Daily Archives: July 17, 2018

Today, in stick to sports

Oh, Dan.

In his defense, his wife probably told him it was funny when he tried that line on her.


Filed under Gators, Gators...

“On a weekly basis in this conference, close’ll get you beat.”

After reading Bill Connelly’s piece on Joe Moorhead’s offensive philosophy, I can’t help but wonder if the public perception of Dan Mullen might change if Mississippi State’s offense improves this season.


Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Don’t stop believin’.

The meme… IT’S ALIVE!

If South Carolina can upset Georgia on Sept. 8 at Williams-Brice Stadium, SEC Network host Peter Burns can say he called it early.

“I am picking South Carolina,” Burns told The State on Monday, the first day of SEC Media Days, which are being held this year at the College Football Hall of Fame. “Obviously, we are way too early and barring injuries and what not, I think that’s a win for South Carolina.”

The Gamecocks and Bulldogs will meet in the second week of the season at Williams-Brice Stadium in a game that will establish the early leader in the SEC Eastern Division. Georgia, the defending conference champion, is expected to be favored by Las Vegas and most analysts.

“When I heard (college football handicapper) Danny Sheridan’s comments about it was going to be two touchdowns, I laughed at that,” Burns said. “I can’t imagine that because (South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp) does such a good job. I don’t think Will has the defense he wants yet, but I think Will over the last two years has shown he knows where his deficiencies are, and he can mask those really well. To think that a Georgia team that may be more talented overall as a roster can come in there and whup South Carolina, I am not buying any of that.”

“… a Georgia team that may be more talented overall as a roster”.  “May”?  Seriously?



Filed under 'Cock Envy, Georgia Football

Today, in QBR

In case you were wondering…

Okay, you probably weren’t.

1 Comment

Filed under Georgia Football

Rule change alert!

Evidently Steve Shaw is holding court at SEC Media Days now.  Check this out:

It’s a good development, but how in the hell do they expect officials to keep up with that?


Filed under SEC Football

When the natty trumps conference

Seth Emerson shares a sad story ($$).

Texas A&M defensive tackle​ Kingsley Keke​ is​ a senior, so he​ can​ start​ to​ look​ back wistfully on​ his college​​ career. He was asked Monday, as he attended SEC Media Days, if there was any school he wished he could have seen.

“I wish I could’ve visited Georgia,” he said. “I think that would be pretty cool. Just to look around.”

Sorry about that, Kingsley.  You’d have liked it.

Not that Greg Sankey cares.  He’s got his eyes on the real prize.

The Southeastern Conference is adamant that its current eight-game conference format is in the best interest of the conference, commissioner Greg Sankey said Monday at the opening day of SEC Media Days.

The SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference remain the only Power 5 conferences that have yet to expand to a nine-game conference format, but Sankey said after heavy review by the conference that the schedule will remain the same for the foreseeable future.

“Has the SEC approach worked?” Sankey asked. “Our success as a league should not be attributed simply to our scheduling philosophy, but year after year our best teams have produced the best team in the country. The facts candidly speak for themselves.

“Stated succinctly, what we do works on a championship level and to the level that provides our teams meaningful access to postseason bowl opportunities.”

The SEC has a scheduling philosophy?  Who knew?  I thought its scheduling was nothing more than the haphazard result of jamming the round peg of conference expansion into the square hole of an eight-game conference schedule originally designed for a 12-team SEC.  Go figure.

Despite some lobbying for an expanded conference schedule, Sankey said you can’t argue with the conference’s success.

The SEC has played in 11 of the last 12 national championship games, winning nine, and twice there’s been an all-SEC matchup, including Georgia and Alabama last year. Five SEC schools — Alabama, Auburn, Florida Georgia and LSU — have played for a national title in that time span.

“By comparison, no other conference has had more than two institutions that has accessed those national championship games during that time,” Sankey said. “Twice in the past seven years we’ve had an all-SEC matchup in the national championship game. There’s no other conference that has done that on any other occasion.”

Sankey said the conference and its member institutions’ athletic directors continue to evaluate its eight-game conference philosophy.

“I do not presently anticipate any major change in our approach, but I do anticipate healthy and continued dialogue both now and in the future among our leadership,” Sankey said. “We have a history of being thoughtful and strategic as we decide major policy issues, and I assure you that our approach will continue.”

Translation:  as long as the money grab is working, don’t expect us to make any changes.

That’s nice for the people cutting the checks, but as far as the fans go, not so much.  Especially as long as we’re buying those season ticket packages like there’s no tomorrow.

Groo ponders the possibility that we may be seeing a couple of canaries in the coal mine, though.

… One area in which there seems to be a little softening is in the time-honored tradition of the visitor’s section. Of course with rabid SEC fans there will always be plenty of loyal opposition in the stands, and the one or two best games on the schedule will always be a tough ticket, but the phrase “tickets returned from visiting teams” seems to be showing up a lot more often.

Variable ticket pricing isn’t a new development – it’s been around in some form in the SEC for most of this decade. Teams have figured out the mechanics of charging more for premium (or just conference) games. Neither is supply-and-demand a revelation. When the prices of tickets rise, we’ll see less demand for them. For home fans, it’s somewhat more difficult to turn away. There are other things at stake beyond the ticket price – maintaining a location held for generations and the ritual of tailgating and a fall weekend in Athens make it tempting to swallow each subsequent price increase.

With the introduction of variable pricing for its home games in 2018, Georgia’s had enough tickets returned this year from opponents to offer a five-game pack to the general public for all home games except Tennessee and Auburn. Georgia’s not having a problem selling season tickets to its own fans (new season tickets require nearly 24,000 points), but many are simply holding their spot for the Notre Dame game in 2019. Visiting fans don’t care about our future schedule, and it will be telling to see if these packages will be met with as much interest by Georgia fans since they’re 1) not sold at a discount and 2) aren’t renewable.

Yeah, I do wonder what goes down in that regard next season, given the financial realities and the unique draw of a home game against Notre Dame.

Canary number two?

A related casualty of variable pricing is the visiting band. With equipment and larger instruments, a 350-person band can use well over 500 seats. Since most of the higher-prices games are likely to be conference matchups, the cost to bring a full band has skyrocketed. You’ll see fewer full bands and more 40-100 person pep bands in the visitor’s section across the conference. There will be exceptions for high-profile games (think Notre Dame or Georgia-Florida), but each exception will require a difficult decision by an athletic department to write the check.

Kind of gives a different meaning to “if it ain’t broke”, doesn’t it?

The money chase is relentless, so I don’t expect things to divert from their current course.  The question remains, of course, whether the SEC is nimble enough to manage a transition successfully if circumstances force the schools to do so.

You can stop chuckling now.  In the meantime, when’s that trip to College Station coming up?


Filed under SEC Football

The Year of Quarterbacking Dangerously

This is a good piece by Bud Elliott, making the case that, indeed, 2018 may be the time when the SEC’s quarterbacks rise up to become a real factor.

It’s certainly been a while since the conference has been in such a lofty position.  We all recognized the fall off in Athens post-Aaron Murray, but Elliott makes the point that the regression was conference-wide.

It’s odd that QB would be the position of weakness, considering how well the SEC recruits every other position.

Much of the recent lull can be tied to a major recruiting failure following the 2013 season, which featured the SEC’s best group of QBs in a while, including Johnny Manziel, Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger, A.J. McCarron, and Connor Shaw, all of whom ranked in the top 15 in passer rating.

In 2014, the SEC signed seven of the 11 top-rated QBs in the country, with some of them expected to eventually replace 2013’s stars. None panned out in the SEC.

Texas A&M’s Kyle Allen transferred to Houston. Florida’s Will Grier transferred to West Virginia following a suspension. LSU’s Brandon Harris transferred to North Carolina. Alabama’s David Cornwell transferred to Nevada. Kentucky’s Drew Barker hasn’t found success. Georgia’s Jacob Park transferred to Iowa State. And Auburn’s Sean White was dismissed.

Bad run of luck, or bad player development?  Probably a combination of both, but it looks like the conference is on a real upswing now.


Filed under SEC Football

Greg Sankey welcomes our new sports books overlords.

Sure, he’s not gonna roll over today, but rest assured, he’ll be ready when the time comes.

Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey said the Supreme Court ruling that struck down a federal law barring gambling on sports could cause the league to require schools to issue weekly reports that list the status of injured or ineligible players.

Speaking to reporters Monday at the start of the league’s annual media gathering, Sankey stressed gambling’s potential effect on games is one of the most important issues facing the league, but the SEC is unlikely to require weekly reports in 2018.

Sports books often use information on injured or ineligible players to hedge the line.

“FERPA and HIPAA requirements, academic suspensions, other team or athletics department-imposed suspensions and NCAA eligibility issues make something more like an availability report relevant for discussion,” Sankey said Monday. “I do not believe this has to happen before the 2018 season, either on the part of this conference or the national level.

“I expect, however, the change in sports gambling could be and will be likely the impetus for the creation of such reports in our future.”

As long as they’re getting paid, they’ll do what needs to be done.  Shocking, I know.


Filed under Bet On It, SEC Football

Just tryin’ to help, Kirby.

This is getting amusing.  Apparently losing to Georgia in the postseason gives Big 12 coaches a unique perspective on the problems the Dawgs would face if they played in that conference full time.

Cue the Gary Patterson keen observation.

Cue my smart ass response.

I’m sure Kirby appreciates the advice.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football

Musical palate cleanser, the Queen rules edition

I don’t know how I missed this one.

In 2007, Rhino released Aretha Franklin, Rare and Unreleased Recordings.  I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know it existed until I read this blog post last week.  It’s out of print now, but I managed to find a used copy on Amazon.  It showed up yesterday.

I haven’t been able to get past the first three cuts.

This collection of 35 songs from a six-year period begins with a brief intercom exchange between Wexler, supervising the session from the studio control room, and Franklin, who is at the piano, recording demos for her first Atlantic session with an unknown double bassist and drummer, probably the regular accompanists of her nightclub act. “Hey, it started to get good in there,” Wexler says. “Yes, it did,” Aretha replies. “It had that rockin’ thing.”

And then she resumes the slow-rocking triple-time gospel riff that underpins I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Loved You), the first of the run of classic Atlantic hits with which Wexler succeeded in making her a fixture in the top 10, elevating her to the same commercial level as the products of Motown and Stax simply by emphasising the gospel roots that others had foolishly chosen to compromise.

In this demo, and in the similar treatment of Dr Feelgood that follows it, we can hear with perfect clarity the way Wexler and Atlantic’s gifted arranger, Arif Mardin, allowed Aretha’s own piano-playing to determine the style and pattern of each arrangement. By the time they added the marvellous session musicians from Muscle Shoals, Memphis or New York, a sense of relaxation allowed her to produce vocal performances of such majesty and impact.

In the last of the trio of demos with which this set opens, Franklin ruminates over a Van McCoy ballad called Sweet Bitter Love, which she had already recorded for Columbia and to which she would return many years later. On this dead-slow version, with its false start and its crude recording, Franklin achieves a degree of deep-soul intimacy remarkable even by her own unequalled standards. It is hardly fanciful, given the match between the lyric and the known facts of her troubled love life, to suggest that she was simply singing to herself.

The arrangements are stripped — her on piano, simply accompanied by bass and drums — and the recordings are indeed crude.  All that serves to do is leave her entirely exposed to play and sing her heart out.  And that’s exactly what she does.  It’s utterly remarkable.  Listening to these songs, I almost feel like I’m trespassing on an intimate, personal moment.

Listen to the second cut, “Dr. Feelgood (Love Is a Serious Business)”, which she went on to record on her 1967 record, I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You.  Wexler and Mardin, as the quote above indicates, were fantastic arrangers for her, but this demo affects me in a way the finished product never has.

As good as that is, it’s eclipsed by the next track, “Sweet Bitter Love”, which is worth the price of admission all by itself.

That’s like mainlining the Queen of Soul straight into your veins.  Absolutely mesmerizing.

In case you haven’t gotten the message, you need to listen to this album.  I don’t know if it’ll change your life, but it’ll certainly move you.


Filed under Uncategorized