Daily Archives: December 29, 2016

Mike Slive’s mixed legacy

In noting the decline of the SEC over the past few seasons, Bill Connelly wonders if that can be attributed to a run of boring coach hires.  With all due respect to Brother Bill, I’d like to suggest another culprit:  the conference is more mediocre lately because it has more mediocre teams than before.

If you stayed up last night, you learned that in losing to Kansas State, Texas A&M managed to finish 8-5 for the third straight season.  The Aggies’ cumulative conference record over that period is 11-13.  Subtract Johnny Manziel from the equation and this program has been the poster child for mediocrity during its time in its new home.  Kevin Sumlin, by the way, makes a cool $5 million a year for that kind of production.

Then there’s the SEC East’s contribution, Missouri.  To their credit, the Tigers have a pair of division titles to their name, thanks to Georgia imploding due to injuries in 2013 and just imploding generally on the field in Jacksonville the next year.  (The luster of those finishes was substantially dimmed by consecutive blow outs in the conference championship games.)  Hard times have followed in the two seasons since then, as Mizzou has failed to reach bowl eligibility in either and has a whopping total of two conference wins to its name over that time.

To put it mildly, neither has brought much in the way of prowess to the table of late.  (Don’t waste your time pointing to other sports besides football, because it was football alone that was the reason for their invitations to join the conference’s party.)  Add to that a disregard for geography, tradition and conference scheduling —  remember, Dawg fans, we’ve got two more Presidential election cycles to go through before setting foot in College Station, Texas — and it’s not much of a leap to conclude that conference expansion has been largely unsuccessful, at least by the metric of maintaining what’s been special about the SEC.

Largely ain’t the same thing as totally, though.  And in one spectacular way, conference expansion has been everything Mike Slive and the people who hired him thought it would be.  It gave Slive the lever to overturn the conference’s existing broadcast contracts, which had fallen behind the times and were eclipsed by bigger deals like the Big Ten Network, and allow for the creation of the cash cow that is the SEC Network.  For them, that’s what’s special about the conference.

In the end, it’s what’s in the eyes of the university presidents that matters.  So when it comes time to write Slive’s epitaph, it’ll be a simple one.  Mike Slive always made money for his partners.

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12 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

“Are you going to win it?”

Nice, anonymous Georgia fan.  Although I’d like to think that anyone posting comments at GTP could have brought a stronger game to the presser.

Then again, those are probably tougher questions than the staff’s getting from Butts-Mehre… unless McGarity smells the opportunity to fine somebody.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Jeez, Freeze.

I’m no fan of the man, but as cringeworthy as the comment is, I almost hope this is a misunderstanding.

Calloway told reporters during the Under Armour Combine Media Day earlier this week about how Freeze is describing the investigation with recruits.

Q: We’ve heard a lot about negative recruiting at Ole Miss with the NCAA thing going on, what has Ole Miss said to you about that?

“Well, Coach Freeze told me when you’re that big and out there with faith in Christ, he’s like, ‘What do you expect? Jesus got nailed to the cross.’ So, he was just telling me sometimes things like that happen, but that’s never going to change how he’s going to treat his players and take care of them. Even if — I don’t know if he really did make the mistake, doing what he did or not — but I can just tell he’s a good person, great person. I know they’re looking at maybe a bowl suspension [for 2017]. I don’t know what they’re gonna do. But I don’t think that’ll affect anything as far as how he treats his players and stuff like that.”

Oy.

Crucified by the NCAA?  Seriously?  Does that even sell on the recruiting trail?  If it were my kid and Hugh Freeze walked in the door saying that, I’d really wonder what was going on inside his head.

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UPDATE:

So I guess the difference between Jesus and Hugh Freeze is that the former never had any trouble being understood.

16 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA