Monthly Archives: January 2018

“We’re trying to find some nice, gray-haired people who want to do some good things for the University.”

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Notre Dame’s Guest Services Team should be deeply flattered by this.

What was really cool and unexpected was Georgia’s announcement that it would be utilizing the “Silver Dawgs” to serve as campus hosts at the Bulldogs’ home football games in the future.

What in the world are Silver Dawgs, you ask? Well, that’s yet to be established. But if you were at the Notre Dame game in South Bend, Ind., this past September, you have an idea what Georgia is shooting for.

While on the beautiful campus occupied by the Fighting Irish, you no doubt came in contact there with one or more green-jacketed individuals who were incredibly cheerful and very willing to help. Notre Dame calls those guys its “Guest Services Team.” They are just one small part – and the most visible part — of what is actually an army of personnel that Notre Dame unleashes to provide hospitality for guests visiting their pristine campus on game days. On its website, Notre Dame numbers its “Usher Corps” at 850 people, about 350 of which are volunteers. Many others are full- or part-time employees of the university.

Basically, they’re there to make sure spectators – and visiting fans, in particular – have an enjoyable game-day and game-weekend experience. So, they’re deployed all over campus on Fridays and Saturdays of a home game and stationed at key points to answer questions, provide directions to restrooms or points of interest on campus and even to provide historical information.

Speaking as one who was there, I thought those folks were great.  They really added to what was a terrific stadium experience.  That Georgia is looking to emulate that is something I can heartily commend.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Notre Dame's Faint Echoes

“I don’t know about a two-year deal. Maybe I did sign something. But I don’t think so.’’

No doubt Jeremy Pruitt is thrilled to learn there’s no way Phil Fulmer intends to leave the AD’s office in too short a time to avoid having ultimate say so over Pruitt’s tenure at UT.

He added: “I want to do this as long as I am being helpful and if I had to put a number on it, which I don’t have to, I would say five years, six years, something like that.’’

Fulmer said it wouldn’t be fair to new football coach Jeremy Pruitt to leave after two years.

“If I was going to do that,’’ Fulmer said, “I wouldn’t have (taken the job) to be honest with you. I’m committed to being here’’ as long as he’s healthy and productive.

You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Jeremy.

20 Comments

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

Today, in four tickets, four hot dogs, four Cokes

Signs your fans aren’t as excited about your football program as the in-state rival’s are:

A fundraising challenge to increase Georgia Tech’s recruiting staff is more than 90 percent of the way toward being met.

More than $185,000 has been pledged by fans and alumni, money that will be matched on a 50 percent basis by an anonymous donor. Tech has a goal of reaching $300,000 (donations plus match) by next Wednesday (national signing day), which would be enough to fund four recruiting staff positions for the coming year.

Athletic director Todd Stansbury and coach Paul Johnson made public the department’s fundraising challenge on January 6. It’s a two-year program – another $300,000 will need to be raised for 2019 – after which Stansbury anticipates that the athletic department will be able to fund the positions through its annual budget.

Then again, maybe they’re just worried about throwing good money after bad.

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

Testing the “rebuilding vs. reloading” narrative

Georgia ranks a lowly 95th in Bill Connelly’s returning production (not the same thing as returning starters) metric.  Youth will be served — must be might be more accurate a description.  If it’s any consolation — and it probably isn’t — Alabama isn’t even in Bill’s top 100.

Also, I mentioned this before in my post about returning starters, but it may behoove us to keep an eye on Mississippi State this season.  Why?

Former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead took over for Dan Mullen, and he inherits a far greater level of expectation than Mullen did when he arrived in 2009. Not only has MSU achieved at an unprecedented level (eight straight bowls, plus at least nine wins in three of the last four years), the Bulldogs return so much:

  • 100 percent of passing yards (and now with two tested QBs)
  • 100 percent of RB rushing yards
  • 71 percent of receiving corps yards
  • 80 percent of offensive line starts
  • 82 percent of overall tackles
  • 92 percent of TFLs

In terms of combined experience and talent, this could be one of MSU’s most impressive teams.

If Joe Moorhead is as good a coach as many surmise, this team might be something.

11 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Sign you’re at a football school

From last night’s (likely, in the long term) meaningless basketball win:

In the game’s last minute, the home crowd paid the victor the ultimate compliment, chanting, “Just Like Football! Just Like Football!” High praise, indeed.

For the record, last night in no way resembled the most glorious opening seven-and-a-half minutes of Georgia football I’ve witnessed in Jacksonville.

As things go, though, not a bad Gator troll.

16 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

The football gods’ way of telling you that you have too much money.

The University of Texas has already spent more than half a million dollars defending a lawsuit that has “SETTLE!” written all over it in flaming red letters.

In my next life, I’d like to come back as a competent athletic director of a rich department.  The world would be my oyster.

3 Comments

Filed under See You In Court, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Next time, they’ll do better.

One positive development from player compensation becoming a reality is that I doubt we’ll see the days of allowing a coach who went 29-34 overall in five seasons at Arkansas, 11-29 in the SEC during his tenure to walk away with an $11.935 million buyout again.

Which is a good thing, considering how boneheaded both sides were about Bert’s hire in the first place.

Since getting fired, Bielema has thought a lot about what worked so well at Wisconsin and what didn’t work at Arkansas. The biggest difference between the two, he believes, was how well he understood the Badgers’ program before he took over as the head coach after spending two years as Barry Alvarez’s defensive coordinator. “I want to go into a situation where you know everything that’s going on,” Bielema said. “I didn’t have to worry about uncovering land mines halfway into the job.”

Bielema estimates that he’d spent about 24 hours in Arkansas in his entire life before taking the Razorbacks job. At Wisconsin, he knew exactly what the program’s strengths and deficiencies were. Plus, Alvarez had provided a spectacular blueprint for success. (A blueprint current Badgers coach Paul Chryst has followed quite well.) At Arkansas, Bielema had to learn all that on the job. The fallout from Bobby Petrino’s firing and a disastrous season with John L. Smith as the interim coach necessitated an overhaul, but if you examine Bielema’s record, he actually came through that part O.K. The 2015 season, when the Razorbacks went 8–5 overall and 5–3 in the SEC, seemed to indicate a turning of the corner.

But Bielema admits he didn’t initially realize how deep a team needed to be on both lines of scrimmage to succeed in the SEC West.

Might have been nice to know that before you jumped jobs.  And to think that many people believed Jeff Long was one of the most competent ADs in the business.

16 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, It's Just Bidness

Today, in PC gone amuck

While it galls me in the extreme to even partially agree with the stylistic rantings of Clay Travis here…

… (I qualify with “partially” because “MSESPN” is a loaded term and because, regardless, it wasn’t the network as a whole making the argument, just one network shock jock) I can only say that having an issue with “Fighting Irish” is one of the more irrelevant takes I can imagine.  And I ain’t no Notre Dame fan.  Move on, idiot.

74 Comments

Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, Political Wankery

Raising money is the one thing they’re (somewhat) good at.

You know, I was going to take this post in another direction until I saw the comments section was graced with this particularly astute observation:

The same guy who claims he’s a free market libertarian thinks organizations should be more fair with their supply when demand calls for a price increase.

Eeeh! Sorry Hans, wrong guess. Would you like to go for Double Jeopardy where the scores can really change?

For the record, I don’t have a problem in the world with what the market will bear.  McGarity and Morehead are free to stick it to the fan base to whatever extent they feel is suitable and we fans are free to take it or leave it as offered.

What I do have a problem with — and shockingly, it’s nothing new here at the blog — is how terrible at PR Georgia’s athletic administration is.  How clumsily has this increase been handled?  Well, let me count the ways:

  • They chased Hartman Fund contributions hard (remember the bait and switch to have a shot at Rose Bowl tickets, or the beat the end of the tax deduction pitch?) without a hint that an increase in ticket prices was on the way.
  • Rather than being forthright about a decision that even Stevie Wonder saw coming, McGarity felt the need to dribble out the euphemisms directly (“adjustments”) or indirectly (“modest”) before dropping the hammer with a 33% increase.
  • Blaming the increase on the effect of success as it relates to coaching salaries — “We plan to make substantial adjustments to the compensation of our coaching staff” — conveniently ignores the increases to ticket prices that kicked in previous to this season.  I guess we should feel grateful that McGarity didn’t blame one of those on the need to pay for Richt’s buyout.
  • McGarity and Morehead trotted out a new excuse yesterday “Football’s really our only source of revenue, significant revenue,” McGarity told the media afterward. “In order to maintain your other 20 sports at the level [now]; it’s not my intent to go to the other programs and have cuts. It’s not fair. It’s not the Georgia model. Because we treat all sports equitably. So, this was the way to fully fund those other sports at the same level we have.”  The “Georgia model” apparently is to leverage McGarity’s inability to locate and retain competent coaching hires who can raise other programs to a level of sufficient profitability with the football program’s success.  That certainly makes his job easier, even if, no, that really isn’t treating all sports equally.

At least they’re consistent.

To top it off, these guys are so arrogant and/or incompetent that can’t even manage a coherent job of presenting the decision internally.

Jesus, if you can’t even be troubled to present the obvious stuff to a willing audience in an open discussion, what the hell are you doing with the tough calls?

These days, Butts-Mehre only knows one speed:  strike while the iron is hot.  Luckily for our fearless leaders, they’ve had plenty of heat since Kirby’s come on board.  Maybe the magic will last forever, or at least long enough for them to reach retirement.  What happens when the worm turns, though?  Judging from the comments I’ve seen here and elsewhere, this hasn’t been sitting too well with those who have skin in the game, something I assume Greg’s cheerleaders, like our good friend whom I referenced at the beginning of this post, don’t share.

Maybe winning is enough.  I don’t know.  But when you pass along that kind of bump without offering any new, real amenities, it’s certainly a good way to test that premise.  My guess is the allure begins to wear off with enough price raising.  There’s only so much winning a team can do, after all.  And that’s when you’ll see Georgia athletics take the real plunge into corporate marketing, à la the NFL model.  I expect I’ll be gone by then, but for those of you who are cool with the current state of management, enjoy the show.

By the way, this particular gripe isn’t limited to Georgia.  Look at the craptacular consequences from the SEC’s foray into broadcast television, again the result of chasing the almighty dollar to its fullest extent, something I don’t have a problem with.  What does concern me is how poorly thought out those consequences were:  ridiculously unbalanced scheduling for both basketball and football being the most prominent example. (Do you realize that Georgia likely won’t have a single player on its roster who will make the trip to College Station until the 2019 signing class is in the books?)  Until this past season’s success, the number of noon starts in Athens for the benefit of television has been a joke.

Then, there’s the overall attempt to change the focus of college football from that of regional passion to national interest, because it suits the needs of ESPN and Fox.  The conferences are willing participants in that because it suits their financial needs (and because the commissioners believe themselves to be marketing geniuses, which they most assuredly aren’t.)

It’s all of one piece and it’s one reason I find the fretting from some of you over player compensation being the death of college football missing badly.  They could hold the line on amateurism for another decade while the rest of this crap continues merrily along and kill the golden goose just as assuredly.  It’s time for some of you to stop and smell what Sankey, Morehead and McGarity are shoveling.

It may be better in the short run to be lucky than good, but nobody’s that lucky in the long run.

71 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

The sweet smell of success

From McGarity’s Minutes comes the new ticket pricing structure, starting, as I expected, in 2018.

Basically, they’re going to a two-tier format, one for P5 opponents, at $75 a game, and another for the cupcakes. at $55 a game.  Total cost for a season ticket:  $465.  The average per game ticket price has gone from $50 to over $66.  That’s some “adjustment”… er, “modest increase” you got there, Greg.  I’d hate to see what a full bore, rip ’em a new one would look like.

The secondary market for the attractive games just got more expensive for those of you who intend to forego the season ticket route.  I feel your pain, dawgs.

As a finish, this is a nicely weaseled touch:

With the success we have experienced, we will incur increases in compansation compensation to maintain that level of success.  We plan to make substantial adjustments to the compensation of our coaching staff, which will necessitate these ticket increases.

Hey, don’t blame Greg, blame Jimmy Sexton.  I’m sure not a penny of the scheduled increase will make its way to anywhere but Kirby’s paycheck.

Jeez, man, I knew the hit was coming.  At least you could have been straight about it from the get-go.  If I’m getting screwed, I’d like to be kissed.

54 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness