Daily Archives: November 27, 2018

Tribute to Erk

Ladies and gentlemen, this is literally what GATA looks like.

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Good thing Jordan wore a face mask, though.

(h/t)

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24 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

‘This is typical Auburn.’

If there’s anybody who should know what typical Auburn is like, it’s Tommy Tuberville.

“There’s problems in Auburn,” said Tuberville, who led the Tigers to an undefeated season in 2004. “There’s always been problems in Auburn. And, for some reason, they will continue to be problems in Auburn.

“That being said, the things I’m hearing out of Auburn is if they do pay Gus Malzahn $32 million (for a buyout), they want to have somebody in place that can settle the troops down.

“It’s a complete mess, to be honest with you. There are too many people up there trying to make a decision. Obviously, they don’t have a clue what they are doing.”

LMAO.  You don’t have to be a program insider to realize that.

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UPDATE:  Well, now.

Though no agreement has been finalized and changes remain possible, Gus Malzahn is on the verge of accepting a reduced buyout and other limitations to remain for his seventh season as Auburn’s head football coach, sources told AuburnUndercover.

Malzahn’s buyout, sources said, would be reduced by an unspecified amount. Any coaching staff moves would have to be revenue neutral, effectively removing the possibility of paying buyouts for assistant coaches and assuring Chip Lindsey would remain as offensive coordinator unless he chooses to leave.

President Steven Leath laid out the offer in a Sunday meeting with Malzahn. Leath left Tuesday morning for a meeting in Washington, D.C., and, according to athletic department sources, left negotiations with Malzahn in the hands of trustee Raymond Harbert…

Auburn coaches, sources said, have faced questions about Malzahn’s future on virtually every stop on the recruiting trail over the past two days.

How do you go from having boosters ready to shell out $32 million to run off Malzahn to reducing the buyout and restricting assistant coach compensation?

A fine mess, which at Auburn means business as usual.

72 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

“Larry is a lavish guy; he likes extravagance…”

Now this is something.

Scott makes far more than Oregon State president Edward Ray ($588,000) and Oregon’s Michael Schill ($674,000). In fact, the commissioner makes more than any of the Pac-12 Conference head football coaches.

Scott is also paid more than Greg Sankey, the Southeastern Conference commissioner, who makes $1.9 million a year by comparison. Also, Scott makes more than Jim Delany, the Big Ten Conference commissioner, who brings home $2.4 million a year.

Sankey makes less than all 14 head football coaches in the SEC.

Larry Scott may not be much of a commissioner, but it sure seems like he’s a helluva salesman.

6 Comments

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

Envy and jealousy, Georgia fan base edition

Jeez, does Will Leach Leitch flat out nail us with this post.  For starters,

If there’s one nagging issue that plagues Georgia football fans, I’ve found it is that they have a unique difficulty in living in the moment. Whatever is happening right now, for many fans, can often feel beside the point. Georgia football fans are always either reliving the past or fretting about the future. Whether it was the age of Mark Richt’s 10 wins never being enough or, today, when Georgia has one of the best teams it has ever had and it is just one game away from the whole universe of everyone’s hopes and dreams opening wide right in front of them, and almost everybody I know here in Athens is either dreading Saturday’s game or actively avoiding it … the present is a slippery, elusive concept, a place no one ever quite feels comfortable living in.

This 2018 season, the one where Georgia went 11-1 and destroyed every team it played except for one, has to be the sleepiest season of extended dominance in recent memory. Georgia had one bad game, in Death Valley, a place where countless SEC teams’ seasons have gone to die over the decades, and otherwise, they really didn’t sweat once all year. They flattened Florida, they crushed Kentucky (in a game that was described as the biggest in Kentucky football history, which was sort of amusing considering it was maybe Georgia’s fifth biggest this year), they demoralized South Carolina, they breezed by Missouri, they barely even noticed Auburn was on the field with them and what they did to Georgia Tech is illegal in three-quarters of the states in this country. Georgia’s rivals are so far behind them right now it takes a connecting flight just to get a glimpse of Uga’s tail. Everything – well, almost everything – Georgia could have hoped for when it fired Richt and hired Kirby Smart has happened. Georgia is at last at the place it has always believed it deserved to be … where it belonged.

Man, oh man, is that on target.

If Georgia ever reaches that final destination we hope it reaches, I don’t think our fan base will turn out to be as arrogant as Alabama’s.  We’re too neurotic for that.

130 Comments

Filed under Envy and Jealousy

The momentum thing

I think that if you wanted to distill all the pundit wisdom about the SECCG matchup into its purest bare essentials, you could do it in six words:  Georgia is good.  Alabama is better.

The stats don’t argue with that assessment, either.  Take this, for example.

Like I said, Georgia is good but Alabama is better.

That being said, I’m here to make the case that maybe Georgia is in stronger shape than it’s being given credit for.  With the 12-game perspective we have now, I’d suggest looking at Georgia through the LSU game and Georgia post-LSU to evaluate what the Dawgs will put on the field Saturday.

In other words, if you ask this Georgia team “what have you done for me lately?”, the answer is going to be “a lot”, particularly on offense.

For example, in the month of November,

The Dawgs are ranked ahead of the Tide in all four statistical categories.

You can find areas where though Georgia doesn’t rank ahead of ‘Bama, at least it’s showing significant improvement, like these:

  • Georgia’s defense, which was once at the bottom of tackles for loss, is a middle of the pack 72nd.
  • Similarly for sacks, Georgia’s defense is 36th nationally.

Groo provides one more example of note.

But the level of play we’ve seen from the Georgia offense over the past month has been extraordinary. Georgia’s success rate of 72.4% against UMass was tops nationally last week, but it’s easy to shrug that off due to the quality of competition. Tech is no great shakes on defense, but Georgia was able to follow up a 72% success rate with a 68% success rate – the best in the nation for the second straight week…

Success rate is a measure of a team’s ability to stay ahead of the chains…

Forget about imposing your will, staying ahead of the chains is really what Georgia wants to do on offense every time it plays.  That the Dawgs have been better at that than any other team in the country over the past two weeks is more than decent evidence of the validity of Groo’s header.  Georgia very much appears to be peaking at the right time.

Is that in and of itself enough to take down Saban and Company?  Beats me; it’s not like I’m planning to put any money down on the game.  But it’s certainly enough to make me believe the pundits’ take isn’t the whole story.

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UPDATE:  I’m not gonna say great minds think alike in this instance, because Bill Connelly is sharper than I am, but he has some similar fodder for the discussion.

In almost every regard, Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has had a fantastic year.

After losing stalwart running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, No. 1 receiver Javon Wims, and all-conference left tackle Isaiah Wynn, the Dawgs have actually improved from 14th to third in Off. S&P+, a remarkable accomplishment.

Plus, for the second straight year, the Georgia offense has responded to a loss with near-perfection.

  • Last year, the Bulldogs lost 40-17 to Auburn but averaged 41 points per game and 7.9 yards per play over their next four games to reach the National Championship.
  • This time, they got smoked by LSU, 36-16, and responded with … 42 points per game and 7.8 yards per play over five games.

In their five-game streak, the Dawgs have looked the part of a national title contender. Per the Football Study Hall college football stat profiles, their average S&P+ percentile performance in that span has been 93 percent, their average post-game win expectancy 98 percent.

Alabama’s averages over that same span have been almost identical: S&P+ percentile average of 94 percent, average post-game win expectancy of 100.

There’s a but, though, and it’s a pretty big one.

The closer you get to the goal line, the more it changes your options. How has Georgia dealt with that so far?

  • In open play (snaps between the offense’s 10 and the defense’s 30), Georgia’s success rate is 54.1 percent, third in FBS.
  • Between the opponent’s 21 and 30, Georgia’s success rate is 48.8 percent, 19th.
  • Between the opponent’s 11 and 20, Georgia’s success rate is 46 percent, 26th.
  • Inside the opponent’s 10, Georgia’s success rate is 40 percent, 116th.
  • Inside the opponent’s 3, Georgia’s success rate is 28.6 percent, 129th.

As the goal line nears, UGA changes from one of the country’s best offenses to one of the worst.

Yikes, I say.  Even worse, according to Bill, “(t)he Dawgs’ overall performance has improved down the stretch, but the red zone offense has gotten worse…”.  Yikes, squared.

It’s nice that Georgia has the better kicking game, but you aren’t going to beat Alabama trading field goals with touchdowns.

One thing I disagree with Bill about is that he lays the blame for Georgia’s red zone woes on Chaney’s shoulders alone.  I think Mr. Impose Your Will has to share a little of that.  That being said, Bill is spot on when he says Georgia sorely needs a dose of creativity in the red zone.  Let’s hope the coaches are thinking along the same lines.

32 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

You can’t have everything.

One reason our best versus deserving debates over the college football playoff field are so spirited is that the selection committee isn’t as committed to either standard as it pretends to be.

Some of that is due to the hand it’s dealt.  By that, I mean conference championship games.  It’s worth remembering those were created in a time prior to the BCS or the CFP, and weren’t meant to serve the purpose of separating the wheat from the chaff nearly as much as generating additional revenues for the owners of the sport.  (A goal which, I should remind you, is the raison d’etre for all sports in this country above the high school level.  But I digress.)

Anyway, that’s why we’re left with lamentations like Pete Fiutak’s.

Georgia lost to LSU by 20. Yeah, okay, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the four best teams right now.

For all of the rightful gushing and love given to Alabama for beating all 12 teams on the schedule by more than 20, Georgia has beaten everyone but LSU – I know, that’s sort of a “besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” thing – by 14 or more, and it’s tenth in the NCAA strength of schedule rankings.

It’s not fair that Georgia has to play Alabama in the SEC Championship instead of Pitt, or Memphis, or Northwestern, or in the case of Notre Dame, no one at all. It’s not fair that it’s going to be punished by playing the Crimson Tide – but it doesn’t have to be.

It’s the nature of the beast they’ve created.  It’s not intellectually consistent because it’s a patchwork job.  The underpinning belongs to each individual conference and Notre Dame, at least in years like 2018, while the structure on top tries to lash all that together with a binding material that, again, is driven by financial considerations as much as anything.  That’s an especially difficult construction because there are only four playoff spots for five power conferences and Notre Dame.

I’m not making this point because I’m a Georgia fan worried about his team getting screwed by the selection committee if the Dawgs play a credible game against Alabama — something that hasn’t happened yet this season — but come up just short and receive a New Year’s Day bowl game as a consolation prize.  Indeed, if you read Fiutak’s piece, he makes the same argument for Ohio State that he does for Georgia.

But here’s the thing about best.  Look at this set of stats and assume Georgia plays well enough in the SECCG to leave the status quo in place.

If that’s a decent measure of quality, Georgia should certainly be in the field of the four best teams in the country, regardless of the outcome of the championship game.  Should Oklahoma and Ohio State win their respective conferences, though, there’s no way a two-loss conference championship game loser is going to the semi-finals.  Does that make either team better than Georgia?  Of course not, but that’s not really the issue.

This is why I keep coming back to the feeling that the playoff field is destined to grow and to grow beyond eight, ultimately.  Cinderella will be the emotional factor that some will point to as why that’s a good thing, although it has nothing to do with determining the best.

If we’re looking for fictional character metaphors to illustrate the motivation for expansion, however, I’d suggest Frankenstein.  In its case, the whole was something less than its parts.  As the powers that be try to please all the various parties with skin in the game — the power conferences, the Group of Six, Notre Dame, ESPN, etc. — what seems inevitable to me is watering down the product in an attempt to satisfy the demands of all.

What we’ll wind up with will be neither solely about the deserving nor the best, but as long as the money flow is there, the people running the show will live with it and bullshit the rest of us.

27 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“You cannot let a receiver go down the sideline to lose the game for Georgia.”

Marc Weiszer reviews the final play of the last national championship game (you might as well brace yourself, because second-and-26 is going to be thrown in our faces all week leading up to and during the game).

Reading the piece, I can’t help but feel for Dominick Sanders, who bit on Tua’s fake instead of staying over the top of the receiver, and is going to be reminded of his mistake every time that play is referenced, but what I found more interesting is that, according to at least one player, Georgia didn’t really prepare for the quarterback substitution.

“He made some dynamic plays,” Ledbetter said of Tagovailoa. “We didn’t really game plan last year, we didn’t know he was going to be that guy to come in and kind of change that game around. We thought Jalen Hurts was the frontrunner and leader on the team.

To me, the interesting thing to remember is Georgia’s defense gave Tua as much as he gave them.  Baker managed a pick and don’t forget the penultimate play was a big sack that put ‘Bama in a second-and-26 hole in the first place.  Georgia won some of the battles, but ultimately lost the war on an iconic play.

Kirby’s professing to take the lesson from it as being nothing more than tip your cap to the other guy who made the play and move on.

Smart said he’s not personally motivated by the way the last meeting with Alabama ended.

“I really think to each his own,” he said. “That’s not what’s driving me. What’s driving me is the young men (on the team), trying to do my best job for them, and that’s what my coaching staff has to do. … We gotta put the best plan together we can to play our best game against Alabama; not the Alabama last year, not the Georgia last year.”

Still, I bet you that if somehow the Dawgs prevail Saturday, there will be some measure of satisfaction taken overcoming the disappointment of blowing the last matchup.  These guys are only human, after all.

43 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football