Daily Archives: January 8, 2018

Random Monday morning question

If two SEC teams play for a title in a game not called by Uncle Verne and Gary, does it still count?

The least ESPN could do would be to play that before the start of tonight’s game.



Filed under SEC Football

“The whole world is making money Monday night. Everybody.”

Dan Wolken wonders if we’re crossing into new territory with the first $2 million assistant coach.

But with $2 million now becoming the new norm for top assistants, a rubicon has been crossed. When I pulled SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey aside Saturday at media day for the championship game to get his reaction, he largely agreed that it felt like a significant moment in the same way it did when college football had its first $1 million head coach, its first $2 million head coach, its first $5 million coach and so on.

While Sankey professed the expected interest and typical concern for what those escalating salaries mean, he believes the market eventually will reach a limit, which is an odd thing to say considering it has never happened in the history of college sports.

“There is an end,” Sankey said. “There is.”

Eh, I dunno.  On one level, this sure seems like something that will shock the conscience for about as long as the first $2 million head coaching salary did.  Which is to say, not very.  Then again, I have to grudgingly admit there might be something to this line of thought:

At least when you’re paying Nick Saban $11 million or Dabo Swinney $8.5 million or Urban Meyer $6.4 million, schools can tie that cost directly to the image of the university. The numbers may be obscene, but there’s no argument to be made against their value as championship-winning football coaches in all facets of running the school. Alabama is a better university academically because Saban’s championships have helped attract talent in every department from chemistry to social sciences; Clemson’s campus and its student body have been enhanced because people saw Swinney’s product on television and thought that might be cool to be part of.

But when you start defending coordinators making upwards of $2 million a year as an integral tie to higher education or having value to a university that extends beyond the reach of football, you’re just not telling the truth, particularly while players are told that accepting anything beyond the value of their scholarships is anathema to the sacred rules of amateurism.

Maybe the NCAA model always had been indefensible, but it feels like it’s being flaunted in a way that no intelligent person can rationalize any longer, and it’s being done in college football for a group largely composed of wealthy, white men clinging to an ideal the public no longer has a strong belief in.

Of course, in the end, I’m sure the geniuses running college football will have all the answers.  Aren’t you?


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

“The atmosphere is just different in Athens.”

One neat consequence of Georgia football being nationally relevant again after a long hibernation is that we in the fan base get to explain ourselves to an outside world willing to pay attention to us.


Filed under Georgia Football

Two words. Two simple words.

No, silly, not those two words.  These two:

The College Football Playoff management committee, which is comprised of the 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, are in unanimous agreement that the CFP should not expand beyond four teams right now[Emphasis added.]

The big boys are tossing a $15 million bone to the mid-majors and those conference commissioners know that’s the best they’ve done and the best they’ll do — for now.  For all the talk about UCF’s national championship parade and the “Some critics of the system have said that what’s missing in college football is the Cinderella stories that are seen more frequently in the college basketball tournament…” garbage, the money is what this has been and will always be about.

And you know what?  These guys are patient.  They know sooner or later that what ESPN is raining down on Delany and Sankey won’t be enough anymore and when that day comes, there will be more to pass through.  So what do they have to lose by waiting?  It’s not like they’ve got better options, anyway.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness

“This week, it’s all Alabama.”

For what it’s worth, there’s lots of late heavy money coming down on the Tide for tonight.

Six of the seven largest point-spread bets placed on the game as of Sunday at sportsbook operator CG Technology were on Alabama, including two $50,000 bets on the Crimson Tide minus the points from the same bettor. CG Technology vice president Jason Simbal said his shop also took a six-figure money-line bet on Alabama.

As of Sunday afternoon at William Hill’s Nevada sportsbook, 73 percent of the point-spread money and 88 percent of the money-line money was on the Crimson Tide.

I guess Vegas doesn’t know from championship fatigue.


Filed under What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

“It’s our responsibility to educate coaches.”

For some reason, Art Briles is scheduled to speak at this year’s American Football Coaches Association convention.  Which leads to the $64000 question:

Why invite Briles, with his damaged reputation, to speak to coaches? AFCA executive director and former Louisiana Monroe head coach Todd Berry said it’s about understanding what went wrong and what corrections coaches should learn.

“It’s our responsibility to educate coaches,” Berry told The Athletic. “Certainly one of the things Coach Briles experienced, and one of the things I believe he’s going to share, is there are some things that happened and he can share an experience no one else can with our group, so that we can avoid issues down the road.

“While there are things you know in theory, the reality is you’re going to gain more from someone who experienced it, that knows what to look for.”

Uh hunh.  The odds that Art Briles is going to open up and contritely explain how he ran the Baylor program’s approach to sexual harassment/assault into hellish territory are roughly the same as Central Florida walking out of MBS tonight clutching the CFP trophy.

This has the potential to be a spectacularly egregious invitation.


UPDATE:  Apparently somebody came to their senses.


Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues, General Idiocy

“So how do they pull this off?”

That’s Ian Boyd’s question for Georgia’s defense tonight.  His answer is to man up.

Georgia’s solution for Oklahoma’s tricky and balanced offense was eventually to play man coverage, so that its linebackers could stay in the box and match up on the Sooner RBs or TE with help inside and over the top.

The benefit of man coverage is even greater when one of your linebackers is Roquan Smith, who’s freed to key the backs and run to the ball.

The Dawgs can play it in their base 3-4 defense if they like and have Lorenzo Carter (S linebacker) as an extra man in zone, spying Hurts, picking up the RB in coverage, or blitzing the edge (carefully). Or they can play nickel and use their safeties to aggressively rob or spy in the middle of the field. Either way, All-American Smith will be running sideline to sideline with minimal distractions.

The added benefit of playing man coverage is that it simplifies coverage against the perimeter screens and tosses that comprise a large chunk of Alabama’s passing game…

Man coverage makes everything into a contest of matchups and execution in the passing game while giving the defense a plus-one advantage against the run. If Alabama can’t punish Georgia’s veteran secondary with man-beating coverage combos, this would put the Tide in a major hole trying to work the ball down the field.

Clemson tended to play more zone, which worked fine, but Georgia might be able to challenge the Tide to win by dropping Hurts back or banging their heads against a wall up front. Georgia has a veteran secondary and a strong pass rush and one of the stouter fronts in the country, which has already proved itself against some of the best rushing attacks in the nation.

If Georgia is going to beat the Tide, it’s going to do so by challenging them straight up and “out-Alabama’ing” them. That’s been an ill-advised method for the entirety of Nick Saban’s tenure in Tuscaloosa, but this might finally be the year.

Or, to put it in a more familiar vernacular, get after their asses.  If they can figure out a way to make Hurts beat them throwing the ball, this game gets very interesting.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Strategery And Mechanics