Phil Steele Eases/Increases My Pain
We are another step closer to the 2011 college football season with the release of Phil Steele’s 2011 College Football Preview. Steele’s magazine is an invaluable resource for college football statistics, and followers of The Thoughtful Gamecock can be assured that any stat that we quote here came directly from his crack research team. There are stats on individuals, teams and conferences. There are stats from the five seasons previous. There are stats about stats. Steele’s magazine is like a media guide for the entirety of college football, and provides the best way to evaluate any team you may care to read about.
This wonderful resource is flawed in only one major way. Phil Steele is a self-proclaimed Georgia fan and the nation’s biggest enabler of The Georgia Myth. For the second year running, Steele ignores his own meticulously researched statistical information and picks Georgia, a team no other source has chosen to finish higher than third in the east, to go to the SEC championship game. The mind boggles. Once again it is proven: You can take the fan out of Georgia, but you can’t take the derpy derp out of the Georgia fan.
He does have a lot of nice things to say about the Gamecocks, though, giving high marks to our rushing (ranked #3 in the nation) and our recieving (#9 nationally) units. Our defensive line (#3 nationally) and linebackers (#12 nationally) are also recognized. Steele predicts USC to play in the Outback Bowl against Wisconsin. He gives us a #14 preseason ranking. As Phil Steele sees it, about the only thing between Carolina and better success than last year is, you guessed it, Georgia.
Steele ranks Georgia’s rushing as #12 in the nation despite losing their top two rushers, saying “I did have this unit ranked at #8 before losing Washaun Ealy.” He ranks Georgia’s quarterback situation as #14 in the nation, while remaining curiously silent about Stephen Garcia. Of the 38 top quarterbacked teams he lists, South Carolina is absent. He picks Georgia as the #10 recieving corps in the nation despite losing AJ Green, saying “This pick is based on potential”. Sounds like fanspeak to me.
I’ll be writing more posts about Steele’s predictions as I continue to read and absorb his mountain of statistical information. I do want my baseline understanding of Phil Steele to be made clear: use the information he provides to better understand college football, but don’t believe a single word that escapes his lips regarding the University of Georgia.