August 24, 2014 · 12:24 PM
Now here’s a surreal exchange:
Weeks later, a caller identified as “David from Athens” on Paul Finebaum’s show on the new SEC Network told the host that it was national title or bust in his mind, and that “if we can’t do it this year, Mark Richt needs to be fired.”
Finebaum, who has been tough on Richt in the past, quickly put the brakes on that, saying “he’s one of the best coaches in the league.”
The caller told Finebaum that anybody can come in and win 10 games at Georgia.
Finebaum’s gone soft.
August 24, 2014 · 10:24 AM
Obviously, we’re about to learn more about what’s being set in stone over the next few days – after all, it’s now less than a week until the opener – but if you’re looking to handicap the depth chart, Gentry Estes has a good starting point for you.
If you’d have told me in the spring that the offensive line would be more locked in at right guard than at left tackle, I’m not sure I would have believed you. But, there it is.
And what in the wide, wide world of sports is going on with Ramik Wilson?
August 24, 2014 · 9:53 AM
David Ching grades the SEC quarterbacks on how he thinks they’ll do this season. Here are the grades for those the Georgia defense will see:
- Nick Marshall, A
- Maty Mauk, A-
- Dylan Thompson, B
- Jeff Driskel, C+
- Patton Robinette, C
- Patrick Towles, C-
- Justin Worley, C-
- Brandon Allen, D
Certainly there are plenty of names there worthy of respect. But concern on the level that Shaw and Mettenberger generated last season? Marshall, yes, but even he is far from a polished passer. I like Mauk a lot, but as Ching asks, who will catch those passes? Thompson has a good supporting cast around him, but he hasn’t done anything yet to really distinguish himself.
I’m not saying that translates into a dominating year for Georgia’s defensive backfield. But I think I can argue it looks like it might be a fair fight most weeks.
August 24, 2014 · 9:36 AM
You gotta love Corch. He’s never happy.
The voice rose up from the state of Florida eight years ago and cut deep into Big Ten country, where there existed a clamor for a historic rematch.
The voice rang with outrage against the idea that Ohio State and Michigan should play again in the Bowl Championship Series title game after the No. 1 Buckeyes had defeated the No. 2 Wolverines 42-39 in the regular-season finale in 2006.
The voice so contrarian to Midwestern wishes belonged to Urban Meyer, then coach of the Florida Gators.
“If that (rematch) does happen, all the presidents need to get together immediately and put together a playoff system. I mean like now,” Meyer said.
Welp, now he’s got one. Problem solved, right? Uh…
“I think I like it,” Meyer said. “It’s good for the fans. It’s good for college football. But there are still a lot of concerns.”
Meyer is worried about fatigue for participants and the financial strain placed upon a school’s fans and players’ families, who might have to travel to a league championship game and possibly two more postseason games within a month.
Oh, bullshit. He won’t say what he’s really concerned about. But Mark Dantonio will.
“Certainly the fifth team is going to feel a little bit left out,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said.
I don’t know about you, but I know which program I’m rooting for to finish just out of the money this season.
August 24, 2014 · 9:28 AM
The Sports Marketing Analytics folks at Emory University have looked at college football fan bases across the land and determined that we Georgia fans are the third best in America. Yay us!
It’s when you get to the fine print that you realize it’s kind of a back-handed compliment.
Our approach is data and statistically driven, as we look at how fans support their teams after controlling for how well the team performs on the field, the market it plays in, and school characteristics. [Emphasis added.]
We love ’em unconditionally, pretty much, regardless of results. That’s gotta be a lot of comfort to the reserve fund.
August 24, 2014 · 9:22 AM
Big Ten Network programming director Jim Delany isn’t totally enamored with the current infestation of neutral site games, at least the ones that aren’t being broadcast on his network.
Delany’s letter, which was obtained by The Gazette, highlighted the league’s support for neutral sites provided at least half of the series occur within the Big Ten footprint and under the league’s television agreements. Delany wrote an arrangement would be “disapproved” if a Big Ten game was not designated as the home squad in at least half the games or if it was a one-game event that took place outside the league’s television umbrella.
While Delany cautioned schools to work with the conference before finalizing games, he also champions the idea of high-profile football games. Strength-of-schedule is a major component for the four-team College Football Playoff, which debuts this season.
“We know you are trying to create strong non-conference game schedules as we move into the College Football Playoff environment and as we prepare for our next big television negotiation,” Delany wrote. “We applaud and very much appreciate your efforts in doing so, as this should create value for your teams and fans as well as for our television partners and, therefore, for all Conference members. But please keep in mind the above policies that are important to all of us as we share collectively in the revenue generated by our televised games.”
As Brian Cook points out, Big Jim is concerned about some of his kids not sharing with the others.
In any case the memo indirectly indicates why neutral site games are popular: the two teams participating can split the TV money between themselves instead of between themselves and Indiana and Purdue and a bunch of other teams that are not in fact playing. When there’s a Jerryworld game, ESPN and Jerryworld get the rights and then give home-team-sized slices to both participants. The Big Ten doesn’t like that.
I doubt the schools care that Delany is miffed while they pocket those oversized checks. But notice what Delany isn’t concerned about, per Cook.
It is of course completely nuts for Michigan to play Florida in Dallas. The stadium is smaller, the fanbases are far away, and the pageantry of college football is largely replaced with sterile NFL lawyer spaceship accoutrements.
But, hey, Jerry Jones’ bank account sure is nice.