Daily Archives: March 8, 2016

More NCAA rules for everybody!

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel hath spoken, people.  Among other things, it’s announced it has:

  • moved to allow the instant replay official to stop the game and create a targeting foul in situations where an egregious action occurred and was missed by on-field officials.
  • approved the use of electronic devices for coaching purposes in the press box and locker room during the game. However, that equipment will still be prohibited on the sidelines, in the team areas and on the field. Additionally, the home institution is responsible for ensuring identical television capability and identical video and Internet connectivity in the coaches’ booths of both teams.
  • directed that the Football Rules Committee will instruct officials to stringently enforce the 3-yard limit regarding ineligible receivers downfield and adjust officiating mechanics to better officiate plays.

I’ll believe that last one when I see it.

The targeting change will probably make the on-field officials even more skittish about those calls.

As far as electronic devices, that opens up a whole new frontier for Nick Saban to challenge.



Filed under College Football, The NCAA

“Success isn’t all tied to the money, but it certainly isn’t unrelated.”

Dennis Dodd sounds the alarm for the Big 12.

The evidence is mounting. The signs are there for the Big 12. The conference has to do something to address its future.

While there remains a slow, deliberate pace among Big 12 members considering expansion and/or a conference championship game, the league’s clock is ticking.

It’s the economy, stupid.

Bowlsby summed it up this way when asked the financial gap between his league and the SEC, a number that currently stands at about $9 million per year in rights fee revenue.

“If we do nothing, 12 years from now, we’ll be $20 million per school behind the SEC and the Big Ten,” he said.

Sure, that sounds crass, but the bottom line is the bottom line.

Here’s the problem.  Even if the conference could find a couple of attractive expansion partners – and as Donald Trump might put it, that assumption is huuuuge – it’s still saddled with Texas and The Longhorn Network.

If eventually there is a Big 12 Network, it’s clear Texas’ collective ego will have to be soothed. It sort of has look like was their idea to fold the struggling Longhorn Network into a conference-wide network.

LHN, to this point, has been a financial failure, losing a total of $48 million, according to the San Antonio Express-News. A source told CBS Sports that the network continues to lose single-digit millions.

But more to the point, Texas isn’t.  It’s raking in $15 million a year for twenty years.  What does Bob Bowlsby have to offer to make up for that, especially in the context of conference expansion, which means ultimately having to split the pie into more slices?

This is the best Dodd can come up with:

… A reasonable solution could be Texas being the centerpiece of a Big 12 Network.

“Texas is always going to dominate the content on the network,” an industry source said. “They’re good in baseball. They’re good in softball. They’re good in volleyball. They’re good in swimming. They’re going to have a lot more presence than other schools just because they’re better than other schools most of the time.”

See how the Texas ego begins to be soothed? We’re essentially talking LHN branded as the Big 12 Network.

A rebranding?  Seriously, that does sound like something Bowlsby would come up with… and that Texas would pass on, after it caught its breath from laughing so hard at his proposal.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Line Item

Yesterday a commenter in the heat of the moment referred to Georgia’s offensive line as “absolute crap”.  Bit of an exaggeration, there, in my humble opinion.  Which isn’t to say, as I referred to the situation in a prior post, that there isn’t a crap shoot aspect to what Sam Pittman faces going into spring practice.

There is some returning, experienced ability to work with, as you can see from this Dawg Sports post.  Some of that’s even of a size that meets with the requirements Smart and Pittman have for offensive linemen.  And if you believe that some of last year’s disappointing performance was due to Rob Sale being in over his head – and I do – then it’s not unreasonable to expect to see guys like Greg Pyke rebound under the tutelage of a position coach who knows what he’s doing.

The big problem Smart and Pittman face is all of that talent is best suited for the interior of the o-line.  Mars needs women; Georgia needs offensive tackles.  As Jake Rowe puts it,

It all boils down to Pittman’s ability to get a couple of tackles ready to play. Asking The Bulldogs front five on offense to be the strength this season might be a little much, but when you look at the experience and potential for veteran leadership on the interior, putting together a good season is a reasonable request.

No denying that’s a big “if” there.  But overall, especially when you consider the likely prospect of using Georgia’s impressive depth at tight end to shore up some of the line’s shortcomings, it’s far from absolute crap.  At least that’s my story in March, and I’ll stick to it until I see otherwise.


Filed under Georgia Football

So you say there’s a chance.

Just for funsies, take a look at Seth Emerson’s stab at assessing the chances of who starts at quarterback this season…

While we can’t offer a firm prediction on who will win the job, we – OK I, Seth – will offer up a percentage chance that each wins the job: Eason 45, Lambert 40, Ramsey 15. …. And then feel free to ask me again after spring practice is over.

… and tell me what you think the odds are for those three in the comments.


Filed under Georgia Football

“We have more support staff to hire. That’s kind of next on the agenda.”

At least in one way, the Process has come to Georgia.

Georgia’s football support staff expanded considerably during the final years of coach Mark Richt’s administration, and it has continued to grow under new coach Kirby Smart.

According to personnel records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there are now more than 40 individuals directly involved with full-time support of the football program. The number increases sharply from there when positions that have indirect involvement are included.

And it likely will increase. Smart has said he may continue to hire support personnel depending on whether he identifies a need he hasn’t already anticipated.

“The support staff is a continual process,” Smart said. “It’s not something that’s just, ‘all right we’re going to be done by this date.’ …

And they’re spending some money to do it.

According to documentation provided in compliance to a Freedom of Information Act request, UGA is spending about $5.6 million annually on football support personnel. That’s up from $5.2 million a year ago and comes after losing two significant positions the last two years.

John Eason, who was director of player development, and Dave Van Halanger, who was director of player welfare, have retired. They earned $356,479 a year between them. But Smart quickly wiped that out between internal promotions and external hires.

They don’t want to brag about it, though.

Georgia lists 50 individuals under “football staff” in its 2015 media guide. That includes Courson, three other assistant athletic trainers, two interns, two unpaid chaplains and a grounds supervisor.

The list will be longer in the 2016 guide, as has been the trend the last three or four years.

Keep those FOIA requests coming, boys.

As McGarity notes, this reflects a trend that started with Richt.  Or, perhaps more accurately, when Jeremy Pruitt showed up.

“You saw a change in our numbers around 2013-14,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said. “We had some turnover in our coaching staff. We had some new staff members coming on that saw various needs that we hadn’t seen before. That brought about a level of support that had not been seen before on campus. Mark made those recommendations and we got it done.”

Georgia’s in the process of finding out if it takes a village to raise a football program.


Filed under Georgia Football

Georgia football: expecting an excellence that’s never existed before

I’ve said on more than one occasion that Georgia is a program that believes itself to be better than it is, historically speaking.  What do I mean by that, exactly?

Well, here’s an example.  The Massey College Football Ranking Composite
is a composite of more than 100 college football rating systems compiled to produce a consensus ranking order of teams.  Brian Fremeau has gone back and looked at the last ten years of Massey rankings and grouped teams on the basis of how they’ve finished over that period.

He’s grouped team types as Elite (1-5 composite average), Very Good (6-15 composite average), Good (16-30 composite average), Above Average (31-50 composite average), and so forth.  So here’s the test for you: off the top of your head, without wading back through the Massey archives, which group would you place Georgia in?

If you’ve chosen, then you can see the answer:

  • 2015 — 25
  • 2014 — 6
  • 2013 —  23
  • 2012 — 5
  • 2011 — 18
  • 2010 — 50
  • 2009 — 27
  • 2008 — 13
  • 2007 — 6
  • 2006 — 23

The average of those ten seasons?  20th.  That puts Georgia firmly in the ranks of the Good over the past decade.  Take a look at how Good teams have performed against other team types in Brian’s analysis, and you’ll get a pretty good picture of how Georgia has fared during that time.

To be fair, if you go past the ten-year point and take in all of the Richt era, there’s a definite bump upwards in the rankings.

  • 2005 — 9
  • 2004 — 10
  • 2003 — 4
  • 2002 — 4
  • 2001 — 17

The Massey average over Richt’s first five years was 8.8, or Very Good, according to Fremeau’s breakdown.  Remember how excited we were about Richt and the program’s future at that time?  It still wasn’t elite by Fremeau’s definition.

Further, if you average the entire fifteen-year period, you get a result of 16, still within the Good team type grouping, which doesn’t really change my point.  And this result comes from one who I would say is no worse than Georgia’s second-best head coach in the program’s football history.

You can talk all you want about the natural advantages the program has in terms of resources.  The reality is that over time, it’s never delivered on that promise.  Which means that either we’ve been unrealistic about those, or we’re expecting Kirby Smart to do something we’ve never seen before, despite those natural advantages – elevate the program to an elite level and sustain that.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!