Daily Archives: June 23, 2016

“The Bulldogs… are a legitimate contender in the SEC East.”

Steelemas doesn’t come until next week, but if you hie thee over to his website, you can read Phil Steele’s Georgia preview today.

He ranks the Dawgs 23rd, well ahead of Florida, but likely to be at least as far behind Tennessee.  He thinks the offense will improve from last season and the defense will hold its own, but notes that Georgia won four close games in 2015 and the coaching change as potential limitations.  Overall, as the header to this post indicates, he’s pretty lukewarm about Georgia’s chances.

As far as the individual units go, it’s a mixed bag, but he does point to some concern about the loss of so much productivity at linebacker and, of course, special teams.

There are always a few fun stats tossed in.  In this case, Georgia is riding a ten-game winning streak against Ole Miss, including five straight in Oxford.  (Kirby isn’t, though.)

It’s also worth checking his seven years of offensive and defensive stats.  Based on his yards per point metric, last season marked the most inefficient offense at Georgia since Stafford left, and by a pretty significant margin over 2014.  Defensive efficiency was a different story, as the team turned in its best effort there since 2012, with a lot less NFL draft picks.

Dig through it.  There’s plenty there, as you’d expect from Steele.

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17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

If “good-but-not-great” didn’t cut it for Mark Richt, should it for Greg McGarity?

Seth Emerson takes a look at Georgia athletics since McGarity became the AD.

It has now been six full school years since Greg McGarity took over as Georgia’s athletics director. While many will judge him ultimately by how the two most visible sports (football and men’s basketball) have fared, the school has a total of 21 sports. And looking at it on the whole, frankly, the needle has not moved much in either direction.

By one measure, things have slightly improved under McGarity: It went from 20th in the Director’s Cup standings – the NCAA’s all-sports annual measurement – the year McGarity arrived, to a few spots higher. Georgia ranked 12th in the most recent Director’s Cup standings, which include everything but baseball. McGarity expects Georgia will end up 15th in the final standings, and third among SEC schools, behind Florida and Texas A&M.

“We’ll finish ahead of some schools that people think of as premier programs,” McGarity said. “We’ll finish ahead of Oklahoma, and Notre Dame, Penn State, a lot of schools that we are in the conversation about as far as top programs in the country. So across the board it’s a great testimony to a great balanced sports program.”

But that’s still far from where Georgia was a decade ago. It routinely finished second to Florida among SEC schools, and occupied a spot in the top 10 seven times between 1999-2008. The Bulldogs were second in the nation in 1999 and third in 2001. And things have definitely improved since the low point of consecutive 20th-place finishes in 2010-11.

By another measure, things have slipped a bit: In Damon Evans’ six years as athletics director (July 1, 2004 until his ouster almost exactly six years later), Georgia teams won 11 NCAA titles and 23 SEC titles. In McGarity’s six years, there have been four NCAA titles and 19 SEC titles.

Some good, some bad.  Sound familiar?  How about this?

There were some fans already calling for Stricklin’s removal, but McGarity – who has yet to fire someone he himself hired – opted not to make Stricklin the first.

“These positions are not popularity contests, as we all know,” said McGarity, referring to his own. “They’re about making some tough decisions at times. And just doing the best you can.”

Shades of Willie Martinez.

Of course, this is all merely an exercise.  McGarity will be judged primarily on Kirby Smart’s success and secondarily on not bankrupting the athletic department.  All the rest is commentary, at most.

It’s the Georgia Way,  peeps.

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

In the end, will Georgia’s schedule be the difference?

David Wunderlich revisits his study of peer programs each SEC team will face in 2016 in order to come up with some win projections.  Here’s his methodology:

… I did a dead-simple estimation for this part. For every game against a team above its peer group, I gave that team a loss. For every game against a team below its peer group, I gave that team a win—this includes FCS opponents, as they’re not included in S&P+. And then, I had team would win half of its games against its peers. They’re toss up games, so let’s just make them coin tosses for now.

And here are his results.

Team Est. Wins
Alabama 11.5
LSU 11
Georgia 9.5
Tennessee 9.5
Florida 9
Ole Miss 7.5
Mississippi State 7.5
Arkansas 7
Auburn 7
Texas A&M 6.5
Missouri 5.5
South Carolina 4
Vanderbilt 4
Kentucky 3.5

So, even with Tennessee sporting a better S&P+ ranking than Georgia, both teams finish with the same number of projected wins.  One big factor for that is that the Vols have to punch above their class once, against Alabama, while Georgia doesn’t face a similar challenge.  Is that enough to make the difference in which team emerges as the winner of the East?

It might be.  The bottom of the division appears weak and you’d have to expect both programs get through that unscathed.  That’s four wins right there.  Historically speaking, Florida presents a similar challenge to both UT and Georgia.  That leaves the head-to-head matchup, which is in Athens this year, and the cross-division meetings where Georgia travels to Ole Miss and hosts Auburn while Tennessee has Alabama at home and Texas A&M on the road.

It doesn’t mean that Tennessee’s chances to return to Atlanta are totally dashed if it can’t beat the Tide, but you can make a decent argument that its margin for error is virtually wiped out if it doesn’t, especially if the Dawgs pull off a win in Oxford.

Georgia-Tennessee in Athens is huge, but the third Saturday in October may be shaping up to matter almost as much.

20 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

Thursday morning buffet

The chafing dishes are tanned, rested and ready.

11 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football

You can commence with the “lost control” snark now.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

“Unfortunately, Chad will no longer be a part of our football program,” Smart said in a statement.  “It is very disappointing, and we wish him the best in his efforts to continue his education.”

Or this.

This is the second player Smart has had to dismiss since he arrived. The other was defensive lineman Chauncey Rivers, a rising sophomore whose dismissal was basically automatic (per UGA policy) after a third marijuana-related arrest.

This is also the seventh arrest of a Georgia player since Smart’s arrival, although in one case (Jonathan Ledbetter on alcohol-related charges) the charges have been dismissed.

I wish the season were starting tomorrow.  But probably not as much as Kirby Smart does this morning.

75 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football