Daily Archives: July 19, 2018

“I’ve changed my tune.”

The Gus Bus hops on the nine conference game-schedule freeway.

Gus Malzahn has become at least the second SEC coach to advocate for playing nine league games.

“I’ve changed my tune. I’m all for the SEC having nine conference games to equal out the league as far as schedule,” Auburn’s coach said during a break Thursday at the 2018 SEC Media Days. “I think Nick [Saban]’s been the only one for it.”

I’m sure your reasons for that aren’t mine, but good on ‘ya for the change of heart, anyway.



Filed under SEC Football

SOD’s gonna SOD, y’all.

From the man who inspired shower hygiene mockery across a nation comes this…

Derek Dooley, renaissance man.


Filed under Georgia Football

The last word on Pruitt at UGA (if we’re lucky)?

Although I don’t dismiss the sources for Murray’s and Pollack’s takes on Jeremy Pruitt’s time in Athens, unlike them, Hutson Mason was actually there when Pruitt was.  Here’s what he has to say about the former defensive coordinator:

A lot of people at Georgia saw how Pruitt handled certain situations,” said Mason, now a sports-talk radio host from noon to 3 p.m. daily on Atlanta Sports X (106.3-FM). “He had blow-ups and antics. Those are well-documented. Those happened. … I definitely agree with what (Murray and Pollack) said about being disrespectful.”

Mason confirmed that Pruitt had confrontations with Richt, fellow assistants and several members of the support staff while in Athens.

That’s not to say Mason agrees that Pruitt’s combative personality might contribute to his eventual demise at Tennessee. On the contrary, actually.

“The part I disagree with is I think some of those traits — (Pruitt) being straight-forward and blunt and cut-throat — I think those things might suit him well for having success in this conference,” said Mason, who coached some high school ball before getting into radio. “I think this conference and college football in general is a bottom-line business. Whether you’re talking about CEOs in the business world or head football coaches, you’ve got to be able to delegate and motivate and those things.”

Mason also said he can see why Pruitt sometimes lost his cool when it came to Richt’s leadership style and personality.

“I think part of it was the kind of lackadaisical, laissez-faire-type of environment (at Georgia),” Mason said. “Pruitt came from Florida State and Alabama, where everything was planned-out in detail and he won championships. It was just different under Mark Richt, and (Pruitt) didn’t like that difference.

“You’ve got Mark Richt, who is a very non-confrontational-type guy, and then you’ve got Pruitt, who is very my-way-or-the-highway. So part of it was Mark Richt not keeping him in his place. Because, you know what, (Pruitt) ain’t going to Alabama and doing that. He ain’t talking to Nick Saban like that. So I think part of it is at Alabama he knew where he stood; at Georgia, I don’t think so.”

There is a lot of stuff in there that comports with what I’ve heard.  Pruitt was a prickly guy, to say the least.  Richt didn’t take to the CEO role well.  That was a recipe for a lot of staff friction, which indeed turned out to be the case.  And Pruitt’s tendency to show his ass, even if in a good cause, wasn’t a positive even outside of staff relations.

That being said, what Mason says about Pruitt should cause Tennessee fans to be concerned, even more so that what Murray and Pollack mentioned.

If Pruitt needed the structure he got from Saban and a Saban disciple like Fisher to rein in his more obnoxious tendencies, tendencies that were given room to fester in Athens, how confident should anyone be that Phil Fulmer is going to be the kind of guy who’s going to play the Nick Saban role now?

The cynical answer to that is indicated in Mason’s feature not a bug observation — “… (Pruitt) being straight-forward and blunt and cut-throat — I think those things might suit him well for having success in this conference…”.  If he wins, Fulmer’s either not going to care about the attitude, or, perhaps more accurately, not going to be allowed to care by boosters and the fan base.  If he doesn’t win at a rate that mollifies the locals, hoo, boy, watch out.

Bottom line, there’s more than one reason Pruitt is with his fourth program in five seasons.  Everyone agrees he can coach.  It’s the rest of what everyone agrees on that has opened up this line of questions.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

You can have my free agency, when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.

I hate to pick on Kirby, since he’s actually one of the better actors when it comes to player transfers, but, still.

Smart said it would be especially tempting for freshmen, struggling to adjust to college life, to look elsewhere if it were easier for them to transfer.

“It’s not easy your first year in college,” Smart said. “It’s one of the biggest adjustments you go through in life. So to be able to make it easy to leave, I think that’s tough. I think it’s a fine line. I want the players to be able to have the freedom and rights, but it’s tough. Put yourself in that situation when you come in there and you’ve been told how good you are your whole life and it’s difficult to make that transition.”

Makes you wonder how he feels about prohibiting all students from transferring after their freshman year.  Or coaches after one year on the job, for that matter…


Filed under College Football

When Nick Saban has two quarterbacks…

Does this strike you as just a little… well, distanced?

Saban said the quarterback battle between Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa is — like a lot of positions on the team — “still to be determined.” Complicating matters is the prospect that Hurts might transfer.

“I have no idea,” Saban said of Hurts’ future. “I expect him to be there. I think it’s our job to give both players a very fair opportunity to have a chance to win the team at their position. I think that one of the two guys — obviously, both are capable.”

He added: “We certainly would love for every player on our team to stay at the University of Alabama and graduate. Jalen has a great opportunity to do that in December. So, we are hopeful that he will stay there and be a graduate regardless of what his circumstance is as a player.”

Obviously, you can’t let a transfer threat dictate your decision about whom to start.  But it’s kind of a funny take on things when you’re simultaneously crapping on the media for spending as much time as it has on Alabama’s quarterback controversy.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

“Pittman’s good,” Smart said. “He’s really good.”

No shit, Kirby.  No shit.

Should our inner Munsons be nervous that Pittman’s never stayed at one school longer than five years?  Let’s try not to think about that, shall we?


Filed under Georgia Football

“We are all trying to do due diligence.”

For some unknown reason, people associated with Baylor football during the Briles era keep opening their mouth in the deluded belief that it will make things better.  Pro tip:  it doesn’t.

Here’s what former defensive coordinator Phil Bennett had to say about Sam Ukwuachu, a transfer student who was charged with two counts of sexual assault of a Baylor student athlete.  (He played after being indicted.)

Included in that TM report was an anecdote that Bennett told a group of Baylor fans in a June ‘15 gathering for the Baylor Sports Network that Ukwuachu was expected to play that fall. At the time, Ukwuachu was scheduled to stand trial for allegedly raping a member of the Baylor women’s soccer team.

Why did you make that comment?

“It was at Joe T. Garcia’s (in Fort Worth). I was asked about it. I never mentioned it until I was asked. I would do a rundown of the defensive players (for the audience). I would say, ‘At left defensive end, we have so and so.’ I never said his name. Someone asked me, ‘What about Sam?’ I said, ‘We expect him back.’ We didn’t go into personnel or anything. He had just been cleared by our judicial affairs, who said, ‘We think this is going to be cleared.’ “

Who told you he would be clear?

“Sam told me. He took out a $5,000 loan to pay for his own lie detector test. And (the staff) was told that he gave (Baylor chief judicial officer) Bethany McCraw all the facts. We were told he would be clear. How do you end up getting convicted and six months’ probation?”

“Gee, dumbass, maybe next time you don’t take an accused player at his word without doing your own due diligence” would seem to be the obvious retort here, but Bennett’s got a response for that, too.

How did the staff handle it when Texas Monthly published the story about Ukwuachu?

“We were committed and we knew more about the situation than anybody else. Art would say, ‘(athletic director Ian McCaw) says, “Stick with due process ‘til it’s done.” ’ (Ukwuachu’s) roommate was there (during the alleged attack). And, at the same time, you said it yourself: How do you know? You can’t live with that if you’re wrong. It was not our job to do it, and we were going on what we were told.

“If we had had (Title IX coordinator) Patty Crawford (who was hired in November ‘14) in place, this all would have been out of our hands and they would have handled it. Art would have survived. We all would have survived. I go back to Sam’s deal; the sensationalism and the lies that he played. He never played. He never set foot in the weight room or the locker room. I’ve said this from the get-go: This was a systematic problem. Baylor never wanted Title IX in the first place.”

The idea that the same “Sam told me” guy also claims that he know more about the situation than anybody else beggars belief.  Well, almost as much as this:

Quite the jump from moody to multiple counts of sexual assault, eh?

Then again, that’s Baylor.


Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues

As football goes, so goes our country.

Speaking of hold my beer moments, North Carolina’s Larry Fedora saw the tempest in a tea pot about Jeremy Pruitt’s character and decided to up the ante for attention at yesterday’s ACC media days with quite the hot take.

North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora questioned the validity of studies detailing football’s role in the onset of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, also known as CTE, a degenerative brain disease found in cases of repetitive head trauma.

It hasn’t been definitively proven that football causes CTE, Fedora said during his appearance at Atlantic Coast Conference media days, but the fact that the connection has been made has impacted how people view the sport.

Fedora also spoke specifically about how rule changes in college football are changing the game, and not for the better. As football goes, Fedora said, so goes our country.

“Our game is under attack,” Fedora said. “I fear that the game will be pushed so far from what we know that we won’t recognize it 10 years from now. And if it does, our country will go down, too.”

Thanks, Obama!

Fedora was just getting warmed up.

Fedora also relayed the following anecdote: He spoke with a general – military branch unknown – and asked what made America’s forces the strongest in the world. It’s because the U.S. is the only country that plays football, the general replied, per Fedora.

“I think because of the lessons you learn in the game of football relate to everything you’re going to do for the rest of your life,” Fedora said. “When we stop learning those lessons, we’re going to struggle.

Has anyone pointed out to the man that the majority of Americans have never played the game, or even watch it?  I know, I know… forget it, he’s rolling.  The sad thing is that there’s a legitimate argument to be made that the mad scramble to change football rules may be driven more by a desire to avoid litigation than to find things that are legitimately effective in preventing head injuries, but downplaying the CTE risk isn’t a sensible way to make such a case.

Then again, maybe this was just an attempt at shouting “squirrel!” to distract from something else.


Filed under ACC Football, The Body Is A Temple

The SEC scheduling buck stops… where?

I have to chuckle a little bit at this Pat Forde column suggesting that Nick Saban has supposedly taught the rest of the SEC how to schedule.

Alabama has had the best players and best coaching in college football for a decade, but there is another reason why the Crimson Tide rule the sport: scheduling.

The program has perfected a scheduling formula that features a splashy neutral-site game while resolutely shunning one thing: non-conference road games. ‘Bama hasn’t played a true road contest outside the Southeastern Conference since 2011, and doesn’t have another one scheduled until 2022. That, combined with the SEC only playing eight league games instead of nine, means that the Tide annually plays just four times per season in hostile stadiums.

Florida says, “hold my beer”, Pat.

SEC schools have gamed the scheduling system as long as I’ve been blogging.  It’s nothing new.  Alabama’s real scheduling advantage comes in that it doesn’t have a big non-conference rival it’s obligated to play every season.  That gives it the extra flexibility to play those neutral site openers.

But, you know, I get it.  Nick Saban, genius.  Comes with the territory.

While I chuckle at that, here’s the real WTF take:

“SEC fans accepting crappier schedules…” ?  Wut?

If you’ve got a suggestion on how we can force SEC schools into dropping cupcakes and playing a nine-game conference schedule, Adam, by all means, lay it on us.  We’re all ears.

The garbage doesn’t keep coming because we accept it.  It’s because Greg Sankey does.

“The facts candidly speak for themselves,” commissioner Greg Sankey said here Monday, regarding SEC scheduling. “Stated succinctly, what we do works at both the national championship level and at a level that provides our teams meaningful access to post-season Bowl opportunities. … 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.”

Go make him feel guilty.


Filed under SEC Football