Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Grantham, Petrino, and then all the whining

1) say what you will, but the Cardinals have really bought into Grantham.
Louisville ranks 68th in total offense (83rd in rushing and 50th in passing) and ranks 6th in total defense (3rd in rushing defense and 30th in passing yards allowed). Louisville ranks 41st in scoring offense (32.6 points per game) and 18th in scoring defense (20.5 points per game allowed). (via Dean Legge)
Sure, the lesser opponents' narrative holds some water there in terms of explaining the defensive rankings. The Wake Forests, Boston Colleges, and Syracuses of the CFB landscape aren't going to move many chains and score many points. But as I'm preparing my own outlook for this bowl matchup, I think it starts with Kentucky as the Wildcats scored plenty of points to win both the game in lexington against Georgia dn then one on the road against Louisville.

(addendum - a quick glance shows that unlike the game against Georgia, Kentucky scored in each quarter against Louisville. Something to look at a little more closely when evaluating this common opponent.)

2) On the offensive side the Cards have had much changeover at quarterback and an old nemesis at running back.
The Cardinals do have some impressive talent elsewhere on their offense, headlined by senior receiver DeVante Parker, who is getting attention in NFL ranks as a potential first-round type of guy in the upcoming Draft. The 6-foot-3 Parker only played about half the season because of a broken foot in the preseason, but he still managed to catch 35 passes for 735 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 122.5 receiving yards per game. He's joined by 250-pound senior tight end Gerald Christian (30 catches, 359 yards), who transferred from Florida. In the backfield, Louisville features former Auburn running back Michael Dyer (110 rushes for 482 yards) and 5-foot-9 sophomore Brandon Radcliff (125 rushes for 648 yards), a talented duo that has split carries much of the season. (via Gentry Estes)
Dyer and Radcliff's numbers are inconsistent. Of course, Pruitt's defense has had some trouble stopping the run. But I still see the story here will first be how Louisville's receivers match up against Pruitt's secondary, and then who will be throwing them the football. Even though Petrino wants to run the football (and a lot, as he averages nearly ten more rush attempts than pass per game), he will want to be able to keep Georgia's talented linebackers honest.

3) The fans moaning about the bowl selection is a time honored tradition. But it's one I'm tired of entirely. The facts are that Georgia has a better record (overall and head-to-head) than many teams in seemingly better bowl games, but this year's selection process is a completely new one. Essentially, after the Citrus, all the bowls are the same. And while that will take some time for fans to get used to, it didn't take long for many to gripe openly about the location, payout, opponent, name of the bowl, etc.

My response: Get over yourself. Air your dirty laundry to the people that count. That starts with the SEC offices, Butts-Mehre and even Coach Richt if you're still pissed off about the record that landed us in Charlotte as opposed to Miami or Atlanta. The rest of us are kind of over it. Move along. Don't go to Charlotte. Don't watch the game. Whatever. The other fans and especially the players don't need to hear the griping and the yapping and the tweeting and the whininess.

I mean, do guys like Boss Andrews and Chris Conley deserve to hear y'all share your butthurt with the rest of the world in the days leading up to their last game as a Dawg?