Daily Archives: June 15, 2018

Sweet home Alabama

SEC sports information directors, al.com has a bone to pick with you.

The 72nd annual preseason All-SEC offense and defense came out this week, and I am happy to say that the league’s 14 sports information directors mostly got it right.

However, there was a few notable oversights and snubs, particularly on the defense.

Oversight number one:

Second-team quarterback

Who was picked: Jake Fromm, Georgia

Who should have been picked: Jarrett Stidham, Auburn

Fromm is a solid quarterback who led his team to the College Football Playoff National Championship game as a freshman a year ago, but he’s far from spectacular. While I had no issue with Missouri’s Drew Lock in the first-team spot, the second-team pick should have been someone with more upside as a passer. Stidham was very good in his first year in the SEC, and could reach new heights this season.

Statistically speaking, Fromm finished with a higher passer rating than Stidham, threw for more touchdowns and had a higher yards per attempt.  As far as upside goes, Fromm was the true freshman.

You’d think with Gus’ track record of over-hyped quarterbacks, you’d tread more carefully here, although I guess this is what the home folks want.  I suppose it could have been worse.  He could have pushed Tua instead.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

It pays to be the friend in high places.

Nice to be Scott Pruitt. (h/t)

One aide helped book his travel to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., where Mr. Pruitt had secured seats near the 50-yard line for the face value of $175 each, documents show. The tickets, for Mr. Pruitt and his wife and two children, were purchased five days before the sold-out New Year’s Day game this year.

Mr. Pruitt bought the tickets, the records show, from a special allotment for the University of Oklahoma, which appeared in the game against the University of Georgia. Tickets for equivalent seats were on sale on the secondary market for as much as seven times the price paid by Mr. Pruitt, data from two ticket companies show.

The aide who helped book his travel, Millan Hupp, told congressional investigators recently that Renzi Stone, a university regent who runs a large marketing firm with energy industry clients that include the American Petroleum Institute and GE Oil and Gas, had assisted Mr. Pruitt in getting access to the tickets.

Well, he may have had better (and cheaper!) seats than I did, but he sure as hell didn’t enjoy the game as much.

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Filed under Political Wankery

Deserve’s got something to do with it.

For mid-majors, it sounds like TV money is the new playoffs.

According to the records, the American earned $42.179 million in postseason tournaments, including money generated from the NCAA Tournament, revenue from appearances in bowl games and a share of the College Football Playoff as mandated by the playoff management group.

The league received more than $20 million in revenue from its television and radio rights shared over a variety of networks, including ESPN and CBS Sports. The conference’s current media rights deal ends in 2020.

“The real game-changer for us would be TV because we’re just not getting anywhere near what we deserve in TV,” American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said. “It’s a throwback to that five-year ago period when we were very unstable and the whole situation was unstable and that’s just not remotely true now.

“I think at the time, I don’t think anyone realized how powerful our schools could become. We’ve established ourselves as a nationally relevant and respected conference and now it’s a question of making sure that results in a TV deal that we need to keep this going. It’s a mixture of exposure and revenue.”

I do not think “powerful” means what you think it means, brother.

Checking the NCAA attendance figures, here’s what the AAC brought to the table last season:  sixth in per game average, almost 20,000 fewer than the fifth-place ACC, which was a drop of almost 3,000 per game from the previous year; Central Florida, its conference champion, playing an undefeated season in a large metropolitan area, mirrored the conference overall in drawing 20,000 fewer fans per game than the 30th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys did.

The same story is repeated with television broadcast ratings.

You want more money?  You need more eyeballs.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

A narrative of concern?

ESPN jumps on board the “weak Georgia non-conference schedule” train, with the Dawgs showing on a list of the ten weakest.

9. Georgia

Sept. 1 vs. Austin Peay, Sept. 15 vs. Middle Tennessee, Nov. 17 vs. UMass, Nov. 24 vs. Georgia Tech

On its way to an SEC championship and appearance in the national title game last season, Georgia played two nonconference games against Power 5 opponents, both on the road. But Notre Dame comes off the schedule this season, and Kirby Smart’s club won’t have to leave Sanford Stadium for any of its four games out of conference.

Georgia Tech is a rivalry game, and the Yellow Jackets have won each of their past two trips to Athens. Even so, this is a nonconference slate tailor-made for the Dawgs to be 4-0.

Hard to argue with any of that.  One should assume Georgia is going to have to deal with a smaller margin for error this season because of it.

Which means Georgia’s postseason chances will, to some extent, get back to what Pete Fiutak alluded to the other day with his “Look The Part” commentary.  Ohio State, for example, isn’t on Low’s list.  One can already hear Herbstreit’s spin if the Buckeyes and Dawgs are in the CFP conversation.

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Filed under Georgia Football

An early look at the new Steele

It hasn’t hit the newsstands yet, so I don’t have my copy of Steele’s 2018 preview in my hands, but that doesn’t mean others don’t have it.  From Dawgs247:

We flipped through one of Steele’s mags and pulled his SEC order-of-finish predictions, early College Football Playoff selections and preseason All-SEC nods for this exercise, less than a tenth of the 350-plus page offseason bible for college football fans.

Georgia will take the East for the second consecutive season according to Steele, who has Florida and South Carolina duking it out for the second and third spots. Mizzou comes in at No. 4, followed by Kentucky with a fifth-place divisional finish. Steele is picking Tennessee, during Jeremy Pruitt’s first season, to bring up the rear of the East with Vanderbilt in the No. 6 and 7 holes, respectively.

In the West, Alabama and Auburn are the two best teams, followed by Mississippi State and surprisingly Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies in the No. 4 slot. Like Vegas oddsmakers, Steele isn’t a believer in LSU, who will be fighting for bowl eligibility late in the season with a fifth-place landing in the West. After the Tigers, Arkansas and Ole Miss will be in the cellar.

Steele expects Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Washington to reach the College Football Playoff, four teams most preseason prognosticators are already falling in love with this season…

Not exactly going out on a limb there.  And his preseason all-SEC picks are fairly much in line with others I’ve seen.

Here are Steele’s preseason picks for All-SEC players — First-Team All-SEC Offense: QB – Jarrett Stidham, Auburn; RB – Benny Snell, Kentucky; RB – Damien Harris, Alabama; WR – Emmanuel Hall, Missouri; WR – Deebo Samuel, South Carolina; TE – Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri; OC – Ross Piershbacher, Alabama; OL – Hjalte Froholdt, Arkansas; OL – Greg Little, Ole Miss; OL – Jonah Williams, Alabama; First-Team All-SEC Defense: DL – Montez Sweat, Mississippi State; DL – Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State; DL – Terry Beckner, Missouri; DL – Raekwon Davis, Alabama; LB – Charles Wright, Vanderbilt; LB – David Reese, Florida; LB – Tyrel Dodson, Texas A&M; DB – Greedy Williams, LSU; DB – DeAndre Baker, Georgia; DB – Mike Edwards, Kentucky; DB – JR Reed, Georgia; First-Team All-SEC Special Teams — K – Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia; P – Corey Fatoney, Missouri; KR – Deebo Samuel, South Carolina; PR – Richaud Floyd, Missouri; LS – Blake Ferguson, LSU.

(Yeah, I see there are only four offensive linemen on a ten-man offense list, so I presume there’s a name accidentally omitted.)

The trend continues of valuing the Georgia team highly, but not so much individual players — Missouri has two more first-teamers than does Georgia.  Presumably, that’s a back-handed compliment to the depth of Kirby Smart’s roster.  I’ll be very interested to read Steele’s unit-by-unit rankings when I get my hands on the mag.

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Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water