Daily Archives: August 7, 2017

The Last Word

That Subway sign urging McGarity’s departure I posted this morning is already gone.

The sign appeared on the Subway on Prince Ave. in Athens. It read in block letters: “NEW UGA ATHLETIC DIRECTOR WANTED. APPLY HERE. GO DAWGS.”

By Sunday night the first two sentences had been removed. Only “GO DAWGS” remained.

Brandi Lavender, who said she is the manager of the location, said it wasn’t her decision to put the sign up. It was made by an area consultant, who could not be immediately reached for comment.

Lavender said it was her decision to take it down after at least one person, who said he worked at UGA’s athletic department, complained in person about the sign. The person’s identity could not be confirmed, according to Lavender, and a UGA spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment. (The person was not McGarity himself, according to Lavender, who viewed security footage.)

That person is probably the same dude whom McGarity sent out to shop for condoms for Ludacris.  But I digress.

Anyway, so much for that whole tolerant “Everybody has a right to say what they want. It’s a free world,” the man was spewing just a few days ago.  As we all know, when it comes to Georgia athletics, ain’t nothing free.



Filed under Georgia Football

Year of the grind?

I don’t know how great Paul Myerberg thinks the SEC will be this season, but it sure looks like he expects the league to be exciting.


Fun, hunh?


Filed under SEC Football


I had Bill King’s piece from yesterday about what’s new or different at Sanford Stadium cued up for a post at the blog today — and let me say two things about it, one, yay! for any bathroom improvements and, two, the more the athletic department lets Claude Felton speak for it, the more competent it sounds — but I found this buried in my Twitter feed yesterday and it moved me in a different direction.

McGarity and barbeque, a controversy?  Why, tell me more.

New concessions partners Dreamland BBQ and Dunkin’ Donuts will be joining Chick-fil-A, Subway and Papa John’s Pizza, Felton said. Dreamland BBQ will be offered at nine locations throughout the stadium and will offer chopped pork and chicken sandwiches at each location, while barbecue pork nachos also will be offered at their Gate 6 Plaza stand. Dunkin’ Donuts will operate in Reed Plaza and offer hot and iced coffee and munchkins.

Additionally, Gate 6 Plaza has been turned into a food court, with Chick-fil-A, Dreamland BBQ and Papa John’s each having a stand. Also being added are two beverage portables on the 100 and 300 East End concourses.

Dreamland, eh?  It makes sense, I guess.  After all, you’ve already imported your head coach and the Process from Tuscaloosa, so throwing in a pork sandwich from there is nothing if not consistent.

As Booker’s tweet indicates, the decision isn’t sitting well in certain quarters, though.

Damn, if you’ve lost Andy Staples, Greg…

That being said, Booker is essentially correct here.  Nobody is ever going to confuse what’s served at Sanford Stadium with haute cuisine, although, as I’ve mentioned before, there are plenty of sports franchises who have recognized what a money maker higher end food offerings can be.  And it’s not like Georgia hasn’t offered mediocre barbeque (using the term loosely) from an out-of-state source before.  As someone who avoids Sanford Stadium fare outside of emergencies, all I really care about is whether they still intend to have high schoolers and their parents handling service as inefficiently as ever, something Felton says zip about.

While I’m on the subject of service, there is one intriguing thing in King’s post that is mentioned in passing, almost to the point of being glossed over:

Felton said there has been “continued evaluation” of offerings in an effort to streamline the menu “in order to assist with speed of service.” That included discussions with representatives of Chick-fil-A and Augusta National and individuals who have staffed collegiate venues, he said.

Augusta National?  Really?  Tell me more.


Filed under Georgia Football

“Football has made the South a better place, even if we go around poisoning trees now and then.”

From Faulkner to State Representative Earl Ehrhart to Hugh Freeze

“Freeze constantly, as much or more than other college coaches, played on that religiosity,” Wilson tells USA TODAY Sports. “He used it in recruiting and in talking to parents of potential recruits. It’s authentic. He believes it. I don’t think it’s hypocrisy. I just think his failings are the temptations of the flesh — and that sort of thing is also well known in the South.”

… football is just different down here.  As the author puts it, “College football in the Bible Belt is so often called a religion as to be a cliché, though it offers the distinct advantage of being true.”

And so, to reiterate something I admittedly harp upon, the more the people running the sport try to accommodate those who would trade regional passion for national interest, the more they risk destroying what makes it uniquely great.


Filed under College Football, SEC Football

I may have to rethink Georgia’s schedule.

Brian Fremeau’s posted his 2017 strength of schedule rankings, based on his FEI metric.

Strength of Schedule Ratings are a function of the projected FEI ratings of a given team’s schedule of opponents and the location (home/away/neutral) of each game. EL ratings represent the average number of losses an elite team (two standard deviations better than average) would have against the schedule. GL ratings represent the average number of losses a good team (one standard deviation better than average) would have against the schedule. AL ratings represent the average number of losses an average team would have against the schedule. The total number of games in the given team’s schedule against FEI top 10 opponents (v10), top 20 opponents (v20), top 30 opponents (v30), top 40 opponents (v40), and top 50 opponents (v50) is also provided.

Georgia’s EL ranking, 27th, may not seem that daunting, but dig down to AL, and you’ll find it ranks first.  The reason for that appears to be pretty simple:  the Dawgs are the only team Fremeau has playing ten top 50 opponents this season.

Remember how we tend to dismiss other programs for not going through the grind of an SEC season to prove themselves?  Georgia is facing that grind, in spades.


Filed under Georgia Football

Sometimes, the simplest things are the best.

We all know the problem Georgia had keeping opponents out of the end zone last season after they crossed the 20-yard line.  How to fix?  Well, you can focus on the details.

“The major breakdown is execution,” defensive coordinator Mel Tucker said. “When we go back and look at the tape, on defense if one guy does not do what he is supposed to do, you’re going to lose the down, probably. There is a huge emphasis on execution. There are some scheme things that we’re looking at that we can do to help our players. Our goal is to be much improved in that area.”

… Georgia returns 10 starters and replenished the losses of two major contributors — Maurice Smith and Quincy Mauger — with a recruiting class that included seven defensive backs. With depth returning, Tucker has emphasized negative-yardage plays and pass rush as priorities.

While speaking of those areas, Smart circled back to the red-zone issues and reiterated the importance of limiting the opposition’s scoring.

“If you take 10 of those (scoring) opportunities and you hold them to a field goal, that is four points per those attempts — that’s 40 points,” Smart said. “It changes your entire complexion, so the red area is one of the most evident. We gave up less explosive plays, but we did not do what we needed to do in the red area. But the big thing for us is tackling in space, being able to affect the passer with our pass rush and then red area defense were the big areas we have to improve on.”

Then again, there is virtue in simplicity.

Natrez Patrick has been an advocate for the need of red-zone improvement as he said it needs to get “much, much better.”

Ray Goff is down with that sentiment.  110%.


Filed under Georgia Football

“Jeffrey Kessler just had to pee.”

An alert reader pointed me to this piece about the lawyer driving the existential threat to the NCAA’s amateurism protocol.  The whole thing is worth a read, but there are two passages in particular worth highlighting.

First, the big bucks that are involved.  Really big bucks.

The big business of college sports, meanwhile, has only continued to explode. Today, the men’s NCAA Tournament alone provides the organization with nearly $900 million annually in television revenue, while individual conferences have television contracts worth billions of dollars over their lifespans, and schools pay coaches and athletic directors multimillion-dollar salaries. Collectively, the men’s basketball programs that make up Division I and the football programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision generate more than $7 billion in annual revenues. Big-time college sports look more like their professional counterparts than they ever have, with one major exception: The NCAA has restrictive rules in place that prevent schools from compensating athletes beyond the full cost of attending.

“The economics here are that basketball and football have become gigantic businesses,” Kessler said. “The total revenue for basketball and football in Division I is greater than the total revenue of the NBA. It’s greater than the total revenue of the NHL. … It’s the third biggest sport by revenue in this country. The idea that these are not businesses, it makes no sense. And you should allow those who are producing this revenue to be treated in a fairer way.”  [Emphasis added.]

If you continue to wonder why arguments about compensation continue to resonate, the overall context of the revenue generated by Division I football and basketball should be your answer.  Amateurism operates in a totally different financial setting than it did even 25 years ago.

The second illustrates why Kessler is so dangerous to the NCAA and its member schools.

Kessler has read the headlines and heard these arguments. He knows some believe that his case could “suck the magic out of college sports” and turn them into glorified minor leagues that fans simply wouldn’t watch. But even if he wins, he argues, the outcome won’t be nearly as dire or drastic as the skeptics predict.

Kessler’s primary argument is not against the NCAA itself, but its amateurism rules specifically. What violates antitrust law, he argues, is that the schools and major conferences band together under those rules to artificially cap the compensation an athlete can receive for his services to a school. In Kessler’s world, conferences could set their own rules regarding compensation, then compete against each other: The Big Ten might stick to the current rules, for instance, while the Southeastern Conference might elect to pay athletes above and beyond the value of a scholarship. Another might follow the Ivy League model and refuse to grant athletic scholarships at all. The result would be something of a free market for men’s basketball and football players.

Alternatively, the NCAA, its schools and their conferences could follow in the path of major pro leagues, and negotiate a new system with athletes or a body that represents them.

“I know what they’re going to argue in court,” Kessler said, sitting up in his chair and clapping his hands together, his voice nearly cracking from excitement ― and frustration. “They’ll argue what they’ve always argued: that amateurism is this holy grail. The new version of it is that if you pay one penny more than the full cost of attendance … the world will come to an end.”

There are obvious parallels to his previous cases, where the NBA, Major League Baseball and the NFL all contended that more rights, and more money, for players would spell doom for their products. Free agency, of course, has had none of the dramatic and devastating effects the owners once predicted: Salaries have risen tremendously, sure, but so have revenues. Leagues, owners and players are all vastly richer today than they once were.

“It’s utter and complete nonsense,” Kessler said. “Allowing baseball, football, basketball and hockey players greater economic freedom and compensation did not destroy the NFL or NBA. It did not destroy the NHL or Major League Baseball. It made those sports fairer and better. It did not decrease popularity or interest in the Olympics.”

That’s some tough precedent for the NCAA to argue against.  Even tougher, if it tries to claim that college sports have a special attraction and value because of amateurism, how does it explain away the trends that have driven those same college sports in the general direction as those same pro sports from which it wants to distinguish — conference expansion, postseason expansion, conference networks, massive increases in coaches’ and AD’s salaries, etc.?


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Sign o’ the Times

So, it’s come to this.

You get the feeling there’s an airplane banner flying over Sanford Stadium in somebody’s near future.


Filed under Georgia Football