Daily Archives: December 8, 2014

May you play in interesting bowl games.

Why do I have the feeling that the bowl game is never going to live up to the pregame hype?

Although I hope Seth’s right and some enterprising member of the media manages to lob in a couple of questions about Georgia’s S&C program and the IPF at Grantham’s presser.  Gotta get my jollies where I can find them.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Fabris Invitational news

I’ve just set the bowl pool up and sent out your invitations to take part.  Sign up, but don’t both to make your picks yet, because not all the lines have been set.

Since we don’t know which teams will play in the national championship game, I’ve decided to allow picks on every individual game to run until the start of each.

Format remains the same – picks against the spread, tiebreaker based on total points scored and which team wins.

Questions?

18 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

He’s firing them as fast as he can.

Holy crap.  Derek Mason has now fired almost half his staff, including both coordinators.  After one season.

That should be a solid recipe for getting quality hires as replacements.

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Filed under SEC Football

Nice Guys Finish Last, starring Mark Richt

Butch Jones, fresh off a dynamic 6-6 season, is getting a pay bump to $3.6 million per yearDan Mullen is about to get a contract extension – his second of 2014, mind you – after a year in which his team didn’t win the SEC West.

Outside of Derek Mason and his private contract, that means Mark Richt will likely enter 2015 as the lowest paid head coach in the SEC.

Maybe McGarity plans on using the savings to pay for the IPF.

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UPDATE:  Hey, don’t take my word for how weird that looks.  This is from a UT beat writer.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

“Cost is not value. Cost is cost.”

Andy Schwarz looks at the report UAB’s president relied on in deciding to terminate the school’s football program and eviscerates it.

The reason I keep coming back to this story is because I feel fairly certain it’s going to be used to justify all kinds of bullshit in college football’s name.  And that’s nonsense.  As Schwarz puts it,

Why does this matter? Because it puts to lie the ludicrous notion that if the Alabamas of the college football world keep making more and more money—and potentially spend more and more of it on elite players—UAB and its ilk will have to drop the sport. Nonsense.

We wouldn’t expect a mom-and-pop store that has grown from $1.4 million to $6.5 million in annual revenues (which is what the typical school in the bottom quartile of the FBS has experienced) to go belly up just because a big box store across town grew from $24 million to $58 million (what the typical upper quartile FBS school has experienced) in the same time frame, nor would we expect the mom-and-pop to keep pace with what the big box spends on marketing and employee bonuses. Why would UAB, or any other mid-major football school, be different? The Blazers don’t compete against the Crimson Tide or the rest of the SEC for the very best high school recruits; they compete against the rest of C-USA, against schools that choose to spend about as much on football as they do.

You don’t need to outrun a hungry bear. You just need to outrun the guy sprinting next to you. (Moreover, in UAB’s case, it should do just fine against its C-USA competition just by positioning itself as a great place to transfer in the event that Nick Saban decides you’re good enough to break second-string on Alabama’s depth chart.)

There are plenty of reasons to poor mouth your finances.  For UAB, it’s a convenient way to get around facing tough questions about the politics of its board.  And if you’re college football?  Well…

On a larger scale, this same sort of hide-the-profits accounting is—in my experienceall too common in college sports. It’s the kind of financial trickery that allows a swimming-in-the-black industry enjoying billions more in revenues than expenses to claim that more than 80 percent of FBS schools lose money on sports, the better to seek exemptions (via the federal courts or Congress) from the laws (antitrust or labor) that require all other entertainment industries to pay their talent free-market wages. Whether the school is trying to fool outsiders with its funny numbers or just managed to fool itself is hard to say, but one thing is certain: bad accounting drives bad decisions.

Ask yourself a simple question:  if things are really so tough, if UAB is the canary in the coal mine, so to speak, why are more schools seeking to start football programs, or move up to Division I?

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

There’s a thin line between love and hate.

A sentiment I share:

… We came into the season with a QB that has been praised for ‘getting the most out of his talent.’ We came in with two of our top receivers sidelined. We came in with a defense that was perilously thin, and one that the new DC was consistently and vocally not happy with. We endured another rash of injuries, and other things, that lead to us losing a whole team’s worth of RBs.

Still, Georgia is poised to lead the conference in scoring, improve 8+ points in scoring defense, and has fixed most of the special teams non-sense from the last four seasons. Bobo has done his best job yet in scheming, game planning, and coaching his players. Pruitt has done a good job with the players he thought weren’t ready for his style of defense. Richt and his staff have done a stunningly good job of maximizing what this team can be.

And that is what is so maddening. The two losses in conference were due to coaches not doing what it takes to win the game, as opposed to worrying about not losing. Richt, despite the fake kicks, going for it on fourth down, and breaking out trick plays, still, at inexplicable times, grasps onto the don’t screw up mentality. The squib/pooch kick was just one example of that.

At this point, Mark Richt still can’t recognize how to step into a situation where if things go wrong there isn’t really that big a difference, but if they go right, there is a huge payoff.

It’s been a season that started off with lowered expectations, as Tyler describes.  Those jacked up quickly after Clemson, faded a little after South Carolina, came roaring back at Missouri and Arkansas (ironically, without Georgia’s best player) crashed at Florida and were finally put to rest for good in Week 14.

From a macro perspective, Richt did his job.  The defense, while staggered by a steady run of dismissals and defections, stabilized over the course of the season and improved.  Replacing Grantham with Pruitt has paid off in both the short and long run.  Special teams, for the most part, was turned from a weakness to a strength.  The coaches took an offense run by a quarterback with a very different skill set from Aaron Murray and made it the most successful in the program’s history.  Most of all, Richt knew that for things to work based on his team’s strengths and weaknesses, the two most important areas Georgia had to control were field position and turnovers and that’s exactly what drove Georgia’s season.  That’s what Tyler is referring to when he describes Georgia’s 2014 season as “the best job coaching Mark Richt has done, as far as getting the team to play like a team and be better than the sum of its parts.”

And many of the computer rankings reflect that.  Sagarin has Georgia in his top eight.  So does Football Outsiders.  Ditto for Chase Stuart.  And Massey-Peabody has loved Georgia all season.

In the end, recordwise, the Dawgs ended up where we probably expected before the season got underway.  Yet many of us, including me, feel a bit deflated at the end of the regular season.  Why?  Because as good as Richt has been with the big picture stuff this season, there have been flops on the micro level that have simply killed Georgia in its three losses.  The squib kick against Georgia Tech.  The failure to have the team mentally and emotionally prepared to play Florida (what the hell?).  The ineffective playcalling at first-and-goal on South Carolina’s four-yard line.

No, it’s not all on the coaches.  It’s not on Richt that Todd Gurley sold some autographs.  The players bear just as much responsibility for not having their heads in the right places in Jacksonville as the coaches do.  (And let’s not forget the one common thread in all the losses:  missed Marshall Morgan field goals.)  But it drives me crazy to see the same guy do such a fabulous job in the offseason of identifying the major areas that needed correction, take concrete steps to fix them and yet whiff on much smaller stuff that wound up undoing most of the good he accomplished.

It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog.  But sometimes it’s frustrating as hell, too.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“But we’re gonna be making a new move in that direction and we’re excited about where we land with it.”

Mark Richt tells Seth Emerson what he’s looking for with the next head of strength and conditioning.

“The bottom line here is we believe in playing a physical brand of football on both sides of the ball,” Richt said. “We want to be able to play physical. There’s certain teams that you play that will be teams that will pound the ball or have a physical style of play. We certainly have a physical style of play on offense, with also the ability to throw the ball as good as anybody. We’re very balanced in what we do. So it’s going to be important there.

“But there are some teams that spread and go fast. So we want to be able to be physical, but recover quickly and go be physical again. And so that’ll be a big part of what we’re doing, is to train our team to be able to handle anything that could possibly come up in a ballgame, as far as the physical part of it as well as the mental part that comes with it. It gets developed in your offseason program.”

In other words, he wants it all.  Nothing wrong with that!

Seriously, I get what Richt’s saying.  And with the variety of offenses Georgia faces in the SEC, he’s right to want that kind of flexibility.  What’s important to see here is the implicit recognition that he wasn’t getting that with Joe T’s program.  It will be interesting to see the background and philosophy of Richt’s next hire.  I think most of us believe Georgia has some catching up to do with its peers.

17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple