Don’t get me wrong; I love ’em all. But is there anything dumber than making sweeping pronouncements about a team or a conference based on a glorified exhibition game?
Monthly Archives: December 2017
The final survivor of the Richt era on Georgia’s coaching staff, Kevin Sherrer offers some interesting perspective on how the last four years went down.
When Sherrer arrived four years ago, Georgia’s defense was in the midst of an overhaul. The unit had struggled the year before and Pruitt had been brought in to fix it. Sherrer, who had been the defensive coordinator at South Alabama, was part of that overhaul. The defense did turn it around, but the offense struggled after Mike Bobo left, Richt was ultimately fired because UGA power brokers thought the program had plateaud, and Smart was brought in.
Sherrer was connected to both Pruitt and Smart. From his perspective, this was a four-year process for Georgia to get here: There were necessary changes implemented the first two years with Pruitt’s influence, and then they accelerated when Smart took over.
“We all come from the same background. You could see a little bit of the change. But when Kirby got here, you really could see the change,” Sherrer said. “And to me, in any transition there’s always going to be a feeling-each-other-out type thing.”
The turning point, or at least when Sherrer noticed things really changing, was preparation for the Liberty Bowl. That’s when Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Davin Bellamy and Lorenzo Carter announced they were returning, and when Sherrer thinks the veterans on the teams really began to “take ownership” of the team and buy into what Smart was trying to sell.
“That was really when the turning point came, in my opinion, was this time last year,” Sherrer said.
Lesson from the story: a head coach — at least a Georgia head coach — is only as good as his assistants.
I’m going to the Rose Bowl!
Jeez, how surreal to type that… In a season full of pinch me moments, today may very well be the pinchiest of them all.
Posting, as you no doubt can guess, will be sporadic for the next few days. I just hope it’s equally euphoric when the dust settles.
In the meantime, you guys know the drill. Behave, you scamps.
It’s not just the epic great offense versus great defense aspect — it’s balanced versus unbalanced.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, is a study in imbalance.
Not only do the Sooners have the best offense of 2017, but the difference between their offensive efficiency and the second-ranked offenses (Alabama and Oklahoma State) is about the same as the difference between No. 2 and No. 10 Central Florida’s. Since the playoff started four seasons ago, the only offense remotely close to being as efficient as Oklahoma’s belonged to Oregon in 2014 — and the Ducks weren’t really that close to the Sooners.
At the same time, the Oklahoma defense is easily the worst of any playoff team. The Sooners allowed 25 points and nearly 385 yards of total offense per game this season. They rank 59th in the country in defensive efficiency. It’s safe to say that Oklahoma has the most one-dimensional profile of any team to ever make the College Football Playoff.
Does that matter? Well, maybe.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the Sooners are primed for a playoff letdown. Oklahoma has the best quarterback in the country (Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield) and a host of other weapons that can make opposing defenses pay. Their stat sheet could give any defensive coordinator a heart attack. (This is, after all, a team that surpassed 600 yards of total offense in more than half of its games!)
But it’s also worth noting that in three years of playoff action, the more efficient defense won 67 percent of its games, while the superior offense won only 56 percent. Even if those numbers are skewed by Alabama’s success as a defensive juggernaut, the Tide have won with defense for a reason. Oklahoma will have to buck that trend if they want to prove that a great offense can win, too.
I think the conclusion hits directly at what Oklahoma wants to happen and what Georgia wants to avoid.
… But perhaps Oklahoma’s best chance against the Bulldogs is to use its dominating offense to jump out to an early lead, then hope its defense can force Fromm into freshman mistakes while playing from behind. Between Georgia’s impressive balance and Oklahoma’s shaky defense, however, that might be a task easier said than done.
From your lips, brother. From your lips…
Honestly, you can’t make this shit up.
A Washington Post column about Republican attitudes toward colleges on Friday includes an anecdote about Louisiana state legislators allegedly threatening funding for LSU if any player took part in the “take a knee” protests during the national anthem…
In the column, which ran under the headline “Why do so many Republicans hate college?,” writer Catherine Rampell describes a dinner in New York last month that “about a dozen” college presidents attended. Rampell introduces the LSU anecdote as an example of “showdowns with peacocking, publicity-stunting politicians.”
She writes: “A group of Louisiana legislators recently threatened to further slash public higher-ed appropriations — already down 43 percent per student since 2008 — if any student football players took a knee during the national anthem, according to Louisiana State University President F. King Alexander. (The threat was withdrawn after Alexander reminded lawmakers that LSU players traditionally remain in the locker room during the anthem.)” [Emphasis added.]
I guess they’re too busy before the game getting liquored up in the club level to notice.
Between Bennett and Fields’ arrival, the G-Day QBR trolling here next year ought to be epic.
I really, really wish I could stop seeing these Greg McGarity comments.
“We had to learn what it meant to compete at that level,” McGarity said. “We needed some direction, too. We needed help in understanding what it took to compete at the highest level. He hadn’t been in the chair [at Alabama], but it was pretty doggone close to the head coach’s chair. I think Coach Saban had allowed him to learn and to be a part of the inner workings of his program.”
They’re paying a guy more than half a million dollars a year to learn from his newbie head coach how to run a football program successfully.
As I am wont to say, that’s a helluva way to run a railroad.
Finally, some Rose Bowl drama.
But that changed here Friday morning when Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield did not attend a previously scheduled media availability for Sooners’ offensive players, an absence attributed to an illness by a school spokesman.
Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner and a player who typically relishes the spotlight, has now missed every public appearance, including an arrival news conference Wednesday at Disneyland. While there’s no reason to suspect that Mayfield’s status for the semifinals is in doubt — he has continued to practice this week and was seen on the field during the team’s media viewing window Thursday — the vague nature of the illness, the fact it has now gone on for three days and the preprogrammed answers about it from Oklahoma coaches and players have left enough of a void to be filled with inference and speculation.
I haven’t written as much about the impending train wreck that is Arizona State under Herm Edwards as I probably should, but get a load of this.
Really, what could go wrong?
It appears that Bert’s buyout is going to be ginormous because somebody didn’t pay attention to the contract draft.
Bielema’s original contract in 2012 with UA listed a chart with buyout amounts and included language that the figures in the chart should be plugged into a formula. The contract extension in 2015 laid out a new chart with higher figures but maintained that “all other text, terms and conditions … shall remain the same and shall not be modified in any way by this First Amendment.”
The formula says to take the amount listed as the guaranty payment identified in the chart and to divide that by the number of months in the term of employment. The formula then says to take that amount and multiply it by the number of months remaining on the contract.
Under that formula, the Democrat-Gazette took the $15.4 million and divided it by 97 — the span of Bielema’s employment from Dec. 4, 2012, through the end of his most recent contract, Dec. 31, 2020. The newspaper then took that figure and multiplied by 37 — a rough figure that included the month of December 2017 and the remaining three years of Bielema’s contract. It totaled $5.87 million.
Bielema’s deal with the foundation includes the same chart as his contract extension but does not refer to the formula included in the original contract. [Emphasis added.]
That’s almost a $10 million oversight.
I keep telling you these people aren’t that sharp. But they care about football!