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MrSEC 2013 First-Half Rewind

RewindIf time does indeed fly, we must be on-board a charter 747.  2013, we hardly know you and you are already halfway out the door.  In less than two months, another year of SEC sports gets underway.  On this first day of July, we thought we’d  take a peak in the rearview mirror to see what MrSEC readers considered most interesting or important in the first half of this year.

We organized the list thematically under two headings – Conference Wars/Expansion and Players/Teams.  Some of these stories date back to the beginning of the year.  Some are as recent as last week.  All our part of the conversation here at MrSEC.com over the past six months.

Conference Wars/Expansion

1. Texas A.D. Dodds Blames End Of A&M Series On A&M (Also Talks Expansion)

2. Big-Bang Theories: The Countdown Super-Conferences

3. Big Ten To Add More Conference Games; Is This Another Lure For UVA, GT, UNC And Duke?

4. Which Conference Will Win The Realignment Wars?  It Depends On Your Definition Of “Win”

5. With Expansion Talk Heating Up, Here Are Four “Best-Case” Scenarios” For The SEC

6. FSU A.D. Spetman Talks Openly About Switching Conferences…And The SEC

Players/Teams

7. Ex-MSU WR Bumphis Has Advice For Recruits: Don’t Go With The Money

8. Hernandez Gun Photo Punctuates Meyer’s Shameful Disciplinary Record At Florida

9. Reported Tweet From Johnny Manziel: “Can’t Wait To Leave College Station”

10. USA Today Digs Into Background Of UM’s Henderson (And It’s Not Pretty)

11. Spurrier On Feud With Former Players: “A Bad Thing That Happened”

12. Of The SEC’s New Football Coaches, Who’ll Be The First Man Gone?

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Top MrSEC Clicks For The Week

 

 

Big Ten To Add More Conference Games; Is This Another Lure For UVA, GT, UNC And Duke?

luresThe Big Ten will move to at least nine conference football games per season and possibly 10 according to league commissioner Jim Delany.  The move has been rumored for several weeks, but Delany confirmed the decision yesterday:

 

“There’s real recognition that we now live in two regions of the country, and we want to make sure those are bound together as best we can, so more games (makes sense).  Eight games is not on the table.  It’s nine or 10.”

 

Ohio State AD Gene Smith also said: “There’s television considerations there when you have intriguing conference matchups that are better than some of our non-conference matchups, that’s an important piece.”

That could also be an important piece for the SEC moving forward.  Under current plans, the Big Ten, Pac-12, and Big XII will all be playing at least nine conference games per year.  The SEC currently plays eight league games.  The SEC’s format results in one more cupcake game per year for each school and fewer visits to and from conference rivals.

Eventually — as we’ve stated for more than a year — the Southeastern Conference will move to a nine-game schedule.  It will have to (barring a scheduling alliance with another conference).  Its television partners and the league’s own SEC Network will require such a move for content purposes.  And with a selection committee deciding each year’s four playoff participants, the SEC won’t be able to allow other leagues to claim their teams are playing tougher schedules.  There is already a move to “spread the wealth” of football championships or else there would be no new playoff in the first place.  If members of the selection committee can point to something as simple as “SEC teams play more creampuff non-conference games,” you better believe they’ll do so in order to get teams from as many leagues as possible into the playoffs each year.

But look again at Delany’s statement.  “We now live in two regions of the country,” meaning the Midwest and the East.  There are hardly as many Big Ten schools in the East as there are in the Midwest.  But more are probably on the way.

In recent weeks we’ve reported that our sources have said Virginia and Georgia Tech have both had contact with the Big Ten.  We’ve been told those schools are waiting to see the final bill Maryland will have to pay to get out of the ACC before they decide whether or not to follow the Terrapins’ lead.  Everyone and their brother is now reporting the same thing (or at least reporting on the reports that are already out there).

There have also been rumors that the Big Ten is wooing North Carolina, Duke, Boston College, and Florida State.  At MrSEC.com, we don’t see BC or FSU as being realistic partners with the Big Ten as they lack AAU status, but we’ll mention the rumors just the same.

By adding Maryland and Rutgers late last year, Delany’s league made it clear that it is a) looking to add large numbers of cable households for its Big Ten Network and b) trying to expand southward.  As Delany himself has mentioned time and again, part of the decision to look south is driven by population shifts and demographics.  Several Big Ten states have the slowest growth rates in the country.  Some of the fastest growing states are in the South.  So if you want more television revenue and you need robust populations to create new students and donors, clearly you try to grab a number of top schools farther south.

So what’s this have to do with adding conference games?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Source of Concern: UGA’s Defense

Georgia
Content provided by Georgia Sports Blog.

Georgia’s 2010 defense has issues stopping misdirection, playing assignment football and consistently tackling well. Unfortunately, Paul Johnson’s entire career is built on preying upon teams that have those faults.

It’s no secret that one of the biggest problems in defending the Triple Option (T.O.) is having enough practice time to install the offense with your scout team in a competent enough manner to properly simulate what you’ll face on game day. Teams who’ve had more than a week to prepare for GT’s T.O. have obviously fared dramatically better than those that haven’t. However, there are exceptions.

In 2008, Coach Martinez had a bye week to prepare, and it didn’t help at all. The Yellow Jackets ran for a bazillion yards.

To his credit, Martinez wised up in 2009. He realized that he didn’t have a bye week to get ready so he and Richt quietly came up with another plan to prepare the Dawg defense. They devoted a practice session everyday from Fall Camp to Thanksgiving to learning/defending the Tech offense. The result was a well prepared UGA defense holding Tech 109 yards below its season rushing average.

So…how will Grantham prepare the Dawgs to stop Tech? How will he overcome our fundamental problems in managing misdirection?

Well..they don’t exactly run Johnson’s offense in the NFL so it’s hard to say what he’ll do. Based on his resume, I don’t think Grantham has coached against any true belly option teams since the 1996 Michigan State at Nebraska game, which ended about like every game against a mid-90s Husker team ended.

Coach Belin saw the T.O. several times at Vandy including two losses to Johnson’s Navy squad and several other match-ups with military academies and other smaller programs. He probably has the deepest breadth of experience on the staff outside of Garner…and the graduate assistants.

Coach Lakatos appears to have last faced the triple option in 2006 as Paul Johnson’s Navy team beat UConn 41 to 17 in Storres, CT. He has some other military school encounters vs terrible Army teams with better results, and he was at Div I-AA Maine from ’95-’00 where he probably saw the T.O. quite a bit. Although, the next piece of information I have about Maine football will be the first.

Basically — I’m saying I have concerns with our ability to stop them. GT operating without Nesbitt *should* mean a massive UGA victory, but you still have to play smart, physical football and tackle well. And UGA hasn’t done much of that this season.

GT isn’t going to roll over and play dead for us just because their “Heisman candidate” is out with a busted arm.

See Also:
Grantham braces for Option – DawgPost.com

PWD


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Source of Confidence: UGA’s Offense

Georgia
Content provided by Georgia Sports Blog.

I'll make this pretty brief.  Georgia Tech has positively no one on their roster who can cover AJ Green.  Not in single coverage and likely not in double coverage.  Al Groh's only hope of
stopping Georgia on Saturday is:

A.  Clog the running lanes on 1st and 2nd downs.  Pummel Murray on 3rd and long and knock him out of the game.

B.  Hope that Bobo stops calling plays that work.

I don't think Tech can stop UGA's offense if Murray stays upright.  Only Mike Bobo and Mark Richt can stop it.  If they go into this game with some pursuit of balance for balance's sake as often happens, we'll predictably run into issues.  Or if Bobo stops calling plays that work, we'll predictably run into issues.

Last year, Bobo ignored his demons until the last 3rd down call of the game and pounded GT with run after run after run after run.  Why? Because it was working.  I personally think the answer this year will be throw it deep, then deeper still and then deeper again.

Statistically, GT has a better pass defense than run defense, but that's partially because they haven't faced very many competent passing offenses.  The NC State group was probably the best unit they've seen, and NCSU went for 368 yards through the air.

If we don't try and outsmart ourselves and don't turn it over, we should win.

The next posts are the flip side of this post….My 2 concerns.

PWD


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