Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 SEC Schedule: Not As Easy As You Think

With the new 2012 SEC schedule FINALLY being revealed, most Dawg fans probably let out a collective "hmm, this is very doable". Indeed, the entire schedule is -- on paper -- one of the weakest I can remember in all my years as a fan:

Sept.1  Buffalo
Sept. 8 at Missouri
Sept. 15 Florida Atlantic
Sept. 22 Vanderbilt
Sept. 29 Tennessee
Oct. 6 at South Carolina
Oct. 13 Open
Oct. 20 at Kentucky
Oct. 27 Florida (Jacksonville)
Nov. 3 Ole Miss
Nov. 10 at Auburn
Nov. 17 Georgia Southern
Nov. 24 Georgia Tech

Before I temper our initial excitement, let's first point out the good news:

  1. Florida and Tennessee continue to take one step forward and two steps back. Their programs are reeling right now. I still don't feel comfortable completely dismissing the Gators, but if we are going to strike, it needs to be now. 
  2. Still no Alabama, LSU, or Arkansas on the schedule (and as we saw at the end of 2011, playing one of these teams is not ideal.)
  3. Very little chance we will lose a non-conference game, which hasn't happened since 2007. 
  4. Our LIKELY main adversary, South Carolina, has the following three-week stretch next season: Oct. 6: UGA, Oct. 13 @Florida, Oct. 20 @LSU. Ouch. And they play Arky at the end of conference play.
Now for the bad news:
  1. The opening conference game at Missouri terrifies me. I fear we are running into a team that wants to prove they "belong". Their starting QB, leading rusher, and leading receiver all return next season, and I just don't know if I can take another early season loss.
  2. We play our three likely top competitors in the East -- Missouri, S.C., and Florida -- all away from home. I think we need to win at least two of these because...
  3. ...we also play Auburn on the road, and -- although they are in complete turmoil right now -- that one should never be called a "gimme".
  4.  Expectations will be EXTREMELY high entering next season and -- as we saw in 2008 -- our team might not handle the attention very well. 
Yes, I will gladly take our schedule over anyone else in the conference. But I also wanted to point out one thing that rings true every year when evaluating a given team's schedule: No schedule is as hard as you think and no schedule is as easy as you think. 

11 comments:

  1. You're right about Missouri wanting to "prove something." However, you are short changing our defense. Return everyone except Boykin. I think you're scared of Missouri because of their recent bowl game. Fear not. That team was still 7-5 in the regular season and their best win was against Texas A&M. I think we bring them into the SEC for a rude awakening with our defense. Keep in mind also that the Missouri game is sandwiched between Buffalo and Florida Atlantic, so there should be no lack of focus for the game. Florida is never at home so our boys should be used to that. FINALLY we get USC after we have a few games to work out the kinks. We've always ran into a red hot team before we're really rolling and the last 2 years Spurrier has had em good enough to actually win the games. I like the change personally. With this schedule, anything less than 10-2 is going to be a MAJOR disappointment in the Classic City. Go Dawgs.

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  2. Hard schedule?

    In 2010, we played 5 teams that ended up ranked in the top 25.

    In 2011, we played 3 teams that ended up ranekd in the top 25.

    In 2012, we play 1 team that will end up ranked in the top 25.

    Bottom line is, this 2012 schedule will get you into the SEC Championship, but as we saw in the last game, Murray has a really hard time playing well in big games, so don't expect to go further as long as he's QB. Murray is 0-8 against teams that ended up in the top 25. He's the #1 choke artist.

    And don't foget, Grantham gave up 40 points a game against the 3 top 25 teams n 2012, not going to win many games giving up 40 points. Granted, Murray had 7 turnovers in those 3 games, and the special teams collapsed, but still, spotting a top 25 team 40 points is hard to overcome.

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  3. Ace,

    Are you seriously calling Murray the number 1 choke artist? UCF in the bowl game is the only real choke I can think of. Well guess what, our whole team played like crap that day. There is a huge difference between not winning a game and choking. The 2010 Dawgs sucked, not to mention he was a freshman playing with more immature skill players than himself.
    This year, I would say he played pretty good against Boise considering he was under pressure every play and we had no running game outside of 1 play. USC, he had the late fumble, but we still scored 42 points against them, which by the way was the second most points that defense gave up in a game all year.
    Murray isn't a choke artist. The fact is in 2010 we weren't any good and because of that we lost when we played ranked teams. 2011 this team was still finding its footing, and we played our two stiffest opponents right out of the gate and lost, no one choked.
    Also, was Murray choking when he threw what should have been 3 TD passes, if not for blatant drops, in the 1st half against LSU? Was he choking when we jumped up 21 - 7 behind his arm in the 1st half against #1 Auburn. Stafford choked in big games more than Murray, see Ga/Gl 2008.
    I get why some people aren't as quick to praise Murray for his accomplishments because of the competition we have faced thus far in his career,(by the way he is going to shatter every single UGA passing record and when he does no one will care who we played) but I dont get why you chose this article to comment on and call him a Choke artist. He's not.

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  4. Scratch the comment about 2010 skill players, I was referring to the running backs. He had pretty darn good WRs in '10.

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  5. We lost a non-conference game against Colorado in 2010

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  6. Ace - It's hard to blame CTG for all the points we gave up to LSU or SC. Our defense really only gave SC 24 points. LSU had short fields all night the second half and a punt return for TD. I don't think defense was the problem in either of those games.

    Bleezy - I think what he meant was that we haven't won all our NCG's since 2007. Not the best wording.

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  7. Here are just a few of Murray's choke games.

    2010 UF- 4 turnovers
    2010 UCF- 3 turnovers
    2011 SC- 3 turnovers
    2011 LSU- 3 turnovers

    Bottom line, Murray is 0-8 against teams that ended up in the top 25.

    The schedule doesn't matter, whether you play 5 top 25 teams, 3, or 1, not going to win a big game with the #1 choke artist at QB.

    And make all the excuses you want, but giving up an average of 40 points a game against ranked teams in 2011 and finishing last there in the SEC is not a winning formula.

    Nor is finishing 9th against ranked teams in turnover margin in the SEC in 2011.

    Nor is the deplorable punt return defense.

    I don't see any of these being fixed for 2012, so, expect same thing as last 2 years, beat the bad teams, lose to all ranked teams.

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  8. 1. play 1 top 25 ranked team in 2012
    2. combined sec record of team's on schedule is 18-38.

    Schedule is actually a LOT easier thasn I thought the first time I saw it.

    11-1 minimum.

    Then we lose to Mettenberger and LSU by 30 again.

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  9. Those touting Grantham's grteatness must not be aware of this stat:

    Against ranked teams (3 in 2011), Grantham let them have 11 trips to the red zone. They scored 10 td's.

    That's near the SEC AND National bottom.

    http://www.cfbstats.com/2011/leader/911/team/defense/split13/category27/sort01.html

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  10. Grantham's red zone td % against ranekd teams in 2011 was over 90%, LAST in SEC.

    http://www.cfbstats.com/2011/leader/911/team/defense/split13/category27/sort01.html

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  11. Wow... thanks for all of those stats, Ace!

    Didn't realize how much Grantham sucks.

    I can't believe we still employ that loser! We need a new DC.

    Are you available?

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