“I don’t know why (Fisher) is mad at Saban.”

I don’t know if Steve Spurrier misses the grind of coaching (I strongly doubt he misses the grind of recruiting, that’s for sure), but, judging from this, it sure sounds like he misses being in the mix as a SEC head coach.

Spurrier, famous for wise-cracking gamesmanship that often rattled and distracted opponents, seemed to side with Saban in what has become one of the most polarizing public exchanges in college football history.

“I don’t think Saban told any lies in there, so I don’t know what he was mad about,” said Spurrier, who is still the most recent SEC East Division coach to beat Saban in a regular-season game, back in 2010 while coaching South Carolina.

“Since (Fisher) beat him last year, I guess he can talk now,” Spurrier said, referring to Fisher becoming the first former Saban assistant to beat the legendary coach last season.

“He hasn’t beat much of anybody, but he beat Saban last year. But they haven’t won the division or anything since he’s been there.”

I mean, that’s about as close to saying “you can’t spell Citrus without UT” without mentioning Phil Fulmer as you can get.  Maybe Sankey ought to give him a fifteen-minute speaking slot at SEC Media Days for old times’ sake.

22 Comments

Filed under The Evil Genius

Eh, what’s in a rivalry?

I mentioned the other day in discussing where the SEC goes with conference scheduling once it becomes a sixteen-team affair that no matter which way Greg Sankey goes — sticking with a divisional format, pods, division-less with three permanent foes, etc. — there will be tradeoffs.

If the SEC ditches divisions, the question you should be pondering, Georgia fans, is which schools are designated as the Dawgs’ permanent opponents.  There’s more to think about than you might expect ($$).

No league has featured greater scheduling variety — or dealt with greater scheduling shock — than the SEC. Until 1991, the teams played their rivals and set up individual games without league interference. Before expansion, Auburn’s biggest rivals were Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Alabama. Three of those teams went to the East, while Auburn was placed in the West with Alabama.

To alleviate some of the expansion fallout, the SEC increased its annual games from seven to eight. Each team played five divisional foes plus two permanent cross-divisional opponents. The Tigers ended up with Florida and Georgia. Auburn and Tennessee, which had battled 36 years in a row before divisional play, since have met 11 times over the last 30 years with two taking place in the SEC title game.

Along with historical rival Alabama, Tennessee linked up annually with newcomer Arkansas. They played 11 consecutive years through 2002, then the SEC dropped to one annual crossover. The Vols and Razorbacks since have competed only four times in the last 20 years. On the flip side, Tennessee faced Georgia and Florida only 21 and 19 times, respectively, before they became East Division foes. They since have played 30 consecutive years.

The only reason why the SEC has any permanent non-divisional games is because of Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia.

Okay, so what would a mad scramble to arrange permanent opponents look like?  Here’s one example:

Sure, Auburn-Georgia and Florida-Georgia are no brainers, but after that, where do you rank South Carolina or Tennessee, for example?  (For that matter, historically speaking, Georgia’s played both Kentucky and Vandy roughly twice as often as it has the Vols.  Should that matter?)

And that’s just Georgia to consider.  Multiply that by fifteen.  And then duck (probably, if you’re Sankey).

37 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Leave Nick alone!

Junior, if you don’t mind me saying so, your suck up is showing just a little bit here.

10 Comments

Filed under Coach Prime, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban Rules

Fixin’ to fix up Sanford

This is welcome news.

Georgia’s next planned major project for Sanford Stadium that will bring wider southside concourses, more restrooms and concession areas as well as additional premium seats and a relocated press box now has a price tag.

The cost will be $68.5 million, athletic director Josh Brooks told the UGA Athletic Association’s finance and development committee Thursday afternoon in a meeting held on Zoom.

The full athletic board will be asked to approve a request for funding next week at its end of school year meeting.

The improvements to the south 100 and south 300 areas and Gate 9 are meant to better the fan experience. That will be part of Phase 1 that will begin after this football season and be completed before the 2023 season.

Brooks said in addition to more than doubling the south 100 concourse and adding restroom and concessions to the outskirts of that area, a new connection point will be added to the 100 bridge level.

As a north stands resident, I’m a little jealous, but it’s good to see B-M put some real money where their mouth is when it comes to fan friendly.  Which makes this Brooks quote more than a little pathetic:

“For anyone that’s been going to games for a long time, these are decade-old problems,” he said. “I’m talking 30, 40-year old problems that we just haven’t addressed yet. It’s always been difficult and it took a lot of planning to find the best way to do it.”

Alex, I’ll take “Things You Never Heard Greg McGarity Say” for $200.  Sigh.

45 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“Looking at the from the sidelines,” one coach said, “it does make for good entertainment.”

Yes, indeedy, it do.  I probably spent an hour yesterday scouring the Intertubes for quotes from Saban’s and Fisher’s peers looking for the pithiest comment of all.

For the moment, this one’s the topper“There has always been an ‘honor amongst thieves’ mantra in the SEC, and those two just called each other’s wives fat to a global audience.”

What’s your favorite?

26 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

“… Addison’s professional future was going to lead his decision-making.”

Can I just say that whoever the folks are guiding Jordan Addison’s career know what they’re doing? I mean, a few weeks ago, it’s common knowledge he was jumping ship to USC for a handsome NIL reward (not to mention trading Pittsburgh for sunny LA) and his former coach accused his new coach of tampering.  Not pretty.

So what happens?  He embarks on a tour of college campuses, supposedly weighing his transfer options, selling it well enough to get a variety of pundits to speculate on his best landing spot, all to wind up exactly where it was said he was going at the beginning.

But the real chef’s kiss?  Announcing the decision on the same day that the Fisher-Saban brouhaha sucked every molecule of oxygen out of the media tent.  That, my friends, is working it.  If I had a kid who was weighing his career options, I’d be looking up Addison’s advisers right now.

9 Comments

Filed under Transfers Are For Coaches.

How the mighty hath fallen

Pete Fiutak’s Florida preview starts out with a quick, sad look at Dan Mullen’s demise, but it’s not without comedic flavor, as Fiutak asserts, “You can probably come up with about four plays that had they gone the other way, the coaching staff would’ve still been around…”.  I’m thinking three of those four plays came in the last two minutes of the first half in Jacksonville, but I digress.

The best part comes with the section headed “Florida Key Game To The 2022 Season”.  Now, say what you will about the Gators, but let’s be real — it’s close to automatic that you put Georgia there every season.  But not this one.

Kentucky, Sept. 10
There was a generation of Gator fans that didn’t know what it was like to lose to Kentucky.

The 2018 season turned out to be great – going 10-3 with a dominant Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl win over Michigan – but Dan Mullen didn’t exactly make the base happy when Florida lost to UK for the first time since 1986. Florida got the groove back with two straight wins, only to lose to the Cats last year.

The fans are going to give Billy Napier a little bit of time to get everything right, but beat Kentucky in the SEC opener, and follow it up with a win at Tennessee in the next conference game, and everything will seem like it’s on the right track.

I think I’m gonna enjoy this re-calibration of the Gator Standard.

16 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

First among equals

Regardless of how much of a truth bomb you think Nick Saban was throwing yesterday, you have to admit some of what he said was nothing but blowing smoke.  Andy Staples ($$) neatly skewered perhaps the most eye-rolling comment of Saban’s day with this:

But now in recruiting, we have players in our state that grew up wanting to come to Alabama, that they won’t commit to us unless we say we’re going to give them what somebody else is going to give them. And my theory on that is everything that we’ve done in college athletics has always been equal. Your scholarship is equal. They get equal Alston money. They get equal cost of attendance. They get equal academic support. They get equal medical attention. Everything has always been equal.

Nothing has ever been equal in college football. Troy has never been able to compete with Alabama, even though they are both in the same NCAA subdivision. Louisiana-Monroe did that one time, but essentially these programs are in different universes. Yet Saban claims that the rules promoted equality. What they actually did was create the most lopsided playing field in any major American sport…

Meanwhile, Saban built Alabama into the program most likely to compete for championships by taking advantage of every opportunity for inequality.

Of course he did.  That’s been the secret sauce for his unprecedented success.  It’s what he sells to keep the talent pipeline to Tuscaloosa flowing.

Much of Saban’s recruiting pitch — as well as the pitches of coaches at other national title-caliber programs — is that everything at Alabama is inherently better than everything those recruits will find at other schools. The nutrition. The academic support. The strength and conditioning program. The entire pitch is about how other schools aren’t equal to Alabama. So the sentiment that the goal is equality is completely disingenuous. The goal is to ensure the other programs don’t find an edge so Alabama can keep being better.  [Emphasis added.]

Damn straight, Skippy.  And if Nick believes that’s being threatened, either somebody takes steps to rein that in, or Saban will try to find a next level way at Alabama to neutralize the threat.

Parity doesn’t mean what you and I think it means.  Don’t say we haven’t been warned.

26 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Chiseled

Arik Gilbert, my friends.

And to think once upon a time a lot of us were worried about his conditioning going into this season.

28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

Of all the hot takes from yesterday…

… this may be the one I least expected.

Let’s keep Kirbs out of this one, aight?  I’m sure that would be his preference.

32 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules, SEC Football