Daily Archives: July 20, 2018

SEC East preseason media vote

Georgia, as you would expect, is the overwhelming favorite to win the division.

I can’t wait to hear from the guy who voted for UT.


UPDATE:  You’ll be shocked, shocked to learn that ‘Bama is picked to win the conference.

Somebody will have to explain to me how Mizzou didn’t get a vote to win the division, but did to win the SEC.



Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

“Florida’s recruiting is struggling a bit.”

Yeah, you could say that.

A helpful reader let us know that the list of kids who have decommitted from the Gators is actually rated higher than the list of players who are committed.

Let’s check.

Florida’s current commits (11): 5-stars: 0 | 4-stars: 4 | 3-stars: 7 | Total stars: 37 | Average stars: 3.4

Florida’s decommitments (9): 5-stars: 1 | 4-stars: 5 | 3-stars: 3 | Total stars: 34 | Average stars: 3.8

Turns out this is true. Florida’s decommitment list would be rated higher as a class than its commitments, despite having two fewer. That’s because the quality of the players Florida has lost is higher than the commitments it has added.

True, it’s only July.  But that’s still a fun thing to see.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

It wasn’t you. It was us.

One of the most delightful consequences of last season was the redirection of the Denial River.  For years, it was Georgia who talked the great “woulda, coulda, shoulda” game, but now that proverbial shoe is on other feet.  We heard from Florida players at SEC Media Days about how the Cocktail Party was a much closer affair than the ultimate five-touchdown spread indicated to rational humans.

Auburn linebacker Deshaun Davis has thought about the SECCG and wants you to know that wasn’t about Georgia.

“I don’t think we played our best the second game, and I don’t know if it was because they made us not play our best, or if we weren’t locked in or focused,” said Davis. The Auburn linebacker told reporters at the College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday that “If you watch the tape from the first game to the second game, it was two different teams, and not just because we won the first time.”

“You pop in any other time we actually played Auburn football, and you match it with the SEC Championship Game, it simply wasn’t us,” he continued.

He’s got a teammate who agrees.

Auburn defensive lineman Dontavious Russell, once a 2013 Georgia commit from Carrollton who then flipped to Auburn, mentioned the adversity his team was facing, referencing star running back Kerryon Johnson’s rib injury suffered against Alabama.

“Toward the end of the Georgia game, we faced adverse situations, being that Kerryon was out, it was something we didn’t respond as well to.”

Hunh.  Funny, I thought the adverse situation you faced was a Georgia team that got after it.

Here’s to another great season of deflection.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football

When they say it’s about the gambling…

it’s about the money.

While some universities look into possible revenue from legalized sports betting, the NCAA says it remains opposed to that and is focused on protecting student-athletes and the integrity of the games through education and consistent national guidelines.

The NCAA announced Thursday that an internal team of experts has started examining the long-term effect legalized sports betting could have on college sports, including officiating, rules and the use of integrity services.

It may take a couple of years, but five’ll get you ten (see what I did there?) that at some point the NCAA will announce a safe path to raking in those new bucks.  Can you say Official March Madness Bracket Pool, sponsored by the NCAA?  Sure you can.


Filed under Bet On It, The NCAA

Roster management and the new redshirt rule

I am so stealing this Allen Kenney subject for this post.

Under the new rule, players can play in up to four games in a season without sacrificing a year of eligibility. Previously, a player could not participate in any games in a given season to qualify for a redshirt. Riley will join every other FBS-level coach in testing out the redshirt rule in 2018.

“It completely changes [how coaches manage players’ redshirt years]. I don’t know if people on the outside or even maybe us on the inside understand how different that rule is,” Riley said during Big 12 media days.

A few members of OU’s heralded 2018 signing class will play so much this year that they have no chance of qualifying for a redshirt. Defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles and defensive lineman Ronnie Perkins seem like two of the surest bets. Meanwhile, a knee injury has already knocked out blue-chip defensive tackle Michael Thompson for the season.

In theory, every other rookie on the roster could find himself in play for a redshirt this fall. Here are the five freshmen on OU’s roster most likely to be affected by the rule this season.

The roster flexibility this opens up is enormous — for the true freshman who blossoms over the course of the season, for coaches who need to plug a spot hammered by injuries, for player development without expending class separation, etc.  If there’s one thing Kirby’s good at, it’s roster management.  It’ll be fascinating to see how this plays out in 2018.

Here’s the list of Georgia’s 2018 signing class.  My five who are likely to be affected by the new rule:

  • Zamir White.  The new rule could not be more perfectly written for a kid like White coming back from a serious injury.  There’s plenty of depth at the running back position, so the pressure to hit the field isn’t as intense as it might be elsewhere.  Should White’s rehab play out as well as early reports indicate, he’s someone who could roll out late in the year and still preserve his four years.  (And before you say he’s an obvious three-and-done candidate, Nick Chubb would like a word with  you.)
  • Jamaree Salyer.  He’s a stud who didn’t enroll early.  Again, offensive line is a place where competition is a bigger consideration than necessity and it’s easy to see Salyer being a late season adjustment, like Cleveland was last year.
  • Divaad Wilson.  The coaches really loved this kid in the spring, until he was unfortunately sidelined with an ACL injury.  If he can recover sufficiently by November, I can see him getting some time.
  • John FitzPatrick or Channing Tindall Luke Ford.  Georgia is pretty stocked at tight end.  One of these two probably won’t see any time at all this season, but depending on where the coaches see a skill set need, I can see one of them getting in a few games.
  • Cade Mays.  Can he push one of the season starters off by year’s end?

Justin Fields is the hard call, obviously.  On one level, he seems like a perfect case for the new rule, someone who can get a respectable amount of real game experience and still preserve class separation with Fromm.  The question is whether he’s too good, or too necessary, to restrict to four games.  I suspect that’s the case, but we’ll see.

As a general thought, one area that could clearly benefit from this is special teams, where you could move talented true freshman in and out over the year as you evaluate talent, develop skills and reward effort.

Who are your five?


Filed under Georgia Football

Careless whispers and low bars

Judging from my emails, several of you have latched on to a comment about the bee-you-tee-ful friendship in K-ville in this piece:

There also are whispers out of Knoxville that the hard-charging Pruitt and new athletic director Phillip Fulmer are not exactly seeing eye to eye as both feel their way in their new roles. And maybe those growing pains are to be expected considering the newness in some ways and the old habits — Fulmer being the coach; Pruitt working for guys way more famous than the AD — in others.

I have no idea what that’s about, let alone whether it’s a real thing, but I certainly appreciate the effort.  I’m sure it will be vehemently denied, at least until it’s not convenient to do so.

What I find more amusing from that article are the thin reeds the author grasps to make the case for Pruitt.

Is Pruitt the guy? Impossible to know when they’re in coats and ties in July and putting on their best behavior.

But here’s a quick checklist on positives for Pruitt so far:

He handled Murray’s criticism about his ability to be a CEO of a program like a CEO of a program.

He answers questions with a directness that (a) would make Butch pass out and (b) lets everyone know that he has a confidence in his knowledge of football that he’s fine with mixing up a couple of syllables and some subject-verb agreement. (Know who else does that? Saban, aight.)

He refuses to reference a player by name. And while that may make it tough for beat writers and the rest of this industry, the truth is, name the last UT player who deserved to be singularly praised? We’ll wait.

He’s not Booch, in other words.  Only in Knoxville would that be considered a home run hire.  (While we’re at it, when did referencing a player by name amount to praise?)

It’s not so much that I’m rooting against Pruitt, but if UT stumbles (again), it sure is gonna be fun listening to the spin.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

“It’s a man’s schedule.”

Good to see that Gus has already got the excuse machine“Once again, I feel like we have the toughest schedule in college football” — cued up.

By the way, not returning to Atlanta would be a different result, amirite?


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands