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LIES, DAMNED LIES, STATISTICS: GRAD RATES AT UGA/GT

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The offseason sucks for many reasons. First, we have to explain our five month absence to our wife, who just apparitioned into existence next to us on the couch seconds after Vince Young crossed the goal line for the win in the Rose Bowl. (Honestly, we have no idea where she went for those five months---we were here the whole time. We either just didn't see her, or she's been garroting Al-Qaeda operatives in back alleys in a miniskirt for a secret government agency. We're really hoping for the second option, because that would simultaneously absolve us of husbandly negligence and also would be really, really hott.)

We hope the Conscience of a Nation does her killing during football season.

(We just heard Scott Van Pelt do a Carl from ATHF impression on Sportscenter--are we going to have to abandon this line of reference now? They've touched it, which means it's been hit by the whore's stankfinger of ESPN, bringing a significant level of taint to the situation. And though we all have some level of taint, the Worldwide Leader brings a huge taint to the table here.)

Another thing that sucks about the offseason: pesky numbers like graduation rates bubble to the surface thanks to the news vacuum. This presents good news for schools like Vandy, Florida, and Duke, who may tout high graduation rates for all athletics as further evidence that their athletic programs are not in fact minor league sports teams haphazardly grafted onto their schools. The numbers present nothing but badness for schools like Arkansas, Georgia, and NC State, whose lackluster grad numbers certainly don't bode well for their reputation as fully integrated units of the schools.

The worst news for a program out of this set of stats comes directly to the door of Georgia Tech, however, a school with a formidable academic reputation whose athletics program, currently headless following the resignation of longtime AD Dave Braine, has apparently been staggering along without a brain for quite a while. (Horrid pun. Apologies.) Georgia Tech, playing in a conference where Duke is second in the league for graduating its players, has little excuse in the way of high academic standards preventing players from gettting degrees. There's no shelter under the "left for the pros" defense, either, since Tech hasn't exactly been a spawning ground for pro prospects lately.

Stop smiling.

Georgia, in contrast, can lean on this defense a bit, since UGA under Mark Richt regularly cranks out pro prospects who leave early. Their rates still aren't great--just 50 percent for all male athletes--but hey, at least they're not inexcusable Arkansas, holding steady at last in the SEC with a 48 percent grad rate for their male athletes. Still, Richt'sGeorgia's numbers for graduating players belie our desire to like him; if you're not going pro, you're there to at least get a degree and exchange your knees and a few concussed brain cells for it. Georgia's doing this to a degree just above Arkansas, which in plain terms ain't real good. (There's our own UF education working for us, there.)

They're still relatively outperforming what one should expect of their in-state rival, though. Did Tech's outgoing AD Braine retire out of genuine medical concern--he does have Krohn's Disease, an unpleasant intestinal disorder--or was he to be fired anyway for turning the athletics department into separate, poorly managed fiefdom disconnected from the rest of the North Avenue Trade School? And are we just following our innate dislike for the doddering Chan Gailey in thinking that this and a fourth (!?!?) 7-5 season are just more nails in the coffin for Gailey's eventual firing next year under a new AD? Or are we just looking for another excuse to throw tacks at Grampa here?