Daily Archives: July 10, 2018

You know it’s a slow offseason when…

Dan Wolken posits that “Paul Finebaum’s potential departure is biggest storyline in the SEC as media day nears”.

And, yes, he’s being serious.


Filed under PAWWWLLL!!!, SEC Football

Quick roster note

It appears another player’s fate has been determined.

Best of luck to you, Michael.



Filed under Georgia Football

And we’re back to Lincoln Riley… again.

I really, truly, honestly thought I was done with the Lincoln Riley kerfluffle, but people keep talking about it.

Like Shane Beamer’s coachsplaining, per Seth Emerson ($$):

“I know what he was saying. And he came right back and said that it wasn’t a shot at Georgia, it was a testament to the offenses in that league,” Beamer said. “It’s all about the plays you run, and the more plays that offenses run against you, the worse your stats from a defensive standpoint are going to be. And out there in that league, everybody’s running 80, 90 plays a game. So your defenses are out there for a lot more if they can’t get themselves off the field.

So, now it’s the number of plays that sets Big 12 defenses apart.  Let’s look at the tape, shall we?


  • 7.  Auburn
  • 10.  Oklahoma State
  • 11.  Texas
  • 13.  Texas Tech
  • 17.  Mississippi State
  • 23.  Oklahoma
  • 25.  Georgia
  • 30.  TCU
  • 34.  Texas A&M
  • 39.  Alabama
  • 40.  West Virginia
  • 51.  Missouri
  • 62.  Iowa State
  • 71.  Baylor
  • 77.  LSU
  • 84.  Kansas
  • 103.  Kentucky
  • 109.  Ole Miss
  • 110.  Arkansas
  • 110.  South Carolina
  • 113.  Kansas State
  • 121.  Vanderbilt
  • 125.  Tennessee
  • 128.  Florida

You won’t find a single team on that list that averaged 80+ plays a game last season. Oklahoma State was tops in the Big 12, with about 77.5 plays per game.  Yeah, the bottom of the list is populated by more SEC teams, but most of those didn’t enjoy a postseason experience.  (Florida, by the way, averaged about four more plays a game than did Kansas State.  It’s just that the Gators played two fewer games than KSU did.)  Beamer’s exaggerating, in other words, which makes it hard to accept his rationale.

I await the next explanation eagerly.  (Actually, I don’t, but I expect somebody else is gonna try.)

What I’ll share with you in the meantime is an Ian Boyd post that explores the factors involved in the better defenses in the Big 12.  See if you can catch a difference in approach to how the SEC operates.

Originally I tried to look at this by examining the average star ranking of DL recruits for every team over three years but quickly found that there was little to no correlation there either between good defense and star ranking. The consistent problem has been that Texas and OU always recruit the highest ranked players and don’t always play even good defense while TCU rarely recruits competitively ranked players but consistently rank amongst the league’s better units.

Obviously most of the league is clustered around the “we recruit mostly 3-stars and we give up around 30 points (adjusted) a game.”

Iowa State, TCU, and Texas all broke out of the pack and the former two did it with pretty standard talent levels (per rankings) while Texas did it with their usual blue-chip laden roster.

Here’s a look at how these things shook out by experience level.


There’s a few interesting things here to note. The first is that things are still mostly clustered this time around the “we play mostly third and fourth year players and give up around 30 points (adjusted) per game.”

There’s a few things on here that both dispel and prove the “talent matters!” perspective. One is that you can see how K-State jumped up above most of the league on the Y-axis by virtue of playing a lot of fifth year seniors so the argument could be made that their higher level of experience negates the recruiting ranking disadvantage. Especially since the 2017 K-State roster included a large number of former 0-stars that were walk-ons.

On the other hand, you can see that Texas was in some sense less experienced than Iowa State or TCU but “made up for it” with talent. However, Texas’ “inexperienced talent” included a ton of third-year players who’d been starting for multiple seasons so the idea that talent overcame a lack of experience isn’t that strong an argument for explaining Texas’ rankings relative to TCU and Iowa State.

The common thread is this, the three teams that played base dime defense (if you count Travin Howard at 210 pounds as a LB/S hybrid) are the teams that broke out of the pack from the rest of the league[Emphasis added.]

Hmmm… so let me see if I’ve got this straight:  experience trumps talent and the most successful base defense has been the dime package.  No wonder the rest of the world fails to appreciate something special about the Big 12’s defensive prowess.


Filed under Big 12 Football, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

The sick man of the SEC

Believe it or not, there is actually an athletic department in the Southeastern Conference that failed to finish in the black for the last fiscal year.

USA Today released its annual finances report for Division I institutions and the report shows the University of Missouri was the least profitable school in the SEC with $97,848,195, some $2 behind Mississippi State.  Vanderbilt is a private institution and his not required to share their financial reporting.

Mizzou Athletics was the only program to generate less than $100 million.  However, it should be noted that overall, Mizzou is ranked 36th out of 230 public schools in Division I in terms of revenue generated.

What some may find disturbing is that the athletic department failed to turn a profit resulting in a $4.5 million deficit for the first time since 2012.

(Yeah, I know somebody needs an editor there.  But work with him, okay?)

The problem, as you can probably guess, is football.

During the 2016-17 fiscal year, ticket revenue shrank by about $1.15 million, down to $18 million. Sterk said his department has secured about 1,000 new football season ticket holders for the 2018 campaign, but football season ticket totals overall are down from this point a year ago.

The athletic director hopes that the football program’s south end zone project — which is still under construction and will provide more luxury seating to Memorial Stadium while reducing the capacity of MU’s football stadium — will meet the “changing dynamics of the new consumer.”

Yeah, good luck with that.  I suspect he knows there’s something else that would do more for that.

Winning will help generate more palpable excitement, of course. The Tigers return their top players on offense and defense from a season ago in quarterback Drew Lock and defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. But Sterk hesitated to say this is Odom’s best opportunity yet to prove he’s the right person to lead the football program.

“Yeah, I think we can make great progress this year, but you guys have been around — you never know,” Sterk said. “So something happens to players or things that occur, so I think you have to take into account all of those things when you look at, at the end of the season, was this a successful season? I try to do that when I look at it. It’s not just wins and losses. But, yeah, do we want to make postseason? Yes. Do we want to win our division? Yes, we want to do that. But it just depends on how things go.”

Sterk added that Odom took over a program that was “in a state of flux. I think he’s done a really good job of developing the culture of the team and the players and the coaches. So I think that we have an opportunity to have that all come together this year.”

Woo, no pressure there, Barry.  Good thing you brought SOD on board to help.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

Steele’s preseason top 25

It’s not his power poll(s).  It’s his stab at the reality of college football rankings.

“My preseason rankings are not my power rankings,” Steele writes. “These rankings take into account the totality of the circumstances that I feel each team will face in the 2018 season — schedule strength, foes’ schedules (coming off byes), experience edges at the start of the year and so forth.

“My Top 40 is where I project teams to finish in the final rankings and have always done quite well. These rankings reflect not only talent, but the strength of schedule and how each team should finish the season. Over the past five years, 244 of the 274 teams that I have listed in my top rankings have made it to bowl eligibility and that is a solid 89 percent.”

Okay, now that we’ve got that settled, here’s how they look:

1. Alabama
2. Clemson
3. Ohio State
4. Washington
5. Georgia
6. Wisconsin
7. Miami
8. Notre Dame
9. Oklahoma
10. Texas
11. Michigan
12. Penn State
13. Michigan State
14. Boise State
15. Stanford
16. USC
17. Florida
18. Florida State
19. Auburn
20. TCU
21. Mississippi State
22. Utah
23. Boston College
24. Oregon
25. Arkansas State

Yeah, while the top five seem pretty standard, there are a few eyebrow raisers farther on down the list, starting with Texas popping in at number ten.  And how about Florida being ranked ahead of Auburn?  Not to mention Arkansas State being ranked ahead of nine SEC teams?  Ouchy ouch.


Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

For Georgia’s tight ends, it’s all good, man.

At least that’s what their former position coach says.

Shane said he’s confident that Georgia’s tight ends will flourish under the guidance of Jim Chaney, who is moving over from quarterbacks to coach that group after handling the quarterbacks the last two seasons. James Coley has moved to coaching quarterbacks from receivers and been elevated to co-offensive coordinator.

“The group we had a Georgia was pretty special,” Beamer said of the tight ends. “I know they’re excited that the guy now coaching them is calling the plays. But it’s good. Obviously that’s his forte having coached them in the NFL. He was very helpful to me, particularly early on when I first got to Georgia, helping me since he’d been an NFL tight ends coach. He gave me a lot of tricks to the trade. It’ll be interesting to see how it goes. He did a great job with Fromm last year … but it’ll be good for Chaney to get back in his element from his NFL days.”

Georgia is going to utilize the tight ends more this season is the meme that never dies.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Moar coach ratings

Dennis Dodd is out with his latest coach hot seat ratings.  These aren’t in any way definitive, of course, but they are informative at least as to perception and budding narrative.  Here’s how he sets his ratings:

Rating What it means Coaches
5 Win or be fired 6
4 Start improving now 10
3 Pressure is mounting 19
2 All good … for now 42
1 Safe and secure 41
0 Untouchable 11

And here’s how he rates the status of every SEC head coach, along with my one-sentence reactions:

  • Nick Saban:  0 (only because Dodd doesn’t use negative numbers)
  • Chad Morris:  2 (it’s early, right?)
  • Gus Malzahn:  2 (you’d think a 7-year, $49 million contract would rate a 1)
  • Dan Mullen:  1 (it’ll be interesting to see this number in three years)
  • Kirby Smart:  0 (after only two years on the job!)
  • Mark Stoops:  4 (how much better could UK do?)
  • Ed Orgeron:  4 (what are the odds this goes to five before season’s end?)
  • Joe Moorhead:  1 (you can make the argument that he’s in the best place of any of the SEC’s new coaches)
  • Barry Odom:  3 (okay, but SOD is a 4, right?)
  • Matt Luke:  2 (thanks, Hugh!)
  • Will Muschamp:  2 (that looks about right)
  • Jeremy Pruitt:  2  (it’ll be interesting to see this number in three years one year six months)
  • Jimbo Fisher:  1 (don’t know if that says more about Fisher or TAMU)
  • Derek Mason:  3 (that’s actually not bad for a Vandy coach after four seasons)

Your thoughts?


Filed under SEC Football

Rock me on the water.

Needless to say, there’s been plenty of angst in certain corners of Dawgnation in reaction to Jack Jake Fromm’s summer injuries, enough that beat writers have felt compelled to write stories reminding us that there’s no rule student-athletes have to be bubble wrapped during the offseason.

Appearing at former NFL head coach Bruce Arians’ Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic at Lake Oconee, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said what Fromm did during his offseason isn’t much different than what he did when he was in college. Therefore, there isn’t any blame to be passed around, especially for an injury that isn’t a big deal.

“We do what we do as kids,” Smart said. “I did the same thing when I was playing. A lot of people do that. I don’t think you live your life scared and worried about that. You want to be safe, you want to take precaution, but you don’t want things like that to control your lifestyle.”

A nice, measured response there from Kirby.  Also from Kirby:

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say Georgia’s head coach was trolling some folks.


Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple