devils

18 years olds are impressed by women.  You will not find many better looking campuses than the one in Tempe (just make sure Alt+Tab is ready).

Maybe the players are TOO distracted by the eye candy walking around.

You have never won a national title and won only three Pac 12 titles.  Washington State located in Pullman, Washington (read: hairy women) has won more.  Cal (read: stinky, hippy women) has won 11 more titles than you.   

4. Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears

It is fairly simple as to why Ole Miss has been an underachievement in football.  Their fans care more about the party than they do the football game.

The tailgating in The Grove is second to none.  They redshirt Miss America's.

The state of Mississippi produces the second most NFL players per capita.

Ole Miss has never played in the SEC Championship Game, the only team in the Western Division not to (TAMU doesn't count).  They have one more conference title than Georgia Tech who last played in the league in 1963. 

5. Illinois Fighting Illini

My first move out of the sun belt takes us to Illinois.  The Illini share their state with Northwestern, but the Wildcats boast a smaller student population that comes from all over and moves all over after graduation so you are pretty much alone.

While it is not Dade County, the Chicago area produces really good talent.  And yes Notre Dame is going to get its fair share, but the Illini also let Michigan and SEC schools also cherry pick their back yard.

The Illini do have 15 B1G titles, but more than half of those were won before WWII. 

The clincher for Illinois on this list? Even my wife said they are never good.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nick Saban Press Conference After Alabama Loses To Texas AM

We may not have an SEC team in the BCS Championship Game this season.  Maybe the Mayans were right?