Monday, January 17, 2011

Ten Things JJ Thinks He Thinks

1. Georgia Thoughts

A 1-1 week for Fox's hounds with both games on the road. By the way a loss at Vanderbilt with Dores shooting 20 more free throws than the Dawgs is not the worst thing in the world. On Saturday in what was a very important game the Dawgs probably played their best since Jim Harrick was coaching em up. The Dawgs shot 63.5% from the field as a team, had five players score in double-figures and only had one player (Donte Williams) shoot under 50% from the field. Furhermore, Mark Fox’s Bulldogs dished out a season-high 26 assists, while limiting themselves to only 7 turnovers.

This week we have home games against Tennessee tonight and Mississippi State on Saturday. Next week we continue the home stand with a home game next Tuesday against the Gators and on the road the 29th against the Wildcats. Needless to say if we can handle our business at home this team can be in a very good place with when they fly to Lexington in 11 days.When counting conference wins a week ago I had Georgia around 9-10 conference wins. That looks good as of right now. It's interesting that Ken Pomeroy lists Georgia as roughly a 39% chance to win 10-12 SEC games based on current data models.  Pomeroy and RealTimeRPI both have our most likely scenario as 9 conference wins. (Thanks to Georgia Sports Blog for the RPI numbers).

This is the most giddy I have been about the Basketball team since Jim Harrick. Hopefully Jeremy Schaap can stay away from campus.

2. College Football Wrap Up
a. Late on Friday I saw a tweet that did not get much mention, the NCAA grants Case Keenum a 6th season of eligibility. The Houston QB who is one of my favorite college QB's becomes the first true Heisman candidate for 2011.
b. I have read a couple of places where people are saying that Tennessee is a sleeper for the SEC East in 2011. What am I missing about the Vols? I know South Carolina won the East this season but I still feel it is Florida's to win every season.
c. I am glad I am not a Maryland fan. For one they get rid of one of their own for a guy I think is a great coach, but not a step up in my opinion. Then Maryland hires Gary Crowton as their offense coordinator.
d. Here is more on Crowton, the 53-year-old coach had come under heavy fire for what could be charitably described as inept offenses during his past two years with the Tigers.  LSU was 45th (29.7) and 76th (24.8) in scoring offense, and 86th (341.3) and 112th (304.5) in total offense.  Most embarrassing was an utterly limp passing attack: 107th (155.6) last year, 97th (181.8) in 2009.
e. Somehow, Crowton turns into a new three-year contract at Maryland, where he’ll be paid $100,000 a year more than he was getting at LSU. Whoever Crowton’s agent is, that’s somebody who’s earning his keep.
f. I saw these stats related to the SEC football season and was surprised how big of a difference turnovers make on the game.49 conference games in 2010, 12 times both teams had the same amount of turnovers.
  Thus 37 times one team won the turnover battle.In those 37 games, the team that won the turnover margin won 32 times.That’s a 32-5 record in SEC games in 2010 for the teams that won the turnover battle.
g. Georgia’s 2010 record in games in which it won the turnover battle was 6-1, which means the Dawgs didn’t win a single game this season when they didn’t finish in the black in turnover margin.
h. It’s a strange world we live in when ESPN fires Ron Franklin, yet keeps Craig James on the payroll.

3. College Football Coaches Year 2

In the past couple of years I have noticed a trend with College Coaches and their teams making a big jump in year two under a new coach. Let's look at some numbers.

Coach School Year 1  Year 2 Notes
Nike Saban Bama 7-6 12-2 Went undefeated regular season
Nick Saban  LSU 8-4 10-3 SEC Champs
Bob Stoops  Oklahoma 7-5 13-0 National Champs
Mark Richt  UGA 8-4 13-1 SEC Champs, #3 Final Rating
Urban Meyer  Utah 10-2 12-0 Beat Pitt in BCS
Urban Meyer  Florida 9-3 13-1 National Champs
Paul Johnson  Navy 2-10 8-5
Paul Johnson GaTech 9-4 11-3 ACC Champs
Chip Kelly  Oregon 10-3 12-1 National Runner Up
Gene Chizik  Auburn 8-5 14-0 National Champs
Jim Tressell  Ohio State 7-5 14-0 National Champs
Steve Spurrier  Florida 9-2 10-2 SEC Champs
Steve Spurrier South Carolina 7-5 8-5
Bobby Bowden  FSU 5-6 10-2
Pete Carroll USC 5-6 11-2 Orange Bowl

I do not know what all this means but Jimbo Fisher is in his second year at FSU.

4. 2010 Power 5
1. Auburn- They might go from 14-0 to 5-7. A year where all the stars aligned for the Tigers. Everything went their way.
2. Oregon-23-3 last two seasons. Beat a very, very, very good Stanford team by 20 points.
3. TCU- Very good season but no way they beat Oregon or Auburn. This team will be heard from for a long time as they move to the Big East in 2012.
4. Stanford- How does this team lose by 20 to Oregon. That might show how good the Ducks and Auburn Tigers were this season.
5. Ohio State-I am still dumbfounded how they had all players eligible for the Sugar Bowl.

5. 2011 Top 5
1. Oklahoma- The Sooners have 14 players coming back who have starting experience on offense and 15 on defense. This is after they finished 12-2 and won the Big 12 for the 7th time in 11 years. How unreal is that? They have to make trips to Oklahoma State and Florida State.
2. Oregon-Under Chip Kelly the Ducks are 23-3 with the loses to Boise St, Stanford and Auburn. Clearly the class of the Pac-10. The Ducks have the toughest first two games next season in the country when they play LSU and Nevada.
3. Florida State-Should return 9 starters on offense and defense. They play Oklahoma at home which is going to be an unreal spectacle. They get a big scheduling break because they don't play Georgia Tech, North Carolina or Virginia Tech during the regular season.
4. Alabama-Waited to the last game of 2010 to put everything together. They lose Julio Jones and Mark Ingram along with QB Greg McElroy. Four starting offensive linemen are returning, and linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Mark Barron should be better after battling injuries this past season. The Tide play a nonconference game at Penn State
5. LSU- They seem to go 10-2 every year. One of the most talented and consitent programs in the country. Very intrigued who they hire as offensive coordinator, because if they fix that side of the ball.....look out. They play Oregon to start the season in Arlington, Tx. They also have two very difficult road games at Mississippi State and Alabama.

6. Wildcard Weekend
a. How boring was the first half of the Bears-Seahawks game? If you did not have a rooting interest I do not know how you didnt take a nap in the second half. I sure did.
b. While I still do not trust Cutler in a big spot he was outstanding on Sunday. Jay Cutler became the second quarterback in NFL history to throw for two touchdowns and run for two others in a playoff game.Otto Graham is the only other person to accomplish this fact.
c. In fact, Graham did it twice once in the 1954 NFL Championship Game and again the following season in the 1955 NFL Championship Game. The NFL Championship Game is the precursor to the Super Bowl.
d. The last Bears quarterback to rush for two touchdowns in a playoff game was Jim McMahon in Super Bowl XX. Additionally, Cutler was the first quarterback to throw a touchdown on his first career postseason pass since Chad Pennington did so for the New York Jets in 2002.
e. I was shocked in what happened Sunday afternoon in Foxboro. In fact, if you find yourself bored at work visit some Boston websites and the humor is priceless. It is almost like the Patriots have not won 3 Super Bowls in the last 10 years. It is almost like the Red Sox have not won 2 World Series since 2004. It is almost like the Boston Celtics are not the second most successful NBA franchise.
f. This is the worst Shaughnessy column I have ever read. What a joke. Then their is this. I wonder how bad all the bandwagon New England sports fans felt Monday morning?
g. Among quarterbacks with at least 75 attempts, only Matt Ryan and Tom Brady did not throw an interception against a 3-4 defense during the regular season. On plays when the Jets used the 3-4 defense formation Sunday, Brady completed just 3-of-7 passes for a 28.6 passer rating, including his first interception since Week 6 against the Ravens.
h. How good is Rex Ryan as a head coach? The Jets are the first team in NFL history to get at least 2 road wins in consecutive postseasons.
i. I am still in shock in what happened Sunday evening. Mark Sanchez is just the third quarterback to throw for 3 TD against Bill Belichick's Patriots in the postseason (since 2000). The others? Jake Delhomme and Donovan McNabb. Both Delhomme and McNabb did it in the Super Bowl. Maybe Sanchez is that good. I know I did not believe it going into the playoffs.
j. The Saturday game between the Steelers and Ravens was so much fun to watch. How does Baltimore blow that lead with that defense? Can you pick a worst time to have your first fumble of the season Ray Rice? How about all the talk we hear from the Ravens receivers and then all they do is drop passes in big spots.
k. Joe Flacco handled extra pressure well in the 2010 season, but the Steelers' pass rush rattled the Ravens' quarterback Saturday. The Steelers employed the 5-man rush on the last four plays of the game, forcing Flacco to throw three incompletions and take an 8-yard sack.
l. The Steelers home dominance in the playoffs continued Saturday. With the win, they move to 12-1 at home in the divisional round since 1970, averaging 25.5 PPG. They are just 3-6 on the road in the divisional round.
m. With the win Saturday, Ben Roethlisberger improves to 9-2 in the postseason. His .818 winning percentage is the 2nd-best in NFL history among QBs with at least 10 starts. He sits behind Bart Starr who went 9-1 in his postseason career.
n. How scary good are the Packers? They were unreal Saturday night. Everybody in Atlanta wants to point fingers and figure out what went wrong Saturday night. What went wrong Saturday is that Aaron Rodgers got on the team plane Friday night and flew to Atlanta.
o. As quarterback of the Packers, Rodgers has directed two of the three highest-scoring performances by a road team in NFL postseason history. Aaron Rogers had the second-highest completion percentage in a 300-yard passing game in NFL postseason history Saturday.
p. How has Tony Gonzalez never won a playoff game?

7. MLB Thoughts
a. I had no idea they kept this stat but Jose Bautista scored 11 of 16 times from first on a double; Carl Crawford was 11 for 19.
b. New Rays reliever Kyle Farnsworth was third in the majors in appearances from 2001-10 with 640. Mariano Rivera (646) and David Weathers (644) were the leaders.’’
c. Joe Maddon led AL managers last season by pinch-hitting 174 times, a remarkable 44 more times than runner-up Jim Leyland. Tony La Russa led the majors with 292. Is anyone shocked that La Russa led that category.
d. Here is a crazy stat in regards to Kyle Farnsworth. Against the teams that finished with a .500 or better record, Farnsworth finished with a 2.09 ERA, .611 opponents OPS, and a 5.3 strikeout-to-walk rate. Against teams with sub-.500 marks, he had a 5.19 ERA, .670 opponents OPS, and 2.23 strikeout-to-walk rate.
e. Adam LaRoche is one of just three first baseman to hit at least 20 homers and 25 doubles in each season since 2005. The others: Mark Teixeira and Albert Pujols. I still would not mention LaRoche in the same breath as those two.
f. Matt Stairs signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals in December. If he hits a home run for them, he'll tie Todd Zeile's major league record by hitting a HR for his 12th team.
g. Last season Ryan Howard 31 bombs with 108 RBI, but it was the 1st time in 5 yrs he failed to go deep 45 times with 136 RBI. The .505 slugging percentage was also a career low. Those are still some sick numbers.
h. How come this story is not getting mentioned more? It is January 18th and the Nationals do not have a pitching coach.
i. Also Damon, Manny and Andruw Jones do not have jobs yet either.
j. Word came out late last week that Showtime was producing a Hard Knocks type show on the San Fransisco Giants. Am I the only one who can not get enough of the behind the scenes type shows. They are so entertaining.
k. 27 days until Pitchers and Catchers report for the Braves (February 14th) 38 days until the first spring training game. Let's get excited!

8. Hoops Power 5 (before games played 1/17)
1. Ohio State- Is Jared Sullinger the player of the year?
2. Syracuse- The less Scoop Jardine shoots, the better the Orangemen play.
3. Kansas-Can the Bid XII get 8 teams in the tournament?
4. Pittsburgh-Huge win at home against number 2 Syracuse. Expect the Panthers to be higher next week.
5. San Diego St-If you are an insomniac like me, watch the Aztecs. Very fun team.

9. What I Read This Week
Read a bunch of articles this week but here are the two best. The first one takes a look at Billy Donovan, John Pelphrey and Anthony Grant and the bond these three share. I feel I follow college basketball pretty good but I had no idea these men went through these ordeals. The ladies will probably appreciate this article more than the gentlemen.

The second read comes from Outside Magazine and profiles Michael Ferrara. Ferrara is a first responder in Aspen and brings attention to a little-known problem: post-traumatic stress disorder among the people who save our lives.

10. Non Football or Baseball Thoughts
a. I am down on the show How I Met Your Mother and the fact is decided to kill of Marshall's dad. What was the purpose of that. Did the writers forget this was a comedy show not a drama. I watch to laugh. If I want serious I would watch something else.
b. Last night's episode was not that much better. I wonder where they are going with this sub-plot? When are we going to meet Ted's wife?
c. With the Snow Days the roomdog and myself have caught up a lot on the DVR. Eastbound and Down is ridiculous. So funny. Kenny Powers is out of his mind.
d. I absolutely love Bored to Death. Ted Dansen's character is unbelievable. It also makes me miss the little things about living in the big apple.
e. Hopefully, we can get the show picked up for a third season.
f. I have not had time for a halftime the last couple of weeks. If I did I would have given everyone this sick song by Zac Brown Band. My buddy Smoak told me about it weeks ago. Again why is he not a country music executive.
g. I watched bits and pieces of the Golden Globes. I thought Ricky Gervais was hilarious. Again I am not an uptight Hollywood executive or actor so I would think that.
h. I have not seen all the Movies to comment on the winners and losers. I do know I need to see The Fighter, The Social Network and The King's Speech.
i. I have heard good and bad things about Black Swan...does anyone think I would enjoy?
j. I am not a Gleek so I do understand how Glee won best comedy or musical over 30 Rock, Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory. Can someone please explain.
k. Thanks to the snow and other holidays the last Monday in which I have worked a full day was December 13th. Next week when I have to work 5 days I am going to be in trouble.
l. The other night when I could not sleep I watched CMT's Top 40 Songs of the Decade. You can view the list here. Personally I think a majority of the songs in the top 40 are to slow for me personally. I need some more energy in my music. Furthermore, I think "Austin" by Blake Shelton should be higher than #29. Also "Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum is not the 10th best song of the decade. It is not even their best song in my opinion. I like American Honey better.
m. Interested to get Smoak's thoughts on the list.

Have an awesome week.

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