Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ACC Is A Great Conference, Just Not For College Football

First, if you are not already following Rivals Cup, I suggest you do.

Second, Rivals Cup is showing just how good the ACC is on the pro level.
On the conference side, I’m quickly learning there just aren’t enough superlatives for the ACC on the PGA Tour. Since I started the Rivals Cup nearly 1 year ago, the ACC has been ranked as the top conference on the PGA Tour and no other conference has even been close. The ACC might be the most powerful conference in professional sports in fact, ranking #1 in the NBA rankings, #3 in the NFL rankings and #3 in MLB.
Despite ranking third in NFL alumni rankings, the ACC is just 2-13 in BCS bowl games.

My theory on why the ACC produces a high level of pro talent yet lacks team success lies in the quality and depth of the fringe NFL players.

The top players in the ACC are as good as any other conferences including the SEC. But that next level of player, the one who may or may not make an NFL roster is so much better in the SEC and you need those players to win championships.

Rivals Cup is currently working on a composite ranking for college in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and PGA which will show very favorably for one ACC school in particular.

Recruiting: Nick Saban Has Affection of Florida Gator Commit

Florida commit Dillon Lawson's comments about his love for the Tide is just more ammunition for the Alabama Head Coach to say that Oversigning is actually costing kids opportunities.
"I mean I was born and raised in Alabama," Lawson told Gator Nation. "I have an Alabama tattoo on my chest. That's the reason why. I'm just an Alabama fan. That's all there is about it. I mean Alabama is my dream school, off the top, No. 1. I told coach Will [Muschamp], 'Coach I was a Gator fan when I was in Alabama, they were like my second favorite team. But when I moved to Florida I saw how cocky and crazy these Gator fans where, so that kind of turned me away from Florida.' I told him that."
Lawson said he had an opportunity to go to Alabama's junior day, but it was on the same day as Florida's. However, he said despite his commitment, he still plans to shop around, including a trip to see the Tide.
Ah, 'crootin!

Dr Saturday: Dillan Lawson commits to Florida, but professes love for Alabama

UGA Basketball: Could Mark Fox Pull Off A Recruiting Stunner?

He has already been labeled the nation's top developer of offensive talent. Now, Georgia Basketball coach is trying to pull another stunner landing one of the nation's top players over college basketball's elite.

Tony Parker was long thought to be an Ohio State vs Duke battle, but UGA has entered the picture this season and appears to be coming on strong at the end. Parker's high school teammate Brandon Morris has signed with Georgia and it is believed Parker has visited Stegeman Coliseum for at least three games this season.

Parker's most recent visit was to Kansas this past weekend to watch the Jayhawks defeat Missouri in Overtime in what could only be described as a fantastic atmosphere to entertain the McDonald's All-American.

So what gives Bulldog fans reason for hope?

Parker said last week on ESPNU he would "shock the world" with his college choice. Also, the Parker household may be split on where Tony will play which could lead to a compromise of playing in Athens.

Parker's dad said his son will likely announce at the McDonald's All-American Game on March 28.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NCAA Tournament: Prominent Basketball School A.D. Favors 128 Team Tournament

More evidence today's society of inclusiveness and not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings.

"Roughly 19.5 percent of the Division I teams wind up with NCAA bids.

By comparison, 16 of 30 teams in the NHL and NBA qualify for the playoffs. That’s 53 percent. In Major League Baseball, eight of 30 teams (26 percent) reach. In the NFL, 12 of 32 teams (37.5 percent) qualify. And in college football, more teams wind up playing in bowl games than don’t."
When will those running college athletics (and sports in general) understand that less is more?

Heels' AD favors 128-team NCAA field

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ohio State Is Really Obsessed With Beating The SEC

The Buckeyes want to beat the SEC bad. 

So bad their student newspaperis now making up teams in the SEC.

The Ohio State baseball team travels south this weekend for a series with 10th ranked Georgia Tech in Atlanta and they are eager to impress.

Whether it's track, football or baseball, the Southeastern Conference is often seen as the quintessential athletic conference, and sophomore first baseman and pitcher Josh Dezse of the Ohio State baseball team is sick of hearing about it.

"The SEC's got the huge hype and these northern teams are looked down upon, but I think the talent, I wouldn't say that it's even, but I would say that there is just as good of players up here as down there," Dezse said. "They may not all be on one team, but I definitely think that we can compete with those SEC schools, and it does frustrate us as a northern school hearing about that stuff."

Heading into his team's three-game series against No. 10 Georgia Tech, Dezse said OSU is eager to show what they can do.

"Hopefully this weekend we can go down there and prove that the Big Ten can compete," he said.
Regardless of how Ohio State plays this weekend they will return to Columbus winless against the SEC as Georgia Tech plays in the ACC.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

According To This, Mark Fox Is The Best Developer of Talent In The Country

It has been a rough season for UGA Basketball sitting at 3-10 in the SEC and 12-15 overall, but according to this ranking system from Real GM the Bulldogs have the best coach in the nation at developing players offensively.

This data includes 10 seasons worth of data and looks at the ORtg for each player. The ORtg is...

Offensive Rating = Individual points produced / individual possessions used. Along with %Poss, ORtg is vital to assessing a player's offensive productivity. Because it effectively combines TS%, OR%, AsR, and ToR into one metric, it is the ultimate measure of a player's offensive efficiency. That's not to say every player with a high ORtg is better than ones with lower ORtgs, though
Overall, Fox ranks 29th nationally in these ratings. 

Their comments on Fox: 
And Mark Fox has truly been fantastic at getting the most out of his players. Nevada is better this season, but there was clearly a gigantic drop-off when he left the school.

The top five on their list is John Calipari, Thad Matta, Bo Ryan, Mike Krzyzewski, and John Beilein.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bad News For Boston College, Montel Harris Out For Remainder of Spring

Georgia Tech Basketball Attendance Still Lagging Despite Coaching Change

Brian Gregory was hired at Georgia Tech last March to turn around a program fallen on hard times in the waning years of the Paul Hewitt regime.

Hewitt was let go after last season in a costly move by the Yellow Jackets who are still paying him $70,000 per month for the next six years to NOT coach their program.

Last season, I chronicled how the falling attendance would force Athletic Director Dan Radakovich to remove Hewitt because the lost revenue due to displeasure with the program would nearly equal Hewitt's yearly salary (about $1.375 Million).

The attendance numbers Georgia Tech was reporting last season were far from the actual attendance numbers, but paid tickets equal revenue.

Based on the reported attendance, it was clear Tech fans were voicing their unhappiness with their wallets and that forced the school to act.

Yet even with Hewitt removed, fans are struggling to return in supporting the program.

While their home court is being renovated, the Jackets played their non-conference games about 35 minutes from campus at the Gwinnett Center and ACC games at Philips Arena (plus Alabama and Northwestern).

So far in Gregory's first season, the average attendance at home game is just 4,655 almost 25% less than the home attendance last season with Hewitt on the sidelines.

Money is the lifeblood of every college athletics department and even with gigantic new TV contracts, ticket sales are the biggest driver of department revenue.

The differences between Gregory and Hewitt are evident in the first season even if the record is not. The former Dayton head coach is recruiting the Atlanta area heavily keeping two of the top four prospects home in Robert Carter and Marcus Hunt and adding another potential all-state player Chris Bolden and Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole. Gregory is not deflecting blame towards the media or any outside influences either like his predecessor did at times.

Despite having their desire for change granted, Georgia Tech fans are waiting for results before throwing support back into the basketball program.

Karl Hess Gives NC State More Reason To Feel Slighted By ACC

By now, you have probably seen the video of Karl Hess tossing two NC State legends from the court side seats in Saturday's game against FSU (if not go here).

More information is coming out at to what lead to the ejections, Hess's first of any kind this season. 

Andy Katz is reporting Hess had wanted a student removed from the stands minutes prior but was told by security the student was not seen as a threat. 

According to multiple sources, Hess lost his patience over the criticism as Florida State cruised past the Wolfpack.

A student had been yelling "You suck!" at Hess and the officiating crew. A few minutes after hearing this, Hess wanted the student ejected. Hess approached the sideline, according to multiple sources, and asked why the student hadn't been ejected. Hess was told that security didn't feel the student was threatening in any manner. 

When Scott Wood was fouled, with the Pack down 18, Gugliotta stood up and, according to Corchiani, yelled, "'It's about time!' And that broke the camel's back."

Corchiani said neither he nor Gugliotta used profanity. He said the security official came over to them and said they had to leave.

"We didn't want to be a problem so we got up and left," Corchiani said.

In a complete coincidence (wink, wink) NC State is going to honor the 1989 team before tonight's game with North Carolina. That team featured, you guessed it, Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani.

NC State AD Debbie Yow is upset at that treatment of her fans and wants a face to face meeting with ACC head of officials John Clougherty.

Even Kentucky fans think Hess needs to go. And veteran ACC reporter Caulton Tudor had some harsh words for Hess.

Yesterday, the ACC publicly reprimanded Hess but did not indicate he would be suspended from calling league games.

I don't want to jump three steps ahead here, but this perceived poor treatment by a league representative (in this case an official) will add to the frustration Wolfpack fans have with the ACC which is headed by a former Tar Heel John Swofford.

NC State has been mentioned as a potential target of the SEC if they decide to move to 16 teams. Even though State is a founding member of the league, incidents like this don't help their desire to stay in the ACC and be perceived as second class to neighbors Duke and North Carolina.

SEC Basketball Power Poll: Kentucky Owns This Thing

Here is the power poll I submitted this week.

1. Kentucky
John Calipari has orchestrated this team to the best in the nation.

2. Vanderbilt
We are finally starting to see the Commodores we thought we would all season.

3. Florida
Gators have seemingly solved their road woes from earlier in the year.

4. Alabama
Anthony Grant is trying to navigate his club through suspensions and bad apples on the team and doing pretty good job at it. I suspect his name will again come up for other jobs at the end of the season.

5. LSU
I never thought I would be putting Trent Johnson's club this high.

6. Miss State
Some really bad losses by the Bulldogs have knocked them out of bubble consideration.

7. Ole Miss
You knew it was only a matter of time before Jelan Kendrick had an incident with a teammate.

8. Tennessee
Vols had their four game win streak broken, but still have a great chance to finish the season strong.

9. Arkansas
As if the week wasn't bad enough, ESPN is about to released a documentary where Nolan Richardson berates the University.

10. Georgia
Mark Fox lost any goodwill this week with two losses he had gained the previous week in two wins.

11. Auburn
Very nice win over Miss State, but Tigers need to string more than one good win together to move up in my poll.

12. South Carolina
The Gamecock basketball program has descended the same amount in recent years that the football program has ascended.

Sometimes having straight rankings is not an accurate picture of how a conference stands. If I was to rank the SEC in tiers it would be like this:

Tier 1 - Kentucky
Tier 2 - Vacant (the gap is that big)
Tier 3 - Vandy, Florida
Tier 4 - Alabama, LSU, Miss State, Ole Miss
Tier 5 - Tennessee, Arkansas
Tier 6 - UGA, Auburn, South Carolina

Monday, February 20, 2012

Iman Shumpert Having Quite A Rookie Season

In case you are wondering, Shumpert is the other guard in the New York Knicks starting lineup (at least currently) not named Jeremy Lin.

The Wall Street Journal profiles the 2011 first round pick from Georgia Tech who has the 3rd highest defensive rating for guards and forwards in the NBA.

Iman Who? He's No Lin, but Shumpert Plays Expert D

Sunday, February 19, 2012

ESPN - SEC Conspiracy To Take Down B1G Proven!

30FPS never fails to deliver

Recruiting: Were Alabama's 105 Letters to Recruit A Wasted Effort?

Nick Saban is all about creating opportunities.  This past week the Alabama staff tried creating (or at least keeping) a job for the struggling US Post Office by sending 105 letters on one day to running back Alvin Kamara.

The Tide recruiting machine is in full swing for the 2013 class trying to reel in another top ranked class.  Saban's ability on the recruiting trail has caused some to believe he can get whomever he wants to come to Tuscaloosa. 

The 105 letters and attention they brought likely made a big impact on Kamara, but the Tide's efforts may have been pointless based on the attire the Norcross, Ga. product read them in.

UGA offered Alvin a few weeks ago (and he obviously likes them) adding to his offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Maryland, and Tennessee among others according to Rivals. (The Gators received a commitment this weekend from Kelvin Taylor, son of Florida great Fred Taylor, which may push Kamara down their board.)

Although he has not received an offer yet from Georgia Tech, Kamara attended four Yellow Jacket games and sees himself as a good fit for their offense according to Scout.

(h/t Leather Helmet Blog)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Out of Control Referee Karl Hess Ejects Two NC State Legends From Stands

We know refs can eject players and coaches from games, evidently they can eject fans too. With 6 1/2 minutes to go in Florida State's victory over NC State, veteran official Karl Hess had Wolfpack legends Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani tossed out of the RBC Center.

After the game Hess refused comment several times to an AP reporter asking about the event.

This was Hess's first ejection of a player, coach, or fan this season in his 74th game.

This was not the first time this season Hess has been at the center of controversy. Earlier this year he clearly missed a goaltending call allowing Syracuse to hold on against West Virginia. It was mentioned at the time his overloaded work schedule may have played a factor as Hess had worked 21 games in the first 28 days of January.

In recent years, conferences have gotten away from having dedicated crews. Instead refs work in multiple conferences decreasing the amount of oversight. Officials work in different crews constantly creating inconsistency.

Why not have crews work together for each game like football? This would create more consistency as you know your fellow refs habits

With attendance and viewership dwindling the last thing college basketball needs is poor officiating.

(h/t CBSSports Eye On College Basketball)

Friday, February 17, 2012

College Baseball Preview: SEC Coaches Pick Florida As Champion

Here are the predicted standings from the preseason SEC Baseball coaches as reported here

Eastern Division

Team Pts. ’11 SEC Rec/Finish

1) Florida 66 22-8 / T-1st

2) S. Carolina 56 22-8 / T-1st

3) Georgia 42 16-14 / 4th

4) Vanderbilt 40 22-8/T-1st

5) Kentucky 25 8-22 / 5th

6) Tennessee 18 7-23 / 6th

Western Division

Team Pts. ’11 SEC Rec/Finish

1) Arkansas 64 15-15 / 1st

2) LSU 58 13-17 / T-5th

3) Alabama 38 14-16 / T-2nd

4) Ole Miss 34 13-17 / T-5th

5) Miss. State 33 14-16 / T-2nd

6) Auburn 20 14-16 / T-2nd

SEC Champion: Florida

h/t Garnet and Black Attack

College Baseball Preview: ACC Baseball Coaches Tab UNC To Win Conference

The College Baseball season starts this weekend and...well here are some preseason predictions.

I always like the coaches preseason picks over the media because I feel they know the teams the best having scouted the returning players last season and recruited some of the newcomers to the conference.

The ACC coaches have selected North Carolina to win the league this year in what should be another strong year for the conference. The selection comes on the Heels of Mike Fox's club reaching the College World Series in five of the last six seasons.

Georgia Tech also received four first place votes and FSU got one.


1. Clemson

2. Florida State

3. N.C. State

4. Wake Forest

5. Maryland

6. Boston College


1. UNC

2. Georgia Tech

3. Miami

4. Virginia

5. Virginia Tech

6. Duke

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Look Into Strength & Conditioning Programs

Going through the Reader I realized I forgot to post this link from a while back.

Clemson blog Shakin' The Southland took an in-depth look at the structures of different strength and conditioning programs around the country.

Some say that one of the many reasons why Alabama and LSU dominated college football this season was because of their S&C programs. LSU's director Tommy Moffitt is considered one of the best in the business and his protege was hired by Nick Saban upon his return to the SEC at Alabama (after Saban tried to hire Moffitt away first).

At this time of year, the only coaches on staff with permission to work with the players S&C coaches so they have as much influence over a players development as any position coach.

In recent years, the S&C program at UGA has come under fire and after the 2010 season Mark Richt replaced his longtime friend and S&C director Dave Van Halanger.

Looking at the last three seasons of rush defense have caused me to question what is going on in Georgia Tech's S&C program since Eric Ciano left for the NFL.

I am far from an expert when it comes to weightlifting methods, but this breakdown by STS seems like a pretty good one

On Clemson's S&C Program And Our Problems with Batson

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Arkansas Reporter: "I Don't Think ESPN Has Ever Done Anything Nice On Arkansas"

Wally Hall of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette was on WQXI 790 The Zone discussing the ESPN documentary "40 Minutes of Hell" as well as Razorback football program in general.

Hall laments the documentary saying it is more about Nolan Richardson than Arkansas and how he doesn't think ESPN has ever done anything nice on Arkansas. The columnist and radio host also has choice words for how ESPN portaryed Bobby Petrino leaving the Atlanta Falcons in the middle of the season.

Wally Hall Audio

Derek Dooley Perpetuates Myth That Oversigning Is About Grayshirting

Derek Dooley, the former head coach at Tennessee, spoke out this week about the new signing rules in the SEC.

Dooley signed 20 players in this most recent class, one he hopes will turn his fortunes around in Knoxville.

The former Nick Saban assistant trotted out the line that oversigning has to do with grayshirting players:
"Let’s say a a guy gets hurt his senior year, and there’s a good chance he won’t play his freshman year of college. He has got to do surgery and rehab. What could we do in the past? In the past, we could sign him, grayshirt him and put him in next year’s class. That allowed him to come to the type of school he wanted to come to, whereas now those kind of guys have to go to a different school"
Coach Dooley, you can still do this as it is the exact scenario Alabama offered to Justin Taylor this year. Taylor still could have gone to the "type of school he wanted to come to" under the new rules.

The new rules simply forced Saban's hand in having to tell Taylor BEFORE he signed this was his plan. To me that sounds like a good thing for the student-athlete as it opened an opportunity for Taylor

In reality, Dooley simply wants more opportunities for him. The new signing rules only open up opportunities for the student-athletes.

Related: The Anger of Oversigning Is Not About Grayshirting

Recruiting Rewind: Rivalries Extend Beyond Playing Field

Some rivalries are year round, some strictly on the playing field, and some combat each other only during recruiting season.

This year's recruiting rivalry was Alabama vs FSU with each pulling top prospects from the other's backyard. Rivals gave their take on this rivalry as well as:
Virginia-Virginia Tech
Maryland-Penn State

Rivalries Run Strong on the Recruiting Trail

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

ESPN ACC Blog Profiles Georgia Tech's TJ Barnes

Yellow Jacket fans are hoping the largest player on the roster can fill the void at Nose Guard this season in Al Groh's 3-4 defense.

Offseason spotlight: Georgia Tech

SEC Basketball Power Poll: Who Follows Kentucky?

My submission to the SEC Basketball Power Poll crew:

1. Kentucky
The favorite to win the national title will likely not relinquish the top spot in the SEC all season.

2. Vanderbilt
I love the idea that Vandy has actual floor seating. As in folding chairs on the floors. Oh yeah good effort by the Commodores against UK.

3. Florida
If the Gators aren't hitting from outside it will be long day for them.

4. Alabama
What in the world are these Tide players getting into off the court?

5. Miss State
Good season thus far but that loss to UGA will cost them a seed line.

6. Ole Miss
Rebels get to face Kentucky and Vandy this week. Good luck!

7. Georgia
Two really good wins for Mark Fox and another good chance for win at South Carolina this week.

8. Tennessee
Can you explain how UT beats Florida twice in the same season? I can't.

9. Arkansas
I am sure Mike Anderson never peeks at what Missouri is doing this season. Never.

10. LSU
Tigers get revenge, sort of, vs Alabama.

11. Auburn
Five straight SEC West losses for the Tigers.

12. South Carolina
Darin Horn has not moved this program in the right direction and is running out of time.

Recruiting Rewind: Ever Wonder How Philip Rivers Got Out of Alabama?

He was not recruited as a QB by either Alabama or Auburn.

Philip Rivers, N.C. State: As a high school player in Alabama in the late 1990s, only two schools recruited Rivers as a quarterback _ State and Ole Miss, then coached by David Cutcliffe. Other schools, including Auburn, offered Rivers a chance only to play tight end. With the Wolfpack, Rivers broke all passing records and now is an NFL star with the San Diego Chargers.

This and more stories on lightly recruited NC State, UNC stars

ACC Now: Five recruiting long shots who delivered big results

Monday, February 13, 2012

ACC Commissioner John Swofford Q&A On 9 Game Football and 18 Game Basketball Schedule

I like the idea of a 9 game football schedule to give the ACC more television and attendance opportunities. And although the expanded conference will reduce the number of home and home series I think it could actually strengthen some rivalries like UNC-NC State if you have just one shot to beat them during the season.

ACC Now: ACC Commissioner John Swofford discusses new scheduling formats

Georgia Tech Awaiting Word From NCAA Regarding Violations

An update on the NCAA investigation into illegal texts to a recruit from now resigned assistant coach Todd Spencer...
Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said on Thursday he really doesn't know anything more about the NCAA's investigation into a recruiting violation the program self-reported than what has already been publicized. Much like Georgia Tech fans, Johnson is waiting to hear back from the NCAA.

"I don't even know if they finished the investigation, really," he said. "I'm concerned about it, but at the same time, I think the school has done everything they can do. It's not like we didn't find it ourselves and take care of it. That part of it, we've done all we could do."
The Yellow Jackets are also still awaiting word on their appeal of the penalties stemming from the 2009 case involving impermissible benefits to Demaryius Thomas from an agent.

ESPN: Off-field questions still remain for Jackets

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kentucky Favorite To Win National Title

The Wildcats currently check in at 3/1 odds making them the favorite. Ohio State is second.

UNC comes in third at 5/1 and Duke follows at 6/1.

College basketball odds: Faves to win the national championship

The Anger of Oversigning Is Not About Grayshirting

Many schools grayshirt players for various reasons.

Grayshirting is not the reason for the new signing rules in the SEC, but some Alabama fans want you to believe that.

The documented number of players the Tide has signed under Nick Saban was a driving force behind the term "Oversigning" becoming part of college football vernacular. It also pushed SEC Presidents to disobey their coaches wishes and push through caps on how many student-athletes can be signed in a class as well the conference office approving all medical redshirts.

Saban's counter argument is that cap rules take opportunities away from kids.

So does cutting backups and pushing them towards medical redshirts.

Offering a grayshirt is perfectly fine, but when it is done two weeks before National Signing Day and the reason given is an injury that occurred four months ago, I am skeptical. Especially when a recruit at the same position committed after the prospect, Justin Taylor, was injured. It just so happens the new commit, TJ Yeldon, is rated higher than Taylor by recruiting services.

Grayshirting was a convenient out for a program that recruited over a player.

That skepticism rises even higher when a recruit who has been committed for months to a school and places that school's hat on his head at a Signing Day ceremony only to learn that he no longer has a spot. Later that day Darius Philon signed with Arkansas, a school he had never visited because he had no reason to; he thought he had a spot secured with Alabama.

If Philon's spot was taken by the signing of Korren Kirven earlier in the day you would think a Tide staff member would have called and avoided an embarrassing situation.

Philon was essentially cut from Alabama before he ever stepped foot on campus as a student.

Tide fans have nothing to fear with the new rules. Saban is arguably the best coach in the country and with another strong recruiting class of 25-28 players is on the way Alabama will be competing for SEC and BCS Championships for years to come.

The new signing rules did not take away an opportunity from Justin Taylor or Darius Philon, they opened one.

Recruiting Rewind: National Recruiting Analyst Thinks Test Scores Are 'Frivolous'

JC Shurburtt of was on WQXI-790 The Zone for National Signing Day coverage and gave his take on recruiting. Shurburtt expounded on many things including how he hates how people are excluded from opportunities because of "frivolous things like test scores".

When I hear things like this I wonder if we have (completely) lost the idea of the student-athlete. Here is the NCAA sliding scale for minimum requirements.

Its a long interview (27 min) but a good one if you want to get some insight into how the recruiting world works.

JC Shurbutt Interview (right-click to download)

Georgia Tech's Anthony Morrow Listed Among NBA's Best Undrafted Players

"One of the NBA's best pure shooters, Morrow entered the 2011-12 season with the second-highest three-point percentage in NBA history. Morrow recently had a 41-point game for the Nets, who gave the former Georgia Tech swingman a three-year, $12 million contract as part of a sign-and-trade deal with the Warriors in 2010." NBA's Best Undrafted Players

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Contrary To Popular Belief Nick Saban Does Not Get Everything He Wants

While the football field yielded a BCS Championship, off the field it has been a rough for year Nick Saban in SEC Politics.

Last summer the conference instituted a hard cap on the number of student-athletes each school could sign in a move with the Crimson Tide coach squarely in opposition to.

Now with a move to the Big 12 imminent, West Virginia is telling its side of the conference expansion story. Turns out Saban wanted the Mountaineers in the league instead of Missouri. The SEC quickly turned down any rumors of a WVU move to the most powerful conference in the BCS sighting academics as a concern.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia grad, former governor and friend of Saban's, told the Charleston Daily Mail that he and Saban were "working toward that."

"I thought we could have been in the SEC," Manchin told the paper. "I talked to my dear friend Nick Saban about that, and, like me, he said, 'I would like West Virginia in the SEC,' and we were working toward that."
Saban is originally from West Virginia so it is not surprising to see him campaign for them.

Maybe these moves by the school presidents to block West Virginia (and bring in an AAU school like Missouri) as well as curb Oversigning are indicators that college administrators are reigning in their subordinates.

Manchin tells his side of story in Big 12 tiff with Ky. senator

(h/t to Dr Saturday)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

How Important Is Basketball At Kentucky?


During night classes in Lexington Tuesday night, the Wildcats game with the Florida Gators was shown in the classroom while profs lectured.

Even professors at Kentucky are hoops-crazed

LSU QB Jordan Jefferson Explains Why He Thinks Tigers Struggled in BCS Championship Game

Jefferson appeared on Atlanta radio station 680 The Fan Thursday morning to give his take on why LSU struggled so much offensively in their rematch with Alabama in the BCS Championship Game.

The former Tiger complained about not having the play calls to get the ball to LSU's talented skill players. Jefferson also answered question on the rumored locker room mutiny that was posed to teammate T-Bob Hebert a few weeks ago.

Jordan Jefferson Audio (Right click to download)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Charles Barkely Wishes More Schools Had The Academic Standards of Georgia Tech

But some Yellow Jackets fans wish they didn't.

This recruiting year, Tech had to let go of their first commitment because he was not going to be admitted due to a low test score. Paul Johnson reached out to Central Florida to try and find a spot for Junior Gnonkonde, but Coastal Division rival North Carolina snatched up the DE/OLB prospect on signing day. The UNC director of admissions told Gnonkonde that his test score won't be an issue.

Some Jackets fans feel the Institute is continuously digging themselves a hole on the athletic field by not competing on the same admissions field as many of its rivals.

The issue is so hotly debated, I asked Johnson at his Signing Day event whether or not he would like more academic exceptions.

Former NBA star and current TNT analyst walked across the street to speak with the Georgia Tech's Womens Basketball team.

via RamblinWreck Tube

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Internet Won't Let Alabama or Auburn Cheat or Break The Law

The rivalry between Auburn and Alabama is arguably the fiercest, nastiest one in the country. Wait, forget arguably, there is no way you can produce another rivalry with as much hate and despise between two fan bases.

Ohio State/Michigan are located in different states and most of their fans have dispersed all over the country due to the gradual decline of the Rust Belt's economy.

UNC/Duke while located just eight miles from each other have a civility in that both are well recognized academic institutions.

Army/Navy is rivalry of great history, but the fact that neither program is of national prominence any more hurts its candidacy for fiercest and the camaraderie in the lives afterward really reduces the nastiest.

The internet age has taken the Iron Bowl to a whole new level.

We can trace back the firing of Mike Price to a posting on an Auburn message board. Harvey Updyke (allegedly) poisoned the trees on Auburn's Toomers Corner and his call into the Paul Finebaum went national on the internet.

Most recently, a video was posted of an Alabama fan placing his genitalia on a passed out LSU fan at a Krystal after the BCS Championship Game (thanks for setting back 20 years of progress in the South).

That Tide fan is now in custody thanks to....

you guessed it, an Auburn message board.

So while the state has won the last three BCS Championships amid rumors of 180k payments to QBs dads and dinners, cars, and suits to top players there is no way these two programs are cheating. The internet message boards would not allow them to.

Is Winning ESPN Recruiting Championship A Bad Omen For Alabama?

ESPN crowned the Crimson Tide with the number one recruiting class in 2012 in large part because Alabama landed 13 ESPNU Top 150 players.

But looking at the history of #1 classes as ranked by ESPN does not paint a pretty picture for Nick Saban's club in 2012.

The past four number one classes have joined teams that lost at least four games the following season.

Next season, the Tide open with Michigan and have to travel to Arkansas and LSU who expect to be at least as good as this season.

ESPN: FSU, 'Bama sign top classes

Monday, February 6, 2012

National Recruiting Analyst Tells Georgia Tech Fans Not To Worry About Rankings? National Recruiting Analyst Chad Simmons told the AJC's Michael Carvell Yellow Jackets fans should not worry about recruiting rankings.

“I would say if you’re a Georgia Tech fan, don’t really pay attention to the rankings. They only signed 17 kids."

This comments echoes what head coach Paul Johnson said during his Signing Day press conference.

Scout ranked Georgia Tech as having the 58th best class nationally and 8th best in the ACC. Ranking Tech by average stars puts them 35th nationally and 4th in the ACC behind FSU, Clemson and Miami.

I am more confused than ever on what to believe in recruiting rankings.

AJC: Recruiting experts: Georgia Tech’s class gets some love

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Recruiting: Why Top Recruits Chose Their Schools

The Detroit News (Detroit still has two newspapers?!) did an interesting feature on the top 15 players in the state and their recruitment. The players were asked what they liked most and least about the recruiting process and why they did not choose Michigan or Michigan State.

My two favorite responses were from Tennessee signee Danny O'Brien on why he did not choose Michigan:
"I liked coach (Brady) Hoke a lot, too. He turned things around there. I just don't like Ann Arbor. It's a little too liberal for me."

Yep, Knoxville and Ann Arbor are definitely at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

And from Michigan signee James Ross on his worst recruiting experience:
"On another trip south, I won't mention the school, but one coach, he was the linebackers coach, talked as if we (players from northern schools) were inferior. He talked about how slow we were."

Insulting recruits and where they come from sounds like a sure fire closing technique.

Detroit News: Blue Chip players talk about why they picked the schools they did

Super Bowl Rooting Guide for UGA, Georgia Tech Fans

Georgia beat Georgia Tech on the football field this year, though both teams saw their season end in OT losses.

The Yellow Jackets beat the Bulldogs on the hardwood, but neither team is having a season to crow about.

Both schools having something to root for in today's Super Bowl as the game between two teams from the Northeast has some Peach State connections.

New York Giants running back D.J. Ware (you probably remember him as Danny) is from Rockmart, Ga and played at UGA. While the New England Patriots boast two Georgia Tech connections in linebacker Gary Guyton who is from Hinesville originally before attending Tech and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien who coached at the school from 1996-2002.

Gary Guyton scoop and score at Virginia Tech

AJC: We’re on the sidelines, but still in the big game

Mark Richt Just Needs To Look Down UGA Sideline For Defensive Back Help

Mark Richt dismissed three players from his squad last Friday and all three happened to play defensive back.  The position was already thin heading into next year with just one DB signed in the 2012 class and now looks filling a Nickel formation will be tough. 

UGA has had some excellent defensive backs come through the program including several big hitters like Thomas Davis and Greg Blue. 

With Signing Day passed, Richt must scour the campus for that hard hitting Safety to fill the hole left by the departed Dawgs. 

Turns out the player was already on the sidelines last year. 

If I am lined at receiver in the SEC next year and this is coming over the middle, I got noodle arms.

On a serious note, this is a pretty good story of Anna Watson and her turning down gobs of money to do fitness modeling in the UGA Student Newspaper.  Watson was also featured on Good Morning America last week.

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A more flattering photo of Anna:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Where The 2012 UGA Recruiting Class Came From

View UGA 2012 Recruiting Class in a larger map

UGA, like most years, focused their recruiting efforts in state signing 11 players though this number is down slightly from years past.  The Bulldogs dipped into North Carolina for their two running back prospects and pulled a player all the way from Maryland for this time in many years.

Already enrolled JUCO OL Mark Beard is originally from Adamsville, AL but came to Athens from Coffeyville CC in Coffeyville, KS.

Click on the map point to find out the player from here.

Where The 2012 Georgia Tech Recruiting Class Came From

View Georgia Tech 2012 Recruiting Class in a larger map

As has been the case under Paul Johnson, the Yellow Jackets are putting a little more emphasis on their home state than previous staffs.  The Yellow Jackets again dipped into neighboring Alabama pulling three signees, included QB Justin Thomas from Prattville. 

Rod Chungong is the only signee outside the Deep South hailing from Maryland.  This connection is due to Defensive Coordinator Al Groh having spent nearly a decade at Virginia. 

Not shown is DL Adam Gotsis who is from Abbotsford, Victoria, Australia.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Georgia Tech Signing Day Event Recap

Yellow Jackets Head Coach Paul Johnson met with the public Wednesday night in Atlanta to talk about the 2012 class as well as recruiting questions in general.  Below is my recollection of the evening.

GT Associate Athletic Director Wayne Hogan opened the evening by talking about how much recruiting has changed. Hogan talked about when coaches would actually go out to the players' houses and get the signature on the Letter of Intent in person. Sometimes you would have four or five coaches standing around in the yard waiting if a kid had not committed yet. After getting the signature, the coach would drive to a pay phone and call the school about signing a kid.

Now, we have fax cam girls! (my comment).

Head Coach Paul Johnson introduced the entire football staff and talked about how much of the heavy lifting they do in recruiting and how little the head coach is able to do with NCAA rules. 

Johnson went through each signees' highlights talking a little bit about each player.

I have not watched one highlight video of any signee for any school this year until tonight. I know they all look good on film whether they are a five star or a two star so I don't bother. I pay a lot more attention to whom is offering the prospect and how the overall class ranks than individual stars. is a quick run down on what stood out to me in the highlights. I apologize for the rambling in these comments, just trying to get as many of my thoughts as fast as possible.

-Marcus Allen reminded me a little bit of Jonathan Dwyer with his knack for cutting to the outside and bouncing off hits.

-Michael Summers lined up in a bunch of positions on offense on his film but he might start out on the defensive side of the ball. Johnson mentioned he knew his dad from his days in Statesboro.

-Freddie Burden was shown as a blocking TE in most of the highlights. He will start out at Tackle. Again Johnson mentioned his prior relationship from Statesboro with the family.

-Dennis Andrews lined up exclusively in the shotgun at QB; displayed nice touch on down field throws. He is already enrolled this semester.

-Francis Kallon was described as having a high motor and up to 275-280 lbs now (was 240 last Spring) and still growing. Johnson said Kallon and Adam Gotsis could talk to each other in an accent.

-DJ White is a player Johnson thought could contribute next season; he mentioned the line of players from Union Grove formerly or currently at Tech (Kyle Jackson, Steven Sylvester, Anthony Williams)

-Anthony Autry is a player Johnson thought came on late in his high school career and was over looked; has the chance to add a lot of weight to his frame.

-Chase Roberts is a legacy as his dad attended Georgia Tech. He had a really good Junior All-Star Game that got him on Tech's radar.

-Pat Gamble sounded like one of Johnson's favorite players to recruit. Johnson said Gamble committed last summer and never wavered in his commitment despite lots of other offers early and late.

-The Adam Gotsis highlights were interesting considering he has been playing in Australia. Johnson said he is every bit of 6'5" 297-298. Not surprisingly he looked like a man amongst boys in his film, including a nice close line on a runner. The coaching staff is now fighting over who gets the Melbourne territory.

-Travin Henry is a big kid who is still growing. He will start at WR, but could move to OLB if he grows out of it. Johnson said Henry was kinda off the beaten path in Cook County and that may have been why he didn't have more offers. He thought it might have been helpful for Tech offer late in the recruiting process so that everyone wouldn't be alerted to go check out "this Georgia Tech commitment"

-Ryan Rodwell will give the current punter Sean Poole some competition which will be good for both of them. Johnson relied on some people he knows in the area and they gave Rodwell high marks.

-Tyler Stargel is already a big kid who could play ILB or OLB. (I am drawing a blank on what else was said about Stargel)

-Also drawing a blank on Lynn Griffin. I may have been getting more food during this time.

-Rod Chungong was recruited by Al Groh out of Maryland. Johnson thought it was interesting that Chungong put an interception on his highlight film as a defensive lineman.

-Justin Thomas was originally committed to Alabama but he wanted to play QB. Thomas led his team to the state championship and definitely has some "quicks". Was Alabama offensive player of the year at his classification.

-Beau Hankins was the last signee and a player Tech started recruiting later in the process. Johnson said that Hankins started recruiting Georgia Tech first. He canceled a visit to Penn State this past weekend to visit Tech. Was Alabama defensive player of the year at his classification.

All the signees highlight videos can be found here.

Johnson then took about a dozen questions from the audience and I will try to best remember them below.

The question was asked if Marcus Allen had breakaway speed. Johnson said he probably isn't as fast as Jon Dwyer, but Dwyer had great football speed and wouldn't time that well. Broderick Snoddy ran a 10.4 100 meter dash but may not be the fastest player on the team when you get on the field. Johnson said the B-Back production last year was not what they were used to, but that wasn't all David Sims fault.

A question was asked about stock piling Quarterbacks Johnson answered with they are trying to find someone really, really good. He is very interested in seeing Synjyn Days and Vad Lee this Spring and how they have progressed. The staff knows what Tevin Washington brings to the table, but the other two have to beat him out. Thomas and Andrews will work themselves out regarding their position on the depth chart.

A question was asked about recruiting rankings and Johnson went on a pretty good rant about stars and rankings. He mentioned the ESPN article ($) that said Georgia Tech was 2nd worst at signing ESPN Top 150 players in their state. Three teams in the top 10 played in BCS bowls and nine of ten played in bowl games. Johnson said the same three schools are ranked at the top of the ACC every year in recruiting, but in his four years they have combined to win just one ACC Championship and that one occurred this year. Johnson said Virginia Tech is never ranked at the top in recruiting, but they always seem to end up there. He gave the Hokies compliments on how they coach and develop players. Johnson said he ranks recruiting classes on how many games they win which drew a clap from the crowd.

A question was asked of how good Georgia Tech's Dining Hall is because he heard one kid picked a school based on the food they served (the questioner was obviously talking about Todd Gurley who made note of UGA's food when explaining his decision). Johnson said by the looks of him and some of his staff that Tech's food must be pretty good. Johnson talked about why players choose certain schools mentioning how some kids say education is their top priority, but their list of schools they are considering says otherwise.

A question was asked if Tech planned on adding any more recruits to this class.  Johnson said they only way they would add anyone is if someone they already know about falls through the cracks due to a numbers crunch somewhere else.  He did mention they have had a few players from other schools inquire about transferring to Tech. 

A question was asked where does the team stand with the amount of scholarships.  Johnson said that they will likely be a few under the 85 limit.  He talked about wanting to balance classes in terms of numbers.  Currently, there are only 10 seniors for next year, but you want to sign more than 10 players in a class so they may hold back a few one year to have more spots for next year.   He talked about how he thought oversigning is wrong.

A question was asked whether or not the Yellow Jackets will be playing Virginia Tech on Labor Day night. Johnson said that there is a very good chance. Tech would play a home game the following Saturday.

Finally, with the amount of discussion surrounding Georgia Tech and its academic requirements I asked Johnson if he would like more leniency with admissions. He said every coach would like to be able to recruit more kids, but that he and the staff knew what the standards were at Tech when they took the job. Johnson said it takes a lot for kids to get through Tech and if they are going to be miserable trying to make it academically they probably won't perform very well on the football field either. He said a school in the ACC currently has seven kids taking online courses to try and get eligible, but they won't know until August if they are. Georgia Tech is not going to change [their requirements].

That is about all I can remember. If you are still reading I congratulate you for working through my thoughts.

If you were at the event and have anything to add or correct, please do so in the comments.

Watch Dalvin Tomlinson Pick Alabama And Discuss Why He Made His Selection

Tomlinson appeared on Atlanta's Fox 5 Wednesday morning to make his college selection for the next four years. The Henry County product said his decision was based on the coaching staff, if the current players could push him to get better and allow him to play at the next level, and education.

Tomlinson said Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban was upfront and honest with him throughout the entire recruiting process.

He was thought to be Georgia Tech's to lose as the Tide appeared full in January, but a few commits and recruits signing with other schools opened a spot in Tuscaloosa.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Stevie Wonder on National Signing Day

Remember there are no losers in recruiting! (or at least I have never heard a recruiting analyst talk down a school's class)