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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Links (5/26)

Aloha, folks. Remember me? Yeah, I know... four days in a row with no blog posts. I'm a terrible person.

I do apologize. I was out of town the past two days and, while I'd hoped I could squeeze in some time for writing, it just didn't happen.

On the upside, I have a couple things planned for later the rest of this week, a few projects in the works for early next month, and next week I'll be heading to Destin for the annual SEC league meetings. So there's plenty of blogging to come, and hopefully most of you found ingenious ways to blow off work for the past few days so no harm was done.

In my travels -- which included plenty of down time on an airplane -- I was pondering the "great" debate over the relative temperature of Mark Richt's seat. Again, I can't stress enough that I think the idea of him getting canned at the end of this season is silly. But... just for fun, and to prove my point, here's a rough case I made for why every other coach in the SEC could be gone at season's end, too:

Urban Meyer, Florida. Corch already tried to quit once, only to change his mind a few hours later. But what happens if those health concerns continue? And particularly -- what happens if his health is a concern, but so is his team? Or... what if the NFL comes calling? There's almost as many scenarios that have Corch leaving Gainesville as have him staying.

Derek Dooley (Tenn) & Joker Phillips (UK). First-year coaches aren't likely to be on a tight leash but... Kentucky's already seen a lot of Phillips, so maybe if things go really sour in Year 1, they'd be more apt to part ways quickly. And Dooley -- well, he's no Lane Kiffin, but Tennessee is on its third coach in three years.

Steve Spurrier, South Carolina. Entering Year 6 of his plan to make South Carolina relevant, all that's happened is that Spurrier has largely become irrelevant himself. For USC, having Spurrier as their coach is much like the loser from high school finally getting to date the prom queen 10 years later when she's packed on some pounds, had three kids and been divorced. Yeah, he can probably do better now, but he's too obsessed with the image. So I doubt Carolina makes a change, but perhaps Spurrier decides he's had enough.

Bobby Johnson, Vandy. Hey he's done more at Vandy than anyone in recent memory. But... another winless SEC campaign and even the Commies have to think that they've reached a bad place.

Gene Chizik, Auburn. Remember how upset fans were when Chizik was hired? Much of that anger was erased by a relatively strong season, but what if Auburn takes a big step back in Year 2? Might the calls for a change return vociferously? OK, I'll admit it... this was among the hardest ones to conceive of a reasonable exit strategy.

Dan Mullen, Mississippi State. Here's Mullen's problem -- He's a good coach at a school where winning consistently is going to be close to impossible. So while a six-win season would probably thrill MSU fans, how happy will Mullen be with that? Then imagine that the Florida job comes open.

Les Miles, LSU. With a chance to beat Alabama late in the game, Miles calls for Jordan Jefferson to spike the ball on fourth down to preserve some clock.*

Bobby Petrino, Arkansas. High expectations in Year 3, but still has a terrible defense. Add to that the fact that Petrino hates staying at one job for more than six months and it's fair to consider the idea that he'll be headed elsewhere.

Houston Nutt, Ole Miss. David Cutcliffe had won at least seven games in five straight seasons, including a 10-3 mark in 2003. Then after Eli Manning left, the Rebels dropped to four wins in 2004 and Cutcliffe was fired. Would anyone be surprised if Nutt and Ole Miss won just four games during a major rebuilding effort in 2010? Yes, it'd be stupid to fire Nutt... but it's happened before.

Nick Saban, Alabama. Another SEC West title reminds Saban that there's nothing left for him to accomplish in college and, after insisting that there's no way he would ever leave Alabama, he quickly takes the job as the Cleveland Browns new head coach.

(* -- This scenario actually unfolded during an arena football game I covered in Albany once. The perpetrator? Former Georgia Tech QB Donnie Davis.)

Now, what would it take to get Mark Richt fired in 2010?

I suppose if Georgia won just three or four games, it might be enough to require a change. But I just can't see any scenario in which that happens without some drastic outside circumstance (like an Aaron Murray injury) being at the root of the problems, and Richt could hardly be blamed for that.

I suppose, too, if the financial motives were strong enough, a change could be made. But how much would donations and ticket sales have to fall for it to be financially worthwhile to buy out both Richt and Todd Grantham's contracts, then overpay to land a new coach? Again, there's just no way that happens.

So my question for all the hot-seat enthusiasts would be this: Of all the scenarios listed above -- some of which, I plainly admit are tough to envision -- where would Richt getting the axe fall on the levels of likelihood? I'm not sure what the answer should be, but I'd feel pretty safe in saying that, even if you told me six SEC coaches wouldn't be back next year, Richt would still be on the sideline at Sanford Stadium in 2011.

OK, on to some links...

-- Two Georgia football players are considering giving baseball a shot this summer. I really don't like the sounds of this. Mark Richt just commented last week that he thought Israel Troupe could have a big year because he had finally put baseball behind him. And like Troupe, Sanders Commings is also playing a position where depth is a real concern.

Perhaps in the long run it doesn't really matter -- and perhaps both have a better chance at making the pro level in baseball than in football -- but if I were one of Georgia's coaches, I'm not sure I'd be completely pleased with this development.

-- One of my favorite former Bulldogs made a stop in his hometown to visit some sick fans. (h/t Jim F)

-- So I mentioned earlier about how former Tech QB Donnie Davis once decided to spike a ball on fourth down to stop the clock. And yet, I don't consider him to be anywhere close to the worst QB in Tech history. And with that in mind, Bubba N Earl present the honorable mention on their list of the 100 greatest players in Georgia history.

-- Dawg Bark thinks Georgia has the third-best DB depth chart in the SEC behind Florida and South Carolina. I think it's dangerous to get too far ahead of ourselves in predicting greatness for a unit short on experience... but yeah, that secondary has a chance to be really, really good.

-- Talking to most fans, this seems to be a sports year at UGA that they'd rather forget. Down year in football, historically bad in baseball, missed the tourney in basketball and, at least by their standards, a bit of an off year for gymnastics. And yet, Georgia still ranks second in the SEC in all-sport standings. So to answer Tim Tucker's question... yeah, I'm surprised.

-- A Damn Beast wonders how well Aaron Murray can stand up to all the pressure that will invariably be on him this summer and fall. And that's the question about Murray, isn't it? The kid is talented, but of all the hyperbolic worries about how he'll perform, I think this is probably the most legitimate one, given what happened on G-Day. Of course, my best guess is... he'll be fine.

-- If you haven't been on board from the beginning, here's your chance to catch up on "Friday Night Lights".

-- The Grit Tree has a great entry this week for Lewis Grizzard Wednesday on dining at truck stops.

My best/worst truck-stop story was probably at an all-you-can-eat diner in Oklahoma.

I was driving cross-country with a friend (we were in the process of moving to San Diego) and the diner had a name so hilarious that we had to stop. Sadly, I can't remember the name now, which likely has to do with the brain damage I incurred by eating the meatloaf. Also, it's never a good idea to choose a dining establishment based on the comedy value of its name.

I do remember there being Jell-O for dessert. It was a color I had never seen before, but the closest approximation I could give you was when a high-school girlfriend of mine drank too much blue Mad Dog and threw it back up.

We concluded that leg of our journey that evening in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and all I can say is that, while the motel we stayed at charged just $35 a night, they would have been wise to also ask for a security deposit based on the condition the bathroom was in when we left the next morning.

-- And finally, I know a number of you have asked my thoughts on the "Lost" finale. I'll write some later this week, but in the meantime, here's a list of answers to a number of burning questions.

17 comments:

Brannon (BC REAL) said...

David,

I didn't know if you would be in Albany today for the Bulldog Club meeting at Doublegate. I thought you might be visiting your old stomping grounds. If so, I would like to buy you a drink in repayment for you helping me waste many hours of work.

Anonymous said...

Here's the real question about hot seat when it comes to CMR. Will CMR ever put Damon on the hot seat by quitting? How much bank would you guess CMR has put away? My guess is that he couldn't be spending more than about 350k a year to sustain his current lifestyle. I'm sure he pays a lot in taxes and he's a generous tither. But that leaves what, 500k a year for retirement savings. If he's done that for 10 years he's got 5 million banked. Not enough to retire yet but not too far off.

CMR is a competetive man but I'll bet he's not going to hang around forever and be another Bobby Bowden. His generation has different priorities. I think the answer will come from his children. I think CMR can stand to watch Jon graduate, get married and start a family but when CMR's daughter gets out of school- all bets are off.

Anyway, I predict the next hot seat will not be CMR's. It will be Damon's brought about by CMR's retirement. And Damon will do a good job when the time comes.

HVL Dawg

Carter said...

In my mind Richt's hot-seat status all boils down to Florida. If we lose to Florida this year, it is not enough to get Richt fired. However, if we lose this year and next, Richt will be in trouble.

Anonymous said...

David, how bad do you miss covering the Albany Wildcats?

Chilly P said...

Hah!I was gonna try to answer a bunch of College Humor questions myself, but that article you linked to did a pretty damn good job of it. Thanks for linking us to that.

David Hale said...

Thanks for the offer Brannon... I won't be making the trip unfortunately. I've got concert tixx in Athens tonight, but the next time I'm in the Binny, we'll hit up Charley B's for sure.

HVL -- Interesting point. I've heard some rumblings before about Richt following a Tony Dungy-esque route, which wouldn't shock me.

Carter -- Here's a question for you that there's probably not a real answer to, but one I debated with someone the other day... how many wins over the next, say, five years would UGA need to get over Florida for it not to be considered a one-sided rivalry anymore?

Anon -- Miss it? No. But I will say, my few months covering that team gave me more funny stories than any other beat I've ever been on. Sadly, the vast majority are not fit for print!

Carter said...

I would say that we would have to go .500 against Florida over the next half dozen years in order to achieve the perception of a legit rivalry.

To people in the northeast, midwest, and west coast, we are viewed as a regional power rather than a national power. This is primarily due to Florida's dominance over us.

I don't want Richt fired. Yet. If we can't get competitive with Florida within 2 or, at most, 3 years, then it is time to pull the plug.

Richt reminds me of John Cooper at Ohio State. He went 2-10-1 versus Michigan while having an otherwise respectable tenure.

Also, I just found this, but it may have been linked previously:

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/sports_college_uf/2010/05/florida-gators-to-blame-for-mark-richts-apparent-hot-seat-at-georgia.html

Anonymous said...

Welcome back David, you was missed.

pcsjax1 said...

I say buy out the contract. He apparently has been "Emeritus", retired but on staff for four years. Hire Muschamp or Smart. Bring someone new in that is not looking to retire and soaking up $2.8 million per year plus endorsements and bonuses while he waits!

pcsjax1 said...

Well Mark, "How would you like your job today?" Can we get you more assistant coaches and a "Powerchair" to ride around the sports complex like Bowden? You just name it and we will do it. Hey don't worry if you average 9 or 10 wins and don't win any championships like LSU, Florida and Alabama, it's all good! Can we bend over and pucker up? You could ride around on the Powerchair, speak "God" and talk "jesus" and pocket the money like Bowden.No wait a minute, that would be more like Jim and Tammie Bakker and the PTL Club, Jerry Fallwell and Jimmy Swaggert wouldn't it? Ok, well how would like your job today?

The "powers that be at Georgia" just don't seem to get it! The Dawg Nation wants coaches and athletic directors that are held accountable. We want a coach that is "mean as hell" and drinks "vinegar and rusty hobnails from a mason jar" and not one that is milking the program for all he can get until it is convenient for him to retire.

Joeski said...

pcsjax1:
All due respect, but rather than just saying 'fire Richt and bring in Smart' (we're not getting Muschamp and you're dreaming if you think we could. We'd have to more than double what he is going to get at Texas, and buy out his contract), can you tell me that you can 100% guarantee that Smart will be more successful than Richt has been?

No, you can't. I know everyone gets wound up about losing to Florida, but remember, in that aspect, you're holding the failures of Donnan and Goff against Richt as well. Richt is 2-7, whereas before he took over, they had previously gone 1-10... so even there he made an improvement.

No, all the hothead fans just need to chill out and remember that they are not football experts and there is no such thing as instant gratification in football. Give Richt a reasonable chance to demonstrate that he made the right moves, and is guiding the team back up before we run him out of town on a rail because of impatient fans with a misplaced sense of entitlement.

pcsjax1 said...

Oh, he has had a "reasonable chance", more so! He should be "reloading" by now, he's not! He shouldn't be loosing recruits which have commited, he hasn't! By his own words he keep the top recruits from leaving the state, he hasn't! He is past his ten year window for a National Championship, Smart and Muschamp are not! By the way the situation with Muschamp has changed with the signing of a long contract by the current A.D. Mark Richt has also recruited poorly in South Georgia. These are great high school programs whose players are going out of state to play.
Since when was "10" wins or average wins acceptable. The Dawg Nation wants "Championships Plural", why settle for less. LSU, Florida and Alabama do not!

pcsjax1 said...

Hey Joeski, Can we get him a "Powerchair" like Bowden?

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd ride out this "Richt/hotseat" flush during off season but PCSJAX1 has just pissed me off too much. This pompous "fan" just exemplifies the ignorant, win or hit the road, rant but adds a new flavor:
Richt's Christianity. The man has a heart and mind that exemplifies the Christian spirit..that is not contradictory to good coaching..you don't have to be a Frank Kushman asshole to be a good coach..Butts and Co. were a good fit for that example and we had no MNCs during his tenure. Richt is hardly a ROAD-type (Retired on Active Duty)..we get our money's worth and more from a coach of his caliber..so STFU, stupid...and it's losing not loosing!

meansonny said...

I feel like one of the few fans on this blog that doesn't place CMR's fate on the rivalry game with UF.

For all of those that look at WLOCP as the "be all/end all"... It's a rivalry game. Not the definition of a programs success.

Who cares if we lose to UF? What should really matter is SECCG and BCS Bowl games.
If we're winning SECCGs and playing in BCS Bowl games, then Richt is earning his keep.

The realization over our slump of the past 4 seasons is the same problem that other programs face. Losing top Coordinators is detrimental to a program. Ask Miami, FSU, Auburn, LSU, & Tennessee. Look at UGA since Van Gorder left.

Just watch the Florida program as it tries to rebuild. It will take 2 steps backward with the loss of both OC and DC, now.

pcsjax1 said...

Meansonny

I agree with you 100%. I describe winning the SECCG and BCS Bowls as "Championships Plural" and that this should be the Head Coaches written contractual objective and held accountable for during the length of the contract.

I hope you are right on the comments on Florida's rebuilding. A top team does not "rebuild", but "reloads".

Stuart said...

Aren't the hot seat grumblings the odious seeds of negative recruiting planted by our arch-rivals? Any UGA fan that wants to can Richt doesn't know which way the wind blows.