Monthly Archives: September 2012

Mandel reviews The Montana Project.

It starts here:

Remember when I revisited my Program Pecking Order this summer? It apparently stirred up a pair of Georgia bloggers, Senator Blutarsky and Travis Fain, the Dawgbone. They took such umbrage with my 2007 premise that 100 average college football fans in Montana would not recognize a Georgia football helmet as universally as they would a Michigan one that they sought out a volunteer to literally conduct the experiment. “Hoppy” Hopkins, a 35-year-old freshmen English teacher at Great Falls (Mont.) High and a diehard Georgia fan, heeded the call to undertake what became known as “The Montana Project.”

I’m in awe of the passion and energy it took for that online community to put that thing together.

And graciously finishes with this.

Stewart: Well — in the end, was it worth it?

Hoppy: Oh, absolutely it was worth it. I had no idea people would take to it, no idea it would get so many hits on YouTube, but mainly, it made people smile. The best quote I saw on one of the blogs was, “This is reason 1,750,000 I love college football right there.” That’s why we do these things. Absolutely, unequivocally, it was worth it in so many ways I never expected. Amazing.

And it’s amazing to me that one seemingly innocuous Mailbag passage could inspire such initiative. Kudos to everybody involved.

Agreed.  I had a blast organizing this.  Hope y’all enjoyed it as much as we did.

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Filed under GTP Stuff

No down payment, and you can drive this baby off the lot today!

I’m not in agreement with those who accuse the NCAA of running a plantation system when it comes to student-athletes.  No, it’s more like the experience you get at a car dealership.

NCAA President Mark Emmert testified last March he doesn’t think signing the form is a requirement for an athlete to participate in an NCAA-sanctioned event.

“I don’t know of an incident where that’s been an issue,” Emmert said. “I believe it’s the case that there is not a formal requirement, but I’m not completely sure of that.”

David Berst, an NCAA Division I vice president, testified the form is voluntary and that he has never been told some schools tell athletes they’re ineligible for a scholarship if they don’t sign.

“I’d be pleased to ensure that it’s clearly understood that you have a choice,” Berst said. “I frankly can’t imagine that any student-athlete would not want to be helping and be the one who might be depicted as promoting the next game. But if they don’t want to be, no, I’m fine with that. It makes sense to me.”

An Ithaca College survey of 213 Division I compliance officers found that 20 percent have witnessed athletes who did not want to sign part or all of the Student-Athlete Statement. When the survey asked if the document giving the NCAA promotional rights is necessary for an athlete’s eligibility, 80 percent of compliance officers said it is not.

“Many said that it really doesn’t have anything to do with eligibility apart from the fact that (compliance officers say) in order to be eligible athletes must sign that form,” then-Ithaca College sport management professor Ellen Staurowsky told The Birmingham News in 2011. “That’s a very interesting way of explaining things.”

Now there’s your understatement of the day.

What I love most about the O’Bannon lawsuit are the admissions the plaintiffs are drawing out in discovery.  The NCAA’s position on commercial control and amateurism is so illogical it leads to statements like this:

Then came another hypothetical: What if Kentucky spontaneously issues $100,000 each to its starting five basketball players who won the 2012 NCAA title and now play in the NBA given that their names and images will be used on commercial products in the future? Berst said it’s “not inconceivable” that scenario could be permitted if there was no promise of sharing that money and no current athletes’ eligibility is impacted.

“I think Kentucky can end up paying whatever student-athletes are due for use of their likenesses when they’re no longer student-athletes by virtue of whatever those business kinds of arrangements are that are understood and reasonable by all of the lawyers,” Berst said.

That noise you heard was university presidents across the country crapping their pants.

By the way, John Infante, who should know, says that all this voluntary talk is hogwash.

… The promotional rights section of the Student-Athlete Statement is Section IV. This is from the instructions on the first page:

If you are an incoming freshman, you must complete and sign Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VII to participate in intercollegiate competition. If you are an incoming transfer student or a continuing student, you must complete and sign Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VI to participate in intercollegiate competition.

There appears to be little wiggle room for a student-athlete to opt out.

Essentially, Emmert is making this up as he goes along, to avoid the consequences of a policy his organization enforces.  Gee, why does that sound familiar?


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Wednesday morning buffet

Just because I’m fasting today doesn’t mean you guys have to.

  • If Barbara Dooley got mad last year because Christian Robinson had the nerve to let his helmet get in the way of Tyler Bray’s thumb, does that mean she won’t talk to her son if a Georgia player is injured this Saturday?
  • I second Brian Cook’s emotion, especially if Gene Smith isn’t going to get off his ass and reinstate the Georgia-Ohio State deal.
  • The first title game under the new format is scheduled for January 12, 2015.  That will be the latest date for a championship game in college football history.
  • Washington’s head coach explains what makes Stanford different.
  • Roy Kramer warns college football against expanding the size of the playoff field beyond four schools.  Yeah, like they’re gonna listen.
  • Michael Felder breaks down the Georgia-Tennessee game.  (He likes Georgia’s chances.)
  • Stewart Mandel has a good story about Taylor Heinicke, the Georgia kid who just set an NCAA passing record at Old Dominion.
  • Does Georgia lead the nation in trivial secondary violations?  At least nobody was caught butt dialing.
  • Rocky Top Talk gives us a statistical projection of Saturday’s game.  One big caveat:  “… don’t forget that the lineup’s now going to include for the first time in 2012 Bacarri Rambo and Alec Ogletree.”


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Big Ten Football, College Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

The Zen of Groh

Al Groh contends you can’t judge a defense – his defense, anyway – in the context of one horrendous collapse.  No, grasshopper, you’ve to step back, take a deep breath and appreciate the ebb and flow of an entire season.  Or something like that.

“Those answers only come through a review of the full body of work,” Groh said. “A full body of work is a full 12-game season, so that answer is yet to come.”

Serenity now.

Al can be mellow because he knows the secret to defense: “All of these plays, no matter what your scheme is, obviously the play never ends until the player is tackled…”  Well, except when a player scores untouched on a 25-yard run in overtime to win the game.


Filed under Georgia Tech Football

Does Sanders Commings have a short-term memory loss problem?

How else to explain this quote?

“Any time you can make a team one-dimensional, the momentum shifts to you that much more,” Bulldogs cornerback Sanders Commings said. “We always play Tennessee in the middle of the season, and we always seem to be in midseason form. We’re always clicking, and hopefully we’ll shut them down again.”

Dude.  Dude.  Duuuuuude.

“Clicking”?  As we like to say in these parts, I do not think that word means what you think it means.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

The best laid plans of mice and bureaucrats

I know you’ll be shocked, shocked to discover this.

I guess Rogers Redding will just have to go back to the drawing board.  Scary thought, no?


Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Second thoughts on Tennessee: offensive fireworks

Also from Paschall’s article is this little tidbit:

Grantham is fixated this week on stopping quarterback Tyler Bray and Tennessee’s NFL-type offense, but Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is picking Grantham’s mind about the 3-4 and trying to capitalize on the growing pains in Knoxville — the same growing pains Georgia experienced two seasons ago.

“We’ll talk a little bit this week about what they do,” Bobo said. “They’re all from the same background, but all of them are a little bit different. We’ll figure out what we can do to give us the best chance to be successful.”

One thing he’s got to be thinking about is the big play.  On paper coming in, you’ve got to say it’s a good matchup for Bobo:

Tennessee’s defense been susceptible to big plays this season, and now the Volunteers face the nation’s biggest big-play makers Saturday in fifth-ranked Georgia.

Through just four games, Tennessee’s defense has allowed 20 plays of 20 or more yards, which is nearly half of last season’s total of 41. Fourteen of those have been pass plays. In the last six quarters alone, the Vols have surrendered touchdown plays of 80, 75 and 70 yards…

… The Bulldogs lead the Southeastern Conference in offense, and their 35 plays of 20 or more yards lead the nation. Georgia has scored nine offensive touchdowns of 22 or more yards in four games. The starting offense ripped off nine plays or 20 or more yards in a rout of Vanderbilt this past Saturday.

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall when Bobo and Grantham get together about this week’s game plan?


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

First thoughts on Tennessee: been there, done that.

David Paschall has a smart piece this morning on the bumpy ride involved in changing to a 3-4 defensive scheme in the SEC.  You can say there’s a pattern:

Alabama struggled to stop opponents in 2007, when Nick Saban arrived with defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Georgia’s 2010 season was anything but smooth under new coordinator Todd Grantham, and Tennessee’s defense is experiencing inconsistencies this year under Sal Sunseri, who spent the past three seasons as Alabama’s linebackers coach.

Typically, there are two problems.  One, there are the inevitable personnel issues, particularly in the front seven, that crop up as the 4-3 requires different body types and different position responsibilities than the 3-4 does.  Two, there’s a period of adjustment for the players on the field.

“From a coverage standpoint, we are pretty complex, and I think that you’ve got to get some reps in it,” Grantham said of his system. “I think the best thing we’ve done is to maintain our consistency from day one here. As players develop and get that consistency and develop their habits, then they play with more consistency.

“That’s a little bit of why you saw some things early on with us, because we had some players who were kind of like first-year guys.”

It takes time.

“We are glad that [first] season is behind us,” Bulldogs redshirt junior outside linebacker Chase Vasser said. “Last year, we made a big deal about not just knowing your own role but the roles of everyone around you. We started to play faster, and now I know I am trying to get even more detailed and working on little things like my stance, get off, drop step and where I shoot my hands.

“It’s the little things now, because I’m not worrying about the whole defense.”

This is why I questioned those who were predicting a major improvement from Tennessee this season.  It’s not that the Vols don’t have some talent on defense, or that Sunseri didn’t learn enough about how to implement a 3-4 scheme under Saban.  It’s just that Alabama and Georgia both demonstrated that it’s not realistic to expect a top ten defense in the first year of that kind of transition.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Dawg stat watch, Week 4

Okay, it’s time for our weekly look at how Georgia is shaping up with certain statistical measures that have in common one thing – they were all met or exceeded in every year the Dawgs have won the SEC East under Richt.  Here’s how things look after Vanderbilt (all stats via

  1. Hold opponents under 18 points per game.  As a team, Georgia is yielding 16.5 ppg.
  2. Finish at least +8 in turnover margin.  Georgia’s turnover margin is 0.
  3. Average better than 380 yards per game on offense.  Georgia’s offense is averaging 530 ypg.
  4. Finish in the top five in total defensive yardage.  Georgia’s defense ranks eighth in total defense.
  5. Finish in the top three in first downs.  Georgia is fourth in first downs.
  6. Finish no worse than third in passing yardage.  Georgia is third in passing yardage.
  7. Finish no worse than third in sacks.  Georgia is eighth in sacks.

Last week, the Dawgs only met two of the metrics.  This week, it’s three, but there’s positive momentum in several other statistical categories.  It will be interesting to watch how much impact the returns of Ogletree and Rambo have on some of those numbers over the next few weeks.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Pat Dye comes home.

Now they’re man enough.

No word on whether Finebaum started laughing after he heard that.


Filed under Georgia Football