Daily Archives: December 4, 2017

A doughnut in your future

According to this article, Phil Fulmer has narrowed his list of head coaching candidates to five:

  • SMU coach Chad Morris
  • Former LSU coach Les Miles
  • Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele
  • Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker
  • Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables

There is a slight catch, though.

The Football Scoop report also revealed that Fulmer may be telling potential coaches that he plans to be heavily involved in the football program as the athletics director at Tennessee.

One source told FootballScoop Fulmer has discussed being very present in the program with a number of candidates; and we also hear he has relayed a similar message to several Tennessee recruits.

Some coaches may find that attractive. Others may not.

‘Ya think?

It sounds like greatness is just around the corner in Vol country.

43 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, The Glass is Half Fulmer

Look out, boys. There’s a new Booch in town.

In fact, I’m thinking Booch might be a little jealous of that line.

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UPDATE:  My Gawd, fifteen minutes on the job and he’s already dealing out prime bullshit.

He’s making Booch sound like Belichick.

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“Georgia is who we thought it was.”

That’s not me saying it; it’s Matt Hinton.

The Bulldogs looked like the best team in the country over the first two months of the season, and by emphatically avenging their Nov. 11 loss to Auburn they resurrected the possibility that the first impression is the one that will ultimately stick…

In fact, although the Playoff committee seeded Georgia No. 3 behind Clemson and Oklahoma, there’s a legitimate case to be made for UGA as the favorite to win it all — under the circumstances, Saturday’s win was arguably the best this season by any of the four Playoff teams. The Bulldogs opened as 1-point favorites over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, an accurate reflection of just how little separation there is between any of the final four teams right now. (In the other semifinal Alabama opened as a 2-point favorite over Clemson, ostensibly the top seed.) There are still no truly great teams in college football this year, but Georgia is as close as any of the other contenders and has every bit as good a chance to be the last one standing.

Along those lines, there’s a stat I need to share with you.  It’s something that flashed across the screen yesterday at some point during ESPN’s seemingly endless coverage of the selection committee’s seeding of the playoff field.  It went by so quickly I assumed I’d misread it, but I went and checked the games today and damned if it isn’t the case that Georgia won more games by 21 or more points than any other team in the semis.  It’s not close, either.

  • Georgia 10
  • Alabama 6
  • Clemson 6
  • Oklahoma 6

You know, these guys may actually stand a chance.

55 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The Greatest Corrupt Public Official Of Our Era

Corrine’s going to the big house.  And I don’t mean the one in Ann Arbor.

Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison for fraud and tax crimes that included raising about $800,000 for a sham charity.

Brown’s longtime chief of staff, Ronnie Simmons, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, and the charity’s founder, One Door for Education President Carla Wiley, was sentenced to 21 months.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan said he believed Brown used her position in Congress to achieve an “admirable record of service.” However, he also said she abused the trust of that office in order carry out a criminal conspiracy.

“This is a sad day for everyone,” Corrigan told Brown shortly after sentencing her. “I was impressed with all the outpouring of support for you, and I think it’s a tribute to all the work you’ve done over the years. That’s what makes this all the more tragic.”

The only disappointing note is that she evidently didn’t spend any of the money on Florida tickets.

Corch Irvin Meyers couldn’t be reached for comment.  Neither could Percy Harvey.

36 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Gators, Gators...

Observations from the arm chair, SECCG edition

They say pride goeth before a fall, but sometimes it goeth before a win.  Many have been quick to credit Gus’ “dog crap” comment with being the motivation behind Georgia’s remarkable bounce back to win the SEC championship, but I like to think it was more a simple reaction to being outplayed and embarrassed three weeks before and resolving not to let that happen again.  Anyway, whatever the reason, the staff and players regrouped and summoned up the smarts and will to redeem themselves and make what happened on the Plains a mere footnote that nobody will remember a year from now.

Although it didn’t start out looking like things would go that way.

Auburn took the opening kickoff and marched down the field with the aid of a crucial pass interference penalty to score a touchdown.  Its defense then played like it hadn’t missed a beat from the previous game.  Fromm was sacked twice in the opening series. After an exchange of punts, Auburn was driving for another score when Davin Bellamy’s strip sack of Stidham changed the course of the game for good.

It was like somebody flipped the world’s biggest switch.  The Dawgs took the recovery, marched down the field for the tying score and never looked back.

If you’d have told me before the game that Wims wouldn’t have a catch and that the offense would be awful with third down conversions, I would have expected a long day.  Those things happened, but, more importantly, Georgia’s lines on both sides showed up and played.  In the end, that was the difference between the two games.

How ’bout some bullet points?

  • Even as the Dawgs fell behind and looked challenged early on, there were some indications that things were different.  Johnson’s physical condition was one, of course, but Chaney’s willingness to attack the perimeter with the running game and Tucker’s aggressive approach to defending Auburn’s short passing game indicated that if Georgia was gonna go down, it wouldn’t be without trying to disrupt the Auburn game plan.  The coaches weren’t going to passively react to what Auburn was doing.
  • That gets back to something I mentioned last week.  I believe in some ways that rematches favor the losing team, because there’s far more motivation to change things tactically with the loser than the winner.  That’s exactly what we saw.
  • Both coordinators called great, great games.  Tucker was masterful with his blitzes and schemed to choke off Auburn’s short passing game, a move that combined with Johnson’s ineffectiveness, stifled Malzahn’s offense for much of the game.  Meanwhile, Jim Chaney called one of the best games I’ve ever seen a Georgia offensive coordinator conjure up.  The fake toss sweep/tight end pass that was Georgia’s first score was perfectly designed and exquisitely timed.  (Trigga Tray’s frustration was icing on the cake.)  The two-point conversion play was beautiful, as well.  28 points and 421 yards later against the ninth-rated defense in the country in terms of yards per play, if you’re still bitching about Chaney, I honestly don’t know what will ever make you happy.
  • Another solid game from Fromm.  Once the offensive line got a little traction, he settled in and made the throws he had to make when he had to make them.  Wims’ absence on the receiving front was compensated for by distributing passes to other wideouts, Nauta and the backs.  Maybe best of all was seeing a couple of those completions coming after check downs and going through his progressions.  Oh, that and no turnovers.
  • Another reason things looked different early, even before the first turnover, was because the backs were getting yardage.  Nick and Sony both ran tough and broke things for yardage, again, often by taking toss sweeps outside.  When they weren’t getting jammed at the line of scrimmage, their power and athleticism was hard for Auburn’s back seven to handle consistently.  You know, just like every other defense Georgia faced this season.
  • You worried about Swift taking up the slack next season when Chubb and Michel are gone?  I’m not worried about it.
  • I thought going in that Georgia’s defensive line wouldn’t get bullied as badly as it did in the first game, simply because it was too talented for a repeat.  I admit I didn’t feel the same way about the offensive line.  Danielson and Nessler made a point of noting how many times they said Jeff Holland’s name in the first game; after Georgia’s first couple of series, you never heard Holland mentioned the rest of the game.  The offensive line wound up holding its own against one of the most formidable defensive fronts in the country.  Considering that’s more than you could say about Alabama’s effort in the Iron Bowl, that’s one of the more astonishing things I’ve typed this year.
  • Speaking of blocking, the receivers contributed mightily there, too.  Danielson did a nice job crediting Wims on that front on more than one occasion.
  • The defense held Auburn 200 yards under its average on the season.  The Tigers had three lengthy drives, only one of which wound up with a score.  That was the real difference in the game.  The rest of the day, they did nothing.
  • I’m trying to come up with a comparable effort in a high stakes game to what Roquan Smith did.  Jarvis Jones was capable of taking over a game, but he didn’t play on a conference winner.  Maybe Thomas Davis or David Pollack, I’m not sure.  Smith was the place where Auburn’s offense went to die.  I can’t recall a single play he was involved in that didn’t end when he showed up.
  • After all our observations about Bellamy’s and Carter’s disappearing acts after the Notre Dame game (something that was a little unfair in Carter’s case, because he’s been asked to drop into coverage a lot this season), it was satisfying to see them team up for the two big turnovers.  Bellamy showed his speed and determination on his strip sack.  Carter’s might have been even more impressive, in that he was being held as he reached out to force Johnson’s fumble.
  • The secondary was functional more than brilliant, but that’s what Tucker needed.  They were determined not to let Auburn burn them over the top with the passing game and they succeeded for the most part.  (Insert grumbling about the wheel pass here.)
  • I saw the best and worst from Jarrett Stidham.  The throw he made on Auburn’s third drive when Georgia blew up a screen pass was one of the best passes I’ve ever seen, but once Georgia dialed up the blitzes, Stidham became uncomfortable in the pocket, and when he’s like that, he’s not very effective.
  • I admit I felt a little sorry for Johnson, who was clearly way less than 100%, but tried to give it his best.  Not too sorry, though.
  • Another plus day overall for special teams.  Blankenship was spotless, Nizialek was effective and Hardman didn’t fumble.  Hawkins-Muckle’s blocked field goal was the second biggest play of the game.
  • I’ve already tipped my cap to the coordinators, but Smart deserves kudos as well.  In Georgia’s biggest game in five years, he had the team ready to play (at least after Auburn’s first series).  Whatever was missing when they went to Auburn was there in spades in Atlanta and that’s what you want from your head coach.
  • I’d bitch about the officiating if I thought it would do any good.  All I can say is that after one call that even Danielson questioned, he and Nessler noted that all Steve Shaw, who was sitting in the booth, could do was smile.  Sigh.

A remarkable game to cap a remarkable regular season.  And an invite to the CFP as a reward.  Life is good these days.  It’s about damned time.

102 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Redemption is more enjoyable than revenge.

Is it cruel for me to watch and savor this clip?

Not after what I went through with the 2012 championship game.

63 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Nick Saban’s legacy

There is no denying the impact that Saban’s run has had on the SEC — the rise in coaching salaries, the explosion in support staffs, the ever-increasing emphasis on recruiting and, of course, the incredible amount of turnover in the head coaching ranks as peer programs take futile steps to keep up with ‘Bama.

As significant as his place in conference history is, I think I’m ready to argue that his impact on college football nationally may turn out to be even greater.  As Andy Staples explains, Saban’s program was the spark that lit the fire for playoff expansion beyond the BCS.

The day after Alabama was placed into the BCS title game against LSU instead of Oklahoma State, I was in New York to interview all of the commissioners, athletic directors and coaches who gather this week every year for the National Football Foundation’s Hall of Fame dinner. Leagues use this opportunity to gather their ADs to shape policy, and the Big 12 held such a meeting on that Monday.

As I chatted with people in the lobby of the Waldorf-Astoria, someone from the Big 12 approached. The league is having a reception upstairs. You really should go up there. When I arrived, I saw the league’s entire power structure. Everyone I spoke to told me off the record that what happened to Oklahoma State could not stand, and they were going to do something about it. In an informal poll of the ADs that day, the majority had supported a four-team playoff. The ACC and SEC had already come out in support of such a system, so the math was easy. College football was about to change, and from that moment came the playoff that we’ve spent the last four seasons arguing about.

Staples goes on to ask if we saw a similar moment when Alabama was added to the CFP field.  I think there’s little doubt of that.

You’ll hear plenty of bullshit reasons why they’ve crossed a line.  Staples points to a second straight year of a non-conference winner making the field.  Dan Wolken’s indignant about it, at least when it comes to Alabama.

But there’s a big problem with putting Alabama in the Playoff, and it has nothing to do with one league getting two teams in, something that was bound to happen at some point in this system. In essence, Alabama slid into the playoff this weekend by doing nothing. It was rewarded for losing to Auburn last week in a game that decided the SEC West title. And that’s simply not the way this process should work.

Don’t reference Ohio State last season, which got in as the Big Ten representative despite losing the head-to-head matchup and division title to Penn State. It’s not comparable.

Last year, Ohio State was already in the top four going into the championship games at No. 2. Though the Buckeyes didn’t have to risk anything in the Big Ten title game, the committee had already deemed them worthy of making the playoff after recording wins over three other top-10 teams. The only question with Ohio State last year was whether the Buckeyes would get passed.

That’s far different from Alabama, which was outside the top four last week after its loss to Auburn in a game that decided the SEC West title. The Tide went from outside the playoff at 11-1 to in it by doing nothing. Based on that precedent, Wisconsin and Auburn would have been better off not showing up at all Saturday.

Not that I think it matters in the vast scheme of things, but in rebuttal, let me just mention that’s the way the grand poobahs running the sport set this deal up.  The selection committee, we are repeatedly told, operates week to week with a clean sheet of paper as it goes about its machinations ranking teams.  If we accept that at face value, then Wolken’s distinction is irrelevant.  As for the not showing up bit, hey, who set up all those conference championship games in the first place?  It wasn’t space aliens or Jesus.

But again, this is mere quibbling.  Because everyone knows what the real issue is.

The only certainty leading into Sunday was that the College Football Playoff selection committee would do something it hadn’t done before. Either it was going to place a two-loss team in the playoff, or it was going to place two teams from the same league in the playoff. One of those would bother college football’s power structure a lot more than the other. All along, more people were worried about one league providing half the playoff field than a team with two losses making the playoff. That the league providing two teams this year is the SEC and the team that squeezed in ahead of the Big Ten champion is Alabama will only add to the angst.

Ah, angst.  If you think things are angst-y now, just wait to see what Defcon level we’re at if the semi-finals end with Alabama taking on Georgia for the national title.  Jim Delany is muttering to himself, “this aggression will not stand, man”.  It won’t take long for him to discuss the future with the likes of Larry Scott.

The question is whether the people in charge of the other leagues will do something about it like they did in December 2011. The last time Alabama got a chance to play for a national title without winning its division, college football’s power brokers responded by creating the playoff. Will they respond the same way this time?

Does a fat baby fart?  Hells yeah, they’ll respond the same way, right down to telling us it’s what the fans want.  And that’ll work, until  doesn’t, just like now.  All because Nick Saban’s built a juggernaut at Alabama.  Amazing impact.

45 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Nick Saban Rules

I have seen the future of college football…

… and it’s — guess what? — gonna be more expensive.

“Ten to 15 years ago, it was about how many seats can we have to say we have the largest in the SEC,” Hill said. “We probably need to be looking to the NFL. They have smaller stadiums than we have in the SEC.”

Meanwhile, Alabama in 2010 increased its capacity by 9,000, adding 72 skyboxes, and Auburn is in the process of turning its press box into a club area. The school already plopped down $14 million to install what it calls the biggest video board in college football, 190 feet long.

Ole Miss and Mississippi State have combined to spend more than $100 million in renovations, recently adding a combined 12,000 seats, new video boards, club levels and the ever-popular field-level premium seating.

Missouri is spending $98 million on a new south end zone complex that will include 16 new suites, a 750-person field-level club and a 1,254-seat indoor club area. Tennessee announced plans for a $340 million project at Neyland Stadium to, for one, renovate restrooms and concessions and incorporate more premium seating.

Arkansas is in the process of completing $160 million in renovations to Razorback Stadium with “seating types and amenities that fit what the fans are asking for,” the school said in a release this spring. Translation: roomy premium areas with alcohol available.

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s Commonwealth Stadium underwent a $110 million renovation in 2015 that actually decreased the capacity of the place by 1,000 seats. Why? Because renovations included replacing general seating with club levels and suites.

This is the future.

“If you were to build a stadium now from scratch, there would be fewer seats and more levels of premium club seating,” said Thompson, the Ole Miss administrator and research head for the SEC game day experience working group.

“Bigger seats. Less people. It’s making that experience way more unique and way more memorable with the amenities we talk about. You’re trying to create unique experiences people will remember.”

Waters, the bowl association executive, believes Atlanta’s new $1.6 billion Mercedes Benz Stadium is the standard bearer of stadiums. The arena provides roomy general seats, large premium areas and discounted concession prices.

“They’ve figured it out,” Waters said. “It used to be, ‘Get the fans in and squeeze every (dime) out of them.’ They’ve gotten where it’s better to get people in the house rather than sell a $10 Pepsi.”

The irony there is that it’s booze that’s driving the train.

You can read the rest of the article if you like, although it’s a thoroughly depressing run through of cluelessness…

“Something did surprise me in there,” he said. “People aren’t concerned about the length of games. People are concerned about the intervals and stoppages in the game — TV timeouts, instant replay. Those are the things that bothered them more than the length of the game.”

and stubborn resistance to the same things fans have been bitching about for years about which the schools have no intention of doing anything.

Home opponents are also an issue, Guyote said.

LSU’s marquee non-conference games since 2010 have mostly kicked off at a neutral site. Excluding 2017, in the previous eight seasons, LSU has hosted 22 nonconference opponents. Two of them were from the Power 5 conferences in football: West Virginia in 2010 and Washington in 2012. LSU has won those 22 games by an average of about 32 points — lopsided affairs that keep fans home or chase them out of Tiger Stadium in the third quarter.

“The home slate has been awful,” Guyote said. “I know they get big payouts to play (neutral-site games) in Houston and Dallas. Well, I don’t live in Houston and Dallas to catch the good out-of-conference games.”

Bottom line:  welcome to the corporatization of college football, sports fans.  You’ll love it!

16 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

“He knows what it’s like to not make it.”

Nice Dennis Dodd piece on Kirby coming to Georgia:

“He always wanted Georgia,” said a member of Smart’s inner circle standing outside the locker room. “He never knew if he was going to get it.”

That changed after Alabama’s national championship in 2015. The planets aligned. Richt was fired, and the search extended all the way to one guy.

“The first day he came and spoke to us, he was busy with Alabama winning the championship,” tailback Nick Chubb said. “He just looked exhausted. We’re like, ‘Man, what’s this man been up to?'”

Now we know.

4 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Another day, another $7 million coach

You get your ass blown out in the SECCG and your reward is this:

Coach Gus Malzahn has agreed to a new deal that will keep him at Auburn, sources told ESPN’s Chris Low.

The deal is for seven years and $49 million, and Malzahn will make more than $7 million in the final year of the deal, sources confirmed.

It’s a shame everyone’s broke.  I can’t imagine what Malzahn might have gotten if times were flush.

No word on whether the rabbit’s foot has been resigned.

34 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, It's Just Bidness