I have been busy doing other things - like taking care of Christmas for my kids - which was awesome! Santa brought us a Wii. I jacked a homer (in practice) 623 feet just like I used to back in the day. Hampton, my 5 year old, has beaten me regularly in baseball and boxing. He won't let me throw junk when I am pitching. He says, "Daddy, you don't push any buttons because then I can't hit it." Then he turns around and strikes out my side like old Jack Morris in the 1991 World Series throwing a devastating splitter at 86 mph twice in a row then crossing me up with a 65 mph change up. I could have swung twice I was so far out front. Crafty little sneak. So far, I have handled him in tennis, but he holds the household record in bowling with a 182.
Anyway, we have had fun the past few weeks and quite frankly, I haven't paid a ton of attention to UGA related football news. I have enjoyed many of the bowl games, but not the outcome of the Navy-Wake game.
I am getting killed in my Footie Picker Bowl Picks against the spread - which is par for the course this season. But, I am still looking okay in my confidence pool. I've got a ton of points still out on the field. But, last night, I almost lost my 34 point game when Missouri needed OT to put away Northwestern. I will post both of my Bowl pool selections later just for reference.
Based on the match ups in the bowls this year, I think the SEC will not look too good (maybe because the SEC is not very good after the top 3 or 4 teams anyway). The Big East and the Pac Ten will look like heroes while the Big 12 and ACC come out looking pretty good. To me, it looks like the SEC will go 5-3 at best, but I have it picked to go 4-4. Here is how I have picked the other majors: Big East 5-1; Pac 10 4-1; Big 12 5-2 (but I am concerned about OSU tonight); ACC 5-5 is how I picked it but they may end up 7-3.
I will be back tomorrow for my Dawgs prediction. For tonight, let's go Pokes.
My Mumme Poll Ballot following the weekend of 12/06- Until further notice.
Top 5 - No particular order:
Alabama - Got Tebowed Florida - Tebow is keeping his promise Texas - Had to suck for them on Saturday night Oklahoma - Ain't scoring 60 on Florida USC - Bored
Next 7 - no particular order:
Penn State - Not bored Texas Tech - What a year Utah - Gets a shot to prove it against Alabama Ohio State - Rubber match with Texas Boise State - Chance to be perfect against the Frogs Cincinnati - Won't surprise me if they beat VPI Oklahoma State - Making plans to be at the Boone for Labor Day
The thud from this game will be heard from Atlanta to Norman to Austin and South Central. And when the dust settles, the winner will not be the flashy, pretty, ESPN darlings. No, the workmanlike Alabama Crimson Tide will emerge victorious on the strength of the two things that matter most in all football contests: great defense and dominating offensive line play.
First, my prediction is predicated on Percy Harvin being out. He is the Reggie Bush of 2008. Having him on the field is like having two extra weapons that are both indefensible. I doubt he will play, and if he does I think he will be severely limited due to the high ankle sprain. As a result, the Florida offense loses it most lethal weapon and that tilts the scale in favor of Alabama in my opinion.
Here is how Bama rolls in Atlanta. First, the best offensive line in the country will establish control of the line of scrimmage by hitting the Gator defense in the mouth extremely hard early and often. Alabama will work the ball down the field methodically and efficiently. Watch for them to get 5 yards or more on first down. When they do that, they will get a first down almost every time. They will run the ball 70-75% of the time with two great backs - Coffey and Ingram. They will ask John Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Parker Wilson to throw high percentage passes with an occasional deep route for good measure. The key is for Bama to not turn the ball over. If they protect the ball, they will have possession for about 36 minutes, which will give them a 12 minute advantage over the Gator offense.
Assuming Harvin cannot contribute, Alabama has a much easier time gameplanning against this Gator offense that has been so amazing for the past number of weeks. First, the Gators will not be able to run inside on Mount Cody, so it will be up to the ends and LBs to make sure that Rainey or Demps does not get turned upfield at full speed. Even Georgia was able to stop these two guys by penetrating and making them run horizontally. Bama has much better talent at the edge than UGA, so they should be able to handle this. Next, they have to contain Tebow when he wants to run. This will be their toughest assignment and Tebow will make some plays to extend drives and score points. Lastly, Bama needs to force Tebow into passing situations and challenge him to beat them with his arm. Bama needs to account for Louis Murphy and the tight end. The other guys will not kill them. It really hurts Florida to be without Harvin and this will bite them on obvious passing downs.
Finally, Alabama cannot allow UF to block a punt. Sure, Brandon James is a threat to break a long one. But, so is Javier Arenas for Alabama. Both average right at 14.66 yards per return and both ahve 2 touchdowns. I call that a push.
This game will feature the two best coaches in college football in terms of scheme and game preparation. Urban's offense against Saban's defense. Since I always have and always will preach that defense wins championships, I am picking Bama to win 27 - 24.
Note: Yes I understand that Florida has a great defense and Charlie Strong should get a HC job somewhere, but I think Bama's defense caught a huge break when Harvin got hurt and that, to me, makes the difference in this close game. Of course, I could be wrong - it won't be the first time! Just read a few of my posts from the week of Halloween or Thanksgiving for proof.
Anyway... GO NAVY, BEAT ARMY!
UPDATE*** Florida played a near-perfect game. Very impressive the way other receivers stepped up in the absence of Harvin. Tebow should be the Heisman winner! He is an amazing competitor. The FLorida defense, Spikes in particular, shut Bama down in the 4th quarter and Tebow did the rest. Well done Gators.
It's that time of year again. The ONE game that matters most for Navy and Army. Because Navy beat Air Force and Air Force beat Army, Navy has already secured retention of the Commander In Chiefs trophy for the 6th consecutive year.
Navy now leads the series 52-49-7 on the strength of an ongoing series record 6 consecutive wins (all with Paul Johnson was at the helm.) Navy enters the game with a 7-4 record while Army is at 3-8. Navy should win again, but Army has played several good games this season along with some stinkers. Navy is a 10 or 10.5 point favorite. I picked Navy to cover, but I would not bet on it. Still, I predict Navy 33 - Army 20.
I know this is old news now, but I just didn’t feel like writing much about this for a couple of days.
1. Again, Mohamed Massaquoi played like a warrior with the heart of a lion. He is, without question, my favorite player on this offense. I hate that his amazing performance was squandered by our Keystone Cops defense. I hope to see Mo Mass having a rewarding NFL career. I think he has the work ethic and heart to contribute to any franchise in the league.
2. My favorite player on defense is, of course, Rennie Curran. For the 5th time this season, Curran recorded double digit tackles and ended the regular season with 109. It is curious that both of these standouts are one generation removed from Liberia.
3. I have to also give a ton of credit to Stafford, Moreno, Green, Chapas and the entire offense for scoring 42 points. That should have been enough to win. Even Chandler, Harris and Moore made big plays.
4. The number one reason that we gave up 409 yards rushing was the terrible kickoff team and the average starting field position for Ga. Tech. Otherwise, Tech would have rushed for well over 500 yards. Twice, Roddy could have run to Bogart without being touched – unless you count shoulder nudges.
5. My key to the game was to punish Nesbitt. That didn’t happen. He could hit hard twice and had to leave the field one of those times. However, he was not holding the ball long on the option. Once it became clear that we weren’t going to cover the pitch man anyway, why should he sell out the option and take hits anyway?
6. Tech is running the Paul Johnson offense well right now, but it can be run better. That is scary. In the game Saturday, as noted in the previous point, Nesbitt didn’t have to make anyone commit before he pitched the ball. They were able to gobble up all those yards without taking a defender out of the play by forcing him to commit to the man who will not have the ball. This offense gets even scarier when the QB comes down the line and you actually have defenders in position to make the play, but fearless execution at the edge causes you to not make the play. For examples of this type of QB play, try to find film of Chris McCoy or Brian Madden when they ran this offense at Navy. Saturday, Nesbitt did not run the option as well as it can be run and that may have been by design because of his injuries.
7. Rennie, you know I love you, but this must be said… On two of the long touchdown runs, Rennie Curran and another defender both over-pursued and allowed the Tech back to cut back inside them and then bounce off the safety shoulder nudge and off to the races. There is a lot to be said for flying around the field, but when a team runs an option into the boundary, you have to use the boundary and defend it from the inside out. (Actually, one of these runs was a toss sweep to the motion man so it wasn’t technically an option play.) Rennie was out there quick enough to stop the play, but he overran it both times. I think both of these plays were on 3rd and 6 – which was a good position to be in for our defense, but we just failed. I am sure Rennie feels worse about it than we do. GATA Rennie.
My Mumme Poll Ballot following the weekend of 11/29 - Clear as mud.
Top 5 - No particular order:
Alabama - Rolling, so to speak Florida - Facing Alabama without Harvin - yikes Texas - I would place them ahead of OU Oklahoma - Getting the BCS love again USC - stuck in the Rose Bowl again
Next 7 - no particular order:
Penn State - A significant season for the ageless Jo Pa Texas Tech - Escaping at Baylor Utah - BCS bound Ohio State - Got the help they needed from Oregon Boise State - Please play Ball State in a Bowl Cincinnati - Solid season Ball State - What the hell, they were perfect.
Not that UGA is looking for a new DC, but hypothetically, if they were, TCU's Dick Bumpas is one of the best defensive coordinators in the country. A finalist for the Broyles Award, he has the 2nd ranked defense in 2008 and had the 2nd ranked defense in 2006 in the scoring happy Mountain West Conference with Utah and BYU.
If you want a shiny new DC, this wouldn't be a bad place to look. Read more about Bumpas here and here. One little nugget that would make you smile... in 1996, as Navy's DC, the middies beat Ga. Tech at the Joke. Unfortunately, I think PJ was the OC for that Navy team.
Bumpas is not a newbie and he sure as hell knows what he is doing. There is some speculation that TCU HC Gary Patterson is the brains behind the TCU defense, but I am not sure. Bumpas was his mentor before Patterson became a HC. I don't know much about Bumpas personally - whether he would fit in with Coach Richt's staff, etc - but he has put some great defenses on the field in his career.