Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And The Waves Keep Coming

Wow, another big news day in college football yesterday. Last year all the talk was about realignment at this time, but clearly scandals continue to be the hot topic right now. ECDawg pretty well summarizes the Terrell Pryor situation here. Note the paragraph he put in bold at the end from the article he is quoting. The hole that Ohio State has dug for themselves appears to be getting deeper every day. Even Chris Spielman is expecting severe penalties. So much for having a throwaway year this year, then hiring Urban Meyer or some other big name in to restore them to glory next year. If the Buckeyes really do get USC-type sanctions, why would a big name want to jump onto their bandwagon anytime in the next 3-4 years? Ohio State may be better off removing the "interim" tag and giving Fickell a 4 year contract, with a low buyout. Let him be the sacrificial lamb for the next few years. Then, when their sanctions are complete, Ohio State will have their pick of the litter for their next coach. Basically, Fickell will be their Mike Shula. Oh yeah, and before moving off of Ohio State, the Senator has a similar post to what SimpleMan put up yesterday, but looking at it from an Ohio State perspective instead of USC. It's an interesting line of thought, whether it's all worth it or not - and there's not an easy answer.

The other big news was the resignation of Tennessee's AD Mike Hamilton. Pretty much everyone in the media has been saying that Hamilton should step down for the past few months, so this is not a huge shock. However, it's still a big deal, because it shows how much disarray has gone on in the UT athletic dept (Speaking of disarray, you guys following this WVU madness? Holy cow, I don't care anything about the Big East, but that's a train wreck you just can't HELP but watch). Which got me thinking that Richt really needs to get us on the right track, starting right now. We probably won't see the SEC East this weak again for at least another 10 years. Tennessee's issues are well chronicled - and I think that Derek Dooley ultimately will end up being UT's version of Mike Shula. He'll steady the ship, but it will be the guy who comes in after him in a few years that will return the Vols to glory. Florida has new coaches on both sides of the ball, with totally new schemes. We saw how much it took for our defense to adjust last year - imagine if our offense was having to adjust to new schemes too. But in the next 2-3 years, UF will be back quickly, so this is the year to kick them while they're down. South Carolina is a very solid club, but nothing like the elite teams we're used to seeing come out of the SEC East. Kentucky can play with anybody, but also lose to anybody. And Vandy, well, do I really need to elaborate?

I mentioned in my last post that I don't think we have the potential to be a great team this year, and I stick by that. However, you won't have to be great to win the SEC East this year. I anticipate the winner of the division having a record along the lines of 9-3 or 8-4. So we don't have to be great, we just have to be pretty good to have a real shot at taking the division title. But that title would mean the world for our program right now. It would give the younger players a taste of success, and hopefully give them the drive to pursue higher goals. It would give Richt stability. It would tell the recruits that we're still relevant, and continue the momentum of this year's Dream Team success.

I'm still not 100% convinced that Richt will be able to overcome the stagnation that has set in on the program the past few seasons. But I really hope he does - not just because I want the Dawgs to do well, but because I genuinely want Richt to be the guy that leads us there. Richt has proven that he is as good a "person" as you can find to be your head coach --- now he just needs to prove that he's still the right "coach" to be our head coach. The staff changes he's made (defensive staff, and Strength & Conditioning) were both made a year later than they should have been made, but I hope it's not too late for Richt to recover. He's got to bring results, and he can't ask for a better schedule to prove his worth than what he's got this fall.


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