Daily Archives: January 9, 2018

The origins of clickbait

What banks were like to Willie Sutton is what you are to the AJ-C’s sports editors.

It isn’t animosity that drives the local paper’s Georgia coverage.  It’s nothing personal.  They’re just grabbing as many eyeballs as they can.



Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Too cool for school

Really, this is too precious.

“Really cool”?  When’s the last time anyone thought PAWWWLLL was cool?


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

Welp, there goes one expansion talking point.

Turns out America didn’t have a problem tuning in to an all-SEC national title game.

ESPN’s presentation of the epic College Football Playoff National Championship between Georgia and Alabama (Jan. 8 at 8 p.m.) delivered a massive 16.7 overnight on its Nielsen-rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) as part of its MegaCast production, up 9% from last season’s thrilling College Football Playoff National Championship on the same three Nielsen-rated networks. The ESPN-only presentation delivered a monster 16.0 overnight for the Crimson Tide’s overtime victory, up 8% from the ESPN-only presentation last season, a game which featured a dramatic, last minute touchdown to win the game.

I guess the pundits jonesing for an eight-team field who were predicting doom-and-gloom boredom will have to fall back on a “poor ol’ Central Florida” argument.  Sucks when a narrative doesn’t pan out…


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

The number one thing that sucks from last night?

No more college football for almost nine months.  Argh!


Filed under College Football

Brothers in arms

This was a pretty cool post-game moment for the Ridley brothers.


Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football

Player of the game

It’s been a while since I’ve seen an interior defensive lineman dominate a game the way Da’Ron Payne did last night.

DT Da’Ron Payne, 96.4 overall grade

Alabama DI Da'Ron Payne

Payne was a monster all game, both against the pass and the vaunted Georgia rushing attack. On 35 pass-rushing snaps, Payne brought in seven total QB pressures, constantly pushing the interior of the Georgia offensive line back. Although he didn’t record a sack in the contest, he affected freshman QB Jake Fromm on multiple occasions, and that may not even be where he was most effective on the evening. On 32 snaps in run defense, Payne brought in a ridiculous six stops on nine total tackles. Running between the tackles yielded the Georgia rushing attack just 3.23 yards per carry, as Payne was a key cog to stopping the Bulldogs running backs. Likely his last season in Tuscaloosa, Payne put the exclamation point on his career with two strong performances in postseason play, and should almost certainly hear his name called on the first day of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Georgia tried blocking him with almost every lineman at its disposal, and when that didn’t work, went to double-teaming Payne, which had slightly better success at a cost of leaving someone else free.  You can be damned sure he was in Jake Fromm’s head much of the night.

If he turns pro, I won’t miss him.


Filed under Alabama


If you have the stomach to watch it, this is an excellent breakdown of the winning score last night.

Strangely enough, it was the second straight game where the winning play came right at where I was sitting.  It wasn’t Parrish getting beat that gave me a sinking feeling as I watched the play develop; it was the realization that Sanders was out of position and wasn’t going to get there in time.  Evidently the true freshman quarterback saw that, too.

That was the one responsible for Alabama’s left sideline, where Smith scored: No. 24, Dominick Sanders. Tagovailoa explained what he saw.

“They had split safeties,” he told ESPN’s Maria Taylor on the field afterward. “The safety on DeVonta’s side, on the single-receiver side, he tried to disguise his coverage. I tried to look him off. He stayed in the middle. Then I went back outside. It was cover-2 on [the trips’] side, but he stayed inside. I took a shot downfield, and he caught it.”

The disguise Tagovailoa referenced was probably the couple of immediate steps Sanders took toward the front pylon of the end zone, where Smith was ultimately heading. Sanders’ final decision was to cover the middle of the field, where Alabama had a couple of receivers running more horizontal routes.

Smith ran in a straight line. Sanders, the safety, didn’t immediately go to him. Whether that’s because Tagovailoa looked him off, or for some other reason, isn’t clear.



Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“But that’s a play left on the field.”

Blaming a loss on the refs is a mug’s game, one that I refuse to play, but, damn, this penalty hurt.

Besides the obvious momentum change that ensued, I feel especially bad for Simmons.

Simmons, for his part, initially said he “mistimed” his run at the punt. He blamed himself prior to seeing the replay. He was clearly frustrated. A sophomore receiver, Simmons had just three catches this season, and sought to make an impact on special teams.

For a few moments, he did.

“I knew it was close coming off the ball,” he said. “I’ve just got to take advantage and stuff like that. I get very few opportunities and I’ve got to take advantage.”

For what it’s worth, watching the play unfold live, I get why the official threw the flag.  Simmons’ hesitation basically invited it, even though it was a bad call.  Them’s the breaks, I guess.


Filed under Georgia Football

Better times

Late in Ball Four, Jim Bouton’s iconic book about his 1969 journey to remake himself as a knuckleball pitcher, Bouton finds himself traded from an expansion team that never was comfortable with his new pitch to a pennant contender that suddenly thrust him into a start.  Bouton went out and pitched ten innings, only to lose a heartbreaker as a result of a couple of fluke hits.

Alone, in the wee small hours of the morning, back in his hotel room after the loss, you might have expected Bouton to be crushed by the experience.  Instead, he felt nothing but joy and elation.  His belief in his course of action to remake his career was validated and that, for him, overcame any sadness over the immediate outcome.

I imagine that’s something of what Kirby Smart feels this morning.  Certainly I feel something of that.

Yeah, the way things ended last night stings.  But consider this:  in its last two games of the season, Georgia took the best offensive team in college football, fronted by the Heisman Trophy winner, to overtime, won, and then, a week later, took the best defensive team in college football to overtime and barely lost.  I can’t think of too many football programs that could have shown as well.  Certainly that’s not something I would have expected from this team before the season started.

In the end, Alabama was the better team and my hat’s off to Nick Saban for that.  The reason his team was better was because of more depth — how many teams could bench a starting quarterback with a 25-2 record and get away with that? — and because it was in a setting with which it had far greater familiarity than Georgia did.  Those are both correctable shortcomings, if you’re Kirby Smart.

Just keep chopping.


Filed under Georgia Football