Daily Archives: October 31, 2017

“They can’t pass.”

I look forward to watching Chris Lammons’ first contact with D’Andre Swift after he catches a swing pass.

What is it about this year’s Georgia team that inspires weekly bulletin board material lately?

By the way, Groo shoots and scores with this shot.

42 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football

The Georgia Way is on the mother.

The ink is barely dry on this post and here we go:

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They didn’t even wait until the season was over to look for ways to get us to open our wallets for more.  Better get used to it.

51 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Highest bidder

That’s not an excuse for Boom showing his ass to Georgia.  But it is an explanation.

18 Comments

Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom, Georgia Football

Thoughts on the selection commitee’s first rankings

For the most part, I stand by what I’ve said from the beginning.  There’s no reason to have weeks of rankings from the CFP’s selection committee, other than to give ESPN broadcast fodder.  That being said, I will reluctantly admit there may be something to glean from tonight’s effort, and, no, it’s not about Georgia.  It’s about whether we’re going to see a canary in the coalmine with regard to postseason expansion.

The first three seasons of the four-team College Football Playoff have raised some fun hypotheticals, but three always stood out above the rest:

■ While at least one of the so-called Power 5 conferences — the Atlantic Coast, the Big 12, the Big Ten, the Pacific-12 and the Southeastern — is guaranteed to be locked out of a four-team party every year, would a final bracket ever omit two of those conferences by taking, say, an independent like Notre Dame, or two teams from the same league?

■ Could a team from one of the lower-tier Group of Five conferences qualify? (This, too, would leave out two power conferences.)

■ Might a pattern develop in which it became clear that one power conference was congenitally unlikely to make the playoff, either by performance or by design?

None of these hypotheticals have become reality so far…

The fun part is that, about two-thirds of the way through the season, all three intriguing — and potentially consequential — possibilities listed above remain on the table…

But even more damning would be for the Big 12 champion to deserve to make the playoff — and still fail to get a bid. Take the Sooners, for example, who still could rip off four impressive wins to go with a September victory at No. 3 Ohio State (7-1) — and then find themselves ranked fifth or sixth, behind some combination of the SEC champion, the Big Ten champion, a one-loss A.C.C. champion (or even an undefeated one: hello, Miami!), a great one-loss SEC team and even one-loss Notre Dame.

That kind of ego-bruising, budget-blowing disappointment would not be unprecedented. At the end of the 2004 season, Auburn was 12-0 and was passed over for the Bowl Championship Series title game. Although the four-team playoff took another decade to arrive, that Tigers season is seen in retrospect as the moment it became inevitable.

If the Big 12, with tradition-rich Oklahoma boasting a deserving résumé and (possibly) a Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Baker Mayfield, finds its face pressed against the wrong side of the glass yet again, then prepare for more changes to the way college football picks its champion.

You can skip the Central Florida talk as being a pipe dream dependent on a bunch of P5 programs falling by the wayside over the next five weeks.  (Yes, I suppose I’m saying there’s a chance.)

But another lockout of the Big 12, especially after it went and adopted its useless championship game?  No doubt that would threaten the true underlying purpose of the CFP, namely, generating more revenue for the P5 conferences.  What would exacerbate that tension even more would be if two SEC schools made the semis, along with Notre Dame.  Do I think that would be another inevitable moment for college football’s postseason, to go along with 2004 and The Rematch?  Damn straight I do.

So let’s see who makes the top four tonight.  It’s not a final rendition by any means, but it’ll indicate whether the committee is at least willing to contemplate going there.

33 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Today, in life comes at you fast

My, how things changed.

7 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

You can leave your hat on.

These are the morons who will decide who plays for a national title.

For those of you wondering about bias in the room — nobody is allowed to wear their school logos in the meeting room. They also symbolically “check their hats at the door,” a tradition started by former committee chair Jeff Long, who is still on the committee. They were all given hats with their names on them on Monday.

As if you magically shed your biases merely with a clothing change.

I guess it’s comforting to know they won’t be wearing somebody else’s hat.

82 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Never retreat.

Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.

18 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Evil Genius

Of being Kirby’d and related matters

Perhaps you noticed that Georgia dispatched its two traditional divisional rivals this season by the fairly unheard of combined score of 83-7.  That, combined with Jim McElwain’s early departure from the Florida job and Booch’s toasty bottom, has some observers dancing with visions of “there’s a new sheriff in town, bitch” sugarplums in their heads.

Doug Gillett got the ball rolling with this somewhat tongue in cheek tweet as the Gators were being demolished.  Seth Emerson took a more serious approach with this piece.  I get the point to both, but there’s a little danger of getting out over our skis with this kind of stuff this early.  For one thing, Butch Jones is still gainfully employed by the University of Tennessee.  For another, there was a lot more going on at Florida with Jim McElwain than Saturday’s ass whooping covers.  (More on UF in a minute.)

With that in mind, though, there is something to be said for what both suggest.  The reality is that the East has been without a dominant program for several years.  If in fact it turns out that Georgia is filling the void, that puts an enormous amount of pressure on the other traditional powers in the East to keep up.

The problem for both schools is that, as we’ve seen over the past few years in reaction to Alabama’s dominance, the SEC doesn’t do keeping up well.  All three schools have tried hiring roots from the Saban coaching tree — Florida twice — but only one school has seen their choice blossom.  Part of the blame for the lack of success at Florida and Tennessee may be due to a culture clash with importing the Process.  For example, see if some of what Andy Staples wrote doesn’t ring a bell:

On a day when everything should have been sunshine and lollipops, one of the first major cracks in the relationship between McElwain and Florida’s administration formed. McElwain’s Florida team had just whipped Iowa 30–3 in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2, and Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi served up an easy question about how much positivity the win might inject into the program. The answer started off fine…

“We’ve got a lot of really good recruits that are excited to be Gators, and that’s a good thing,” McElwain said. “We had a heck of a year. Two straight SEC East championships, new facilities.”

Then came the statement that, had it been uttered on a sitcom in the ’80s, would have been followed by a record scratch…

“We’ll look for the commitment that we get from the administration moving forward, see where that’s at,” McElwain said.

When McElwain said this, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin—who had been on the job about two months at the time—was already working on a contract extension for the coach that would be announced a few months later. This is how some people high in the Florida athletic department viewed McElwain’s sentiment. Here’s a guy who has heard the word “Yes” more than Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook, Urban Meyer and Will Muschamp combined, who is about to get more money despite a second year with an offense ranked in the 100s, and he’s questioning the administration’s commitment?

That may sound overly pushy, but consider the context in which McElwain delivered it.

McElwain was surprised when he got to Florida that the Gators lagged so far behind in facilities. They didn’t have an indoor practice facility. (They got one two years ago.) Unlike most of their peers, their day-to-day locker room facilities are under an end zone in the stadium rather than in a separate football operations building. Stricklin has created a master plan to build such a facility, but that will take time and money and the construction of a new baseball stadium—because the new football building will have to go where the reigning College World Series champs currently play.

This shouldn’t matter that much. Florida’s weight room and locker room are perfectly nice, but everyone else spent the money they weren’t allowed to give to the players and Florida saved it.

Yeah, that do sound familiar.

I once posted that every athletic director wants to win; the question is whether the AD is willing to devote the necessary resources to that.  There’s a third factor I should have thrown in:  the AD’s hiring luck.  Jeremy Foley’s reputation was overrated when it came to his football hires.  He inherited Spurrier (and notably made it difficult for Spurrier to return to UF when he wanted to) and had Meyer forced on him by the school president.  That leaves an unimpressive legacy of Zook, Muschamp and McElwain.

Similarly, Foley’s right hand man, Greg McGarity, inherited Mark Richt.  The similarity appears to end there, as Smart is making McGarity look… well, smart.  But Smart’s hire is as much about luck and timing as anything else.  Smart was a Georgia man who carefully cultivated a following at his home school throughout his time in Tuscaloosa and, depending whom you hear from, was a choice strongly urged upon McGarity when it came time to dispatch Richt.

It’s been to our benefit, so that’s not a complaint on my part.  But it’s also a reminder that a great football coach is a two-sided blade for any athletic director.  It certainly reduces the pressure from the donors and the fan base, but it just as certainly increases the leverage the coach has over the athletic department.  McGarity got a break in that regard as Richt was famously low key about using his leverage, but B-M is living in Jimmy Sexton’s world now.

I tried to make that point with a couple of posts last week, but I’m not sure if I got it across well.  It’s not really about the money.  Sure, Sexton’s going to be pressing for an adjustment to Kirby’s salary and that’ll come.  Just as quickly, though, that’s an expense that will be recouped and then some as contributions and ticket prices rise.

No, where the real battle over leverage will come is in how much authority McGarity will be asked to cede to Kirby.  Saban has near carte blanche to run ‘Bama as he sees fit and while I’m not sure that Kirby will wrest away that level of control this early in his career, you can bet he won’t walk away empty handed from the next round of negotiations.

There are plenty of hints we’ve already seen from Smart’s direction about things he’d like to change.  It’ll be up to McGarity to decide what he can live with changing and what he can’t.  Just remember that Foley stood his ground at UF, lost Spurrier and Meyer and fired the two others he hired.

Meanwhile in Athens, the question is how far each party plays the leverage card.  If McGarity’s not careful, he could find himself being the one Kirby’d.  There would be some irony for you.

68 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Cool customer

Today’s random Jake Fromm stat:

As I recall, Eason was pretty decent in that department himself last season, so maybe this is another area where Jim Chaney isn’t a total screw-up.

21 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Fat, drunk and rowdy is no way to go through a football game, son.

Reader and commenter Sides brought this article to my attention.  Here’s an interesting chart from the 2016 season:

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The piece also contains some other interesting data points, some of which strike me as completely logical.

Analysis of records provided by Pac-12 schools highlight some trends.

Stadium security ejected the most fans during the first home game of the season, homecoming games and rivalry games. More fans were thrown out during evening games than afternoon kick-offs.

“The earlier in the day, the fewer alcohol issues. The later in the day, there’s a little more time to drink ahead of time,” said Lt. Eric Judah of Oregon State Police, who helps coordinate stadium security in Corvallis.

I would be curious to see if there’s a correlation between that and Georgia’s ejections this season, with so many home games played later than noon, compared to 2016.

Also, there’s the Ohio State experiment, which appears to combine in-stadium alcohol sales and the complete banning of bags from entry.  The result is $1.1 million in sales, plus a significant decline in alcohol citations at Ohio Stadium last year, from 65 in 2015 to four last year.  I can see that being an attractive future path for Butts-Mehre.

24 Comments

Filed under College Football