College Football Thoughts – Conference Championship Week

ohio_state_urban_meyerUndefeated Ohio State Should be Ranked Ahead of one Loss Auburn
If the Buckeyes can best the Spartans on Saturday night, Urban Meyer and company deserve to play for a national championship.  The Ohio State University has won 24 football games in a row dating back to 2012.  On the contrary, Auburn needed back-to-back Christmas miracles to make it into the SEC Championship Game.

Should Sparty stun the Buckeyes this weekend, the winner of the Southeastern Conference title showdown between Auburn and Missouri will likely play Florida State for college football’s ultimate prize.  Even though anything can happen in college football, I feel confident FSU will defeat Duke.

The Targeting Rule Needs to be Amended, but it is not Going Anywhere
Safety is the number one priority at every level of football.  The changes to the targeting rule are representative of the emphasis on protecting players from concussions.  As far as properly enforcing the rule, referees have been pretty hit or miss.

There have been some excruciatingly bad targeting calls this season, along with cases where obvious fouls went undetected, such as in Navy versus San Jose State.

Wave Ryder is the Midshipmen defender at the center of the play in question, apologies in advance for the low-quality of the video below.  Searching for Wave Ryder highlights brings up a variety of topics in Google.



One aspect of the targeting rule in need of further examination is the 15 yard penalty assessed regardless of whether the ruling is upheld.  Logic dictates this penalty serves as incentive for defenders to go low when attempting to make a stop.  Still, it is unfair to impose an automatic first down on an overturned targeting infraction, because doing so can change the complexion of a contest.

Todd Grantham Will Coordinate Georgia’s Defense Until his Contract is up
The unrest in Athens continues to grow due to UGA’s inability to get the opposition off the field consistently.  Do not hold your breathe for a change on defense.

As current associate head coach and defensive coordinator of the Bulldogs, Todd Grantham is not going anywhere until the end of his current contract. Unless, of course,  he receives a better job offer.  The former NFL assistant stands to make $850,000 a year for the next two years.  His contract expires at the end of 2015.

This season has been about dealing with injuries and breaking in new players.  While Grantham’s aggressive 3-4 defense can be frustrating to watch, having a negative turnover ratio certainly does not help.  According to Sports Illustrated, coach Richt is adamant his coaching staff will remain intact.  As a loyal Dawg, I hope Todd Grantham does not spend his offseason waiting by the phone for job offers.  Still, if he wants to leave, adios.

Picking Winners
The 2013 college football campaign has been filled with twists and turns. Conference championship weekend should be no exception.
Predictions (Automatic Qualifier Conference Championship Games Only).

ACC: Florida State 34, Duke 13.
Big Ten: Ohio State 34, Michigan State 21.
Pac-12: Stanford 31, Arizona State 17.
SEC: Missouri 35, Auburn 28.

Examining Georgia’s Outback Bowl loss to Michigan State – Plenty of Blame To Go Around

mark dantonio

Did Mark Dantonio and the Spartans out coach the Bulldogs in critical situations?

A few days removed from Georgia’s second straight bowl debacle, Bulldog Nation is searching for someone to blame for the Bulldogs’ new year lump of coal. However, there are multiple parties at fault for what happened in the final two quarters (and three overtimes) in the 2012 Outback Bowl. The most frustrating aspect of Georgia’s latest collapse is that all of the usual suspects were involved. As the old adage goes, those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

The Offensive Line
One of the most painful things about the Outback Bowl was watching Georgia’s offensive line get pushed around and give up about a dozen tackles for loss against the Michigan State defense. William Gholston led the charge as the Spartans dominated the line of scrimmage. The Dawgs averaged just 1.3 yards per rush in the game. True or not, the perception is that the Big Ten is the slow conference and that SEC speed and athleticism  dominates when the two conferences meet head-to-head in bowl games which makes the Bulldog loss a bitter pill to swallow. According to the Wall Street Journal, since the year 2000 the Big Ten’s record in bowl games after Michigan State’s win stands at 33-51. 

Mike Bobo was a fine college quarterback. He has been in over his head as offensive coordinator.

Mike Bobo’s Playcalling
During Georgia’s ten game win streak the offense was able to put up great numbers– against lesser competition.–  Unfortunately, when the Bulldogs were faced with an opponent that could match up with them physically such as in all four of their loses,  the results were pedestrian at best. The 2011 Georgia Bulldogs did not beat a single team in the top 20. Against Michigan State Georgia never seemed to give any thought to running outside, as the Dawgs were stuffed time after time between the tackles. Georgia had a chance to put the game away in the fourth quarter after a turnover gave them the ball in Michigan State territory with the Bulldogs ahead by four points.  An inexplicable play action pass in the third overtime was the straw that broke the Dawgs’ back. Continue reading