Daily Archives: August 28, 2018

Talk to the bottle

Marc Weiszer gets the scoop.

The soda bottle that may have upstaged Kirby Smart at his first gameweek press conference of the season will be back.

Well, not that same exact Coke bottle necessarily.

The product placement seen Monday is part of an “overarching deal” that Coca-Cola has with Georgia Bulldogs Sports Marketing. Alan Thomas, Georgia’s associate athletic director for external operations, called it “an additional opportunity that they wished to pursue.”

He didn’t disclose how much financially that additional opportunity is worth.

The first appearance of the bottle began with Smart’s first weekly press conference. There also will be one in front of him at home postgame press conferences in Sanford Stadium. Smart will have seven of those this season starting Saturday against Austin Peay.

“We don’t do it for road games,” Thomas said. “That’s not our territory.”

Damned SEC travel squad limits.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Why play Georgia Tech?

Here’s one reason.

A road game against a non-conference P5 opponent that Georgia hasn’t lost in this century?  That’s gold, Jerry.

24 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

Nudge, nudge, wink, wink

If you look at Corch’s suspension as more like double-secret probation than like a… um, real suspension, this makes a lot more sense.

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Filed under Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Josh Brooks may not be the hero we want, but he’s the hero we need.

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I don’t know why I should have any faith this should make a big difference, but I’d sure like to believe it will.

If the wait time to snag a bite to eat during a Georgia football game leaves you more upset than a coach when his team has a costly penalty, you can now vent immediately.

The school is adding HappyOrNot terminals in Sanford Stadium on the 100 level to provide instant feedback for fans to express their thumbs up or down voice on concessions and restrooms by tapping a button on a screen.

The units were already used at baseball’s Foley Field this season and it could be expanded for home football games in the 200, 300 and 600 levels, according to Josh Brooks, the school’s deputy athletic director for operations.

“We had pretty good scores for baseball,” he said. “Now, you don’t get 92,000 for baseball that you would in Sanford Stadium. So it’s going to be interesting to see how the scores correlate to Sanford.”

Georgia kicks off a new football season at 3:30 p.m. Saturday with a home game against Austin Peay.

Brooks and his staff hope to gauge issues that crop up rapidly. If a restroom’s scores lag behind others, they can immediately evaluate the issue.

“Sometimes it’s simple as an overflowing trash can,” he said. “Having the ability to see our results real time can help us address issues quickly.”

At least he’s talking the right kind of talk with this:

Near the 30-yard line at sections 130 and 131 will be another “Grab-n-Go that will offer popcorn, hot dogs, barbecue sandwiches, bottled drinks and candy.

Brooks likens those as an “Augusta National method,” which typically receives high marks from those who attend the Masters golf tournament.

Georgia operated “Grab-n-Go” tents on the west side last season near Gate 7, which he described as “phenomenal,” because it kept the lines from being backed up.

“It’s basically taken the concession experience and turned it into an assembly line,” he said. “The workers have just one job—to keep putting drinks out, rolling hot dogs.”

Who knows?  They may be able to handle that.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you, Josh.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Righteously smug

You know, I thought everybody who saw the Coke bottle on Kirby’s podium yesterday found that to be a source of amusement.  (Including Kirby.)

Guess I was wrong.

The biggest social media reaction from Georgia’s Monday press conference didn’t come from Kirby Smart talking about his quarterback or the injury situation. It came when there was a Coke bottle placed on Smart’s podium.

A number of media members and fans quickly called to attention the fact that this is the exact same thing that Nick Saban does at his press conferences. It’s relatively small in the grand scheme of things but it’s also just the latest in a long line of traits and characteristics that Smart has mimicked of his former boss.

They’re both tenacious recruiters. They both have extensive backgrounds in working with defensive backs prior to moving up the coaching food chain. Both employ similar policies with the media and both happen to find themselves in strikingly similar quarterback situations .

Every coach, and really person, takes tips and traits from other people. This is hardly a new phenomenon, as Saban undoubtedly took some things from Bill Belichick, his former boss. And while some might be quick to mock or criticize Smart for running Saban’s playbook, it’s also worked so far.

And let’s Smart some credit. Not every Saban disciple has been a success. Just look at the two Florida hired—Jim McElwain and Will Muschamp—or Derek Dooley. Smart is at least doing something right, as Jimbo Fisher is the only other Saban disciple to coach a team in a national title game. Smart has undoubtedly added in his own wrinkels (sic) to Saban’s process, as Saban has no doubt tweaked his own process over the years.

While some Georgia fans might despise Saban, mostly because all he does is win, they’d be doing backflips if Smart were able to bring home championships. Sometimes to beat the best, you have to think and act like they do. And if Smart is going to think and act like a great college coach, it’s better that he’s picked Saban as opposed to how Dan Mullen has mirrored some of Urban Meyer‘s qualities.

Gosh, don’t we all feel holier than thou.  I hate to harsh your mellow there, fella — especially since I’m no Urban Meyer fan — but if you’re going to bring Dan Mullen into the conversation, you shouldn’t forget about what ol’ Nick did with Jonathan Taylor.  Hell, it’s kind of hard to ignore something that results in a new conference rule.

That doesn’t mean Saban isn’t a great college coach.  (Or, sadly, Urban Meyer, for that matter.)  But none of these guys are pristine pure, as much as some of us would like to pretend otherwise.

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

Not your regular SEC preseason predictions, 2018 edition

Yes, yes, it’s that time again when I show my ass trying to figure out how the Southeastern Conference will shake out for another season.

Let me start by reminding everyone about the format.  Please read this so you don’t get offended as you read the rest of the post.

The format for my picks, in case you haven’t tuned into this broadcast before, hasn’t changed.

Rather than give you my predicted records, I’ll list the schools in the order they finished in the conference last year, look at areas of potential improvement and decline and assess in what direction I expect each to go by comparison to 2010.

In other words, pure seat of the pants BS.

Based on that, the teams are listed in the order of their 2017 conference order of finish.  Remember that, before you start freaking out over where a school shows up in this post.

Got that?  Good.  Now, on with the show.

SEC WEST

ALABAMA (13-1, 7-1)

  • Pros:  Obscene depth; Nick Saban and The Process; quarterback; running back; defensive front seven; great advanced stats
  • Cons:  Rebuilding secondary; replacement of both coordinators
  • Outlook:  I actually had to make a couple of changes from last year, but who am I kidding here?  If Alabama isn’t in the national title hunt when the Tide plays in the SECCG, it’ll be a complete shock.

AUBURN (10-4, 7-1)

  • Pros:  Favorable advanced stats; quarterback; staff stability; defensive line
  • Cons:  Offensive line; raised expectations; schedule
  • Outlook: This could be one of those classic cases where a team is as good or better than it was in the previous season and still have less to show for it.  That’s because of the schedule, which has the Tigers opening against Washington and playing Alabama and Georgia on the road.  On the other hand, if the offensive line doesn’t jell, Stidham showed last season he’s not at his best working under pressure.  I’m seeing three losses.

LSU (9-4, 6-2)

  • Pros:  Defense
  • Cons:  Schedule; quarterback; new offensive coordinator; receivers
  • Outlook:  The Tigers were good last season, but not great.  This offseason, they ditched an offensive coordinator and brought in a transfer quarterback to run the offense.  Not exactly a recipe for success and that schedule, which opens against Miami and has Florida and Georgia as the crossover division games, is brutal.  I could see as many as six losses in the regular season, but I’ll hedge my bet and say a repeat of 8-4 looks more likely.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (9-4, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Quarterback; running back; defensive line; overall starting experience
  • Cons:  Special teams; depth; staff turnover
  • Outlook:  One thing Mullen did well in his time at MSU was manage the roster and Moorhead stands to benefit from that quite nicely this season.  The Bulldogs inhabit the SEC West, but the rest of the schedule isn’t as daunting.  I don’t think they’ll do worse than last season’s four losses and may very well wind up being one of the season’s more pleasant surprises.  Let’s say 9-3.

TEXAS A&M (7-6, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Running back; linebacker; special teams
  • Cons:  Secondary; special teams; schedule; staff change
  • Outlook:  TAMU plays Clemson and Alabama in the first four games of the season.  Ouch.  Auburn and Mississippi State are road games.  Ouch again.  Combine that with Fisher changing the offense and the inevitable personnel misfits that go along with that, and it’s hard to see the Aggies taking a huge leap this season.  7-5 looks about right as a regular season projection.

OLE MISS (6-6, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Terrific passing game
  • Cons:  Deteriorating team depth; defensive front seven; special teams
  • Outlook:  Give ’em credit — the Rebs could have collapsed last season, but managed to win six.  They’ll be fun to watch, as a bad defense and great passing attack is the perfect recipe for shootouts.  The conference schedule is a problem in that the most winnable games are all on the road.  That’ll wind up costing them another win over last year’s total.

ARKANSAS (4-8, 1-7)

  • Pros:  Schedule; experience
  • Cons:  Scheme change on offense and defense; offensive line; defensive back seven
  • Outlook:  A bad team looking to get better, but, again, you’re looking at a bad personnel fit for what the new staff wants to do.  I know Ian Boyd says that Chad Morris has enough to work with offensively, but I look at the mess on the offensive line and wonder if that’s really the case.  A favorable schedule helps, but not that much.  6-6, tops, and 5-7 more likely.

SEC EAST

GEORGIA (13-2, 7-1)

  • Pros:  Offense; special teams; coaching stability; best talent base in the division; schedule
  • Cons:  Depth on the defensive line; pressure of high expectations
  • Outlook:  The schedule is manageable.  The talent level is exceeded only by Alabama’s, and not by much.  Mentally and emotionally, though, Georgia is in uncharted territory.  This is where we’ll find out if Kirby Smart passes his next coaching test.  My bet is he does and Georgia loses no more than one regular season game.

SOUTH CAROLINA (9-4, 5-3)

  • Pros:  Quarterback; wide receiver; schedule; special teams
  • Cons:  Offensive line; linebacker; secondary; turnover regression to the mean; new offensive scheme
  • Outlook:  Boom’s improved the talent level and you have to respect the way the ‘Cocks clawed their way to nine wins last season.  I do believe the hurry up will pay benefits down the line as it likely suits Bentley’s game better.  Deebo Samuel’s return is a major plus.  So what makes me hesitate?  Two things.  One, there are bound to be growing pains as the new offensive scheme is put in place and two, that +11 in turnover margin did a lot of heavy lifting in 2017.  I don’t see more than eight regular season wins for South Carolina and I feel somewhat shaky about that.

KENTUCKY (7-6, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Benny Snell; coaching stability; schedule
  • Cons:  Wide receivers; quarterback; defensive line; special teams
  • Outlook:  The best thing UK has going for it this season?  The East, generally speaking, is in recovery mode.  Kentucky will win five or six regular season games because that’s what Kentucky does.  Just don’t expect it to be pretty.

MISSOURI (7-6, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Receivers; offensive line; quarterback; special teams
  • Cons:  Defensive back seven; Derek Dooley
  • Outlook:  There are a lot of nice parts back on offense.  The question is how competent the new offensive coordinator is.  Defense won’t be pretty.  One thing that’s gone below the radar is that this is a tougher schedule than we usually see Mizzou play.  For one thing, there’s Alabama on the road.  For another, they probably shouldn’t sleep on Purdue at Purdue in what might be a very entertaining matchup.  If I felt better about SOD, I could see as many as eight wins.  Let’s hedge and say 7-5.

FLORIDA (4-7, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Running backs; a QB-whispering head coach; defensive back seven
  • Cons:  Special teams; quarterback
  • Outlook:  They can’t be any worse than they were last year.  It’s not unreasonable to expect Mullen to get more out of the quarterback position than they got last season, but there’s only so much lipstick in the world to paint on that pig.  They don’t have one of the more favorable cross-division schedules and they finish at FSU.  Still, there are parts to work with and Mullen is good at getting as much as he can out of what he’s got.  I expect the Gators to double their 2017 win total.

VANDERBILT (5-7, 1-7)

  • Pros:  Coaching stability; manageable conference schedule; returning starters on offensive line and quarterback
  • Cons:  Defense; special teams; lowest talent level in the conference
  • Outlook:  Derek Mason knows how to coach defense, so how come Vandy will be better on offense than defense this season?  And who thought scheduling a road game at Notre Dame was a good idea?  It’s gonna be a real stretch for the Commodores to win five games again in 2018.  They’ll be back in the SEC East basement.

TENNESSEE (4-8, 0-8)

  • Pros:  Receivers
  • Cons:  Offensive backfield; defensive front seven; staff turnover; brutal mid-season schedule
  • Outlook:    Booch out; Pruitt in.  The best thing the new staff has going for it is lowered expectations.  They’ll need all the help they can get just to get the Volunteers back to mediocrity this season.  The Vols do have their traditional November schedule going for them, but will they survive a brutal five-game stretch that starts with Florida, runs through Georgia, Auburn and Alabama and finishes at South Carolina?  Five regular season wins are likely, six tops.

47 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Tuesday morning buffet

You know you want some.

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Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Bet On It, Georgia Football, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, Stats Geek!