Daily Archives: March 22, 2016

“A decision does not define him is what I told him.”

I asked yesterday about the math for the Ledbetter suspension.  Looks like I was right about rounding down.

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart confirmed the expected after Tuesday’s practice that sophomore Jonathan Ledbetter will serve a one-game suspension after being arrested early Sunday on two-alcohol related charges…

A first-time offense of the drug and alcohol policy carries a suspension of 10 percent of the season, which is one game in football.

This time, anyway.



Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football

Oh, snap.

I don’t care how you feel about either Michigan or Ohio State – as burns go, this one’s pretty effective.

I love me some college rivalries.


Filed under Big Ten Football

Ain’t nothin’ but a quarterback.

Interesting observation from Kirby Smart:

Asked about the keys to success for a first-time coach in the SEC — the track record recently and historically isn’t good — Smart began a spiel about the need to be consistent in all areas, especially recruiting. Then, he stopped himself.

“I can also say it comes down to quarterback play,” he said. “If you chart SEC champions over a 20-year period, the one consistent thing to me is you’re not going to win if you don’t have a quarterback. It’s too critical of a position. He decides something every play.”

I say that’s interesting because if there’s one program that managed to succeed without emphasizing quarterback play, it’s the one he was at for nine years.

I don’t necessarily disagree with the sentiment, but over the period he mentions, I can think of teams like the 2006 Florida team that won a national title without having great quarterback play.  Maybe it’s a matter of semantics as to what he means there, but nevertheless, it’s striking that he went out of his way to acknowledge it.

I wonder what that means if the coaches decide that Eason should start.


Filed under Georgia Football

Come together… right now… over the Longhorn Network.

Mike Gundy has a bone to pick with Texas.

Texas needs to eliminate the Longhorn Network in order for the Big 12 to avoid facing increased instability, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told CBS Sports on Monday.

Gundy’s comment was made as he said the league overall needs to market itself better. The conference, he said, is at a disadvantage because of the widespread distribution and success of the SEC Network and Big Ten Network.

Eliminating LHN, which he called a “failure,” and creating a conference-wide Big 12 Network would give the league more national exposure, Gundy added.

“If we don’t eliminate the Longhorn Network and create our own network, they’re going to continue to have issues with this league,” Gundy said as the Cowboys returned from spring break to continue spring practice.

He continued: “You don’t have a Big 12 Network; you have a network within the league that people consider a failure.”

LHN’s struggles are well-documented. The school-centric network reportedly has lost $48 million since its launch in 2011. Its annual losses are now in the single-digit millions, according to a source. Both ESPN and Texas seem committed to the 20-year, $295 million agreement that would pay the school an average of $15 million per year.

“Everything is based on marketing,” Gundy said. “Right now the Big 12 is not getting the marketing we need because of the Longhorn Network. Now, nobody wants to hear that but …”

The Longhorn Network is a failure only to those keeping an eye on Mickey’s balance sheet.  If you’re keeping the books at Texas, $15 million dollars a year looks pretty good – and when you realize that’s money none of your peers is getting paid, it looks even better.

So the ‘Horns should give that up in the name of doing the right thing for its competitors?  When’s the last time a football power behaved that magnanimously?  It’s simply not in their DNA.


Filed under Big 12 Football

Our man in Havana

If you had to guess which major college football coach is in Cuba right now, would you pick anyone other than this guy?

They don’t play Australian rules football there, so maybe he’s looking for a soccer player to sign.


Filed under Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

Athlon’s spring pecking order

If you’re interested – and since it’s mid-March and you’re a college football fan, it’s not like you don’t have the time – Athlon’s punched out its early rankings of all 128 D-1 programs here.

Cutting to the chase, here’s how the publication sees the SEC:

  • 1. Alabama
  • 7. LSU
  • 8. Tennessee
  • 11. Mississippi
  • 19. Georgia
  • 26. Florida
  • 29. Arkansas
  • 33. Auburn
  • 34. Texas A&M
  • 39. Mississippi State
  • 58. Missouri
  • 60. Kentucky
  • 61. Vanderbilt
  • 62. South Carolina

SEC East, baybee!  Again, this is a big reason why Georgia has a better shot to get to Atlanta in 2016 than you might want to think, given the question marks.  You’ve got four schools bringing up the rear there that would love to have Georgia’s questions.


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Punt, CFP, punt!

Nathan Deal may get pressure from outside parties about the religious liberty bill awaiting his signature, but it won’t come from the College Football Playoff folks or Greg Sankey.  At least not yet:

The College Football Playoff said Monday it opposes discrimination but will allow others to best decide whether a controversial religious freedom bill in Georgia becomes law. The SEC said it’s “attentive” to what’s happening in the state where it holds its football championship game…

“We deplore discrimination wherever it occurs and note that there is a public debate about this matter and its implications, as well as whether or not it will become law,” College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said in a statement to CBS Sports. “We will keep an eye on this, but our group’s focus is on sports and public policy matters are better left to the experts and voters to resolve.”

Translation:  please, governor, veto this bill so we don’t have to show our ass either way.

Real profile in courage there, Bill.

Sankey’s statement is a couple of degrees warmer…

“Our conference championship events are an extension of our universities which are places of diversity and opportunity,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “We are attentive to this legislative matter as we continue our policy of considering numerous factors in determining sites for our championship events.”

… but more of the same.  He’ll wait to see which way the prevailing winds are blowing before making a decision one way or the other.  It would just be a heckuva lot more convenient if he never has to make one in the first place.

I guess that’s why they pay these guys the big bucks.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Political Wankery, SEC Football

Transfer culture, defined

Kirby ‘splains it.

Kirby Smart said Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity was very receptive to his belief about player transfer releases. Smart said “about 80 percent” of players he has seen transfer later regret it, especially those who leave early in their careers. He has less issue with older players like A.J. Turman making a move.

Claiming that you’re doing it for the kids makes everything better.  No doubt that’s a highly scientific study.  I guess since Catalina’s a graduate transfer, Kirby assumes he has no regrets changing schools.  What a lucky coincidence for both.

Keep in mind, though, that no matter what a player’s age may be, some aspects of transfer culture are immutable.

“Every situation is different,” Smart said. “But I don’t believe that you should allow guys to go within the conference, and I don’t believe it should be somebody on your schedule. That’s just my belief, and that’s what pretty much what every coach that I talked to believed.”

If he had just started with that and stuck with it, I wouldn’t have a problem with what’s happened (other than my general dislike for the NCAA’s transfer rules, of course).  It’s the back-and-forth bullshit, the hardline stance combined with haggling, along with the flat-out dissembling about what Turman went through, that’s distressing.  Evidently Smart didn’t absorb as much from Saban as I thought he had, particularly when it comes to something that was bound to happen with the coaching transition.  How could he not be better prepared to deal with this?

Sure, he can learn and I hope that’s the case.  But who’s gonna show him?  Greg McGarity?  As I said to someone yesterday, it’s astounding to me that an athletic department that boasts having someone as well-regarded as Claude Felton can manage to step in it as constantly on the PR front as Georgia’s does.


Filed under Georgia Football

The chaos the NCAA deserves

This speculative piece from SI.com’s Michael McCann about how a Supreme Court with Merrick Garland on it might rule on O’Bannon is one step too far for me to spend much time thinking about, as I put Garland’s chances of becoming the next SCOTUS justice at next to zero, but there is one bit in there more grounded in reality that’s worth pondering.

Let’s say that the court remains in its current configuration and agrees to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision.  What follows from there may not be too farfetched:

… In a 4-4 decision, O’Bannon’s limited victory as enunciated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit would hold, but it would not serve as Supreme Court precedent. As a consequence, new cases that resemble the O’Bannon case could be brought in federal districts outside of those in the Ninth Circuit (West Coast states) and produce very different outcomes. A case similar to O’Bannon that is litigated in, for instance, New York, Florida, Texas or Illinois would not be bound by the decision of the Ninth Circuit in O’Bannon. This dynamic could lead to conflicting decisions across the country and chaos for schools in trying to understand which amateurism rules apply.

Keep in mind that if the Supreme Court doesn’t review O’Bannon, those conditions are in place anyway.  Can you imagine what it would be like if in some areas of the country amateurism were held to violate antitrust law and in some areas not so?  (And before you jump in, think about what things would be like if it were okay for Big Ten schools to pay players while SEC programs remained prohibited from doing that by the NCAA.)  You would think the pressure on the NCAA to… um, let’s say, re-imagine its amateurism protocols would be intense, to say the least.

It would be a fine mess, Ollie.  Darn shame, there.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA