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a reversal of trends.. dogs get rare open date before florida..


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dogs get rare open date before florida

by chip towers | wednesday, october 24, 2007, 12:58 pm

the atlanta journal-constitution

i've been working the last week or so on a story that is going to run in tomorrow's paper on open dates, or bye weeks. it was a painstaking project that required me researching every sec teams' schedule since league expansion in 1992. i've uncovered some interesting factoids.

the impetus of the project was the fact that georgia had an open date before the florida game this year for the first time since 1991. conversely, the gators do not have a bye week before playing the bulldogs for just the second time in the last 15 seasons.

now when you're beating somebody by 30 or more points as florida was georgia for much of the 1990s under steve spurrier, it's hard to say having an extra week of rest and preparation could have made much of a difference for the bulldogs. but it has been a very competitive game every year since 1999. in fact, georgia's last four losses to the gators have been by a touchdown or less. certainly it could have made a difference in those games.

so without giving away all the information in the story that should be up on the website later today let me just ask you guys what you think about that.

did you realize florida had the week off before georgia in 13 of the last 14 seasons? do you think that could have had any bearing on the outcomes of the games? do you think georgia should do everything in its power to see that it gets an open date before florida every year or are you fine with where it traditionally falls, which is the week after jacksonville and before playing auburn (sometimes it gets an off week before playing georgia tech, too?

i've got to get back to finishing the story but i'll be checking in to see what your questions and comments are. c-ya in the paper!

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dogs hope for 'bye week' boost vs. gators

teams traditionally fare well after open dates

by chip towers

the atlanta journal-constitution

published on: 10/24/07 athens turns out some of the most important dates on a college football schedule are the ones with the words "open" or "bye."

don't think so? just ask georgia and florida, which renew their 103-year-old rivalry on saturday in jacksonville.

the gators have been idle the week before playing georgia 13 of the last 14 years. the bulldogs have had none. the gators are 12-2 in that span, with one of the losses coming in the only season (2004) they weren't off the previous week.

it works both ways. when florida was getting its behind kicked by georgia for so many years, the gators played auburn the week before almost every year all the back to the 1950s.

coincidence? perhaps. when florida was winning by 30- and 40-point margins as it often did under steve spurrier in the 1990s, it's hard to say an extra week of rest and preparation would have done georgia much good.

but more recently, when the games in the rivalry have been much closer, an off week could have made a difference. the bulldogs' last four losses to the gators have come by a touchdown or less.

for the first time since 1991, the bulldogs have had an open date before heading down to jacksonville to face the gators.

"i think it's a tremendous advantage," said florida coach urban meyer, who is 23-2 as a head coach when he has more than a week to prepare for a game (including season openers and bowl games).

"i don't know if it's going to [make a difference] this year or not but i do think there's definitely benefits," georgia coach mark richt said. "there's not a coach in america who will say the open date is not a good thing."

well there is at least one coach. south carolina's steve spurrier thinks bye weeks are overrated.

"some people think it's very important," he said. "if you've got some players with some sprained ankles or something i guess they can be good. personally i just believe seven days is plenty of time to prepare and go play."

coaches approach bye weeks differently. some view it as a chance to get back to basics and conduct very physical practices focused on fundamentals before easing off the week of the game. tennessee employed such a strategy before beating the bulldogs 35-14 after a bye earlier this month.

others will jump headlong into game-planning the first week while the team rests up.

georgia, which is 9-2 under richt after in-season byes, falls somewhere in between. the bulldogs held just two on-field practices last week while spending the three other days in the weight room. the players got the weekend off and coaches implemented a game plan.

"number one it gives your legs and shoulders a chance to heal," said georgia junior fullback brannan southerland, who went home to dacula, watched his little brother's game high school game on friday night and watched college football all day on saturday. "physically you're just fresher. that's so hard to do during the grind of the season."

the biggest impact, most agree, is giving injured players a chance to get well. the bulldogs will get back three starters this week: receiver/kick returner mikey henderson (hamstring), middle linebacker marcus washington (shoulder) and outside linebacker brandon miller (calf).

that's where an open date may have made a difference for georgia in the past. perhaps a week off in 2005 would have given quarterback d.j. shockley the time he needed to heal his sprained knee. instead he had to sit out, joe tereshinki iii started and the bulldogs lost 14-10. and fullback mack strong, now an nfl all-pro, had to sit out the 26-24 loss to florida in 1992 with an ankle injury.

"i don't think anybody really knows if a bye week is good, bad or indifferent," alabama coach nick saban said. "certainly you get a chance to rest and recover. when you play six weeks in a row, especially in this league, it's pretty taxing."

georgia athletics director damon evans believes there are advantages to open dates and he has watched in frustration as florida has made the most of them against his bulldogs. evans said he has repeatedly lobbied the sec office, which sets the league schedules many years in advance, to give the bulldogs an occasional break the week before they face florida.

"i've talked to [the sec] before about florida having an open date quite a bit during that time," evans said. "in past years what has happened is we've had a conference game right before the florida game. you want to get it changed and try to do what is most advantageous for you but, unfortunately, it hasn't worked in our favor."

according to sec associate commissioner charles bloom, "scheduling is one of the toughest things we do in all sports."

member institutions get their conference schedules from the league office and are assigned eight games over 13 weeks. the rest is left up to the respective schools.

the process is overseen by executive associate commissioner mark womack, is done with input from all the member institutions plus television executives and usually is set several years in advance. as it stands now the league schedule is set through 2011, according to the 2007 sec media guide.

"it seems to like sec schedules are set in stone i think," richt said.

not exactly, bloom said.

"we always put tentative on the top of it," bloom said. "if a school makes a request it doesn't fall on deaf ears."

georgia's current scheduling trends can be traced back to vince dooley. when he was the bulldogs' coach in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, they always played florida and auburn in back-to-back weeks. once he became full-time athletics director and the schedules were reshuffled due to sec expansion in 1992, dooley was able to establish an open date for the bulldogs before the auburn game every season. that's the way the schedule stayed until 2001.

"playing florida and auburn back-to-back every year was just too much," dooley said. "i know because we did it for years. it's just extremely difficult to play two of your biggest rivals in consecutive weeks."

of georgia's 31 open dates since sec expansion in 1992, 12 have come before auburn (12), more than any other opponent. the bulldogs are 4-7-1 in those games. georgia tech is next with seven and the bulldogs are 7-0 in those games.

while auburn and tech remain intense rivals, evans said he would prefer to see georgia's off weeks come closer to the middle of every season and preferably before florida or another sec east opponent.

"this is a good time in the season for a break," evans said. "when you don't get an open date until after the 10th game your team has already gotten really tired. i would prefer it before florida because it is a big game for us and because it's an eastern division game. the impact of a win or loss in an eastern division game is significant."

next season, georgia loses its bye before florida in fact the bulldogs play at lsu the week before meeting the gators in jacksonville bu

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dogs hope for 'bye week' boost vs. gators

teams traditionally fare well after open dates

by chip towers

the atlanta journal-constitution

published on: 10/24/07 athens turns out some of the most important dates on a college football schedule are the ones with the words "open" or "bye."

don't think so? just ask georgia and florida, which renew their 103-year-old rivalry on saturday in jacksonville.

the gators have been idle the week before playing georgia 13 of the last 14 years. the bulldogs have had none. the gators are 12-2 in that span, with one of the losses coming in the only season (2004) they weren't off the previous week.

it works both ways. when florida was getting its behind kicked by georgia for so many years, the gators played auburn the week before almost every year all the back to the 1950s.

coincidence? perhaps. when florida was winning by 30- and 40-point margins as it often did under steve spurrier in the 1990s, it's hard to say an extra week of rest and preparation would have done georgia much good.

but more recently, when the games in the rivalry have been much closer, an off week could have made a difference. the bulldogs' last four losses to the gators have come by a touchdown or less.

for the first time since 1991, the bulldogs have had an open date before heading down to jacksonville to face the gators.

"i think it's a tremendous advantage," said florida coach urban meyer, who is 23-2 as a head coach when he has more than a week to prepare for a game (including season openers and bowl games).

"i don't know if it's going to [make a difference] this year or not but i do think there's definitely benefits," georgia coach mark richt said. "there's not a coach in america who will say the open date is not a good thing."

well there is at least one coach. south carolina's steve spurrier thinks bye weeks are overrated.

"some people think it's very important," he said. "if you've got some players with some sprained ankles or something i guess they can be good. personally i just believe seven days is plenty of time to prepare and go play."

coaches approach bye weeks differently. some view it as a chance to get back to basics and conduct very physical practices focused on fundamentals before easing off the week of the game. tennessee employed such a strategy before beating the bulldogs 35-14 after a bye earlier this month.

others will jump headlong into game-planning the first week while the team rests up.

georgia, which is 9-2 under richt after in-season byes, falls somewhere in between. the bulldogs held just two on-field practices last week while spending the three other days in the weight room. the players got the weekend off and coaches implemented a game plan.

"number one it gives your legs and shoulders a chance to heal," said georgia junior fullback brannan southerland, who went home to dacula, watched his little brother's game high school game on friday night and watched college football all day on saturday. "physically you're just fresher. that's so hard to do during the grind of the season."

the biggest impact, most agree, is giving injured players a chance to get well. the bulldogs will get back three starters this week: receiver/kick returner mikey henderson (hamstring), middle linebacker marcus washington (shoulder) and outside linebacker brandon miller (calf).

that's where an open date may have made a difference for georgia in the past. perhaps a week off in 2005 would have given quarterback d.j. shockley the time he needed to heal his sprained knee. instead he had to sit out, joe tereshinki iii started and the bulldogs lost 14-10. and fullback mack strong, now an nfl all-pro, had to sit out the 26-24 loss to florida in 1992 with an ankle injury.

"i don't think anybody really knows if a bye week is good, bad or indifferent," alabama coach nick saban said. "certainly you get a chance to rest and recover. when you play six weeks in a row, especially in this league, it's pretty taxing."

georgia athletics director damon evans believes there are advantages to open dates and he has watched in frustration as florida has made the most of them against his bulldogs. evans said he has repeatedly lobbied the sec office, which sets the league schedules many years in advance, to give the bulldogs an occasional break the week before they face florida.

"i've talked to [the sec] before about florida having an open date quite a bit during that time," evans said. "in past years what has happened is we've had a conference game right before the florida game. you want to get it changed and try to do what is most advantageous for you but, unfortunately, it hasn't worked in our favor."

according to sec associate commissioner charles bloom, "scheduling is one of the toughest things we do in all sports."

member institutions get their conference schedules from the league office and are assigned eight games over 13 weeks. the rest is left up to the respective schools.

the process is overseen by executive associate commissioner mark womack, is done with input from all the member institutions plus television executives and usually is set several years in advance. as it stands now the league schedule is set through 2011, according to the 2007 sec media guide.

"it seems to like sec schedules are set in stone i think," richt said.

not exactly, bloom said.

"we always put tentative on the top of it," bloom said. "if a school makes a request it doesn't fall on deaf ears."

georgia's current scheduling trends can be traced back to vince dooley. when he was the bulldogs' coach in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, they always played florida and auburn in back-to-back weeks. once he became full-time athletics director and the schedules were reshuffled due to sec expansion in 1992, dooley was able to establish an open date for the bulldogs before the auburn game every season. that's the way the schedule stayed until 2001.

"playing florida and auburn back-to-back every year was just too much," dooley said. "i know because we did it for years. it's just extremely difficult to play two of your biggest rivals in consecutive weeks."

of georgia's 31 open dates since sec expansion in 1992, 12 have come before auburn (12), more than any other opponent. the bulldogs are 4-7-1 in those games. georgia tech is next with seven and the bulldogs are 7-0 in those games.

while auburn and tech remain intense rivals, evans said he would prefer to see georgia's off weeks come closer to the middle of every season and preferably before florida or another sec east opponent.

"this is a good time in the season for a break," evans said. "when you don't get an open date until after the 10th game your team has already gotten really tired. i would prefer it before florida because it is a big game for us and because it's an eastern division game. the impact of a win or loss in an eastern division game is significant."

next season, georgia loses its bye before florida in fact the bulldogs play at lsu the week before meeting the gators in jacksonville bu

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i hope that statistic runs true, because uga has played flat the last couple games. hopefully having the week off will bring out some better performances.

i am hoping that is the case, but the week off has been great for the injured players.. for instance our starting dt has been playing with a injured left ankle. the bye week has really helped him. he said he is now 95%.. which was a lot better than he was before the bye.. guys like marcus washington who is a very good mlb is now back from injury and the same goes for brandon miller. we also get mickey henderson back.. so it's been pretty impt.. i think the bye weeks helps teams get rested, but also helps guys who are playing with nagging injuries to be able to recover..

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i hope that statistic runs true, because uga has played flat the last couple games. hopefully having the week off will bring out some better performances.

i am hoping that is the case, but the week off has been great for the injured players.. for instance our starting dt has been playing with a injured left ankle. the bye week has really helped him. he said he is now 95%.. which was a lot better than he was before the bye.. guys like marcus washington who is a very good mlb is now back from injury and the same goes for brandon miller. we also get mickey henderson back.. so it's been pretty impt.. i think the bye weeks helps teams get rested, but also helps guys who are playing with nagging injuries to be able to recover..

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we're still playing in florida, bye week or not. it's time for that crap to end.

can i have your address so i can send you some tissues? this is like the 10th post of yours on this subject.

how about you guys beat us for a change, then all of you can finally stop complaining about the game site. lord knows it wasn't a problem until the pups started losing every year.

i wonder if texas fans laugh at oklahoma fans who complain about the game being in texas every year. oklahoma fans probably don't complain though, because they beat texas sometimes.

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we're still playing in florida, bye week or not. it's time for that crap to end.

can i have your address so i can send you some tissues? this is like the 10th post of yours on this subject.

how about you guys beat us for a change, then all of you can finally stop complaining about the game site. lord knows it wasn't a problem until the pups started losing every year.

i wonder if texas fans laugh at oklahoma fans who complain about the game being in texas every year. oklahoma fans probably don't complain though, because they beat texas sometimes.

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