Daily Archives: October 7, 2016

You want violations? Ole Miss will give you violations.

How bad are the NCAA compliance issues plaguing Ole Miss?  This bad:

In order to resolve the women’s track and women’s basketball violations efficiently, the panel separated the case earlier this year when new potential allegations came to light in the football program, which required further investigation. The panel did not and will not review any information related to the football program until the university and enforcement staff have completed the investigation. The NCAA will not comment further on the status of the ongoing investigation.

In other words, there’s so much shit happening in Oxford, the NCAA had to split it into two separate investigations, because there was too much for them to handle in just one.

You know, maybe this is a fiendishly clever plot by the Rebels — have so much going on in minor programs that the NCAA never has the time to deal with football.  Brilliant!

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Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

Greg Sankey’s finest hour

When the commissioner doesn’t step up… well, as we all know, athletic directors, like nature, abhor a vacuum.

Yeah, this is going well.

You wonder what they’d be doing if there were millions in lost revenue at stake.  But since there aren’t, this is what we get.

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Filed under SEC Football

Plus ça change, and all that

Seth Emerson, in response to a question about culture change at Georgia in the wake of the coaching transition, writes one of those things you’d like to contradict, but really can’t.

But for now there are just two main culture changes: 1) Financial support to the program, which ramped up before Richt’s final year and is now basically free-flowing, and 2) the Alabama-ization that actually began with Jeremy Pruitt’s arrival in 2014. Support staffers, quality control coaches, and a huge emphasis on recruiting.

But so far the results on the field are the same: A gut-wrenching loss after a player mental mistake? Check. A lopsided loss in which the team didn’t seem to bother getting off the bus? Check.

In fact, you could argue it’s not just the same, but worse.  As low as the low points were under Richt, there never was a near death experience with an FCS cupcake such as we saw against Nicholls (which, by the way, is now 1-2 since playing Georgia), nor did we ever see Georgia looking at the south end of a 45-0 score against a conference opponent.

Now Emerson is right to say that only time will tell here.  If everything appears to be clicking by next season, nobody is going to care about Georgia’s rocky 2016 start.  It’s just that it’s a little hard right now to be taking things purely on faith that such will be the case.

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Filed under Georgia Football

When less is more

Groo notes Kirby Smart being pleased with his cleverness.

While the running game was the big beneficiary of Georgia’s adjustments on offense against Tennessee, one other consequence was the role of the tight ends. The position was limited anyway by an injury to Charlie Woerner, but the wider formations meant a lot less of the three-TE sets favored when Georgia attempted to establish a power running game earlier in the year. It seemed as if the tight ends were more involved thanks to Nauta’s productive game and big score, but Smart chuckled at a question about the position’s role in the Tennessee game. “I thought they were used less (against Tennessee). We had less tight ends on the field.”

Ha ha.  Ha.

Those three-tight end sets haven’t exactly been kicking ass in the run game.  The Tennessee game plan showed other ways to move the ball.

The tights ends did have a place in the spread formations: tight ends were often kept in tight to block or – as on Nauta’s TD reception – release down the middle of the field, but they also occasionally lined up as the outermost receiver with a wide receiver in the slot. That look forced Tennessee to either cover the split TE with a cornerback (creating a size mismatch) or move a bigger defender over from the middle of the field (reducing the number of defenders in the box.) It just meant that we saw a lot more one and two-TE sets rather than three at a time required by some of the tight formations. “We had less tight ends on the field than we’ve had in previous weeks,” explained Smart.

But the defense had a harder time in coverage.  Funny how that works.

I’ll say it again — here’s hoping Smart and Chaney don’t pull in the offensive reins because of weather concerns or confidence that Carolina’s run defense won’t shut Georgia down.  Nauta was a nightmare match up problem for UT and Eason is clearly comfortable throwing him the ball.  Use all your weapons, man!

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Filed under Georgia Football

The SEC doesn’t do hurricanes well.

My first thought after reading this lengthy Kevin Scarbinsky genuflection to Greg Sankey over the cancellation of the Florida-LSU game was simple:  if this is such a fabulous decision, why are Georgia and South Carolina playing?

The reality is that Sankey has been little more than an observer here, leaving it up to the administrations of the host schools to figure out a course of action.  That’s why we learned about the game in Columbia being moved to Sunday not from the league office, or even through a joint announcement from the schools’ athletic directors, but from Will Muschamp on his radio show.  But at least Sankey was nodding in the background.

“Due to the potential impact of the hurricane on Columbia and the surrounding area, it is in the best interest of safety to play the game on Sunday rather than Saturday night,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “I appreciate the cooperation of the schools who worked closely to make the appropriate operational adjustments in order to accomodate this change in the schedule.”

If there’s one thing Georgia knows how to do, it’s accommodate, so there’s little surprise there.  And, honestly, it’s not as if the game has much impact on the regular season, other than making sure local Columbia merchants don’t miss a pay day, although you can’t help but wonder how many folks who will attend the game are planning on staying in town and spending money this weekend.  But the show must go on, I suppose.

Everything I just said about Columbia seems to be thrown out the door in Gainesville, though, as Jeremy Foley had a very specific idea about how to resolve the situation and was willing to take his ball and go home if LSU wouldn’t agree to go along with him.

Well, at least Foley asked.

It’s not an easy fix.

The league said it will work with both universities to reschedule the game later in the season, if possible.

The schools have different opinions on how it should be handled, and ultimately the league will decide.

The 18th-ranked Gators (4-1, 2-1 SEC) ideally would like to play the game Nov. 19 in Gainesville, a scenario that doesn’t seem very attractive for the Tigers.

Florida and LSU each play nonconference games at home that Saturday and would need to buy out those opponents, South Alabama for the Tigers and Presbyterian for the Gators. LSU (3-2, 2-1) would be on the hook for $1.5 million to South Alabama, and Florida would have to pay $500,000 to Presbyterian of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Doing that would mean the Tigers would end the regular season with three consecutive road games — against Arkansas (Nov. 12), Florida (Nov. 19) and Texas A&M (Nov. 24).

“We told the league we’re 100 percent committed to whatever scenario they can come up with,” Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley said. “Certainly we don’t have a consistent open date. … It’s not as easy sometimes as it seems and involves other games, it involves other teams, it involves television contracts, whatever have you.

“Whatever scenario they come up with, we’re going to be in favor of. We want to play the football game.”

LSU would rather not play three straight league games on the road, especially considering the last one, against the Aggies, is during a shortened week. It also would mean giving up a home game and losing revenue for the school and the city.

“I haven’t come to a decision on that yet, but it would be pretty damn tough to play on the 19th and then play A&M on Thursday, so I’ve got to do what’s in the best interest of the team,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said.

The Tigers are likely to push for a cancellation of the game.

Commissioner, meet your rock and your hard place.

Oh, yeah, let’s not forget there’s another potential actor here.

The biggest question surrounding the game if it’s not made up would be how it affects the SEC standings. If either team wins out, there could be potential ramifications for Auburn, Tennessee and maybe others. The SEC said Thursday that a team that finishes 6-1 in league play would go to the conference title game over a 6-2 team even if the 6-2 won a head-to-head matchup.

“They have to play that football game,” Volunteers coach Butch Jones said. “I know the SEC will do the right thing.”

Booch, I find your faith disturbing.  I guarantee you that Sankey’s Plan A right now is to hope fervently that Florida loses another conference game.  I’m a Georgia fan, so obviously my preference would be for the Dawgs to bail the commissioner out, but there’s a part of me that would love to see Sankey flop around having to deal with the potential mess.

It’ll be even worse if nothing is worked out before the end of the regular season.  Let’s face it:  despite Foley’s assurances that Florida wants to play the LSU game, why in the world would he be motivated to meet the conference and LSU half way if that would mean risking a division title?  I sure wouldn’t and I don’t see how Sankey can force him to.

Speaking of being a Georgia fan, there’s one other little tidbit to keep in mind.  With the cancellation, the Gators now have two bye weeks in the time leading up to the Cocktail Party.  That sound you hear in the background is Steve Spurrier, cackling.

Heck of a job, Sankey.

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UPDATE:  More on this from And The Valley Shook’s Billy Gomila.

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Filed under SEC Football

“A school decision”

It’s an ugly storm, and I don’t wish for anything bad on anyone who has to deal with the effects of it, but I can’t help but wonder about karma when you hear local officials try to justify playing the Georgia-South Carolina game.

Richland County Council Chairman Torrey Rush said he has no issues with the sheriff’s department, which employs 700 officers, stepping into the game as long as there are enough deputies to cover the rest of the county.

But no extra help will come from Columbia Police for the game. Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said he already has officers committed to assignments related to the state evacuation plan and other tasks related to Hurricane Matthew.

Holbrook was diplomatic when asked about holding the game during a weather crisis: “It is not my place to provide an opinion as it relates to any decisions made by the University of South Carolina.”

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said “preservation of life” is the city’s top priority, but added, “I do know that USC football games are very important to the local economy.”

I hope that’s not your political epitaph, Mayor.

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UPDATE:  Chip Towers doesn’t think, ultimately, it’s about the money.

No, if you ask me, the bigger issue here is South Carolina’s competitive edge. Let’s face it, the Gamecocks’ ability to win this game decreases dramatically if it is played anywhere else. South Carolina (2-3, 1-3 SEC) is fielding a competitive team this year, like it does pretty much every year. But the program is in a rebuilding mode in its first year under coach Will Muschamp, thanks to Steve Spurrier running out on them midway through last season.

As a result, Georgia is a significant favorite, even playing the Gamecocks on their home field. But South Carolina traditionally gives the Bulldogs fits at Williams-Brice. It has won the last three there, two of which it could be argued Georgia fielded the better overall team.

There was a very simple solution to this whole situation with respect to hurricanes and evacuees. Just move the game to Athens and play it in Sanford Stadium. That or take it down the road a little further to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Give them the Gamecocks the gate if you must, pay the game back next year, whatever it takes to make it as financially equitable as possible.

Just move it out of Columbia and let them use the stadium and the fairgrounds and all those facilities to care for the thousands of evacuees pouring into town.

But, no, Athletic Director Ray Tanner and the Gamecocks weren’t thinking about that. It seems their concerns were elsewhere.

South Carolina coach William Muschamp was asked about the decision Thursday night after announcing the time change on his radio call-in show.

“It’s all about the safety of our student-athletes,” he said of the 70 football players who will suit up for the Gamecocks on Sunday. “We’re very sensitive to a very catastrophic situation on our coast.”

That’s one of the worst “it’s all about the kids” excuses I’ve ever heard.  What about the safety of the fans and the kids on the other team?

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Filed under 'Cock Envy, Political Wankery

Musical palate cleanser, obvious song is obvious edition

Still remember the first time I heard Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane” — sitting on a stone wall at Chastain Park, drinking a beer and this came on the radio:

Well, I was blown away.  One of the great guitar solos from Young’s body of work, and it never seemed like it was gonna end… not that I wanted it to.

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Filed under Uncategorized