Daily Archives: May 5, 2017

The SEC Network, where economics just mean more

The SEC Network, like every other jewel in the WWL’s crown, is losing subscribers to the tune of an approximate loss of $70 million in subscriber fee revenue, yet somehow “it is believed to be well within the realm of possibilities” for it to bump its $1.30 in-market subscription fee in future carriage negotiations with cable providers.

Only in America.  No wonder Greg Sankey is serene.



Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

Before you can Dawgrade…

For the record, I expect Georgia to win its road game in South Bend this season, primarily for reasons stated in this post.  So I have to say I kind of resent being lumped into this broad characterization of the fan base that cropped up in the AJ-C today:

There is almost a universal belief across DawgNation that a win in South Bend will confer a additional layer of legitimacy and success to Smart’s reign at UGA. And a loss could be just as harmful in the opposite direction.

This is a team coming off a 4-8 season we’re talking about here.  The Four Horsemen, it ain’t.  (Of late, it’s not even better than Charlie Weis.)  But, somehow a win over a team that finished with the same record as Missouri will add a layer of legitimacy?  Uh hunh.

Me?  Not buying it.  We all know what’s going to be written if Georgia leaves with a victory over the Irish.  As far as a loss goes, it’ll be a pisser, but that, too, will be because a win’s expected — not to mention that if Georgia somehow recovers from the embarrassment and goes on as it did in 2011 to win the division, most of that will dissipate in the week leading up to the SECCG.

Find another narrative, fella.


Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

“Student-athlete well-being will always be a priority for SEC member institutions…”

The SEC moves to adopt practice recommendations set forth by the NCAA Sports Science Institute in the sport of football.

The recommendations frown on two-a-days in the preseason, and suggest an extension of time to adjust for the lost practices, which seems sensible.  The overall intent is to reduce contact in practice, which may be why the conference’s press release touts the unanimous support of the SEC Athletics Directors and the league’s Presidents and Chancellors, but says nothing about the coaches.

Comments Off on “Student-athlete well-being will always be a priority for SEC member institutions…”

Filed under SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

Oh, what might have been…


The idea of Alabama settling for the genius after it whiffed on RichRod (and Saban, the first go) is so delicious, that it almost makes Jeff Schultz’ spectacularly bad take on Saban’s eventual hiring seem like an afterthought.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Nick Saban Rules, Whoa, oh, Alabama

One more thought about recruiting the 2018 class

Aside from winning, the other thing I would think recruits want to see out of Georgia this season is how Smart manages the improvement of roster depth, particularly on defense.  Take a look at Seth Emerson’s post-spring depth chart analysis for the inside and outside linebackers.  There are a lot of young ‘uns jousting for playing time there.  Do they get it?

There may be one benefit to a weak schedule in that regard — blowout games that lead to more playing time for the back ups.  Of course, that was something we expected in 2015 and 2016, and look where that got us…


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Musical palate cleanser, “Neil surprised everyone” edition

We’re at the 47th anniversary of the Kent State shootings, one of the strangest events of my adolescence.  I wasn’t politically aware at the time, but the news of killing four unarmed students on campus was unsettling to me, to say the least.

It inspired what The Guardian called “arguably the perfect protest song: moving, memorable and perfectly timed”, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s “Ohio”.

I think what really makes that song work is that Young wasn’t trying to change the world with it, so much as vent his anger.  He’s right that it was the best thing he ever did with the group.  It’s still a moving piece of work after all these years.


Filed under Uncategorized

“Georgia is the wait-and-see school now.”

You don’t need to follow Georgia’s recruiting closely (not that I do) to catch a rising sense of angst from those who do over the slow pace of success with regard to the 2018 class.  It’s definitely moving to a different beat than last year.

At this time last year, the foundation for Georgia’s 2017 football recruiting class already was set for what turned into one of the program’s highest-rated talent hauls.

Already on board were five-star safety Richard LeCounte, four-star quarterback Jake Fromm and four-star offensive lineman Netori Johnson.

The Bulldogs were making noise under new coach Kirby Smart, who had created buzz with a capacity crowd of 93,000 at G-Day. Now, it’s like crickets by comparison.

The Bulldogs have three commitments total for 2018 and not one is in the ESPN 300.

Is the concern justified?  Hard to say.  I strongly doubt Kirby Smart is working any less hard this season than he did in 2016.  And there’s something to be said about the observation he made after roping in one of the best signing classes in the program’s history.

“Now, oh, we just signed the greatest class ever, we just signed the second or third greatest, so how are you going to play when they just signed all of these great players who aren’t on campus yet who have not played a down yet,” Smart told the Touchdown Club of Athens in March. “You have that hurdle to overcome. You have 50 to 60 percent of your roster was freshmen or sophomores so they’re all back. ‘So, how am I going to play there, coach?’” Those are things that we’re encountering now not to mention a state that is always very fertile with great talent.”

Moreover, if this is to be believed…

Recruits have told Mansell that other schools are pushing that Georgia’s 2017 and 2016 recruiting classes have created a crowded depth chart with young talent at quarterback, wide receiver and on the offensive and defensive lines.

… that concern has been weaponized on the recruiting trail.

Add in that the 2018 in state class is not perceived to be as loaded as either the ’17 or ’19 groups, that it’s fairly top-heavy with quarterback talent, an area that Smart is likely to run into resistance based on the present make up of his roster, and it’s easier to see why there’s an apparent lack of progress.

There’s one other common theme I’ve seen in this and other articles analyzing Georgia’s slow start — a desire by many recruits to see real progress on the wins front.

“They’ve got to go out there and win games and show that they are an SEC championship program right now,” Haubert said. “As we get deeper into the fall and we get to see how this team has matured a year under his leadership and how this 2017 class, which was outstanding, begins to contribute and they can turn that into wins, now that starts to paint a little more of a different picture for prospects, there’s a little bit more of a comfort level.”

There’s a part of me that wonders how accurate a perception that is.  After all, note that Miami is currently leading the field for next year’s class and you can make a similar show-me argument for Mark Richt’s program.

There’s another part of me that selfishly hopes that it is accurate, though.  Why?  Because if there’s one thing we’ve seen that drives Kirby Smart, it’s recruiting.  So, if it takes the fear of winding up with a mediocre signing class next February to drive a stake through the heart of a throwaway season mentality that may have plagued Georgia football in 2016 for good, then all I can say is, kids, take your time.  You’ll be doing all of us a big favor.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“When you get older, you learn you have to make a business decision.”

Now there’s a quote that’ll send shivers down some coaches’ backs.

This offseason alone, Pagano and Cochran are just two of dozens of grad transfers, who in search of better paths to the next level, have shaken up conference championship outlooks and buttressed the playoff hopes of their new teams.

If signing day is college football’s version of the draft, the grad transfer practice has become its free agency.

“These young men who come in, they know everything,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “They’re smart. They’re college graduates. They know this is their last year and are looking for somewhere where they can fit in.”

The grad transfer rule, adopted in 2006, allows players — already physically developed and usually rather seasoned — who earn their undergraduate degree before completing their eligibility to transfer without having to sit out. Quarterback Russell Wilson became the cover boy for grad transfers when he left North Carolina State in 2011 to play his final season at Wisconsin, and led the Badgers to a Big Ten championship.

The movement has since ballooned.

Give Dabo Sweeney some credit for being supportive, though.

Pagano and Baker both received their releases from Clemson’s compliance office to be recruited by other schools the day they asked Tigers coach Dabo Swinney for it. And Baker and Pagano each noted that both Swinney and Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables helped them find new homes, too.

Although you wonder how gracious he might have been if depth had been a concern.

Still, it’s a question of control, so transferring sits well with some coaches more than others.  It’s not at the level it’s at with basketball, but with an upward trend, it wouldn’t surprise me to see more coaches react the way Nick Saban did with Maurice Smith.


Filed under College Football