Let it rip: lather, rinse, repeat?

Seth Emerson, from today’s chat:

The issue right now is confidence. That’s why the “let it rip” mantra is back – something that, by the way, Bobo said to Aaron Murray at a couple points in his career. And one of those was after the Vanderbilt game last year, when there also was no deep game because of the massive run of injuries at receiver.

Nobody is going to confuse Mason’s and Murray’s comparative arm strength.  Still, there was no question that Murray’s hesitancy in last year’s Vandy game allowed Stoop to compress his defense, because there was little concern Georgia was going to try to stretch the field.  That’s no different that what we’re worried about now.

Murray looked like a different quarterback in the first half of the Florida game, too.  Part of that was him getting injured skill position guys back and feeling more confident as a result.  But part of that was Bobo being aggressive with his play calls.  (Which burned Georgia’s offense in the second half due to poor execution.)

So there may be something to that phrase being tossed out.  Just sayin’.

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The SEC is crazy, man.

Just ask Bill Connelly.

The way things currently stand, we could have an incredible SEC race on our hands.

East F/+ Ranking Proj. conf. wins
Missouri (1-0, 4-1) 29 5.17
Georgia (1-1, 3-1) 16 4.66
South Carolina (2-2, 3-2) 26 4.12
Florida (1-1, 2-1) 37 3.86
Tennessee (0-1, 2-2) 47 3.11
Kentucky (1-1, 3-1) 76 2.22
Vanderbilt (0-3, 1-4) 98 0.74
West F/+ Ranking Proj. conf. wins
Mississippi State (1-0, 4-0) 7 5.54
Alabama (1-0, 4-0) 1 5.38
Ole Miss (1-0, 4-0) 5 5.23
Texas A&M (2-0, 5-0) 11 4.88
Auburn (1-0, 4-0) 8 4.73
LSU (0-1, 4-1) 10 4.08
Arkansas (0-2, 3-2) 24 2.27

Those are three East teams projected within 1.05 wins of the top spot … and those are five West teams projected within 0.8. That’s incredible. This is something you tend to see when projecting lower-caliber conferences without standout teams. This isn’t what you expect from the best conference in the country (and while the SEC is not the best every year, it absolutely is this year).

That is about as up for grabs as you can get.  That’s also why this is a huge, huge weekend in the SEC West.

Yeah, it’s been easy putting my Power Poll ballot together.

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“Todd Gurley is just another running back in the SEC we’re going to have to tackle.”

Vanderbilt may have the 11th ranked rushing defense in the conference, but you have to admire Caleb Azubike’s approach.

Of course, that approach is part of the reason the Commodores are ranked 11th in rushing defense.

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“It’s not the place that it maybe was once.”

(Photo via Colonel Reb Foundation/Saveolemiss.com)

Ole Miss:  making the effort to escape the unsavory part of its past, but holding its breath over what signs or flags might show up on GameDay this Saturday.

Faulkner smiles wryly.

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“Back in the day, going to a football game used to be the biggest thing you did in the fall.”

Another area of haves/have-nots concern for college football is attendance.

Through five weeks, announced attendance in Football Bowl Subdivision games is down 1 percent compared to this point in 2013 and nearly 7 percent from three years ago.

The average FBS home crowd this season is 44,997, according to a CBSSports.com analysis of NCAA attendance data. That is down from 45,596 through five weeks in 2013, 47,181 in 2012 and 48,279 in 2011.

The good news for the game’s attendance health: Crowds are up 3 percent among the top 25 attendance leaders, due in part to some expanded stadiums. Seventeen of the top 25 attendance leaders experienced an increase through five weeks compared to 2013. Only 12 of the top 25 leaders in 2013 at this point had an increase from 2012.

The bad news: Many other FBS schools continue to struggle to fill seats. Outside of the top 25 attendance leaders, crowds for the remaining Power 5-conference schools are down 3 percent from 2013.

TV is a culprit, of course.  So are neutral site games, which, as Solomon notes, “are continuing to increase and can produce more attractive games than season ticket-holders sometimes pay for on campus.”  You’d think that would be a pretty clear hint about what the problem might be, but expecting athletic directors to use logic about the problem is evidently too much to hope for.

Besides, why worry about scheduling when you’ve got Mickey Mouse?

Increasingly, athletic departments are turning to Mickey Mouse for help on how to create a magical football experience.

Numerous schools have used the Disney Institute to reassess their football game experience. The Disney Institute is the professional development arm of The Walt Disney Company that gets hired by many industries, including healthcare, aviation, government/military, food/beverage and retail. The Disney Institute declined to identify or list the number of athletic departments that have worked with the company.

Mickey on the front end and ESPN on the back end.  College football, you’re doomed.

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Vanderbilt: first key, revisited

Patton Robinette ain’t playing on Saturday.

Robinette did not attend practice on Wednesday while he recovers from a concussion suffered in a Sept. 20 loss to South Carolina. On Tuesday, Mason said Robinette was “still doubtful,” but he confirmed Wednesday night that he will not play.

“Patton is out. He is out,” said Mason following practice.

Enter Wade Freebeck, who may have been ineffective against Kentucky (8-of-25 passing for 85 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions), but isn’t nervous about playing Georgia.

“No, I’m not nervous. But I wasn’t nervous the first time either,” Freebeck said. “I guess there were a little bit of nerves leading up to it. But at the end of the day, you’re still putting on cleats and playing football with good guys. I got 10 guys that got my back through whatever, so there’s nothing to be nervous about.”

Let’s see how he feels after a few bouts with Georgia’s pass rush.

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The “C” word

Man, this sends a little chill down my spine.

Ekeler also coaches the Bulldogs’ kickoff coverage team, and he was less pleased with its performance against the Vols. Georgia did not have a touchback, Tennessee averaged 40.6 yards on the field-position swap, Georgia fell to eighth in the league in kickoff coverage (40.3 ypr).

Ekeler took the blame for that as well.

“Last game, we stunk it up,” he said. “I believe in this: As a coach, you don’t point a finger, you point a thumb.”

Vanderbilt features one of the best kickoff returners in the SEC. Sophomore defensive back Darrius Sims already has two returns for touchdowns, both of them coming in the same game against South Carolina.

Ekeler indicated the Bulldogs aren’t planning to pooch or directional kick to counteract Sims’ returns.

“We’ll kick it deep and we’ll challenge ourselves,” he said. “We’re not going to back away from anybody.”

What is it with special teams at Georgia and challenge?  At least Ekeler isn’t going down Fabris’ directional kick road.

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