“Last year, it is what it is,” Gainesville native Steve Woulard said. “But watching Duke in the ACC championship game and watching that offense transfer to the talent that the Gators have, we have high hopes that that offense along with the Gator talent will produce more wins than last year.”
Living vicariously through Duke? That ain’t right.
Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley’s question last January midway through a three-hour discussion about the new NCAA model seemed to catch the adults off guard. “Where do the student-athletes fit into this governance structure?” Conley asked at the NCAA convention before about 800 attendees.
Wake Forest president Nathan Hatch, the chair of the Division I Board of Directors, responded awkwardly, “That’s not something we’ve wrestled with.”
The header to the link article implies there’s a possibility that the new governance structure gives student-athletes a meaningful opportunity to have impact into rules that affect their lives. The math tells the real story, though.
The new model, assuming it’s not vetoed by the membership over the next two months, gives athletes 18.8 percent of the votes on all autonomy legislation proposed by the Power 5 conferences. For shared governance, athletes get 3.1 percent of the vote.
Wrestle with that, Chris. At best, it might give student-athletes a chance to broker something tightly contested where their small interest is just big enough to swing a vote. But there’s a problem with that, too. Let Conley spell it out.
Given their time demands and other interests, many college athletes understandably don’t actively follow NCAA issues that can directly impact them. Conley, who has been a committee member on SAAC and passionately
“Not everybody knows who to ask the right questions to,” Conley said. “A lot of guys will ask their teammates in the locker room and their teammates don’t know. So it’s like the blind leading the blind. We need to break down some of the barriers that people have when it comes to going to speak to administrators or going to speak to coaches or people who have worked extensively with the NCAA.”
Add in the fact that the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee is essentially gelded by the NCAA (a member of SAAC produced an NCAA document that she said requires any position of advocacy taken by SAAC must be approved first by the NCAA’s president or its executive committee) and I think it’s safe to hold off on any victory celebrations if you’re someone in favor of greater student-athlete say-so. And why unionization still makes a lot of suits nervous.
That’s the last sentence in Bill Connelly’s intro to his 2014 Georgia preview, and, brother, do I know where he’s coming from. Here’s the other part of that:
Georgia has incredible skill position talent, one of the best coordinator duos in the country, and a potentially dominant front seven. The Dawgs also have serious question marks at offensive line and defensive back.
That’s about it, plus a little something about special teams. Well, that and health.
Todd Gurley missed three games. Keith Marshall missed eight. Chris Conley (noted “Star Wars” fan filmmaker) and Michael Bennett missed two. Jay Rome missed five. Justin Scott-Wesley missed eight. Malcolm Mitchell missed 12.9.
That Georgia lost all of these players at one time or another and then lost Murray with two games remaining was incredible. More incredible: Georgia still ranked eighth in Off. F/+ and fifth in Passing S&P+. I’ve said this many times by now, but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is absurdly underrated. (So was Murray, really, but that’s another story.)
The upside of injuries is that Georgia returns three running backs (four including CB-turned-RB-turned-CB J.J. Green) and four wideouts who have served as go-to options at one point or another. If Mitchell, Conley, Bennett, and Scott-Wesley can all hit 100 percent health at the same time, then … well, never mind Hutson Mason, I’m pretty sure I could throw for 3,000 yards with that group.
Bill goes on to opine that Georgia has the highest ceiling of any team in the East… but.
… if every East team performs to its maximum capability, Georgia finishes a couple steps ahead of everybody else.
The skill-position players and front seven are just loaded with exciting, experienced athletes. But the other units are somewhere between question marks and outright detriments, which makes Georgia a pretty high-variance team.
Which is why he leans towards South Carolina as the team to win the East. I can’t say I blame him. But it’s gonna be a wild ride if the injury bug doesn’t bite like it did in 2013.
I’d say I’m in the “wait ’til I see it” camp, but there’s no denying that Bobo has been consistent about adding new things to Georgia’s offense over the past few seasons, so let’s see what the H-back can bring.
When Hicks talks about his role, he sounds a bit like Bobo, analyzing the direction of the game and its offenses.
“Everybody is straying away from that power-I, I-formation scheme,” Hicks said. “When it works in the SEC, you’ve gotta have the foundation of running the ball, especially in our backfield. But I would say just the traditional football of running it, pounding it, (the trend) is straying away from that.
“So it would speed up our game (to use Hicks at H-back). And to basically play how they play in the NFL, out West, that football where you may be in that I-formation, maybe you’ll be in that spread offense. But you’re constantly going, and you’re going, you’ve gotta wear down the defense. So I think what Bobo is doing is he’s opening up a lot of doors, not only for me but for our players.”
Poor Larry Scott. A couple of years ago, the man was lauded as a genius for moving the Pac-12 into the modern era, leapfrogging its peers by forming its own conference network, completely controlled by a bunch of folks who’d never done anything like that before. Now, with the news that the SEC Network has cut a deal with DirecTV, something that’s eluded Scott, reality has begun to step in.
“We’ve been disappointed that DirecTV has been willing to negotiate with ESPN for the SEC Network but not Pac-12,” Scott said. “It is certainly not consistent with them saying they care about what the consumer wants.”
Scott is miffed that the SEC Network will be available to DirecTV’s Southern California subscribers while the Pac-12 channels won’t be. He thinks the fact that Walt Disney Co. is behind the new network played a part in the satellite service’s willingness to get a deal done.
Earth to Larry: well, duh. What did you expect?
“It appears this is an example of DirecTV being willing only to deal with big conglomerates who have muscle and leverage beyond the interest of consumers,” Scott said.
Or that a behemoth like ESPN finds it easier to command the subscription dollars than you do. The market is a beyotch, buddy.
The current state of college athletics in two sentences: “According to Big 12 leaders, athletes should have to share the revenue they generate for the school with other athletes for the good of the country. But institutions have no responsibility to share the revenue they generate with other institutions who are part of the same division within the same association.”
“And Georgia fans, don’t be turds. Enjoy this. Soak it up. It’s awesome. If you don’t win this year, it’s still not a failure. It’s a heck of a run. Back-to-back in the Playoff era hasn’t been done. So, to ask for a third I feel like it’s gluttonous. I feel like it’s not OK. But we’ll be in the mix.”-- David Pollack, On3.com, 5/9/23