Shorter Mark Bradley: I know Mark Richt always says he’s never leaving Georgia for another coaching job, but he ought to consider the Miami opening because it would take him away from people like me who question his devotion.
Daily Archives: October 26, 2015
The Kentucky game is a nooner.
As someone who’s maintained for a while that it’s money, not tradition, keeping the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, this piece from Gene Frenette doesn’t surprise me.
But an equally big story in the next month — with huge future economic implications for Jacksonville and those committed to preserving the game’s rich history — will take place away from the TV cameras and behind closed doors: renegotiating a Georgia-Florida contract that expires after the 2016 game.
While these negotiations are often viewed as a foregone conclusion — Jacksonville has been the series host since 1933 (except 1994-95 when the stadium was rebuilt to accommodate the NFL expansion Jaguars) — it’s possible things could get a little dicey this time around.
Both universities and the city of Jacksonville aren’t prepared yet to start negotiations because they’re waiting to see the Jaguars’ plans for renovations to the EverBank club seat areas in the east and west stands, a place normally reserved for the wealthiest boosters of each school.
Those renovations are expected to reduce the club seat capacity for Jaguars games in 2016 from 11,000 to about 8,000, which team president Mark Lamping said will improve the game-day experience and be a more appropriate number for the city’s NFL market size.
But as it pertains to the Georgia-Florida game, two possible sticking points for the schools must be ironed out. The first is replacing an estimated 3,000 club seats so that stadium capacity for the SEC showdown is back up to 82,917, as mandated in the contract. Another issue is how those temporary replacement seats, both in terms of comfort and aesthetic feel of the surroundings, will be received by the school’s top-level donors.
The city seems imbued with the belief that everyone wants the game to stay in Jacksonville, with the attendant consideration that there will be give and take from the schools about that, but I’m not so sure in this day and age that’ll be enough. Take this comment from McGarity:
Mousa hinted that everything is negotiable, that maybe Georgia and Florida would be willing to accept extra compensation — beyond the $3 million each receive for playing the game in Jacksonville — in lieu of losing some club seats.
But McGarity shot down that idea in an email, writing: “Priority number one is number of seats (being 82,917), no doubt about that. If we wanted more revenue, we would simply raise ticket prices.”
Maybe that’s just holding your ground early in negotiations, but if you’re the city, you probably wince seeing stuff like that being made public.
This probably makes you wince, too.
One of those venues is Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will replace the Georgia Dome as the Atlanta Falcons’ home field in 2017. With a seating capacity of 75,000, and the potential to expand to 83,000, the $1.2 billion stadium has already sent a message to the college football world that it intends to be a major player for sporting events.
McGarity said maintaining the Georgia-Florida game tradition in Jacksonville is important, but he acknowledges the new Atlanta venue — along with AT&T Stadium in Dallas and a newly renovated Citrus Bowl in Orlando — cannot be ignored as potential competition down the road for any neutral-site game.
“There are newer and more modern options available now that are in play (to attract neutral-site games),” McGarity said. “They’re business people, too.”
How much is there to squeeze out of the city? We’re going to find out.
In the wake of George O’Leary’s resignation, Central Florida will pay his coach in waiting $700,000 for not replacing him.
You can add that to the “stupid things athletic departments do because they don’t have to pay for labor” file. Which is getting kinda thick, now that I notice.
It’s going to be my usual short week at the blog, so there’s no sense in waiting to jump in with a few posts about the Cocktail Party. Besides, I think we made excellent use of the off week to stew over how much sucks about Richt, the team, the season, etc., didn’t we?
Speaking of stewing, for those of you who haven’t quite gotten your fill of that yet, this week is going to be something of a disappointment, as I’m going to take the approach that a blow out loss isn’t a given and that it’s not insane to consider the possibility that Georgia could win this Saturday. (For those of you who disagree, Vegas is waiting for your call.)
So here are a few tidbits I started assembling over the weekend.
- Based on the schedule, Florida should be favored. Hey, I just said I’m not crazy. Florida and Georgia have played two common opponents this season. The Gators won both; Georgia split. (And didn’t look better against Missouri.) Both lost to their West opponents, but Florida certainly but up a better fight in its loss than Georgia did.
- Based on the stats, this should be a competitive game. Sorry, but it’s true. Both teams have defenses playing better than the other team’s offense. And if you notice, Florida’s offensive line is playing at about the level that was expected before the season started. The one area that looks lopsided, unfortunately in Florida’s favor, is special teams play.
- A look at what McElwain’s up to on offense. One thing you have to say about this year’s Florida offense is that unlike what we saw during Agent Muschamp’s era, there appears to be a sense of purpose. You can read this Ian Boyd piece to get a picture of that. Yeah, that use of the tight end stuff makes me exceedingly nervous.
- Forgetting Will Grier. Boyd’s piece was written before Grier’s suspension. Treon Harris is now the man. And, yes, I do remember last year’s game. If you think that’s still really important, I suggest you double down in Vegas and place a bet that Florida doesn’t throw the ball more than six times this Saturday. Otherwise, you might want to take a look at Harris’ 2015 stats to get an idea of what Georgia has to do to stay in the game. And make no mistake about it, figuring out how to contain Harris is Pruitt’s biggest job.
- Remembering Treon Harris. I’m kicking myself because I didn’t save a link to a post about Harris’ tendencies. (Richt says there isn’t much of a difference between Grier and Harris. Who knows, he might even believe that.) I can’t find it now. Maybe it’ll turn up this week and I can share it with you when it’s rediscovered. In the meantime, here’s the big thing you need to know about Harris’ passing: he loves to roll to his right. And he’s good when he is allowed to do just that. Stop that, though, and he’s much less effective. How do I know? Well, first check out his situational stats. His first half passer rating is 237.22. In the second half, that drops to 117.76. Why? Maybe it has something to do with a halftime adjustment LSU made. Keeping Harris in the pocket and pressuring him there is paramount if the Dawgs are going to keep the Florida offense in check. So, yes, the pass rush is a big deal, but keeping contain is even bigger… which is one lesson you have to hope the defense learned from last year’s debacle.
I’ll stop there. I’ll have more to chew on as the week progresses.
Not exactly a week loaded with heavyweight action.
Consolidation at the top and fluidity at the bottom. Life in the SEC, mid-2015 season.
- Alabama. Alabama didn’t play its best in a rivalry game, hunkered down late and did what good teams do to win. That’s why it’s Alabama.
- LSU. These guys grind out wins as well as anybody in the country.
- Florida. It’s against Florida’s religion to play a game the week before the Cocktail Party.
- Mississippi. A dangerous team, in the Jekyll and Hyde sense of being dangerous.
- Mississippi State. A competent, below the radar team with the most below the radar quarterback in the conference.
- Texas A&M. Gee, I thought it was the Aggies’ defense everyone questioned.
- Tennessee. Ironically, the last Tennessee head coach to earn a moral victory against Alabama was Lane Kiffin.
- Georgia. Any way you look at it, Georgia won’t be occupying the same spot in next week’s Power Poll.
- Arkansas. Is a four-overtime game that did little more than show which team is less mediocre a big win?
- Auburn. The Gus Bus threw another engine rod. All Auburn can do now is try to get the vehicle fixed for next season’s race.
- Kentucky. After being undressed by MSU, Kentucky is beginning to look like it’s going to replay last season.
- South Carolina. From a transitive property standpoint, the bottom of the conference is a jumble. But the ‘Cocks are this week’s recipient of a bye week bounce.
- Vanderbilt. An ugly win? Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, and I doubt Derek Mason’s beholding it like that.
- Missouri. To be the worst, you’ve got to lose to the worst.
Weird to consider, but on Saturday Jim McElwain will become the fifth Florida head coach Mark Richt has faced in Jacksonville.
For those of you who’ve complained over the years about the disparity in travel between Georgia and Florida for this week’s game, how does this news sit?
For the first time since head coach Mark Richt took the Georgia job in 2001, the Bulldogs will travel to Jacksonville on a Thursday.
School won’t be in session at the university on Friday, meaning Georgia has the opportunity to get down to Saturday’s site a day in advance. The thinking behind this is to ensure the players get enough rest leading into this week’s game against Florida.
Georgia will look to leave for Jacksonville on Thursday evening.
“We felt we could get in there and get a good night sleep and let them sleep in a little bit Friday and then get into our normal routine on Friday,” Richt said.
Going down on Thursday? Hey, that’s worked for me and my group for 35 years now. Can’t hurt.
Honestly, with the FSU and Utah losses, this was an easy one. I spent less than five minutes putting it together.
- Ohio State
I’m sure there are those who think Michigan State should be in the mix. My problem with including the Spartans is that once I go down that road, it’s hard to justify keeping teams like Iowa, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Notre Dame out of the mix. I’m not inclined to do so at the moment. I’ll see how I feel about that in a couple of weeks.
UPDATE: Also, this.