Daily Archives: February 21, 2019

The Auburn decision: Smart’s call

Kirby Smart is paid nearly seven million dollars a year to do one thing and do that well:  win a lot of games without drawing NCAA sanctions.  The reason Kirby does that one thing well is because he is incredibly focused on the task at hand.  Everything he does that’s football-related, then, he does with one thought in mind, does this help me win games?

I mentioned yesterday that Smart previously indicated a desire to have Auburn return the favor of playing two home games in Athens.

It wasn’t that way until 2013, when because of expansion and scheduling concerns, the SEC asked Georgia to make a second straight trip to Auburn. Georgia agreed, but now Kirby Smart, who wasn’t around when the change was made, would like to see Georgia get two straight home games against the Tigers.

“Yeah, absolutely. If we can get a chance to fix that and return the favor that we paid to them. I hear about that a lot,” Smart said. “It would make it more consistent and balance that out. It would probably be helpful in the long run. But I’ve got a feeling there’s more to it than just us and them. It always affects so many other moving parts. But it would be nice to do that.”

From Kirby’s selfish standpoint, resetting the Auburn game would have meant that Georgia wouldn’t face the pressure of November road games against both the Tigers and Georgia Tech every other season.

(Purely as an aside, I don’t understand this particular bee in Smart’s bonnet.  Georgia hasn’t lost to Tech on its home field in twenty years.  That’s positively Spurrier-esque.  In fact, given that Spurrier never overcame a 20-point deficit or upset a much higher ranked team as the Dawgs did in 2009, you could argue it’s beyond Spurrier.  Why some portion of our fan base prefers to agitate for an end to the series instead of rubbing that streak in the faces of Tech fans as Gator fans did to us is something I don’t understand.  But I digress.)

Anyway, I presume once it became clear early on that making Auburn play in Athens two straight years wasn’t a viable solution, Smart signed on to moving the game earlier to avoid playing two November road games against rival programs.  The only problem with that theory is that Tennessee, with which the Auburn game is being swapped, is on the same home-and-away schedule that the Tigers are, so nothing is being gained in that regard.

Given Smart’s stance, I have a hard time believing that’s where things have been left standing.  So either the 2020 move, which, by the way, is one when Georgia has both schools at home, is a one-time deal, or if something longer term is involved, then another permanent substitution besides Tennessee is in the works.  Maybe Greg McGarity’s wheels within wheels method of working with the SEC’s scheduling brass will pay off with something more in line with Smart’s wishes.

Or maybe not.  Maybe Kirby’s sufficiently cool with getting all the bells and whistles he asks for.



Filed under Georgia Football

The Auburn decision: Morehead’s call

If McGarity’s reaction was entirely predictable, Jere Morehead’s is head shaking.

Morehead, Georgia’s president since 2013, seemed taken aback that breaking that tradition might upset some of the Bulldogs’ fans.

Sadly, I don’t know whether he’s taken aback by the idea that we might be upset, or if he’s taken aback by the suggestion that our concerns are something worthy of his consideration in the first place.

Clueless or arrogant, take your pick.

If I’m willing to lean towards the first choice it’s because this may be the dumbest defense of the decision I read last night.

Morehead said Georgia’s most paramount concern was maintaining its annual off week to the weekend before the Florida game in Jacksonville.

“Next year we have (byes) at two critical junctures in the season, after Notre Dame and before the Georgia-Florida game,” Morehead said. “Those are things that are really important. But I defer to Coach Smart on those sorts of things.”

Georgia, you may have noticed, has enjoyed that bye week for several years now without having to consent to moving the Auburn game.  So unless Greg Sankey told McGarity to agree to move Auburn or risk losing the bye week — something I can’t imagine Sankey put on the table — I don’t have the first clue why Morehead even raised that as a consideration here.

But if Georgia’s position with the SEC simply boils down to “do what you want with us as long as we have our Cocktail Party bye week”, prepare to watch this administration bend over regularly in the future.

Ah, well.  At least Greg and Jere are happy with each other.


Filed under Georgia Football

The Auburn decision: McGarity’s call

The least surprising quote from yesterday came from Georgia’s athletic director, whose PR skills never cease to impress.

“Every school advocates for their own desires,” McGarity said. “You get in a room and if there are certain things you want to discuss about moving or changing, there are 14 athletic directors that do that. Everybody advocates for their own. The one thing we don’t do is talk about those conversations. We follow SEC protocol, which is to talk about it in the room when you’re developing schedules.

“There are things we advocate for that nobody ever really knows about. That’s the purpose of going through that exercise. You don’t talk about in public what we talk to the Commissioner (Greg Sankey) and Mark Womack about regarding scheduling. There have been several times they’ve helped us with things that are important to our football coaches.”

This, of course, is fucking laughable.  Schools advocate publicly for scheduling changes all the time.  That’s what Auburn did in this precise case.  LSU’s Joe Alleva has bitched and moaned for years about his school’s cross-division rivalry with Florida, culminating in an ugly public spat when a hurricane disrupted the timing of their game one season.

McGarity is trying to sell the nobility of his silence as a means of avoiding having to explain to us why he accommodated Auburn’s wishes without apparently receiving anything in return.  As far as the fan base’s unhappiness with being kept in the dark about making a change to a long-standing tradition goes, well, that’s on us.  All Greg has for us is the back of his hand.

McGarity took umbrage with the notion that he had not advocated on behalf of UGA and that this move was orchestrated by Auburn with only its concerns in mind.

We’ve got some nerve.


Filed under Georgia Football

The Auburn decision, publisher’s note

After reading yesterday’s Chip Towers’ pieces with quotes from the relevant parties, I thought I’d spend a little time this morning breaking down some of that.  If you’re already tired of the subject, feel free to skip this and the next three posts.

Yeah, I’m going to devote separate posts to the three main players because I think each reveals a different aspect to the decision and each deserves a separate conversation.

Don’t bother getting angry about the loss of another tradition.  Anger is a wasted emotion.  The only thing that matters to Georgia’s athletic administration is money, and neither you nor I, nor the folks in Butts-Mehre expect a massive walkout by the fans buying tickets over moving the Auburn game earlier in the schedule.

Cynicism as a coping mechanism, on the other hand…


Filed under Georgia Football

COFH, on the road

Sent my way via email by an alert reader, who simply commented,”this guy gets it”.


My kind of attitude.  Whoever you are, you’re a great American.


Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

Take it to the bank.

Non-snarky question:  does anyone buy this ($$)?

Four-star cornerback Henry Gray feels as if he’s next on the Cook plan. Maybe he’ll get a house like the one on his coach’s wall one day, too. But as he walked outside of Smith’s office and turned the corner for an interview this week, he gave an odd guarantee you wouldn’t otherwise hear from a four-star cornerback who is one of the top five players at his position and a national top-60 prospect overall.

“I’m going to college for all four years, no matter what happens,” Gray told The Athletic.

Is that a guarantee?

“That’s a guarantee,” he said.

What if you’re a first-round pick?

“No matter what,” he said. “Even if I’m a first-rounder, I am staying all four years.”


“My mom. She is really big on school and she is really emphasizing to me that anything can happen in football, so she really ingrained in me that I need to get my education,” he said. “But I am staying all four years.”

Skip the obvious “he’s a seventeen-year old kid” take here — anything can indeed happen, so if you’re a first-rounder after your junior year, why would you risk losing a big pay day by getting injured in your last season in college?  You can always come back later to get that degree.

The author presents this as making Gray more valuable to the colleges recruiting him.  I can’t imagine many coaches factoring that into the equation, but maybe that’s just me.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Recruiting, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Today, in doing it for the kids

I don’t know if you heard about Zion Williamson’s injury last night, caused by one of his shoes literally falling apart.  Shoe deals are one of college athletics’ abominations, purely for the financial benefit of schools and coaches, with the product forced on the student-athletes, regardless of quality.

Even if you’re a staunch defender of amateurism, I don’t see how you can begrudge this small gesture.

First, remember that, no matter what silliness you’re told, NCAA amateurism is not a purely ‘no-pay’ amateurism. The NCAA bylaws say that any player benefit, pay, or special arrangement is perfectly fine if “expressly authorized by NCAA legislation.” The NCAA can vote to provide all players with candelabras, or pickup trucks, if it wants.

Zion Williamson got hurt not just while wearing a shoe provided for the commercial profit others enjoyed: the cause of Williamson’s injury was the shoe. He provides the promotion, with no pay; he should not be required to assume all the cost of injury. NCAA legislation should be immediately passed to require that any D-1 school shoe or apparel contract include a provision mandating that the shoe or apparel provider fund loss-of-value insurance for any basketball or football player.

It’s not like the bastards can’t afford it.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Was 2010 Richt’s most disappointing season?

I certainly didn’t enjoy it at the time, and Bill Connelly’s return to that season doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

It’s not particularly unusual for a team with a mediocre record to rank pretty highly in S&P+, just as it’s not unusual for a team with a great record to grade out as a mediocre team.

That said, Georgia and Miami went a combined 13-13 … and ranked 12th and 13th, respectively. That’s a bit much. So let’s walk through their seasons and try to understand why they ended up where they ended up.

Georgia (6-7, 12th)

(Opponents’ rankings below are their S&P+ rankings, in case it wasn’t clear.)

  • Sept. 4: beat No. 118 UL-Lafayette, 55-7 (post-game win expectancy: 98%)
  • Sept. 11: lost to No. 16 South Carolina, 17-6 (4%)
  • Sept. 18: lost to No. 5 Arkansas, 31-24 (32%)
  • Sept. 25: lost to No. 35 Mississippi State, 24-12 (35%)
  • Oct. 2: lost to No. 67 Colorado, 29-27 (89%)
  • Oct. 9: beat No. 43 Tennessee, 41-14 (100%)
  • Oct. 16: beat No. 88 Vanderbilt, 43-0 (100%)
  • Oct. 23: beat No. 50 Kentucky, 44-31 (94%)
  • Oct. 30: lost to No. 26 Florida, 34-31 (57%)
  • Nov. 6: beat FCS Idaho State, 55-7 (100%)
  • Nov. 13: lost to No. 6 Auburn, 49-31 (32%)
  • Nov. 27: beat No. 61 Georgia Tech, 42-34 (86%)
  • Dec. 31: lost to No. 53 UCF, 10-6 (33%)

So they went 0-5 against top-40 teams, which certainly doesn’t belie top-15 status. And to be sure, the fact that I keep priors in the ratings all the way through the end of the season now (a recent change) props the Dawgs up a bit, since they were awesome for most of the run-up to 2010.

That said, a) when the Dawgs won, they dominated (average winning margin: 31.2 points), and b) postgame win expectancy says they were really unlucky to lose to Colorado and probably should have gone at least 1-4 or 2-3 against Arkansas, MSU, Florida, Auburn, and UCF.

Their second-order win total (which simply adds up the post-game win probabilities) was 8.6, which suggests they were closer to a 9-4 team than 6-7. And obviously a 9-4 Georgia team with a top-30 strength of schedule is going to be right at home in the S&P+ top 15. So it’s semi-justifiable, at least.

So many bad memories… awful loss at Colorado capping an ugly four-game losing streak, embarrassing no show in the bowl game, etc.  There was also the painful loss in Jacksonville when it looked like Georgia might beat Corch, only to blow it in overtime.

But, yeah, this shouldn’t have been anywhere close to a seven-loss team and when you combine that with the lack of a single thrilling win over a quality opponent, that’s how you wind up at the low point of Georgia football during Richt’s term in Athens.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!