Dave Ross

Dave Ross Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com

I was pretty critical of the Ross signing last year in this space, but he did a fine job, particularly during the period when McCann was out. Arguably, he should have played more in the second half; he started only ten games after the break. Some even advocated platooning him with McCann, but Ross hit much better against righthanders (.284/.394/.602, and all seven of his homers) than lefties (.250/.348/.300).

You don’t want to pay too much attention to one year off the bench. The power has been there before, but Ross put up a career-high batting average (by fifteen points) and on-base percentage (by 27 points) and he was 32 years old. You can’t really expect a repeat, but he should at least continue to provide some pop out of the eighth slot when he’s in the lineup.

One of the best throwing catchers in the league, he threw out 48 percent of basestealers last season. Like I said in the McCann comment, that can be overemphasized, but the extra outs were nice.

250 thoughts on “Dave Ross”

  1. I will happily admit that I was wrong about Ross as well: I thought that the Braves had overpaid him and that he would not have any significant impact.

    Now, I think that he is an asset coming off the bench and spelling McCann.

    Who is Clint Sammons?

  2. Last year made clear to me the value of a backup catcher. LOOGY’s and backup catchers = longterm MLB employment. Imagine at least 350k (I think) for getting one guy out or playing 40 games a year. And it doesn’t seem to matter if you suck at it or not. Nice life.

  3. 2014: Moises Alou, Armando Benitez, Sean Casey, Jose Cruz Jr., Ray Durham, Damion Easley, Jim Edmonds, Keith Foulke, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grudzielanek, Scott Hatteberg, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Jon Lieber, Esteban Loaiza, Paul Lo Duca, Greg Maddux, Matt Morris, Mike Mussina, Trot Nixon, Hideo Nomo, Jay Payton, Kenny Rogers, Richie Sexson, J.T. Snow, Shannon Stewart, Frank Thomas, Mike Timlin, Steve Trachsel, Jose Vidro

    This was in the last thread, but I wanted to comment on it.

    I see only two HOFers in the 2014 year. Am I wrong on that?

    EDIT: Yes, I missed Frank Thomas. That makes three.

    Are Kent and Mussina really HoFers?

  4. bigger 2009 surprise – Oflaherty or Ross? Im guessing Oflaherty based on the post that I can remember about him and how we shouldve been keeping Ohman’s services

  5. Jeff Kent should be in the Hall of Fame, though probably not first ballot.
    Mussina is much more borderline, and definitely not a first ballot guy.

  6. JC’ed –

    Cliff, with all due respect, I was an IRS auditor for many years. The possibilities for hiding money through associated enterprises (parking, food services, broadcast, etc.) plus revenue sharing and TV money, coupled with the labyrinthine rules of depreciation are as limitless as they are lucrative. To paraphrase a famous quote, I could take a 6M dollar profit and call it a 2M loss and every accountant in the world would agree with me. Fan attendance is but one revenue stream among many. Baseball teams are very profitable enterprises. If you don’t think there would be qualified interested buyers, you’re crazy.

  7. I don’t get this first ballot/second ballot stuff. That’s the Mariottin nonsesne. If a guy deserves to be in the HOF, he should be in, whether it’s his first or second ballot. Obviously, not all HOFers are equal, but voting Mussina in, for example, wouldn’t preclude voting someone better in.

  8. Dave Ross posted a .341 batting average on balls in play last year. His career average through 2008 was .257.

    I expect loads of batting average regression while he holds the line on his ISO and perhaps continues to increase his walk rate (the past two years it’s been nearly 16 per cent). Still, he strikes out in 26 per cent of his at bats and doesn’t hit many line drives, so he’s best served as a back up.

    I wish Bobby would use him to pinch hit when the situation calls for a power hitter, but I can wish in one hand and […].

    Good 2009 from him. He very well could be our favorite whipping boy in 2010, given many of his rate stats won’t stabilize in the 150 or so PA’s he’ll get.

  9. I agree with Marc on that, there’s no sense in setting up tiers for hall of famers. Mike Mussina was not in the same class of pitcher as Greg Maddux, but if both careers are HoF worthy, there is no sense in preventing them from entering the hall in the same induction class.

    It’s not as if Andre Dawson got into the HoF on the strength of all the stats he put up in 2009.

  10. I’ll say I was wrong on Ross too. I was in the “we paid that much for a backup catcher!?!?” camp. Hope he does close to as well this year, but also hope he has fewer chances (because I want a healthy McCann).

  11. While the first ballot sanctity thing is clearly moronic, I could see as a voter leaving off anyone who I had ANY reservations about on the first ballot knowing I’d probably have up to 14 more years to reexamine their candidacy.

    If the Hall wanted to design it where you got one vote yes or no on each person you would get a whole different outcome, but that’s just not the way it’s designed.

  12. I don’t think anybody is saying they shouldn’t get in on their first ballot really, just saying that they won’t… right? Since it is a voting thing, there are some guys (Maddux, etc) who are so universally respected that you know 75% of guys are going to vote for them right off… and then there are guys who have to be analyzed and “improved” through the filter of nostalgia/etc.

  13. Maddux, Glavine, Thomas, Kent, Mussina, and possibly (but probably not) Edmonds look like HoFers to me.

  14. For me, Kent is a no-doubter for the HOF. He’s the all-time home run leader at his position, and while one stat can’t possibly sum up an entire career, that’s really enough for the hall.

  15. Edmonds is a better candidate than Williams, and definitely in for me. I can’t believe no one had him in ’09, to be honest. He could have helped out here.

  16. Right, I was just saying that Kent and Mussina won’t be first ballot, not that they shouldn’t be.

  17. I too think Jeff Kent is going to the Hall. But I should say that a quick perusal of his numbers tells us that his best seasons began in 1998, when he was already 30 years old. A guy who peaked from his age-30 to 34 seasons? Who played on the Giants? Who had never slugged above .475 but then didn’t slug below .500 for a decade? Whatever, old news I guess: I just say it because I couldn’t stand the guy when he played.

  18. You weren’t alone. Not a popular guy with teammates or writers.

    And Mussina’s going to have trouble getting in. He may make it, but certainly not right away.

  19. It’s hard to make Barry Bonds look like a sympathetic character, but somehow Kent managed it.

  20. spike @ 6,

    At what point did you see me indicate there would not be buyers for the Braves if they are offered for sale? I indicated a sale price range of $450 to 550 million dollars. There would have to be a buyer out there somewhere wouldn’t there?

    My point is to say that baseball teams do not make any “extraordinary level of net income”. They have essentially no more ability to hide ancillary income or pay Junior 200,000 to do nothing than any other business (privately held business). Forbes’ work on the team values seems to indicate that the projected net operating income (and Forbes makes adjustments for the funny business you described) keeps values for franchiese in a range which, as I remember, approximates 8% of Forbes estimate of current value.

    If projected net operating income were 15% of the recent sale prices, then the prices of the sales of sports franchises would jump psst Forbes’ recent rankings because the “smart money” would be chasing them until the price went up.

    Yes, most baseball teams make a good return on equity and only lose money if they have large interest payments (and then probably only very occasionally). Yes, if they decided to operate on no net cash flow every team in the Majors could escalate payroll significantly. However, investors in franchises of major league sports teams tend to get no more return than in other businesses. If they do, it is on the back end in capital gains, not on operations.

    I can assure you that after adjusting and doing whatever to get “real books” that Arte Moreno makes more in the outdoor advertising business based on capital invested than he does on the Angels. Same goes for Liberty Media’s other assets as compared to Braves.

  21. While Blyleven’s election to the HOF is long overdue, I was thinking today that in some ways it is good that he has been on the ballot for so long. Let me explain: Had Bert been elected in the first ballot, I probably never would have given him a second thought, however as it is Bert gets many passionate pleas on his behalf each January and people (at least 74.2% of them) are reminded how great he was. Best example of Bert’s greatness to me is WAR. Randy Johnson career WAR-91.8, Blyleven-90.1 (13th all-time). Everyone over 67 who is eligible is in the HOF and as soon as the others are eligible, they’ll be in too.

  22. Well, what you said was “The way they make money is NOT primarily from operations.” That’s a bit different than “baseball teams do not make any “extraordinary level of net income”.” I’d need to know how you are defining “extraordinary”. Second, teams get over 30M from revenue sharing and 17M from licensing. All they have to do is break even from their “baseball” operations and there’s about a 50M profit. That’s extraordinary for me, but YMMV. That’s before factoring in accounting voodoo, local broadcast revenue, and a free stadium and the mostly free stadiums they play in. I really don’t know what Moreno’s or any other businesses make, but I remain unconvinced that baseball teams aren’t handsomely profitable annually.

  23. What about the “newly found payroll numbers.” I am surprised that hasn’t been a hotter topic here. I don’t have time or know exactly how to prove it, but it looks like we have a situation where the FO isn’t telling the whole truth.

    2008, end of year “we won’t decrease payroll [from 2008], but we may increase it slightly”. I know the Braves pro-rate and amortize contracts for internal accounting purposes (a good idea, probably). They have said enough before to let it be known that they consider insurance receivable for disability as a payroll negative to allow more spending (it goes “back in the pot”). I believe they would probably account for incentives as if they were earned (BUT it makes you wonder if Glavine’s bonuses for last year were “special money for an icon”, doesn’t it?)

    Even still, how can the 2 year adjustment from 2008 to what is now projected 2010 not represent a decrease of at least 6 million (maybe 10) in payroll?

    And if Liberty promised MLB no payroll reduction is it just intended both ways to be an empty promise or is MLB this clueless?

  24. Spike at 24,

    I guess I missed the part of your glossary where a business that is a “money printing machine” doesn’t produces as much income as a business with an “extraordinary level of net income.”

    With that adjustment, I concede that obviously an ML clubcan qualify as a “money printing machine.”

  25. Okay, let’s leave semantics out of it – Baseball teams make a lot of money every year. They get multiple multimillion dollar revenue streams regardless of performance or capital expense. Most of the capital expenditures they do require are given to them virtually free by the municipalities they reside in. They also get to participate in extremely profitable side business (the margin on parking is HUGE). So to recap, any business that has A: Guaranteed income from a central source (mlb.com), B: no capital expenditures, C: Ancillary business income and D: no penalty for poor performance constitutes a “money printing machine.”

  26. Play part time may have helped Ross’s BA and OBA. Play him more, give MaCann more rest and get a reserve who can catch if necessary so that MaCann can pinch hit more. Two games as pinch hitter is less stressful than just getting one game off not playing at all. McCann needs to avoid injuries and playing hurt

  27. Good news, bad news:

    Phil (Dallas)

    Who are your picks for rookie of the year in both leagues?

    Jim Callis (2:39 PM)

    Jason Heyward, Neftali Feliz.

  28. And also:

    Ryan (Arlington, VA)

    Last week you said you liked the Phillies system over the Braves. Even after the Halladay trade?

    Jim Callis (2:44 PM)

    Good catch. Those were my rankings for the Handbook, which were finalized before the Hallday trade (and the Vazquez trade). I would take the Braves over the Phillies now.

    Bama 21
    Texas 20

  29. I had thought for sometime now that if Lowe bounces back we may be able to move him next offseason. After looking at the FA list for 2011, I think we are stuck

    Arroyo, Beckett, Blanton, Cain, harden, Harang, Lee, Lilly, Millwood, Vasquez, Webb, Westbrook, and Young are just several names to think about next offseason

  30. @27,

    (A) I don’t know a single farmer (many clients, some family) who aren’t guaranteed through government payments what amounts to 10 to 25% of gross revenue. Most of them (even after adjusting for the kids’ cell phones, mama’s car being a business vehicle, etc.) don’t make anything more than a living while farming. They sometimes make large capital gains when they sell out, but except for a few vegetable farmers, they absolutely do not get rich doing it.

    (B) Not true. The “buy in” is a capital cost. If a prospective new owner took his cash and instead, put that in treasuries today, the owner wold get 3% (historically low). Traditionally, the return on a stock portfolio (since 1910 per Ibbotson) has averaged about 8% OVER INFLATION and has never been negative across broadmarket averages over peiods of greater than 15 years. So for investment purposes, the question is what capital does it take to get in the business of Major League baseball (and what you could have earned by an alternative), not how good is the team’s stadium deal. And, no matter how good anybody else’s deal is, the Braves only have their deal. That provided as of 1997 (post Olympics) that they pay the cost of the refitting of the stadium which was (as I remember) about 97 million. As I remember they financed stadium revenue bonds over 30 years so they probably pay about 4 million a year on that. Then, they have spent about another 15 since then (JumboTron, SunTrust seats [which should certainly be a good investment], and a few other things). That is about 1.2 million per year.

    C. Every business has “ancillary business income”. The amount of that (to the extent it is predictable) affects the purchase price that an investor must pay to buy the business. So, the rate of return does not go up because of that ancillary income.

    D. In Atlanta’s market, there absolutely is a penalty for poor performance. The team has been experiencing that since about 2000. Attendance goes down. That also impacted (not the only reason) the decision to “de nationalize” the television broadcasts” which further weakened the long term revenue stream.

    I do absolutely believe that the owner of a baseball franchise has money left over. There may have been years when the Marlins (1997 almost certainly) or the Pirates or the Brewers could have lost money. I doubt any of those have been in the last 5 years. However, if you pay cash for a plumbing supply business or a Zaxby’s franchise or whatever and you don’t owe money, you ought to have a profit. And, if that profit is less than what you could have gotten in treasuries, you made a bad investment. And, unless what you are invested in has a lot of “real” value (like land, or petroleum or gold), then you better approach or exceed traditional stock market levels of return or you are leaving a lot of cash on the table. That is kind of what a capitalist system is about.

    The Braves at current payroll will generate 30 million in free cash flow this year (probably), if they don’t make it to postseason play. They also over 4 years will have saved Liberty 600 million or so in taxes (which was, as you as a former IRS person almost certainly know NOT a usual situation). So, absolutely, Liberty COULD put a lot more money in payroll. I also would argue that on a short term basis they would break even on the extra money for payroll and that they would make more in capital gains by doing it. BUT, without the tax break, they should have just as well bought something else and would have done just as well (maybe better).

    Owning a business is supposed to produce a profit. Major League baseball franchises are not different. If anything, they operate on slightly lower level of net operating revenue compared to owner’s investment than other businesses. That was my point.

    If your contention is that ML baseball clubs maybe slightly exceed in profit margin (on capital invested, the proper criteria) other businesses, I would disagree, but find it plausible. It’s not semantics. That kind of performance just isn’t anything like “printing money.”

  31. Cliff –

    A: Holy cow – how about some apples to apples comparisons? Getting a fifty MILLION dollar or more headstart can’t be dismissed, regardless of hand-waving. You’re really, really, reaching when you compare it to someone’s $10k PIK check.

    B: Oh you know damn well I meant capital expenses in terms of annual expenses. Fine – be obtuse. It doesn’t change the fact that in addition to a free 50M or so bonus, they don’t have to pay for their stadium, which is another enormous cost of business that has been removed, and therefore increases annuasl profitability. And as you noted earlier, the “buy in” is recovered in spades at sale, your baffle ’em with bullshit argument notwithstanding

    C: Again with the intellectual dishonesty. The fact that I have “ancillary business income” in that I can open a lemonade stand in front of my house is hardly comparable getting to run several parking lots and several eateries on land given to me and maintained by the city, in addition to selling my local broadcast rights. So a few more incredibly high margin millions to throw on my starting stack of money before I sell seat one. Just absurd on it’s face.

    D: You have conveniently forgotten – or not – that all this income is PRE-TURNSTILE. We haven’t even gotten around to counting seat money yet.And while we are on the subject, going back to 2005, the last playoff team, attendance has been stable at 9th-10th in the league, high of 2.7M, low of 2.3M average of 2.5M. Where is the penalty for failing to go to the playoffs?

    But you’re not going to buy any of this because you know a guy with a shoeshine business that has exactly the same advantages, just not quite as much of a payout you see, and he doesn’t seem to be doing so great and they are obviously the same thing, The End.

  32. DOB:
    @ajcbraves: E. Hinske deal with Braves is for approx $1 mill base sal, with additional incentives (don’t know $ yet). Announcement expected today or Fri

  33. Spike,

    No, I just think if somebody spends $500 million dollars to enter a business that they ought to make 500 times or so more than somebody that spends 1 million to enter a business. If they aren’t then either the small guy has a great deal or the big guy has a bad deal. But usually, they come out about the same IN PERCENTAGES.

    If you make the same percentage return, being bigger doesn’t make the bigger business some sort of robber baron.

  34. And now he says the deal won’t be announced till physical is taken and that won’t happen till next week… so… we’ll all be waiting in pins and needles till we REALLY KNOW if we’ve got Hinske!

  35. When Hinske bats for the first time, fans should start chanting “MVP! MVP!”

    Once again, we find discussions on Braves Journal that we would likely not find on Mets Blog.

  36. But it DOESN”T cost 500M to buy a baseball team – not that that’s the issue. According to Forbes, 24 of the 30 are worth less, most by a lot. But I digress. Look at it this way – I spend this $400M to buy the Padres. A so-so franchise, but has 2.5M avg attendance over the last 5 years. They have a 38M payroll. Figure on about $20 or so bucks average per ticket, I have 50M. This covers my salary and operating cost. Now comes the free money – north of 30M revenue share because I am in a small market, licensing of 16M or so, plus my stadium concession and advertising, and broadcast money. I’m easily past 110M in revenue now, and I have to pay a little bit for my scouting and development, and a part of the minor league cost – say 10M. So I am looking at about a $50M real money profit (which I can easily manipulate on paper by virtue of sweetheart deals, depreciation, etc). My ROI on my initial $400M is now 8 years give or take. That’s an incredible return, and doesn’t factor in increase in value over the ownership interim, or the massive tax advantages I will get when I sell the team. If I can create a net operating loss scenario, I get to charge it against my basis, or what I paid for the club. SO if I send a fair amount of that money to Padres Parking (sell them the rights for a dollar), or Padres Media Inc. (same thing) instead of to the SD Padres baseball club, I can generate a paper loss – only that loss can be subtracted from the profit I make at sale, so I get even MORE free money.

    Like Wal-mart – I can live with low percentages (except in baseball they are really not) as long as my volume is huge. Shoeshine boy gets a 50% margin on 10k. Whoopee. Sam Walton gets 2% on 200 Billion – massive cash forever!

    edit – people in this sort of range are in fact robber barons. I don’t hold it against them, it’s in their self-interest to act that way. It doesn’t change the fact though.

  37. @45,

    Thanks hankonly.

    @47,

    You worked for the IRS and really think that by parking revenue going into “Padres Parking” (unless say Moorad gets his parking cash from the attendants and puts it in a bucket, or something like that, and has some nefarious enforcer to keep the hundreds of attendants quiet about the scheme, etc. etc.) and it almost certainly gets deposited into a bank, that Padres parking can get away with not paying tax on it.

    Or, if Junior gets $200,000 a year to do nothing as “Special Vice Presidnt” to the Padres that Junior gets away with not paying tax?

    Surely you don’t believe your old agency couldn’t find money like that for taxation, do you? On that kind of scale?

    And by the way, the people I know who run shoe shine stands and lemonade stands almost never report the income (or certainly not all of it). So, by percentages, there is a lot more unreported income and a lot more “funny deductions” the SMALLER the business is. They can keep cash on their hips and pay ordinary cash expenses from it. It helps their personal aggregated bottom line the more the business pays. If “Padres” pays for the parking lot attendant’s cell phone, that comes out of Moorad’s cut. So, he is going to pay some auditors some pretty good money to reduce that.

    Again, I didn’t say they weren’t making money. In fact I said the opposite in several places. It is just that there is ample evidence by (a) the investigative reporting skills of a major business publication (uncontradicted by their competitors who, just like Fox and MSNBC love to catch one another out would love to catch them out) and (b) the actual prices of franchise sales corroborated by (c) accomplished academics like JC, that the net operating income of baseball franchises is comparable to the numbers reported by Forbes and in line with other businesses that sell for similar prices.

    The owners ARE jerks and robber barons to say “we are losing money and need the poor people of (name your metro city) to pay more in X tax so that we can bring them so many great and exciting games.” They just aren’t making profits substantially different than what an American business should make, based on the investment capital utilized.

  38. To the extent that baseball (and other sport) owners are “robber barons,” it’s not because of how much they make but how they make it, ie, extorting taxpayer-built stadiums from local officials afraid of losing the team and alienating their constituents and apparently using various accounting maneuvers (which I clearly don’t understand)to avoid taxes. Making a ton of money isn’t necessarily evidence of bad acting but using their power and leverage to obtain benefits that are often inimical to the public interest is. The amazing thing is that the public largely accepts the idea that sports owners are public-spirited even though they (with some exceptions such as Abe Pollin, the late owner of the Washington Wizards) provide very little in return for public largesse other than some bogus puffery about the economic benefits of new stadiums.

  39. Or a town gets a “public-spirited” owner like Robert Irsay.

    Once again, today I’m reminded not to trust too many BBQ joints north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It’s not just that these places are always so bad, but they’re never great.

    I see this new BBQ place overlooking the Long Island Sound. Seduced by the location, I gotta give it a try. Shockingly good collards, decent slaw, pork’s nothing special, and the sauce? Supposed to be Carolina style, but it’s thick & way too sweet.

    Georgians can’t make a great pizza and these people can’t make great BBQ. Just facts of life.

    And how’s this for crazy? Jevan Snead declares for the NFL.

    Oh, I’ll go Alabama 27, Texas 16.

  40. Back in 2007 I fervently predicted to my friends (and I believe posted here) two sporting events to come:

    A) The Tampa Rays will win the AL East, and maybe even the World Series, by 2010*.

    B) Alabama will win a National Championship in football by 2010*.

    *the end of 2010 season

    Neither seemed like all that much of a stretch to me (given the Rays’ bursting farm system and the changes in Tuscaloosa), but I was thought crazy to suggest them at the time.

    (A) came true with the Rays in 2008, and tonight we have (B), with a year to spare..

    Alabama Crimson Tide 31
    Texas Longhorns 17

    Roll Tide!

    Because other conferences just detest it: SEC! SEC! SEC!
    ;-)

  41. Oh lordy, now you are being naive or willful. Yes, it would be potentially actionable to sell the rights for $1 to Padre Parking Inc. But you’d have to prove that it wasn’t an arms length transaction, and that there was a net benefit to the seller. Sure it’s easy at $1. But clever guys that they are, you can set up sweetheart deals that shave things by just enough to where it’s extremely hard to prove, yet still quite profitable. Remember the 2% on 2 Billion model.

    Junior has to pay income tax on $200k, but there is nothing wrong with giving him that job, and nothing illegal with reducing your profit by it, and your commensurate exposure to corporate capital gains tax (a much larger marginal top end rate).

    Shoeshiners and lemonade stands don’t make nearly the dough a baseball team does. Stop with this percentages jazz – it’s pennies to millions of dollars. The low end cash guys get away with it because NO ONE CARES. You’d never even get into my old office if there wasn’t 1k or more tax (so 5k of income) increase potential. And let me tell you, collecting from the poor is a lot easier than the wealthy. I send a poor guy a bill, he pays. Rich guy sends his attorney and Big 5 accountant, and I get to spend a fun filled afternoon like this one.

    You are again ignoring the larger point that I keep making. Baseball teams make a TON of money on an annual basis, and to add insult to injury, they get to shelter a great deal of it so their real profit is even larger.

    They just aren’t making profits substantially different than what an American business should make, based on the investment capital utilized.

    First, what the hell does this mean, and second, I defy you to prove it.

  42. Thanks for that BA link, Stu. Not sure I agree with that 2008 grade, though. It wasn’t an A draft — we can’t draft Jason Heyward every year, sadly — but Kimbrel, Spruill, Hoover, DeVall, and Milligan all made Sickels’ top 20; Kimbrel, Spruill, and Hoover all made the top 10. It may have been a quantity over quality draft, but it was pretty good. I would think that’s at least a B-/C+, with an outside chance of more.

  43. I think if you take that Jim Callis question and answer in a different light, it’s sort of a back-handed compliment. If anything, it’s an indictment of the directions the Phillies and Braves are going. Sure, after the Phillies traded FOR Halladay and the Braves traded AWAY Vazquez, the Braves have the better system, but do you think the Phillies are complaining? They have Roy Halladay in their rotation and we have Kenshin Kawakami. I think I would take Roy Halladay and a worse system, let alone Javy Vazquez.

  44. @5

    My main problem with Kent is that his HoF candidacy is based entirely around his position. He plays anywhere else besides maybe SS or C and it’s not even in question. I don’t think anyone would argue that he could physically “play” the position, but the very best you could say about him was that he was average. And many would say he was a terrible defensive 2B.

    The question then, at least for me, is that in light of his defensive deficiencies, is his positional value a proper fulcrum with which to weigh his candidacy?

    I lean no, but I’m more of a small hall kind of guy. Plus, while Kent was without question a better hitter, I see a lot of parallels with Dann Uggla. (at least so far in his career)

  45. @56 – He’s probably in the top 20 guys that ever played 2nd base though, so while I take your point generally, I think Kent passes the positional advantage test specifically. He was SUCH a better than his positional peers that the added value of having him in the lineup at second, overcomes any defensive deficiency.

  46. Ethan-

    You’re right that he’s amazing because he’s a 2B. But if you could just put any slugger in at 2B, then teams would certainly do it. Thing is, you can’t. It’s what makes him so special. It’s what makes Chase Utley so special.

    As for tonight… let’s do:

    30-13

    Roll SEC!

  47. @57 and 59

    You guys are right. But mraver, I mentioned Dan Uggla, and that just seems what Florida is doing with him… I don’t know. You guys make good points. I just can’t get past the feeling that his candidacy is based a large part on sophistry.

    Another interesting thought on the Braves offseason: pending any other moves, it seems we were already OVER payroll BEFORE the Vasquez trade. Pretty ballsy of Wren if nothing else…

    Tonight:

    Texas 30-20

  48. ububba……….one of the great things about living in florida is that we make our own bbq and import new yorkers to make pizza for us.

  49. A fake punt on 4th and 23 from your own 20. That might be the worst call I’ve ever seen.

  50. I liked how Musberger called the fake punt a “Belichick move”. Because going for it on 4th & 2 late in the 4th quarter is the same as a fake punt on 4th & 23 from your own 20 on the first series of the game.

  51. Texas better have some second-string tricks up their sleeve, or Shipley better return a kick. Really bad luck for them with the injury.

    barry,
    I hear you. But I gotta say, it was pretty odd to have a Joey Buttafuoco type serving me collard greens.

  52. He was talking about McElroy though when he said Muckelroy on the occasion I was referring to.

  53. There are no tricks up your sleeve when your quarterback is a freshman who’s had all of 100 snaps against the likes of Texas El Paso.

  54. Sorta sucks for ‘Bama here. It’s not fair, but if they win, it will always come with the cavaet of Texas not having the winningist QB in the history of college football.

    If they lose, they lose in spite of that advantage.

  55. They’re not gonna lose & you never have to apologize for winning.

    But yeah, it’s a drag for the fans, the non-Bama people anyway.

  56. Thats what I meant. But there’s not a person who doesn’t wish McCoy was in. He means everything to Texas. Without him, this game is turning into a joke.

    Feel bad for this freshman. Talk about thrown into the eye of the storm…

  57. I root for the SEC & all, but this is really disappointing. I was kinda fired up to see a real game.

    But… it’s not like Bama’s gonna give the trophy back. Good for them & congrats to all the Bama people.

  58. The McCoy injury is the story here, but my goodness have there been some remarkably stupid play calls–by both coaches.

  59. I’m actually starting to get a little worried about Lee Corso. The last two times I’ve watched him, he’s said and done really odd stuff, and his speech sounds really slurred. For the New Year’s bowls’ Gameday show, he tried to shake the hand of a blind kid they had on the show. It was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a TV personality do. Corso’s usually much smarter than that.

  60. I don’t think Gilbert changed so much as Alabama played incredibly stupidly the entire game. The only thing they did well all game long was run the ball.

    I can’t believe Texas had a chance to win this thing late.

  61. It wasn’t just on offense though. Texas has one receiver, and Bama never doubled him at all, and didn’t even bump him much. Plus the fact they faked a punt on 4th and 23 and couldn’t even catch two kickoffs, man. Just dumb.

  62. gotta give Texas and Gilbert credit, McCoy = class act

    sucks that he missed the game, but bama did what they had to do. defense and running game was too good tonight

  63. I agree: I wasn’t sure Saban was even on the sidelines for most of the second half. Just awful to be so “conservative” that the opposing team has the ball down three with three minutes to go.

  64. texas receivers were horrible in this game other than shipley and goodwin and even shipley dropped two or three passes.

    i don’t think either team played their best game.

  65. sad thing is that if it hadnt of been so under thrown it had the chance to be a huge play

    that shovel pass is probably one of the worst calls they couldve made. At best that play gains 10 yds. It was a low risk play, but with your QB out, take a knee

  66. There’s a reason that Greg Davis has been Mack Brown’s OC for 15+ years. It’s because he can’t get another job. Stupid play call before the half. The risk was greater than the reward.

  67. You take the knee before the end of the half. End of story. I think the running play before the shovel pass was almost as dumb. Don’t even risk a turnover. Regroup and come back out for the second half.

  68. Not to mention the fact that Bama was blowing up Texas’ o-line all half. Just heaving it deep would have been a better option.

  69. I’m glad Bama won the National Championship, but not at all thrilled with that performance.

    Tons of credit to Texas for making it a game after Colt went out. That was a helluva game on their part.

    Thumbs up to Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson.

    Thumbs down to the conservative offensive gameplan after getting up 24-6. I guess that was “smart” in that Texas wasn’t going to catch us at 24, but damn I was not joyed by it.

    Roll Tide! I promise to enjoy the next one more.

  70. the sad thing is the gameplan never really “changed”, UA just didnt execute in the 3rd qtr

  71. I have a greater respect for Colt McCoy. He showed a lot of class after the game. I agree that it was tough to watch.

    I was a little disappointed in the ballgame. Alabama made almost enough mistakes to lose, and probably should have if McCoy hadn’t gotten injured. They even let a true freshman almost beat them. Pretty sad that after being up 24-6 at the half, Texas has a chance to win it late.

    Nick Saban wins though. That’s just what he does.

  72. Congrats, Mac and others.

    Yeah, there are definitely some coaching decisions to second guess there. I would have liked to see if McCoy could have done anything (or at least shot Texas in the foot less). I feel like the quality of play on both sides suffered somewhat after he left the game (if only in the second half for Alabama). Oh well.

  73. Congratulations Mac!!

    I got up early to watch the game and discovered that it was not in this part of the world–nor have they shown it later!

    Anyway, nice to hear that the Tide rolled once again!

  74. Congratulations Mac and all Bama fans.

    I guess this illustrates just how far I’ve strayed from college football. When I lived in Alabama as a kid, I was an Auburn fan. I still check Auburn scores when I think to look at college football, but there’s not any emotional attachment to it anymore. In fact, here I found myself rooting for Alabama in the “National Championship” game. Weird. Once I hated Bama with a hatred that was second only to my current hatred for the Yankees.

  75. I really hated to see the McCoy injury and it definitely changed the game in many ways. There is no way to speculate on what would have happened because Alabama played the rest of the game not to lose. It was a win and an awesome season, but a little anti-climactic to win the way they did.

  76. Stealing a (crass) joke from somebody on twitter:

    Funny, the kids today all sound like my wife, “Why can’t I get at least 4 inches?”

  77. 116—Hey, we had about an inch and a half of snow yesterday and I made it in to work here in Nashville.

    Of course, they were so terrified on Wednesday night that they went ahead and closed the public schools for Thursday and Friday.

    Congrats on the big win, Mac. Maybe the worst game I’ve ever seen Saban coach—certainly the worst big game—but y’all got it done. Enjoy it!

  78. Congrats to the Bama fans!

    Maybe the NFL playoffs will take my mind off the depressing subject that is the Braves payroll situation.

  79. 116

    Amen. I went to work today and was the only one who made it in.

    118

    Mack Brown really panicked with the back up last night. That screen pass was stupid. In the end, I feel Brown took a bad situation and made it worse. However, Texas wouldn’t have won if McCoy had played.

  80. A few weeks ago we got about a foot of snow overnight in Madison, WI. I couldn’t believe it, but the university actually canceled classes for the day. One of my colleagues was planning on skiing to work.

    Then a week later, I was driving home to a storm that brought a foot of snow to VA. It must be me. I could move just fine in it with 4wd, but the tractor trailers — not so much. I was stopped on the interstate in West VA for 11 hours and the rest of the drive was pretty slow going. I was just glad I didn’t have my kids with me.

  81. You guys seem to deal with snow better than folks here in London. A colleague of mine left work at 5pm and arrived at home 8am next morning. It usually takes her 45 minutes. But three inches of snow (and lack of winter tires) left her stay overnight at a McDonalds along the motorway…

  82. We’re at about a foot here in KC over the past two weeks…I hate snow.

    And the Royals just signed Scott Posednik to go along with the other major offseason acquistion of Jason Kendall. Just remember, for everyone who is pissed at Wren. It could be much worse

  83. From DOB’s blog…

    Here’s their (BA) rundown on Vizcaino:

    3. Arodys Vizcaino, rhp Born: Nov. 13, 1990 • B-T: R-R • Ht: 6-0 • Wt: 189
    Signed: Dominican Republic, 2007 • Signed by: Alfredo Dominguez

    Arodys Vizcaino
    Background: When the Yankees spend big money during the international summer signing season, they usually give it to position players, such as Gary Sanchez, Wily Mo Pena and Jesus Montero. Vizcaino received the largest signing bonus the club has given a pitcher in that market, signing for $800,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2007. He dominated the short-season New York-Penn League last summer before a muscle strain in his back ended his season in August.

    Strengths: Vizcaino has the most electric arm in the system outside of Andrew Brackman, and he’s much more polished. Vizcaino sits at 90-94 mph with his fastball and regularly runs it up to 96. His quick arm generates easy velocity, and the ball seems to explode out of his hand. His best pitch is a hammer curveball that he throws with solid command. Club officials say his curve is second only to A.J. Burnett’s in the organization. He has a sturdy, durable body.

    Weaknesses: Vizcaino’s changeup has improved but still grades as below average. He’s raw and has plenty of work to do on subtle skills such as setting up hitters, fielding his position and holding runners. He also could have a more mature mound presence.

    The Future: Given Vizcaino’s youth and ceiling, New York will handle him carefully. He figures to go to low Class A Charleston for 2010, starting in the first half and relieving in the second half to keep his innings from piling up.

  84. @121 – However, Texas wouldn’t have won if McCoy had played.

    Are you kidding me. That is a rediculous statement. First of all, Texas gets at least one touchdown on the first 2 drives if McCoy is in (not 2 field goals). Secondly, they scored 21 points off turnovers made by our 2nd string quarterback (maybe 28 – I didn’t watch the final score, but I think that was another pick by our QB that led to it). So to say Bama would have won with McCoy in there is just not smart.

    The fact is, Bama played a bad game. So did Texas, but it definately would have been different with McCoy in there. I don’t know who would have won if they were both playing up to par, which is what makes it sad – but there is no way Bama beats a McCoy led Texas team with the way they were playing last night.

  85. I live in Gwinnett… and I opted to use my remote access to work from home today. I wasn’t as worried about the ice as I was about the idiot drivers and how they’ll handle the chance of ice.

  86. However, Texas wouldn’t have won if McCoy had played.

    Right. And Tennessee is a program on the rise. Lulz.

  87. “A few weeks ago we got about a foot of snow overnight in Madison, WI. I couldn’t believe it, but the university actually canceled classes for the day. One of my colleagues was planning on skiing to work.”

    To be fair, it was 19 inches through the next morning. Plus, the municipality suffered a massive brain fart and somehow decided not to plough the main streets immediately; I think some side streets got treatment first. For three days the roads were impassable–despite all the roads outside the city being totally fine–and the mayor ended up issuing a formal apology a week later. I miss living in a big city… sigh.

  88. I wonder what would have happened if Mark Ingram hadn’t missed large portions of the game with cramps and Greg McElroy wasn’t playing with a broken rib.

  89. @132 – Like I said, I don’t know who would have won if both teams were playing at their best. But I am almost certain Texas would have won last night if McCoy had been able to play the whole game.

  90. And Joshua, don’t forget, if not for the Big 12 officials rigging the clock at the end of the Big 12 Championship game, screwing Nebraska out of their deserved win, then Texas wouldn’t have even backed into last night’s game.

    But why bother with facts when flights of fancy serve your argument so much better?

  91. There’s no way of knowing what was going to happen in that game last night. You don’t know that McCoy throws one TD or 5. You don’t know that he won’t throw 3 INTs.

    What I do know is that Bama’s gameplan (on both sides of the ball) went out the window as soon as McCoy got hurt.

    Saban’s job was to win the game, and he did.

  92. You live by basing your offense on one player. You die basing your offense on one player.

    If Texas had a running game or a running defense, they might still have won. They don’t and didn’t.

    Colt didn’t slip coming off the team bus. He got popped and knocked out of the game of football. That’s why you can’t run that style of offense in the NFL or the SEC (unless you are Tim Tebow–he’s just a bad manbeast).

  93. Not even Vince Young would have saved Texas last night.

    Keep talking about Tennessee while your at it.

  94. I don’t get this whole Saban changed his gameplan crap. Sounds like a cop out for his team playing like complete garbage for the entire third quarter. If he changed his game plan so much, why the hell did he attempt a 52 yard FG up 11 early in the 4th instead of trying to pin Texas deep?

  95. I hated that field goal attempt. The real problem was throwing on third and five; run the ball and get a manageable fourth down, and if you convert the game is essentially over.

  96. Keep talking about Tennessee while your at it.

    There’s nothing really to talk about. They’re a pretty crappy team and program. You’re insane homerism is quite comical.

  97. I didn’t see Bama change their gameplan much. Looked like they started off trying to get McElroy comfortable, but quickly decided that wasn’t going to work. He was going to struggle against Texas’ defense whether McCoy was playing or not.

  98. I don’t think there’s any way to know what would’ve happened had McCoy not been hurt. It probably would’ve been about 50-50. I think McCoy gets a TD on the drive where he got hurt, but then the Texas defense gave 14 points back to Alabama pretty quickly, which had nothing to do with McCoy.

    The point is, it would’ve been a completely different game. I think it’s disingenuous for either side to say they would’ve won had that not happened. There is absolutely no way of knowing. And it wasn’t like it was even leaning one way or the other before he got hurt, so there is absolutely nothing to base the opinion on whatsoever.

  99. McElRoy was hurt. Texas’ “vaunted” defense? The same one that 6-7 A&M ran up and down the field at will against? LOL.

    The Big 12 is basically the Big 10 with a Southwest flavoring. Perhaps the Texas fans could acknowledge the best etam won last night, the SEC went 3-0 against your conference, and pay due respect to the champs.

  100. McElRoy was hurt. Texas’ “vaunted” defense? The same one that 6-7 A&M ran up and down the field at will against? LOL.

    The Big 12 is basically the Big 10 with a Southwest flavoring. Perhaps the Texas fans could acknowledge the best etam won last night, the SEC went 3-0 against your conference, and pay due respect to the champs.

  101. Jeremy,
    Did you watch the game?

    When you face a freshman QB instead of a Heisman Trophy candidate, you (as a defensive coach) know that the other team’s options are probably limited, especially as the other team didn’t have a great running game to begin with.

    Did you notice all the Crimson jerseys within a few yards of the line of scrimmage on almost every play? Think they would’ve done that with McCoy on every play?

    Conversely, did you see Alabama take many genuine offensive chances in the 3rd quarter?

    In fact, the Alabama runners were doing their best to stay in bounds, even in the 3rd quarter. Think that was an accident?

    Saban essentially was telling his team, “I don’t believe they have the capacity to come back all the way, so keep the clock running & meet me on the trophy dais.”

  102. Please. It’s a totally different game with Colt in there and to compare any Alabama player absence with Colt’s is just ludicrous.

    Alabama won and they’re national champions. It’s just a shame that they didn’t get it versus Texas’ best.

  103. so if we are going what if’s, what IF Donte Hightower had been playing also and hadnt of been injured all season? You cant play this IF game. If McCoy had stayed in, you wouldnt have seen so many blitz packages or at least not the same ones from Bama. Bama might not have given up 21 with Colt in the game, couldve been less. Dont forget how Colt was against the best two defenses he saw this season in Oklahoma and Nebraska. Gilbert hit two deep passes with Bama blitzing so much, those plays might not have been there with Colt in the game and Bama in a different coverage. Bama might not have been so conservative with Colt in there either

  104. @136–that’s just an uninformed comment. The clock wasn’t rigged in the big 12 championship game. Texas didn’t back into anything.

  105. I mean, I’m not sure whether the fact that McElroy was nursing a minor injury of some kind had much bearing on anything. McElroy is pretty crappy — or mediocre might be more fair — regardless, and Alabama was going to run the ball the whole game regardless. In fact, McElroy could’ve had the exact same thing happen to him that happened to McCoy and I think it would’ve done virtually nothing to Alabama’s chances.

    Again, with McCoy in…totally different game. And not possible to predict what would’ve happened with any accuracy whatsoever. We’re basically back to pregame predictions except we’re spotting Texas either seven or three points.

    EDIT: Yes, Ingram’s absence meant something, but the drop-off from he to Richardson pales in comparison to the drop-off from McCoy to Gilbert. Plus, since Alabama was already just running the ball into the line anyway… Ingram was back by the time Alabama needed to open up the offense.

  106. Agree with Nick about the pointlessness of trying to predict what would’ve happened.

    But the drop-off from Ingram to Richardson — which, I would argue, is not even a drop-off — is nowhere near as great as the drop-off from McCoy to Gilbert.

  107. Mac

    Well it didn’t seem to matter to Alabama that the Heisman trophy was missing against Auburn did it?

    If you’re comparing Ingram’s importance to Alabama to McCoy’s importance to Texas, you’re just wrong.

  108. Whoops…guess I didn’t need to add that edit. Sorry, Stu…didn’t see your comment yet before I did that.

  109. Jeremy,

    We’ll see won’t we. Fulmer went 5-6 and missed a bowl. His last recruiting class was ranked like #25. His two before that were busts.

    Kiffin comes in and lands a top ten class, has a winning record, currently has a top ten recruiting class. He take the NATIONAL CHAMPION to the wire (a decent kicker wins it)

    It doesn’t take a homer to read facts to see Tennessee is going to be fine.

    And before you start in on the “recruiting violations” bull shit, it doesn’t matter. Every school has secondary violations.

  110. I don’t want to get into a snit fit and I apologize if that’s the impression I’m giving.

    Alabama is a great team with a great coach and great players and they deserve to be national champions. Congratulations to them and their fans.

  111. As an Alabama fan I actually have to agree with Joshua a little bit on this one. At times it looks like he’s saying that Texas would have won if McCoy didn’t get hurt, but that’s not what he says @126.

    I think we can all agree that the game would have been different without the McCoy injury. Alabama didn’t play well (@115 I say Bama played not to lose after McCoy’s injury), but their gameplan would have been decidedly different without the injury. My hunch is that Alabama would have played much better and still found a way to win if McCoy was healthy. However, no one can really know that for sure. The fact is Alabama won and they deserved everything they got, injuries are part of football as stated above.

  112. Jeremy @140. Do you actually believe that Alabama would have only thrown the ball 11 times if they weren’t sitting on a big lead? The gameplan definitely changed and this isn’t a cop out. Bama won and that was their only goal.

  113. Lawdy – and I thought my accounting blood feud with Cliff was tedious. I can’t believe people are chest thumping over what might have happened in a game

  114. Jeremy,
    Did you watch the game?

    Stay classy.

    The score dictated the play calling, which is what usually happens in football. That being said, I think Alabama came into the game with a very conservative gameplan. They were going to be very careful with McElroy, and obviously told him not to take any chances. Which explains why he held onto the ball for eons and took sacks on the first couple drives. Saban is a defensive coach, so he’s conservative by nature.

    Alabama bringing a few extra men in the box and blitzing an inexperienced QB doesn’t represent a monumental shift in game plan. As far as Bama not taking any chances, I point at the 52 yard FG attempt early in the 4th.

  115. Oh, the accounting feud wasn’t tedious at all.

    Jeremy,
    Saban was saying to Texas, “Your backup QB is no good. Please pass on us. We beg you.”

  116. Stu @ 161

    Carroll leaving will set USC back a fair amount. they’ll still get their recruits, but who will coach them? Will they go after Stoops at Arizona? Fulmer (hahahahaha)? Will they try to get Butch to leave my UNC? Kiffin? Will they go after Fisher (a USC grad?) from the Titans (very interesting idea, actually)? Del Rio from Jacksonville (who would be a pretty bad choice…also an alum).

    I think Ken Norton, Jr. would be awesome…but not a grad. Rocky Seto is their DC, is young and a USC grad.

    wow. just wow.

    ps–wonder if he’ll take the Grad Student with him?

  117. td,
    So Alabama came into the game with the idea that McElroy was going to throw the ball all over the yard against one of the better pass defenses in the nation? Right.

  118. And I love how everyone keeps saying “live by one player (McCoy), then die by that player”. Give me a break. Had it been Ingram that had missed the whole game, the same would be said for you guys. There is no way Bama competes yesterday without Ingram. As Mac says, just look at the 3rd quarter. So I don’t want to hear about relying on one player. That’s all Bama did last night. McElroy had what, 85 yards passing. Give me a break.

  119. ububba,
    Master of the obvious. A HS coach would have done the same. Next you’ll tell me Alabama got conservative on offense with a 24-6 lead.

  120. @134 – I think that Crimson runs a little too deep for you, Mac. Not once did I say Texas was a better team. I truly don’t know who is – and we won’t know. All I said was that if Bama played like they did last night and McCoy was playing, that they would have lost. But that’s not even to say they wouldn’t have played better had McCoy stayed in. Just saying, if they played that exact way – they lose. No need to get testy.

  121. Re@171
    Didn’t expect to see this discussion. On who’s the better team, I’ll have to take what the scoreboard says as the final word.

  122. Jeremy,
    You’re telling me that Alabama didn’t change their gameplan after McCoy got hurt.

    I’m providing you with evidence that they did.

    Then you tell me, “Of course, they did!”

    Works for me.

  123. Jeremy, Texas was rated as the #1 run defense in the nation. They were ranked #19 in passing defense and as was pointed out earlier, Texas A&M made Texas’ secondary look like a high school secondary. McElroy threw for 230 or so yards against Fla and was the game’s MVP. I think Florida (ranked #2 in the nation against the pass) has a better secondary than Texas and the stats seem to point to that.

    I wasn’t expecting Alabama to throw all over the yard against Texas, but I think they would have definitely mixed it up a lot more if circumstances didn’t dictate otherwise.

  124. ubbuba,
    Don’t they have reading comprehension courses at UGA? I’m saying of course they changed their gameplan on defense. That’s standard football protocol when the opposing team’s QB goes out injured.

    Their gameplan on offense did not change. They were going to run, run, run whether McCoy was playing or not.

    And you still can’t explain the 52 yard FG early in the 4th.

  125. What does the 52 yd field goal have to do with Bama’s gameplan? Tiffin has been pretty accurate from long range, but it still wasn’t the best call imo. I don’t think it had a lot to do with the gameplan though.

  126. Don’t they have reading comprehension courses at UGA?

    Totally unnecessary. ububba tends to bring out the worst in you, for some reason, Jeremy.

  127. Also, McCoy’s injury was always likely. He’s not that strongly built, and the way he has to play plus Alabama’s defense made him liable to get hurt. I simply reject the premise that we have any idea what would have happened had he somehow stayed healthy.

    Ingram’s better than Richardson. Richardson has great speed and nearly as much power, but doesn’t have Ingram’s field vision (nobody at the college level does) nor does he have quite the knack for getting that one extra yard. With a healthy Ingram, I’m pretty sure Alabama runs for some first downs in the third — as they did with him in the fourth.

    Of course, the biggest problem wasn’t the game plan, it was constantly having safeties cover Texas’ best receiver one-on-one. I have no freaking idea who thought that was a good idea.

  128. I don’t believe Muschamp leaves Austin for L.A. Of course I say that as a Texas alum and fan. Muschamp’s wife loves Austin and the big pocket boosters love Muschamp. He’s the highest paid assistant in the land and he’s got Mack’s job as soon as Mack’s done, which I think is within the next two years. I just don’t think he risks losing all that for the possible sanctions that USC is facing.

    Texas rolled the dice with Colt getting hurt all year. The coaches never adequately prepared for life without Colt and it showed last night when they didn’t trust Gilbert with anything other than handing the ball off for 2 and a half quarters. That’s on Mack and Greg Davis.

  129. I’m actually more worried about losing Muschamp to UGA when they come calling after Richt’s inevitable fail in the next two years.

  130. @180, small consolation, but Gilbert looks like he’ll be a player. He had some excellent throws once he got some protection.

  131. If I’m USC, I back a Brinks truck up to Butch Davis. He’s everything they want/need for that program.

  132. Hmmm …

    The Spirit of Coach seems to have been hovering.

    My take is this: two great and classy teams gave us a spirited performance replete with ebb and flow, out-of-character coaching moments followed by a visible return to form, heartbreak, growth, a nod to tradition and, perhaps, a preview of next year’s championship game.

    Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  133. I don’t think Kiffin goes for two reasons:

    1) I think USC would go for a bigger name.

    2) Tennessee can match any $$$ USC can offer.

    There is a big buy out on Kiffin and most of his assistants (the big ones he would take with him)

    But if Carroll leaves, Kiffin and the guy at Washington will probably be talked about a lot.

  134. An insult! Yay.

    Jeremy,
    If you think all Bama did was run this year, then I’d tend to doubt you watched them play too often.

    A huge part of their game was play-action passes. In fact, they averaged 15 yards per attempt on those plays. The play-action killed for them this year.

    They didn’t throw one of those in the 3rd quarter. Not sure how much evidence you require, but I’ll leave that inconvenient floater in the pool for you.

  135. Bruce Feldman jsays a couple of USC people have looked at Oregon State’s Mike Riley to gauge his interest if Carroll leaves for Seattle.

  136. 2) Tennessee can match any $$$ USC can offer.

    Matching probably wouldn’t be enough. The tradition and exposure at U$C dwarf anything UT can offer.

    I don’t think Kiffin will end up there, because there could be big-time sanctions coming, and he may not want to get involved with that, and, anyway, I suspect he would want a ruinion a lot more than U$C would.

  137. @178

    That was my problem with Saban’s plan too, and it’s where I think ububba is wrong. Saban mentioned at halftime they would have to change plans, and I think what they changed is going from a focus on stopping Shipley to a focus on stopping the run, which was misguided.

    For the entire season, Texas’s offense has been a one-man show. Most thought it was McCoy, but it’s always been Shipley. Stop Shipley, and Texas can’t do anything. He had over a thousand more yards than UT’s second leading receiver. I couldn’t believe Saban single-covered Shipley so often. Alabama’s secondary is good, but I don’t think it has anyone who can shut him down one on one.

    But had McCoy stayed in, I’m pretty sure Shipley would have been contained.

    As for the rest of the thread, I don’t think I’ll ever understand why a Tennessee or a Georgia fan takes pride in an Alabama win. It’s just weird.

  138. And I’ll never understand why people don’t understand Conference pride.

    Emotions aside, it’s great for Kentucky’s pocketbook when Bama and Florida and LSU go to BCS games. We share in the TV money just like they do.

    Emotionally, it’s a natural, normal Southern act to pull for our brothers (and sleep with our cousins).

  139. @191

    SEC fans are just that way. We have a chip on our shoulder.

    Stu,

    I was wrong. Kiffin would only owe UT a million dollars if he leaves, UT would owe him $7.5 if UT fires him this year.

    He could go, but I really doubt it.

  140. @192

    Especially with the all the good looking women in the south. It might be hard to pass up your cousin. LOL!

  141. But if Carroll leaves, Kiffin and the guy at Washington will probably be talked about a lot.

    Sarkisian? My freshman year he led BYU to a Cotton Bowl victory and — I think — a #5 final ranking. Good times.

  142. #191

    I am BOTH a Georgia and an Alabama fan, officially, for the record. (Georgia always first and when they play, I pull for the Dawgs everytime).

    I’m not gonna give my life story here but I attended both schools (transferred from Bama to UGA in 1994). My dad is Bama first and my brother is Georgia first.

    My point is it’s easy to root for both schools, it always depends on a person’s situation.

    And to the person who challenged my point earlier about Texas backing in to the title game, they DID. The Big 12 officials put a second back on the clock that had already expired so the Texas kicker could kick the winning field goal. It happened.

  143. And for the record, the SEC has proven over and over it’s BY FAR the best conference and no conference is a close 2nd. And with the exception of Florida and Tennessee, I root for all other SEC teams in their bowl games.

  144. I have no “pride” in the Bama win. It’s their win, but I do root for SEC schools (even though I do wince at the prospect with Florida football & Kentucky basketball). A bit of a difference.

    Fact is, I remain disappointed in that game last night. I wanted to see both teams at their best & that didn’t happen.

    Bring on Boise…

  145. ububba,
    For the millionth time, Alabama’s play calling was dictated by having a 24-6 lead. Yeah, they may have taken their foot off the gas a bit more knowing McCoy wasn’t coming back, but even if he’s still in the game, Alabama ain’t gonna be passing the ball much up 24-6.

    If the game is 10-10 in the third quarter instead of 24-6, is Saban still junking his entire offensive game plan because Colt McCoy is injured?

    And you started the insults with the ever moronic “did you even watch the game?” line.

  146. I like the SEC and all, but it’s not BY FAR better than anything. Take a look at the Capital One Bowl – 3rd place teams from the Big Ten and SEC square off, and you’ve lost five of the last six. Just be thankful you have Alabama and Florida to carry the conference.

  147. Jeremy,

    Admittedly, I haven’t spent as much time on Bravesjournal in the last few years as I used to, but ububba is maybe the only person on this site I wouldn’t argue with because he’s usually right.

    I don’t know you at all, but from the little I’m seeing here, I’d cut ububba some slack and respect what the man has to say.

  148. Alex,
    I like and respect ububba too, but you’re allowed to have disagreements on the internet, esp. during a slow Friday workday. I’ve been around this blog long enough to remember some of your more epic and boisterous disagreements with commenters here.

    I do apologize to ubbuba for the reading comprehension crack. That was childish.

  149. Jeremy, you seem to be arguing in circles and your last comment at 203 seems to agree with what many of us have been saying. I agree that Bama’s play calling would be similar (but with more intensity) if they were up 24-6 and McCoy was still in the game. The point is that they probably would not have been up 24-6 if McCoy was in the game. The game plan changed based on being up 24-6 (they wouldn’t have been up 24-6 – at least that early – with McCoy) and McCoy being out.

  150. Campus? I just had a ribeye and hash browns. I’ll be scouting locations in about 15 minutes.

  151. Did we ever decide who would have won the theoretical national title if both teams were healthy and hadn’t taken a month or so off from football?

  152. “The Big 12 is basically the Big 10 with a Southwest flavoring.”

    This stuff never gets old for me. After the conference’s top four teams knocked off LSU, GT, Oregon, and Miami, it’s tough to knock the Big 10 too much this year. It seems the conference was a little better than we thought–and I include myself in that.

    Not that it matters. None of this matters. Until college football implements a playoff, it will remain obsolete to me.

  153. Alabama came into the game with a moronic game plan. For the first two series, they just threw the ball the whole time to little effect. They had multiple mental lapses throughout the game, both from the coaching staff and the players. Texas was moving the ball really well when McCoy was in.

    None of that matters. Alabama is the top team in the country, and the game went the way it went. It would’ve been a completely different game if McCoy plays. Alabama might have actually stayed aggressive in the third quarter; when Alabama was running their real offense (seriously, wtf were those first two series about?), they moved the ball effectively. But that’s not the game that was played, so it doesn’t really matter.

    My take-away is mostly that I feel cheated out of what would’ve been a great game with McCoy in but turned into a snooze-fest until ‘Bama tried to give it away before remembering that they actually needed to finish the game.

  154. @215

    The Big Ten had a good year, that’s absolutely true. In fact, they probably came out #2 in BCS conferences this year, coming out over the Big 12 due to a more consistent showing in their top team’s bowl games. That said, Ohio State has dug the conference into a massive hole by having themselves talked up every year until their destroyed by a superior team. Until they can build on this year by actually living up to their hype (or not being billed beyond their ability), or one of Wisconsin/Penn/Michigan can rise up and become a powerhouse, the failures of Ohio State are going to represent their conference to the masses.

  155. Ethan @183

    no way that Butch leaves now. Had he wanted to leave, he would have left when Arkansas came calling last year (his alma mater). While USC is a much better/higher profile program than Arkansas, I think Butch’s ego likes the idea of building the program at Chapel Hill. He did it in Miami, he is going to do it in Chapel Hill (only a matter of time). USC is not his baby, and he does not like the idea of being a “caretaker” to Carrol’s legacy. That’s why Riley seems the most logical choice (successful, former USC assistant, NFL experience, etc.) but I really think Riley likes Corvallis (this is his second go around there) and wont leave.

    The best option: Steve Sarkisian.

    He’s young, he can carry on the “tradition” of USC as he was a former Assistant/OC/Associate Head coach, and he’ll have the time to put his own stamp on program. However, seeing that he’s only been at Washington for 1 year, it will be very hard to pull him away from Seattle.

    The one who’ll get it: Ken Norton, Jr.

    Been there forever. Is African-American and will be able to relate to many of the kids. His LBs are always well coached.

    Wild card: Brennan Carrol.

    Perhaps he gets it? He’s the recruiting coordinator and daddy can tell him “this is what you will do”.

  156. Just heard about Tyler Smith. Sorry, Vols’ fans.

    But, I did gain respect for Bruce Pearl.

  157. So much football…and on a Braves blog. ;) Congrats on the win, Mac. I know that felt sweet. I rooted for Alabama even if I’m a Georgia man.

    On a baseball topic, I am curious about the thoughts on this: we saw some conversation about Randy Johnson in the top 5 of lefties all time – but where does he fall all time lefty or righty? Top 10? And with his immediate peers – I’d say a top 5 for pitchers between say 1985-2005 must include Maddux, Clemens, Pedro and RJ. Glavine would likely be the 5th, though perhaps others might be Pettite, Mussina, Brown…Cone…Smoltz? The 5th spot seems open (though obviously I lean Glavine.)

    Let’s say top 10 all time and top 5 for the last 20 years.

  158. Nice win for Vandy today Stu. You guys get a leg up in what I believe will now be a three-way battle for second in the east. I like you guys to get second over TN then Fla, but it’s hard to know what to expect from my Vols with the current situation.

  159. Zeke Spruill and his girl broke up. Check out his Facebook status:

    Ezekiel Spruill i wake up every morning hoping its all just been a bad dream, so i look to my right and find an empty pillow once more, i lay my head back down on the tear soaked pillow again hoping next time i wake hers wont be empty

    There’s your prospect. Big baby.

  160. Coz,
    I think Schilling is on the edge of that conversation. He’s not Top 5 in the era or anything, but Top 10, I think.

    And what’s kind of interesting, to me anyway, is that Mussina, Cone, Brown & Pettitte are going to have trouble getting into the HoF, but Smoltz & Schilling seem to be given the nod.

    Smoltz is a special case, of course, when you consider his great stint as a closer & his awesome post-seasons. But Schilling’s post-season line is super-dominant, too, among the best all-time for any starter.

    Re: NFL Playoffs
    Today, I get to do one of my very favorite things: Watch Jets fans watch their team in a playoff game. It is a unique treat.

  161. Big baby.

    As I recall, you aren’t in a really good position to snark on this.

  162. Ken Norton, Jr.? Wow. I remember rooting for him back when my 49ers were good. Quality middle linebacker for a long time, IIRC.

  163. I think Tuberville is a good hire for Tech. He’s recruited better players than Tech is used to getting. He’s had success at a school that is not regarded as the #1 school in it’s state. And he knows and will be prepared for Muschamp and Texas when Muschamp takes over in Austin. Plus, he might drop the spread attack, the single biggest weakness that the Big 12 has when it faces the SEC.

  164. Bitter? Why? Coach T went 8-3 against Bama true, – I can see wishing that they had done better, but I don’t understand the bitter part. AU is down in the success cycle (that could change next year) but I don’t hold it against their opponents.

  165. Not an Auburn guy for sure, but I always kinda liked/respected Tuberville. Thought he got the shaft from them.

    BTW, Jets fans are in full-frontal delusion mode now.

  166. Damn…thanks for the reminder ububba. I forgot about Schilling and that is wrong. You are right that it is strange that they get more love than the Mussina’s and Pettitte’s, but Smoltz especially has a special case and the postseason records do count, or should.

    I looked at the top 10 in Wins and ERA+ since 1985 (with at least 2,000 IP):

    In Win-Loss:

    1. Greg Maddux 355-227
    2. Roger Clemens 345-180
    3. Tom Glavine 305-203
    4. Randy Johnson 303-166
    5. Mike Mussina 270-153
    6. Jamie Moyer 258-195
    7. Andy Pettitte 229-135
    8. Pedro Martinez 219-100
    9. Curt Schilling 216-146
    10. Kevin Brown 211-144

    And in ERA+

    1. Pedro Martinez – 154
    2. Roger Clemens – 144
    3. Randy Johnson – 136
    4. Roy Halladay – 133
    5. Greg Maddux – 132
    6. Curt Schilling – 127
    6. Kevin Brown – 127
    8. Bret Saberhagen – 126
    8. Tim Hudson – 126
    10. John Smoltz – 125

    It’s interesting to look at the stats – Tim Hudson is nearly the same pitcher as Doc Halladay, except Doc is a year and change younger. The numbers are eerily similar. Maybe exchanging Vazquez for Hudson isn’t such a big deal. Didn’t some wag say we came out better in our respective pitcher exchange? ;)

    Oh, and sad that it is but Cone has already fallen off the ballot. I don’t recall that he even got more than a year. Interesting too that Mussina, Cone, Brown and Pettitte all spent time in NY and Smoltz and Schilling spent time in Boston.

  167. Shoot, that W-L list is wrong (had the wrong parameters). It should be:

    In Win-Loss:

    1. Greg Maddux 355-227
    2. Roger Clemens 345-180
    3. Tom Glavine 305-203
    4. Randy Johnson 303-166
    5. Mike Mussina 270-153
    6. Jamie Moyer 258-195
    7. David Wells 239-157
    8. Andy Pettitte 229-135
    9. Pedro Martinez 219-100
    10. Kenny Rogers 219-156

    Woops.

  168. I have to say that I like Tuberville. He was pretty annoying his first few years at Auburn and seemed to blame his players for losses instead of taking responsibility for them. When he was almost fired it seemed to change him and several things at Auburn for the better. I think he lost his passion his las two years.

    Chizik has done nothing to make me dislike him at this point either. Now Lane Kiffin is a different story!

  169. Now that you mention it, Tub’s finger raising didn’t exactly endear me to him. I’m still not bitter, but my preferred nickname for him is Tupperware.

  170. Mac,
    I hope all is well, I’m really enjoying your website. Mary and I should be back in Alabama soon, let us know if you want to meet up for lunch.

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