Monthly Archives: July 2012

“Yes, folks, this is going to be a big game.”

Enjoy Gamecock Man’s breakdown of this year’s Georgia-South Carolina matchup.

It’s a close call, and I can’t fault him for backing his team (at least if Lattimore is healthy).

That being said, I think the garnet-colored glasses show through a little bit in his conclusion:

Until proven otherwise, I think we should be able to handle Georgia’s running game, and while Murray is a dangerous passer, Clowney and Taylor are likely to have a field day with him, hopefully leading to some of the classic Murray breakdowns. Georgia’s defense will likely make things tough on us, too, but if we can stay steady running the read-option with Shaw and Lattimore, we should be able to move the ball with a bit more consistency and without putting the ball in danger. I’m concerned about our ability to throw the ball against a team with such a great defensive front, but Shaw’s ability to improvise with his feet should keep us out of trouble until our running game opens things up down field.

I’m not sure I see why Carolina’s offense will be more likely to have its way against Georgia’s defense than vice versa.  That certainly wasn’t the case last year.  And, yes, Murray versus the Gamecock ends is worrisome, but he still managed to put up a 175.98 passer rating with Clowney and Taylor on the field last year.  (That’s not a number Shaw managed to hit against SEC competition in 2011, by the way.)

The big question to me is whether the Dawgs can avoid self-destructing.  If they can, I think Gamecock Man’s got his prediction backwards.

59 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football

The curious case of Kolton Houston

Yep, he’s still in limbo.

Kolton Houston manned right tackle at the end of spring after not playing last season due to an unspecified NCAA issue. Richt couldn’t say earlier this month if Houston will be available.

“I wish had an answer for that,” Richt said. “I still don’t know the answer on whether he’ll be eligible.”

Hey, I’ve got a thought for the NCAA.  If Georgia hires someone to conduct an independent investigation, the investigator produces a report that clears Houston and the school stands behind the report, can he play?  Just sayin’, guys.  Wars have been fought and lost in less time.

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

The Montana Project, first update

Well, that didn’t take long.  Less than half a day passed before a volunteer stepped forward who passed muster.  (Behold the power of the Intertubes!)

I don’t want to lay out too much detail, because I want to give him the chance to introduce himself to you in his own words, but suffice to say he fits the bill nicely.   He’s a long-time resident of Montana who bleeds red and black (he shlepped to the unfortunate Colorado game and sent me the photo of him and Hairy Dawg there to prove it) and reads GTP.  I had to pinch myself when I read his e-mail; he’s almost overqualified.  So anyway, be on the lookout for an introduction.

One other thing to mention is that Travis is going to front for the cost of one of the necessary props for this exercise, a real, live Georgia football helmet.  He’s found a good one on Amazon for about $200.  I can’t set up a widget for PayPal on WordPress, so Travis will do that at his blog.  I will supply a link to that from here, and I hope that you will give a few bucks to the cause.  When the dust settles, I plan to set up a permanent Montana Project page here at GTP and list all of those who participated financially, so there’s that small shot at quasi-immortality you can grab for yourself.

Bottom line –  we’re on our way.  Stay tuned for more news on this.

39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, GTP Stuff

Now that you’ve got that ol’ righteous indignation stoked…

Big talk from Greg McGarity:

“If you see it, you own it,” said McGarity, who took over at his alma mater in August 2010 after serving 18 years as Jeremy Foley’s right-hand man at Florida. “No matter what it is, from a piece of paper on the ground to somebody breaking the rules. If you see it, you own it, and if it is serious you are obligated to report it up the chain of command.”

No doubt he’s sincere.  And no doubt he reflects a general consensus among his peers (at least I hope so).  But let’s face it – being concerned about a Jerry Sandusky is easy.  Nobody wants to be seen as empowering a monster.

But how about turning some of that worry about the chain of command to something a wee bit harder, eh?  Something like, oh, say, this.

There’s another college sports scandal largely going unnoticed this summer. It’s not as horrific as Penn State. What could be worse than that?

But North Carolina’s academic scandal is a big deal. And it could be bigger if it becomes attached to Roy Williams’ basketball program.

Concealing the rapes of boys presumably (hopefully!) doesn’t happen often in college sports. Yet a big reason why that duplicity occurred is similar to why large numbers of North Carolina athletes attended bogus classes.

Keep the athlete eligible or a coach/administrator employed. Keep the school’s image intact while trying to win games. Keep printing money through the college sports machine.

I think Solomon’s kidding himself if he thinks Penn State grabbed all the oxygen in the room such that we don’t hear much about what’s unfolding in Chapel Hill.  The reality is that academic scandals sprout like weeds in the college football world.  Some brief attention may get paid to one thing or another, but they all wind up fading when the weather turns cooler.

But he’s spot on about the rest.  Just as much as what we saw at Penn State, academic scandals are about letting athletic departments have too much say over school management.  (And just like at Penn State, some of what occurred at North Carolina may violate state criminal laws.)

So, what say you, Mark Emmert and your band of merry men?  Is it culture changing time again?

I’m not holding my breath.  Like I said, condemning a serial child rapist and those who enabled him isn’t hard.  Lifting the curtain to assign blame for college football’s sausage making is.  Just ask someone close to us.

Georgia president Michael Adams, a former member of the NCAA’s Executive Committee, has made some unpopular moves concerning athletics in his time at Georgia. He forced former athletics director and Hall of Fame football coach Vince Dooley to retire in 2004. He was the force behind the hiring of basketball coach Jim Harrick, who he later fired due to NCAA violations.

But Adams has shown a zero tolerance approach to coaches or employees who behave badly. When athletics director Damon Evans, Adams’ hand-picked successor to Dooley, was arrested for DUI while with a woman who was not his wife, Adams immediately fired Evans…

Don’t you love the way Barnhart finesses that academic scandal?  Sure, Harrick got fired.  But does anyone remember that the only people who paid a price for the school turning a blind eye to what Harrick Junior was doing were the basketball players who weren’t allowed to play postseason ball?  They got sacrificed on Michael Adams’ altar.  But the administrators who allowed the situation to fester suffered not a whit.  That’s the approach that makes this quote from McGarity so laughable:  “It has to start with presidential leadership. If you have a president who has his priorities in order there is less of a chance that something like this [Penn State] could happen.”

So don’t count on Sheriff Emmert riding out again to clean up our fair town.  Child rapists, beware.  The rest of you folks undermining college sports?  Keep the noise down, or they might have to issue you a citation.

42 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World, The NCAA

Standing pat

In less than a week, Mark Richt goes from announcing the program will look into pursuing players leaving the Penn State program, to submitting a list of nineteen players of specific interest to Georgia… to walking away from the whole deal.

In a statement released by UGA at 5:08 p.m. on Friday, Richt simply stated:

“Currently, Georgia is not pursuing any of Penn State’s football players. We wish Coach O’Brien and the players the best.”

Now, sure, you can read something into the word “currently”.  I presume if a PSU player emerged who made it very clear that he wanted to jump ship for Athens, then Mark Richt would be attentive.  But for all intents and purposes, it sounds like the chase is over before it really got started.

19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Are you ready for some (college) football?

Well, you’d better be:  SEC players report for fall practice next week.  In fact, at Georgia and Auburn, they report on Tuesday.  Auburn gets the first practice underway on August 1.  Here’s a handy chart of all the key fall practice dates, if you’re interested (via).

3 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

One man’s “narrow focus” is another man’s “thorough investigation”.

Oh, boy.

A member of the team that produced a 267-page report condemning the response of Pennsylvania State University’s leaders to a serial child molester believes that the NCAA’s use of that document was insufficient to justify the punishment it handed the university this week.

“That document was not meant to be used as the sole piece, or the large piece, of the NCAA’s decision-making,” a source familiar with the investigation told The Chronicle on Thursday. “It was meant to be a mechanism to help Penn State move forward. To be used otherwise creates an obstacle to the institution changing.”

A better way of putting that would be to say that in the future, schools will see Penn State as a cautionary tale about the risk entailed in authorizing an investigation like this to start with, or, if after authorizing one, accepting its conclusions.  It’s hard to see how that helps strengthen Emmert’s stated goal of changing the culture in big time college athletics.

Especially when the goals of the school and the NCAA may not be entirely aligned.  And I don’t mean that in anything other than a neutral sense.

“The Freeh team reviewed how Penn State operated, not how they worked within the NCAA’s system,” this person said. “The NCAA’s job is to investigate whether Penn State broke its rules and whether it gained a competitive advantage in doing so.”

Now I don’t have any sympathy for the institutional stature concern the source raises – if you don’t want that problem, don’t enable a serial child molester – but this argument about the obvious structural inadequacies of the process behind the report as the basis for NCAA action certainly resonates:

Mr. Spanier was the only one among them to be interviewed by the Freeh investigators, and that was just days before the report was released. (Mr. Curley and Mr. Schultz, facing charges of perjury and failing to report child abuse, did not answer questions for the report.)

Because of those and other limitations, some of the Freeh team’s findings were circumstantial. “The report is critical, but nothing is black and white,” The Chronicle‘s source said. “No investigation can totally answer all the questions everyone has.”

The Freeh report also could have explored more about the various coaches who knew about Mr. Sandusky’s showering with boys—an area in which the NCAA obviously should have followed up, said the person close to the Freeh investigation.

“The NCAA took this report and ran with it without further exploration,” this person said. “If you really wanted to show there was a nexus to cover up, interview the coaches. See their knowledge and culpability and how far this went.”  [Emphasis added.]

That’s not an issue the people who hired Freeh were concerned with, as they were looking top down at how Sandusky was able to operate with apparent impunity for more than a decade on the Penn State campus.  And that’s why Freeh’s report goes no higher than Spanier in assigning blame for that.  But, again, from the NCAA’s perspective, if this is supposed to be about rooting out a diseased football-first culture, then the investigation didn’t go nearly far enough.  Emmert failed to follow through on his mission.

In short, by his own standards, Emmert did a half-assed job, regardless of the sincerity of his intentions.  And because of that, it won’t surprise me at all if over the next couple of years some of the sanctions begin to be walked back.  And that’s going to look bad for all parties concerned with message sending.

79 Comments

Filed under The NCAA