Reading the Richter Scale: Week Nine

richter

After entering yet another season with high hopes, the Georgia Bulldogs have limped to a 5-3 start, with all three losses coming against SEC opponents. Like last year, they lost their star running back to serious injury and Florida embarrassed them in Jacksonville. Matching last year’s 10-3 record will require the Dawgs to win out– they’ve already equaled 2014’s loss total. With remaining games against Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia Southern, and Georgia Tech, as well as a presumptive bowl opponent, that’s not an impossible task, but without Nick Chubb or any coherence at quarterback, it is far from guaranteed, especially without a bailout defense. In terms of end-of-season incentives, that bowl-game appearance is all the team has to play for, though, the Florida loss having eliminated UGA from contention for the SEC championship. Before the season started, Georgia’s representation of the SEC East in that game was a foregone conclusion.

Now, a groundswell seems to be building against Richt, with demands for a change coming from across the spectrum: Finebaum callers, the beat writers, and “major” boosters. It’s the last group that really moves the meter in situations like these. Richt is under contract through 2018 thanks to an extension he signed in January. If the school wants him gone before then, a buyout, likely funded with booster money, would be necessary.   Continue reading

Is James Franklin leaving Vanderbilt for Penn State? [UPDATE: Yes.]

This is the most reliable news in days on a story ALDLAND has been tracking closely. We will update this post as more information becomes available.   Click for all updates on this story…

ALDLAND Podcast

After an extended break the ALDLAND podcast is back and better than ever. College basketball is finally on the menu, as is discussion of a big trade in the MLB. And as always, listen for ALDLAND’s college football picks of the week.

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Dawg Upset: Vanderbilt defeats Georgia in Nashville, 31-27.

uga @ vandy 2013ALDLAND was out in force last weekend for a cool, damp morning (11:00 am kickoff!) of football in Nashville. Brendan and Marcus broke down the game, as well as Vanderbilt’s bowl chances, in this week’s podcast, so listen to that for full game analysis. The Commodores took the lead in the second quarter on a perfectly executed fake field goal attempt. Two almost certainly erroneous targeting calls against Georgia helped Vanderbilt as well, but Vandy’s surprisingly poised redshirt freshman backup quarterback, Patton Robinette, who came on in relief of injured starter Austyn Carta-Samuels, deserves mention as well. (A botched Georgia punt was reminiscent of the last time these schools met in Nashville. This time, though, the Commodores were able to capitalize on the special-teams error.) Despite reasonably ample scoring, the game developed slowly through the first three quarters before the home team posted seventeen points in an exciting fourth quarter, erasing a thirteen-point deficit to claim an upset victory. It was Vanderbilt’s first conference win of the year (after a heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss to start the season), and both teams moved to 4-3 overall.

While Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin said that either Carta-Samuels or Robinette would be available for this weekend’s game at Texas A&M, he said yesterday that Robinette would start the game and that Carta-Samuels would not be available this week.

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Previously
Michigan On Top
Walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death: Clemson outpoints Georgia 38-35

Tuesday Afternoon Inside Linebacker

fairleyALDLAND’s weekly football roundup is back, taking a look at all the highs and lows of the latest round of football action.

College Football

Pregame:

  • In anticipation of the LSU-UGA game, a secret-recipe cheesy bean dip was made. So much was made, in fact, that it lasted much longer than the game, although not quite as long as Georgia coach Mark Richt spent kissing his wife following a win over Kentucky.

The games:

  • LSU-Georgia was a thriller. Georgia continues to lose important players to injury, but it doesn’t seem to slow them down. This week, star running back Todd Gurley sprained his ankle in the second quarter, but backup Keith Marshall filled in and had a career day. In the end, the Dwags outgunned the Tigers 44-41 and are in the driver’s seat on the road to the SEC championship game in Atlanta.
  • I also thought Ole Miss-Alabama would be a good game, but it was not. The Rebels limited Alabama’s scoring early, but they were unable to do any scoring of their own, which is an easy-bake recipe for a loss. Ole Miss 0, Alabama 25.     Continue reading

Tainted Love: The New York Times doesn’t get Vanderbilt

nyt george jonesThe New York Times has been flirting with Nashville for years, joining the charge of northern and coastal publications eager to tag Music City as America’s newly discovered “It City” with multiple travel-section features and other glowing profiles. They even utilized Vanderbilt basketball player Joe Duffy as a sports columnist during Duffy’s senior year.

All of this praise and proclamation certainly drew Nashville’s attention. A sudden object of affection rightly wants to know that its new, putative suitor’s interest is real, though, and a period of trouble or difficulty can provide a means of testing the authenticity of that interest. If the suitor’s interest is genuine, it will respond in a way that demonstrates true understanding or, at the very least, in a way that seeks to gain that understanding, so as best to further the relationship. If it responds by turning to cliches and shallow “conventional wisdom,” though, it suggests the interest was only ever skin-deep.

I’m not suggesting that the New York Times owes Nashville, or Vanderbilt University, any special degree of care or deference. That’s especially so where, as here, the issue is a rape allegation, and one that describes a single victim with multiple alleged perpetrators at that. (To say that rape is a topic beyond the scope of this website a) is true; b) is not to signal that it is a topic that people should not discuss; and c) is not to say that the integrity of a sports team as such is the more important issue here.)

I am suggesting that the New York Times owes Nashville and Vanderbilt University a duty of ordinary journalistic practices, which include researching stated assumptions instead of treating general stereotypes as established fact applicable to the matter at hand. I also am suggesting that the New York Times did not meet that standard in an article about Vanderbilt University’s football program it published today. (HT: Johnny Too Bad.)

Continue reading

Vanderbilt coach Franklin: I recruit unborn children (via Fox Sports)

In James Franklin’s world, it’s never too early to make a recruiting pitch.

On Monday, the Vanderbilt head football coach admitted that he routinely sells the scholarship virtues of Commodore athletics to expecting parents, prior to the birth of their son or daughter.

“If I see a 6-foot-6 man walking in the mall with his wife, and she’s 6-2 and she’s pregnant, I’ll go up and offer their unborn child,” Franklin told The Tennesseean.

“I’m not exaggerating. I do that all the time. If I go to speak at an elementary school, if I’m out at a restaurant, we kind of have fun with it. It’s about developing a relationship with people. It’s about getting them connected with Vanderbilt. It’s about making people laugh and telling a story and having fun. It’s about having a sense of humor and not being some robot coach that I don’t want to be.”

The eminently personable and sometimes controversial Franklin has enjoyed an interesting two-year run in the college football spotlight.

On the field, Vanderbilt is riding a seven-game winning streak — the longest current run of any SEC program. Plus, for 2011 and ’12, the Commodores reached back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history. … Read More

(via Fox Sports)

(HT: Laura)

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Related
James Franklin’s Recruiting Strategy: Your Wife Better Be Smokin’

From morning to night, Vanderbilt stages a Signing Day worth celebrating (via Yahoo! Sports)

cjf - fordeIn a rare quiet moment in the Vanderbilt war room Wednesday, Ava Franklin walked in and was overtaken by curiosity.

“What are the balloons for?” asked the impossibly cute, 5-year-old daughter of the Commodores’ head coach.

For the National Signing Day party, she was told.

Ava thought for a second, then delivered the perspective-packed question of the afternoon, “What’s Signing Day?”

You’ll find out soon enough, kid. But if you must know now …

Signing Day is what has obsessed your father and his colleagues for months. It is what gets him into the office before you awaken, and gets him home after you go to sleep. It is a high holy day in the college football world, a festival of hope for fans and a culmination of dreams for players.

And on Wednesday at your daddy’s office, Ava, Signing Day went like this: … Read More

(via Yahoo! Sports)

ALDLAND Podcast

With all of you ALDLANDers out there getting excited for the Super Bowl, we had to put out a robust podcast covering that game, and also the biggest game of the weekend, Michigan at Indiana.  Join yours truly and Marcus as we cover everything from x’s and o’s to how dumb Chris Culliver is.  Come for the Super Bowl, stay for discussion of James Franklin being a weirdo.

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Related Super Bowl Coverage
Super Bowl Jam
The Truth: What really happened in the murder trial of Ray Lewis, Reginald Oakley, and Joseph Sweeting (via Atlanta Magazine)

Ravens vs. 49ers: A losers’ guide to Super Bowl cheering

A question about Super Bowl Media Day
Beyond the Archives: How Big Government Cost Southern Conservatives a Super Bowl Win

Super Bowl Politicking

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Super Bowl XLVII, brought to you by the AARP?

ALDLAND Podcast

The end of November is always exciting, as teams from the Big Ten and ACC take the court to decide which conference is superior.  The Big Ten is on a three year winning streak, and looks to continue its dominance with a few top five teams taking the court.  Listen as ALDLAND contributor Marcus Paschall and I break down the matchups and give our thoughts on who we think will win.  There’s also some discussion of how much longer James Franklin will continue to coach Vanderbilt.  I hope you will forgive me if the podcast sounds choppy at times, as I was cooking dinner while recording it.  Guy’s gotta eat, ya dig?

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