Daily Archives: September 18, 2018

The 2019 football schedule

It’s officially released by the SEC.

  • 8/31:  @ Vanderbilt
  • 9/7:  Murray State
  • 9/14:  Arkansas State
  • 9/21:  Notre Dame
  • 10/5:  @ Tennessee
  • 10/12:  South Carolina
  • 10/19:  Kentucky
  • 11/2:  vs. Florida
  • 11/9:  Missouri
  • 11/16:  @ Auburn
  • 11/23:  Texas A&M
  • 11/30:  @ Georgia Tech

Only two cupcakes, so we better not hear the pundits sniffing about strength of schedule.  Two bye weeks, also (along with every other team in the conference).  November could be more challenging than it’s been lately, at least until they get to Atlanta.

Conference teams with open dates before Georgia:  Auburn, Florida, Missouri, South Carolina and Tennessee.



UPDATE:  Profiles in scheduling courage…

Note the “again” part.



Filed under Georgia Football

Giving the game away

In a moment of clarity at the Alston trial, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott compares his compensation package (a whopping $4.5 million/year) to “other media executives”.

We knew he wasn’t getting paid the big bucks to oversee a competitive football conference, so I guess that makes sense.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

The least surprising thing you’ll read today

The NCAA, right on cue (h/t):

Down with trickeration!



I think Stacey Osburn needs to weigh in for clarity’s sake.


Filed under The NCAA

This time, it’ll be different.

Second-ranked Georgia opened as a two-touchdown road favorite this week.  Missouri doesn’t exactly have a recent track record of success against highly ranked teams…

When was Mizzou’s last win over a team ranked as high as No. 2? You have to go all the way back to the Armageddon at Arrowhead, when No. 3 MU toppled No. 2 Kansas 36-28 to capture the Big 12 North Division. Since that night in Kansas City, the Tigers are 1-8 against teams ranked in the top five of the AP poll.

… or as a big home dog.

Georgia has dismantled its three opponents, outscoring Austin Peay, South Carolina and Middle Tennessee by an average score of 45-8. Oddsmakers are expecting a more competitive game Saturday, though this marks just the third time Missouri has been a double-digit home underdog since joining the Southeastern Conference in 2012.

Since the 2000 season, the Tigers are 0-9 in home games as double-digit underdogs and 3-6 against the spread in those games.

Of course, all of that was pre-SOD.


Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

A sign you’re not having a good year

Random UCLA fan Father of current UCLA starting quarterback describes Chip Kelly’s success at Oregon “simply a fluke on his part. I am sure that he stood on the shoulders of the actual play callers.”

It’s one thing when fans of the other team break out into an “O-ver-rated!” chant; it’s another when the quarterback’s daddy leads the mockery.


Filed under Pac-12 Football

No sport can serve two masters.

I urge you to read Brian Cook’s screed about the ever-expanding commercialization of college football in its entirety.  It’s righteous.

A sample:

It says that college football used to be a great bargain. Tickets were relatively inexpensive, games were fun and not largely spent watching people have conferences. Great fanbases sprung up around the teams starting in the 1960s, when Don Canham was packing bands into the stadium so it would be sort of full, and lasted more or less through 2000 without being seriously impinged upon. Ticket prices were absurdly stable. Television was more of a boon than a hindrance because its proliferation allowed you to watch more road games; breaks were relatively rare and tolerable.

Then things got monetized. Ticket prices approximately tripled in 13 years and have kept going up since. The commercial breaks have proliferated madly. Unsatisfied with their massive uplift in revenue, the athletic department has continued to nickel and dime the fanbase even after the departure of Dave Brandon. And for what? For who? For the benefit of ever more absurdly over-compensated coaches, staffers, and especially executives. Every commercial break is Jim Delany—the man who ruined the conference—giving me the middle finger while he dumps another gold brick on the Big Ten’s grave.

This is why to some extent all the hand-wringing in the world by athletic directors about how the game experience has to be made more attractive to keep fans coming is doomed from the start.  Chasing the almighty television dollar is antithetical to a viable game experience, whether that’s because conference expansion weakens scheduling, or incessant television timeouts leave those in the stands restless, Greg Sankey’s on the field egg-timer notwithstanding.  (And isn’t that a perfect example of how tone deaf the powers-that-be are about this?)

A choice between satisfying the asses in the seats and Mickey is really not much of a choice at all for those people.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

He found it on the Internet, so it must be true.

I swear, Mike Gundy hires coordinators the way a blogger would do it.

… So Gundy went searching. He didn’t care about scheme — four-man front, three-man front, didn’t matter — he cared about results. Who took rosters not necessarily bubbling with elite talent and produced effective defenses?

Gundy figured the only way to find out was the internet.

So he devised his own criteria. Strong in points-per-possession, the new and best way to gauge defenses. Who regularly got off the field with minimal damage from a scoring standpoint? Who might be enticed by an OSU program not rooted in tradition but brimming with success the last decade?

Gundy figured the internet was his friend. He spent what he estimates as 20 hours over two weeks to personally figure every Football Bowl Subdivision team’s points allowed per possession, except he threw out results after games got out of hand and threw out Hail Marys — of which Gundy knows a thing or two.

Gundy said he did the research himself. “I wanted to make sure it was done right,” Gundy said, though if a 50-year-old wants something done right with 21st-century technology, delegating to someone under 18 might be the way to go.

Gundy came up with his list of stingy defenses. Alabama and Georgia were near the top of the list. He figured those might be dry holes for the Cowboys.

“I had to base it on, if somebody’s just better than the other team, there’s a reason why they’re successful,” Gundy said. He also didn’t bother with coaches he figured were entrenched at their school. “Like the guy (Bud Foster) at Virginia Tech’s not leaving Virginia Tech,” Gundy said.

Gundy came up with seven candidates. Knowles intrigued him. Duke had finished 14th or 16th in the Gundy rankings. The Blue Devils were hanging tough in the ACC, despite talent far below the level Clemson, Florida State and Miami. “I thought probably athletically we were at least as good if not better than Duke on defense,” Gundy said.

Knowles got the job.  Oklahoma State is currently seventh in the country in defensive yards per play.  Lesson to be learned?

Most coaches hire people they know, or people known by the people they know.

“Worst thing you can do, in my opinion,” Gundy said of the latter.

Eh, probably not.


Filed under Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Today in analytics, part two

Massey-Peabody ranks Georgia second overall, but third on odds to reach the CFP.  Still, the Dawgs are in with the in crowd.

The separation continues. This year’s “Big 5” college football teams — Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma — all scored solid wins to advance their playoff chances, while multiple contenders in the next tier of contenders took losses. Four of the Big 5 are more likely to make the playoff than not, and even the least likely of them (Oklahoma) is a more than twice as likely to make it as the next team (Penn State).

It’s not that these five teams are that much better than the rest. Well, some of them are — we currently make Alabama an absurd two-touchdown favorite when hosting Auburn (which we rank as the sixth-best team) at the end of the season. No, the playoff lead for the Big 5 is because of how good they are and whom they have to play. The weakest of the elite, Clemson and Oklahoma, have the least conference competition — they should both be favored by at least 6.5 points in every remaining regular season game. Meantime, the next-best teams in our rankings — Auburn, Michigan and Penn State — still have multiple games against Top 10 teams.

That would seem to indicate there’s little margin for error among those five.  Unfortunately for Georgia, Alabama is in that margin.

The Tide are back on top of our rankings and, for the second time in three weeks, have jumped a full field goal ahead of the pack. We give them a 56 percent chance to run the regular-season table, an 80 percent chance to win the toughest division in college football, a 72 percent chance to make the playoff and a 33 percent chance to win their third title in four years. Forget the Big 5 teams: If Alabama continues on this pace, we’ll soon be writing about the Big 1.

By the way, we’ve all taken note of Tennessee’s rugged mid-season five-game stretch, but LSU’s got a shorter run that’s brutal in its own right:  “In a fascinating midseason stretch, LSU will host Georgia, Mississippi State and Alabama in consecutive games.”  At least they’re all home games, but, still…


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

Today in analytics, part one

Georgia’s moved back on top in Brian Fremeau’s latest FEI ratings.  He gives the Dawgs about a 38% chance to run the table; only Clemson has better odds.  (That says something about the state of the SEC East, no?)

What’s really interesting about his numbers is that Georgia is fourth in net points per drive (the difference between each team’s points scored per offensive drive and its points allowed per opponent offensive drive), despite being underwater in net starting field position (the difference between the average starting field position for each team’s offensive drives and its opponent’s offensive drives).

For context, Alabama, which is one spot ahead of the Dawgs in NPD, is 81 spots ahead in NFP, a difference on the field of over 16 yards.

Makes you wonder what this Georgia team might be capable of with a little more favorable starting position.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

The greatest trick Jimmy Sexton ever played…

… was convincing Auburn it needed to give Gus a 7-year, $49 million contract extension.


Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Jimmy Sexton is the Nick Saban of agents and is Nick Saban's agent