Friday, May 20, 2011

Can Grantham 2.0 hand out any goose eggs?

Hey!'s the middle of May. Join me in a practice of nonsensical evaluation.

ESPNs Aschoff had a post the other day pertaining to SEC shutouts since 1992. The teams that make up the Southeastern Conference have been more proficient than any other in keeping opposing teams off the scoreboard. As I digested the information there I paired it with the anticipation of Grantham 2.0 coming this Fall. The defensive playbook may be close to an exact match, but the personnel and (God help us!!) the execution will be much, much different.

So I got to wondering just how likely we might be to see a shutout in our favor this coming season. Even given the SECs success rate at the feat the last two decades (and if you haven't peeked yet, Georgia is just above the median for the league with 8), Aschoff makes a fine point that offenses are getting pretty proficient at scoring as well as more athletic, and kickers are getting stronger too.

Regardless, I looked up some numbers. Below are our 2011 opponents and their 2010 average for points scored per game. (The exception is Coastal Carolina who isn't listed on, and I chose not to dig much further than that. So their ppg number is unavailable)

2010 ppg
Boise State
South Carolina
Coastal Carolina
@ Ole Miss
Mississippi State
@ Tennessee
@ Vanderbilt
New Mexico State
@ Georgia Tech

If a shut out comes in the first game of the season we can surely surmise that the Broncos first team offense somehow used Mudcat's car to get from Hartsfield to the Dome. It'd take a big brass set to get one against USCe, Ole Miss, MSU, Florida, Auburn or Kentucky.

Georgia's most recent shutout was last October against Vandy, 43-0. Ho-hum, I know. Keeping New Mexico State or Coastal Carolina from scoring any points for 60 minutes, albeit still a pretty good accomplishment, isn't going to stir many cockles of the heart either. 

The lowest scoring teams among what's left are Georgia Tech and Tennessee. Tech is plugging in some new players after losing Nesbitt and Allen. And Tennessee...well, their QB still has much to prove beyond being able to give an ill-advised premature taunt. He did pretty well once establishing himself as the starter. But he did it against some sub-par defenses.

All in all, if you watch your defense force a 4th down decision outside of your own 35, you feel pretty good. If the opposing kicker nails a 52 yarder to give the team its only points and you still have to feel pretty good. To a greater degree the same is true if their signal caller throws a pick in the end zone. Earning a shutout on the gridiron isn't nearly the rarity of throwing a no-hitter in baseball. But similarly, it can easily be viewed as the confluence of skill, preparedness, execution and luck.

And the greatest of these may be luck.

No comments: