Daily Archives: January 9, 2017

Eh, what the hell.

It’s the last night of the season and you deserve a game day post/comment thread.

Consider it done.

FWIW, I think ‘Bama wins, but Clemson covers the spread.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Now that the first year is in the books…

I’m curious to hear from you about something.

If the spectrum of expectations for Georgia’s 2017 season runs from “another throwaway season” at one end to “great leap” at the other, where do yours fall?


Filed under Georgia Football

A stats geek takes a hammer to conference championship games.

I’m not advocating here, but Nate Silver makes an interesting argument with this post.  If the lesson to be learned from this season is that the CFP selection committee isn’t swayed by conference championship game appearances, maybe we should blow those up and come up with another way to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

My point is simply this: Conference championships, as currently devised, don’t make much sense. Because of imbalanced divisions, championship games often don’t pit the two best teams in a conference against each other (Big Ten championship participant Wisconsin was probably the fourth-best team in its league, for instance). They’ll sometimes result in an awkward rematch of a game that was already played during the regular season. And conference championship games waste a weekend that could be better spent on something else, such as expanding the College Football Playoff to six or eight teams.

And now we have pretty good evidence that the playoff selection committee doesn’t really care one way or another. So let’s get rid of them! Imagine a world in which we’re spared the annual indignation of having to watch Florida lose to Alabama 59-2. Imagine a world in which historical rivals always play each other every year and yet, by almighty Rockne, the best teams in a conference always play one another, too. Imagine a world with no divisions. By which I mean: a world in which we eliminate divisions such as the ACC’s perplexingly named Atlantic and Coastal divisions, and all teams within the same college football conference compete as one.

His solution comes out of high school debatedom and a concept known as power pairing.  You can read about it all in depth in his piece.

Again, I’m not advocating here.  But I do recognize that college football is doing its damnedest these days to minimize the importance of conference play.  (That’s my second shout out to Bob Bowlsby’s conference in one morning.  Well played, sir.)  So maybe it’s time for a little out of the box thinking to see if things can be salvaged before it’s too late.



Filed under College Football

“He just believed in his process.”

If you think Kirby Smart overextended himself during games by involving himself in every aspect of game management, you need to read this New York Times story about Nick Saban during games.  It explains a lot.

Saban himself would most likely attribute most of his success to his teams’ talent, which is annually among the best in the country. But even Saban credits his in-game decisions to pregame preparations. He has a small army of talented assistant coaches at his disposal — in addition to the nine allowed under N.C.A.A. rules, Alabama employs a special assistant, nine staff members in operations or personnel and at least eight “analysts.” The group included for much of the year five men (not including Saban) who have led a top-tier college football team of their own.

Which is to say: Saban delegates, but only to a strictly defined degree.

“Coach Saban is very hands-on in every part of our program,” the Tide’s first-year defensive coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, told reporters recently, “from the weight room to the nutrition to all the way down to, you know, what we’re going to wear to this press conference.”

Sound familiar?

The difference, of course, is that Saban isn’t the guy who’s surrounded himself with a new cast of coaches.  Nor is he the guy who’s in his first year as a head coach at a school with an athletic administration whose management motto hasn’t exactly been “all in”.

If you’re Kirby Smart, that’s what on the job training gets you sometimes.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

Take it to the bank.

Bill Hancock speaks such reassuring words about playoff expansion.

Don’t expect the College Football Playoff to expand to six or eight teams anytime soon.

That’s not the sentiment Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, is expressing right now. Hancock addressed reporters at the Tampa Convention Center on Sunday, and playoff expansion was a popular topic. Hancock, however, said that likely won’t happen through the length of the current 12-year contract.

“The only thing that happens after six years is determining whether the Cotton, Fiesta and Peach will remain in the rotation,” Hancock said. “That has nothing to do with the format. The format is in place for the 12 years.”

As for expanding to six or eight teams, Hancock said there has been no movement on that from the management committee.

“I don’t sense any groundswell from our leadership for a change, but it would require starting all over again with a new contract,” Hancock said.

Parse it carefully — “that likely won’t happen” — and it’s not that reassuring.  Starting over again with a new contract isn’t exactly a daunting proposition when you’re on the receiving end of what is likely to be an even bigger money torrent.

In any event, Bill wants you to know their hearts are in the right place.

“The disappointment that team No. 5 feels would be the same disappointment that team No. 9 feels,” Hancock said. “There wouldn’t be any change in that. For me, it’s about the regular season. Our regular season is so compelling, and I don’t think our leadership would do anything to diminish the regular season.”

Perish the thought.  They’ve been such staunch guardians of that of late.  Anybody know what the Big 12’s latest championship set up is this year?

“What would Ohio State and Michigan have meant if there had been an eight-team tournament?” Hancock asked. “Both would’ve have been in. It still would’ve been Ohio State and Michigan with all the tradition, but it wouldn’t have meant the same. It wouldn’t have meant near as much. Our focus on the regular season is unwavering.”

Unwavering, he tells ‘ya!  He’ll be back in a few years to tell you how that eight-team tourney gives college football the opportunity to focus on its regular season with more intensity than ever.  Kinda like more powerful lasers, except nobody risks getting their eyes burned out.

It’s almost amazing to me the media keeps asking him for quotes.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Name that caption, somebody has time for that edition

A tale of two coaches:


John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Saban looks like he’s got a plane to catch.


Filed under Name That Caption