Friday, October 22, 2010

3rd Annual BNE Pick 'Em: Week 7

OK, so I wasn't right in my prediction of betting on Air Force or Nebraska. But I wasn't wrong and here's two reasons why...

1. Both teams lost because of the loss of impact from their key player. For Nebraska, it was the rookie immaturity of a true freshman quarterback in Taylor Martinez who was pulled early in the game. For Air Force, it was the injury to fullback Jared Tew. But even without these key players, both teams nearly came back to beat a tough opponent in Texas and SDSU.
Moooo. That's the sound your mother made last night.
2. I said it was inevitable that Ohio State would lose and I was right! Jim Tressle and his Blackeyes came into Camp Randall and lost to an extremely aggressive and opportunistic Badger team. For all you OSU lovers, please to enjoy the following...

After upsetting #1 Bama, South Carolina was riding high coming into Lexington to face the Wildcats. Listen up Dawg fans, Randall Cobb, Joker Phillips and the rest of the Wildcats are a good team. Not just a good team, but a team that plays tough for four quarters. If you didn't watch this game, you're in for a shock. SUC should have tied this game and sent it to overtime, but Spurrier had delusions of grandeur (or Keeneland) and went for the touchdown. Trust me, Auburn hacked it out against the Wildcats and a field goal is nothing to scoff at. Take the points you can get and keep moving.
Speaking of the Dawgs, WTF!? Where the hell did they come from? SHUT OUT?? I know Vandy is bad, but they're not shut out bad. Wow, I was impressed with the turn around so far from the Dawgs. Don't expect the Red and Black to fair so easily. After Randall Cobb's Twitter outburst against his own fans, expect the stadium to fill up on Saturday and a street fight for 12 rounds. I'm putting 1 confidence point out there on the Kats.
Yeah, not so smooth in the endzone dance

The top game of the week will be the showdown at Thunderdome on the Plains between LSU and the Mad Hatter's Bayou Bengals, and Gene Chizik, Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers. Both Tigers come into this game undefeated. LSU is carrying an anemic pass offense while boasting one of the most blitz-happy defenses in the country. Auburn brings the nation's 6th best rushing attack and ranks #6 in most points scored behind the legs and arms of Cam Newton. If you watch no other Auburn game this year, turn on CBS and catch the Heisman front-runner try to expand on his 1270 yards passing, 820 yards rushing, and 25 touchdowns. WAR CAM EAGLE!
Seriously, you have to see him play this year.
And now for our top 5 leaders of the week followed by our overall leaders:
  1. Fresh Catch Shuffle with 187 points and 14-7
  2. Warrior Dawg with 186 points going 15-6
  3. G.D. with 180 points and 14-7
  4. AUMav's Picks with 178 points going 14-7
  5. CowetaDawg with 174 points and also 14-7
  1. woof woof with 1542 points and a 115-44 record
  2. AUMav's Picks with 1519 points and a 115-44 record
  3. WarriorDawg going 111-48 and 1505 points
  4. Silver Britches with 1487 points and a 113-46 record
  5. allyugadawg going 114-45 and 1482 points
Now we turn our attention to this week's Bottom Feeder of the Week sponsored by Gillette's Fusion ProGlide razor. This week's BFotW is a first for the BNE Pick 'Em as we have not one, but two Bottom Feeders of the WeekDamngooddawg and Dawgfan17. Both of our BFotW managed 135 points and a 13-8 record. In all fairness, I can't really say it was a terrible week for either of these two, as most of their picks were tough losses. It was a close shave for these two, but unfortunately they got nicked and ended up here as our BFotW. Too bad they didn't have our sponsor's Fusion ProGlide razors. OK, consider this a warning and don't let me see either of you back here again!

Don't forget to get your picks in!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Know Thy Enemy: Randall Cobb

Erik Ainge, Tim Tebow, Skylar Green.

All names of players who had big games against the Georgia Bulldogs in recent years and became hated by Georgia fans. it is time to add one more name to that list: Randall Cobb. Mr. Do-it-All for Kentucky, Randall Cobb has terrorized the Georgia Bulldogs for the last two years.

It began in 2008, when a Georgia team that was ranked #1 in the preseason rolled into Lexington expecting to hammer a Wildcats team who was without their starting quarterback. Enter Randall Cobb, a lightning quick freshman who had played most of the season at wide receiver and kick returner. With Cobb under center, the Cats put a scare into Georgia 9thankfully, Cobb finally made a mistake throwing a bad screen pass that was picked off by Demarcus Dobbs.)

In 2009, Cobb once again terrorized the Georgia defense. Despite only catching one pass, Cobb ran the ball 9 times for 40 yards, including two touchdowns. When the Dawgs fumbled the ball inside the Kentucky 5 yard line, the Wildcats soon secured their second victory over Georgia in 4 years. All I kept thinking was how bad it was to basically get defeated by one player.

With Kentucky's other talented offensive weapon, Derrick Locke, most likely on the shelf this week, Cobb will once again be expected to carry the load for Kentucky. After catching the game winning touchdown last week against South Carolina, he definitely has the confidence to once again lead them to victory. For the first 5 years of Mark Richt's tenure, the Kentucky game was often an easy blowout victory for the Dawgs. But in recent years, that has all changed.

Unless the Dawgs want to fall to 2-3 against Kentucky over the last 5 seasons, they need to stop Randall Cobb. If they don't, he will take the place of the now gone Tebow as my least favorite player in the SEC.


Happy 64th, Lewis!

Lewis Grizzard would have turned 64 years old today. I would love to hear his thoughts on the current state of the world, everything from iPods to the struggles of the Dawgs and the continued "wussification" of the NFL that has taken place this week.

We miss ya Lewis!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Numbers Mean Progress (Even If They Don’t Mean Victories)

With a 3-4 record, Georgia has certainly not lived up to the expectations that many had during the summer of 2010. That being said, the Dawgs have certainly shown improvement over the 2009 team, even if the record is worse than it was last year. Stastics, while not telling the whole story of a season, at least provide insight into the ability a team has to perform on the field. For example, Georgia was third to last in the FBS in turnover margin last year and lost a number of games (such as Kentucky) that should have been won.

In total, I found 10 major team categories in which the 2010 Georgia Bulldogs are better than their 2009 counterparts:

#41 Passing Offense – 244.8 yards per game (201.1 - 71st in 2009)
#53 Total Offense – 395.1 yards per game (362.2 – 66th in 2009)
#51 Scoring Offense – 29.7 points per game (28.9 – 51st in 2009)
#16 Rushing Defense – 103.43 yards per game (126.1 – 36th in 2009)
#30 Passing Defense – 186.71 yards per game (213.1 – 51st in 2009)
#20 Scoring Defense – 17.43 points per game (25.9 – 64th in 2009)
#13 Kick Off Return Defense – 1st in the SEC (117th in 2009)
#23 Punt Return Defense (82nd in 2009)
#48 Penalties – 5.71 for 44 yards per game (8 for 67 – 113th in 2009)
#30 Turnover Margin - +4 for season (-1.23 per game – 118th in 2009)

Todd Grantham has clearly made a difference on defense. The only major statistic that Georgia is actually worse in this year is rushing offense, thanks in part to suspensions to Caleb King and Washaun Ealey. After seeing these numbers, you can’t help but wonder what might have been if AJ Green had been around for all seven games.

Has the ship been righted? Thoughts on Vanderbilt

For the second week in a row, the Georgia Bulldogs did what a good team is supposed to do when they play inferior competition. The 43-0 shutout of the Vanderbilt Commodores, may have been the most complete Georgia effort in the last few years. The offense racked up close to 600 yards of offense and the defense did not allow the Commodores to reach the red zone the entire game.

The only negatives of the entire game were the slow start for Aaron Murray (he started the game 1 for 4 passing, missing Kris Durham wide open at the 3 during the first drive), a drop in the end zone by AJ (yes, he’s human), and a missed 31 yard field goal by Blair Walsh. In the first quarter, the defense got burned once again by the wheel route, but that was the only mistake they made all game. The worst performance of the day goes to the coaching staff in the first 5 minutes of the game, blowing all three timeouts. This can’t happen when you are playing a team that actually has a pulse.

The positive were many, but I’ll highlight two that will be important next week against Kentucky. First, Aaron Murray was not relied upon to create the Georgia running game. Ealey put forth his best effort since Tech last year, including a great 50 yard plus run when it appeared the defense had him bottled up. Carlton Thomas added the first two touchdowns of his career and with that we get the first appearance of the Cartlon Dance:

The other thing that the Dawgs did really well was contain All-SEC player Warren Norman. For those of you who don’t know, Norman broke Herschel Walker’s SEC freshman record for all-purpose yards last season. Norman had 33 yards of total offense and was basically a non-factor. If the Dawgs hope to win in Lexington on Saturday, they are going to have to do the same thing to Randall Cobb.

Speaking of Randall Cobb, how the heck does Carolina leave him wide open with the game on the line? With Kentucky’s upset of South Carolina and Florida’s loss to Mississippi State, the East is a complete mess. (The Georgia loss to Mississippi State doesn’t look so bad now that the west Dawgs are 5-2.) If Georgia somehow found a way to win its remaining 3 SEC games (which looks impossible the way Auburn is scoring points) and Florida defeated South Carolina, the Dawgs would end up in Atlanta on the first weekend of December. It is a complete long shot, but stranger things have happened.

The road back to respectability begins Saturday in Lexington. The Wildcats are playing well and will have a lot of confidence heading into the game. If Georgia shows up like they have the last two weeks, winning should not be a problem. Otherwise, we’ll head to Florida with a 3-5 record and pretty much all hopes of making a bowl game gone.