Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2012 ACC Football Review and Some 2013 Insight (Audio)

ACCSports.com's Jim Young joins Chip Patterson to close the final chapter of the 2012 season in the ACC for the Eye On College Football Podcast. Jim joined the show in August to preview the league, so the guys open with a review of their preseason expectations before picking out highlights and lowlights for all 12 teams in the league. New head coaches, as well as notable assistant hires, get attention as the ACC looks ahead to a new 14-team era in 2013.

AUDIO: ACC Review: What Went Right, What Went Wrong

Monday, January 28, 2013

If You Ain't Cheatin, You Ain't Tryin: Top Recruit Claims He Was Offered Car

ESPN interviewed a few of their Top 300 prospects about what they were offered besides a scholarship when visiting various schools.

The most interesting answer came from USC RB commit Ty Isaac.

Now I doubt Isaac would out a booster from Southern Cal so who could he be referring to?

The Joliet, IL product has offers from: Arizona, Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ole Miss, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, Toledo, Vanderbilt, Washington, Wisconsin.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Georgia Tech Baseball Begins ACC Title Defense Ranked 16th Preseason by Baseball America

Baseball America on the defending ACC Champion Yellow Jackets:
Georgia Tech has a chance to be one of the nation's best offensive teams, but it needs better performances from its arms in order to reach its potential. Despite all their talent (and three opportunities to host) in recent years, the Jackets haven't won a regional since 2006, creating some pressure for this experienced team to get over the hump.

Baseball America has ACC brethren North Carolina ranked #1 preseason.

The Tar Heels and Jackets are joined by NC State (#8) as current ACC members in the top 25. Future member Louisville checks in at #4. Is that move by the league looking better and better each day?

The SEC dominates the pre season poll with five teams in the top 10 and eight in the top 25.

Baseball America Top 25 in detail

Johnny Football as Bo Jackson

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Georgia Tech Basketball: Bad ACC Team or Tough ACC Schedule?

After a 10-2 start to the season, the Yellow Jackets have started off ACC play 0-4 and remain the only winless team in league play. Yes, even Boston College has won an ACC game.

In Brian Gregory's defense, those four losses have come against Miami (1st place ACC), at Duke (#1 in country), at NC State (beat undefeated Duke), and Virginia (no excuse here, had to win this game). Tech is the only league team to have faced Miami, Duke and NC State coming into this week.

UNC blog Carolina March has put together "tempo-free" stats
in league play thus far (a primer on tempo-free stats here). This fits in nicely as Georgia Tech travels to Chapel Hill tonight to play the Tar Heels in what will likely be the fifth straight loss for the Yellow Jackets (North Carolina is favored by -10).


Tech fans should not be surprised their team ranks lowest in the ACC in PPP (points per possession) as well as eFG (takes into account three pointers values and two pointers values into a shooting percentage).  The offensive rebounding numbers are surprising since Gregory comes from the Tom Izzo rebounding tree.  As poor as the Jackets shoot, they have to get more offensive rebounds to be remotely successful.

If Georgia Tech's offensive pace stays at this level, it will be worst in ACC play in the last eight years (it won't though).

Switching over to Defense

The Yellow Jackets' 9th best Opponent Points Per Possession doesn't look that bad when you consider they have played the 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th best offensive point per possession teams.

It just makes the Virginia Tech loss look that much worse considering the Hokies rank dead last, allowing opponents 1.11 points per possession.

All in all, Georgia Tech is about where you would expect except for the loss to Virginia Tech.  Because of that loss, the Yellow Jackets need to "steal" a game they shouldn't win.

North Carolina on the road, even with their relative struggles is not likely to be that game.

With a likely 0-5 start the home game vs Wake Forest this Saturday, who will be coming off a home upset of NC State, is an absolute must win to salvage an NIT-ending season. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I Wonder What The Athens Cops Would Have Done?

This recruiting story from Dr. Saturday caught my eye and may catch the NCAA's as well.

Nebraska state trooper convinces recruit to join the Huskers

Nebraska state troopers apparently make some of the state’s better recruiters.

Pat Smith, a kicker from Western Illinois University, was on his way to Lincoln, Neb., for his official visit to the Cornhuskers' campus. Unfortunately, his driving skills (or lack thereof) piqued the interest of a state trooper, who pulled him over and inquired about why Smith was in the state. Smith told the state trooper he was making his official visit to Nebraska and the state trooper, who was apparently a big Nebraska football fan, immediately went into recruiting mode.

"He took my insurance card and went back to his car," Smith told the Quincy Herald-Whig. "He then waved me back to his car. We spent about 15 minutes talking about the Huskers."

No mention of a ticket given.

And I thought only registered employees of an athletic association could recruit?

I surmise if this recruit had been pulled over in Athens, Ga. he would have been given a ticket, arrested for minor in possession, and thrown in jail for jaywalking.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2013 BCS Championship Odds

I will go ahead and break out the SEC teams since that would seem to be the bet over the last seven years.

Alabama +300    
Arkansas +12500    
Auburn +20000 
Florida +1500   
Georgia +3000 
LSU +1000 
Mississippi State +6000
Missouri +20000  
South Carolina +3000
Tennessee +10000
Texas A&M +1400 

The odds for LSU will obviously have to change after they lost nearly their entire starting defense early to the NFL Draft.

I think UGA at +3000 has some real play.  Yes, the Bulldogs lost a lot of talent on defense but have recruited well enough to fill it reasonably well and will have the best QB in the league back for a fifth year.

Miss State at +6000 is strictly a conference play.  If the Bulldogs are in any other league they are nowhere near this number. 

Texas AM will be a hot team, but I think the loss of their star left tackle and everyone getting up for Johnny Manziel will prevent them from winning it all. 

From the non-SEC teams, I like Oregon at +800 the most.  Yes, the loss of Chip Kelly will hurt but a lot of talent returns to a team who was undefeated in regulation.   Clemson at +1500 is also intriguing with Tahj Boyd deciding to return.  The opener against Georgia will give us a big indication if Clemson is for real.
Rest of FBS
Arizona +10000    
Boise State +7500    
Boston College +30000    
BYU +15000    
California +25000    
Cincinnati +15000    
Clemson +2000     
Florida State +1500     
Georgia Tech +17500    
Iowa +17500    
Kansas State +15000    
Louisville +2000     
Miami +2500    
Michigan +3000    
Michigan State +8000     
Nebraska +3500    
North Carolina +8000    
Notre Dame +2000    
Ohio State +1000    
Oklahoma +2500    
Oklahoma State +4000    
Oregon +800    
Oregon State +7000    
Pittsburgh +15000    
Rutgers +10000     
South Florida +25000    
Stanford +3000    
TCU +6500    
Texas +3000     
UCLA +4000    
USC +4000    
Virginia Tech +6000    
Washington +10000    
West Virginia  +15000    
Wisconsin +5000    
Field +2000

Odds courtesy of TheGreek.com.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

10 Observations From Georgia Tech Loss To Miami In ACC Basketball Opener

Macon.com/David Goldman-AP
The Yellow Jackets fell in their conference opener to the Hurricanes Saturday 62-49 in a game not as close as the score indicates.  The loss was the program's first in the new McCamish Pavilion and ironically occurred to the same program where Tech scored their final win in Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Here are 10 observations from Saturday:

1. Miami is long and athletic. 

And played without maybe their best player, Reggie Johnson, and still won easily.  With this length inside, including 6'11" Kenny Kadji stepping outside to hit a three pointer, it is a wonder how this team lost Indiana State and something called Florida Gulf Coast College.

2. It is very apparent now Georgia Tech benefited from a early weak schedule. 

The Yellow Jackets were 10-2 coming into Saturday but all 10 wins came against teams outside of the RPI top 100 and both losses were to teams inside the RPI top 100; make that three losses as Miami was ranked 10th.

When I looked at Tech's game stats in the non-conference in 2012 vs 2011 they were not that much different.  Scoring was up a little bit, points allowed was down a little bit, and turnovers were down a little bit.  All of those differences could be chalked up to a slightly easier schedule and maybe the blowout loss to Miami should not have been surprising considering the Hurricanes are better than last year. 

Still Georgia Tech won all the games they were supposed to and that is a good sign for a rebuilding program.

3. About that easy non-conference schedule...

Georgia Tech, knowing the program was still rebuilding, took the opportunity to take some easy home wins showing off the new building to their fans and it worked.  The program was starting to generate a buzz in the city and a little bit nationally too.  Playing a tougher schedule may have made the crash after the Miami loss easier to take but losses also would not have built up excitement in the program either.  After the last two seasons, Tech fans should be thankful for a little enthusiasm in the team even if it was built a little off twigs and rabbit's feet.  And again, Georgia Tech won all the games it should have something that could not be said last year.

4. Despite improved recruiting, Georgia Tech is still missing a few key ingredients to be in the upper half of the ACC. 

The infusion of talent is apparent when you look at Tech's squad from last year but they are still missing players who can consistently penetrate and create on their own or for others.  With the disappearance of the dominant post player in the college game (except for Miami), a premium is placed on creating off the dribble and the Yellow Jackets don't have a player who can consistently do this.  At the end of the game, Tech fans got a glimpse of someone who has the potential too in early enrollee Solomon Poole.  

5. The Poole Brothers aren't quite there, yet.

The aforementioned Solomon is a big play waiting to happen, but sometimes those big plays are for the other team right now; its one good play followed by two bad plays for the would be high school senior.  Turnovers is what is keeping him on the sideline right now, but if he continues to display energy like he did Saturday he will start to take minutes from backup Pierre Jordan. 

Stacy, Jr. is trying to work his way into the rotation but is stuck behind Marcus Hunt and Jason Morris at the three position.  The Kentucky transfer has been out of game action for nearly two years and is still shaking off rust.  He was the 33rd rated recruit nationally and 4th at the Small Forward position in 2010 so the talent is there.  (For comparison, Morris was ranked 87th nationally that year).

6. A legacy hurts Georgia Tech. 

McCamish Pavilion was filled with former Tech stars including Dennis Scott, Jon Barry, and Bobby Cremins.  Head Coach Brian Gregory is working hard to get former players, who had been out of touch in the final years of Paul Hewitt's tenure, back involved in the program.  But those three couldn't come out of the stands to prevent a former Tech legacy from beating their Yellow Jackets. Rion Brown had a career high 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting to bury Tech.  Brown is the son of former Georgia Tech player Tico Brown (thanks to the AJC's Jeff Schultz for pointing this out). He was not offered by Hewitt according to Rivals (Kadji was by the way).

7. Brian Gregory has to find a way to use depth to his advantage

Miami had the three best players on the court Saturday in Shane Larkin, Kadji, and Brown (though Brown was playing over his normal ability).  What Georgia Tech lacks in elite players it has to make up with depth.  Last season, the Yellow Jackets had neither but an infusion of talent gives them nine players who SHOULD be able to provide double-digit minutes at the ACC level and with a little development from the younger Poole that number should be 10. 

8. McCamish Pavilion continues to impress. 

Everyone who has been to the new arena has been blown away by how nice it is (and different from the old coliseum).  From the theater lighting to the open concourses it is a great venue that will continue to aid in Tech's recruiting which will in turn build up the program again.  Speaking of recruiting, the Yellow Jackets were schedule to have an official visitor on campus for the game in PG prospect Travis Jorgenson who is considering GT along with Boston College and Oklahoma State among others.  Gallery from opening night vs Tulane at McCamish Pavilion. 

9. Looking Ahead for Miami

After the win, the 'Canes rose to #6 in this week's RPI according to statsheet.com while the Jackets fell to 132nd.  Miami faces another road ACC game at North Carolina on Thursday.  Based on the way the Tar Heels have played this season, Jim Larranaga has to feel good about his chances to score the road upset.  The following Sunday is a crucial home game against Maryland.  If the Canes are serious about making their first NCAA tournament since 2008 you have to win home games against similar/worse competition.

10. Looking Ahead for Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech's schedule only gets tougher with a road date at NC State on Wednesday.  The Wolfpack squad is on par with Miami, so pulling off a win here will be a very tall task.  The following Saturday is a must win at home against a lagging Virginia Tech squad. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Georgia Tech Football: Yellow Jackets Defense Secures First Bowl Victory Since 2004 Defeating USC 21-7

Georgia Tech celebrates a bowl win/ElPasoTimes.com
The bowl game monkey is off Paul Johnson's back. After four failed attempts, including two heartbreaking losses, Georgia Tech finally got a bowl win and it was over the preseason number one USC Trojans 21-7 in the Sun Bowl. And oddly enough, it was the defense that won the game. 

1. Georgia Tech's defense had by far their best game of the season.

The Yellow Jackets held the Trojans to just 3.47 yards per play, besting their 3.74 performance against Presbyterian. Max Wittek's atrocious accuracy certainly helped, but Tech also shut down USC's running game allowing just 98 yards on the ground. The 205 yards of total offense was their lowest of the season by 75 yards (280 yds vs Stanford).

2. Georgia Tech won the line of scrimmage, especially on defense.

Where was this defensive line play all season? Yellow Jacket defenders were getting off blocks to slow down the run and getting enough pressure on Wittek to make him uncomfortable standing in the pocket long enough to take shots down field.

3. Charles Kelly may have earned himself the Defensive Coordinator job with the Sun Bowl performance.

Johnson said he would not make a decision on the full-time DC until after the bowl game. Based on the number of other schools hiring defensive coordinators in the last month and the amount they are paying those DCs, the delay in the decision pointed to Kelly getting one more audition for the job. I think Kelly can be a good hire and should definitely be retained, but Johnson should not base the decision just on this game.

4. Speaking of the defensive coaching staff, I wonder how many will be retained?

Kelly will be for sure, but beyond that is uncertain. Former defensive line and current linebacker coach Andy McCollum is also the recruiting coordinator, but his DL unit was non-existent until the Sun Bowl. Supposedly he is one of the better recruiters but I think the lack of talent on the defensive side is the biggest reason for the struggles so how good is he? Dave Wolkosky taught special teams in the first half and then defensive line in the second half. Considering it is first season he may get a pass. Joe Speed. I have no clue on him other than he is a Navy guy.

5. The Secondary covered and tackled well all game.

Again, Wittek's poor throws certainly aided but the Jackets three deep coverage along with a moderate pass rush prevented the Trojans from going deep like they love to do. Tech had a season high eight pass breakups. Rod Sweeting played like a Senior should and was awarded the game MVP. Backup Safety Chris Milton was never taken advantage. As well as the defensive backs played it is even more remarkable that the best player Jemea Thomas did not make a significant play.

6. Tevin Washington leaves the program on a high note.

The Senior didn't have a great game, but he did the things you need not to lose it. Washington struggled early on with USC's athleticism and speed and was replaced by his backup Vad Lee. But after Lee turned it over for a second time Washington was a steadying force consistently moving the chains enough to allow Tech to play field position with the three club wind blowing in El Paso.

If everyone of Georgia Tech's players worked as hard as Tevin has in his career they would have won a lot more games the last two years

7. As Vad Lee ascends to the starting QB role expect more tweaks in Johnson's offense.

While he showed significant progress in running the option, Lee remains most comfortable in the shotgun with a run/pass play call. I would expect Johnson to run more shotgun out of the pistol next year with a heavy dose of zone read. I also expect Johnson to air it out more as Lee possesses a much stronger arm than Washington. And as good of an athlete as Lee is, his backup Justin Thomas is likely a better one. The future is bright at Quarterback.

8. Fans are happy as long as you win once a week.

Yes, Yellow Jacket fans are not happy with a 7-7 record, but it makes the record more bearable if you win your last game giving you a happy memory for the next eight months. Beating a program like USC, as disappointing as their season was, also means a lot too to a program like Georgia Tech. Johnson will be largely cheered at basketball games and it makes the ticket sale calls a little easier to get renewals coming off a bowl win over Southern Cal.

9. I used to think Lane Kiffin got a bad rap, but I am starting to see the light.

When Kiffin was at Tennessee I thought he was right to pound his chest a little bit about the Vols because the program had fallen off the national map and needed a jolt. I understand why he left when USC opened even if it was after just one year in Knoxville. I thought he would return the Trojans to prominence this year. But to take this talent to a 7-6 record is remarkable. Kiffin can still recruit, but his play calling, development, and motivation skills are way under USC's level. He enters next season as number one on the hot seat list.

10. Georgia Tech is not that far off.

Paul Johnson often says his program is not that far off. Those comments are hard to believe after a 41-17 loss to BYU or a 49-28 loss to Middle Tennessee State, but in the Jackets last two games they came six points away from winning the ACC and then beat the preseason number one team by 14. The Yellow Jackets simply need a few dynamic playmakers on offense and defense in order to compete each year for ACC titles and have a chance at nine wins. But it is tough getting those players on campus due to the academic restrictions and lack of majors. Johnson is hoping the improvement in graduation rates and APR scores will give him the needed latitude on a few players in recruiting.

That is my thoughts on Georgia Tech's victory over USC in the Sun Bowl. What are yours?