Daily Archives: March 12, 2019

The lost season

Bill Connelly’s updated his 2013 S&P+ rankings and the results confirm everything I’ve thought about that shitty season as I watched it unfold and when I think back upon it afterwards, namely that an otherworldly offense was derailed by a decade’s worth of injuries incurred over a few weeks and finished off by a defense that was not so otherworldly.

The details, if you’re of a mind to see, are that Georgia’s offense, despite missing key parts over much of the year, still managed to finish with Bill’s eighth best ranking.  The defense ranks 33rd, better than, say Oklahoma’s defense last season, but not good enough to hold things together as the offense broke down mid-season.  Overall, Georgia finished a mere tenth of a point behind Auburn in S&P+.  (It’s worth wondering how much that would have changed if you know what hadn’t happened.)

Speaking of Auburn, Gus’ lucky rabbit’s foot should have won the Heisman that season.

Second-order win totals suggest Auburn should have been more like a 9-5 team than 12-2 in 2013. The Tigers had just a 15 percent post-game win expectancy in the 34-28 win over Alabama, 36 percent in the 45-41 win over Texas A&M, 38 percent in the 43-38 win over Georgia, and 43 percent in the 31-24 win over Washington State. For that matter, they were only at 52 percent against Mississippi State and 69 percent against Ole Miss.

Jeez, that’s ridiculous.

Did I mention how much I hate the Neyland Stadium turf?  Argh.



Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

The rewards of amateurism

You really can’t make this shit up.

Of course, he’s doing it for the kids.


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

“This is the Florida Man of college football schedules…”

No question about it — the Gators’ have one weird-ass schedule this year.

Oh, and kudos for the gratuitous Georgia Southern upset.  Never forget!


Filed under Gators, Gators...

Lessons from the master

Dan Mullen’s wisdom about recruiting notwithstanding, it appears that Kirby Smart learned his approach at the right school.

It was no surprise to see Alabama atop the 2019 recruiting class rankings, since Nick Saban has held the No. 1 class in six of his 12 seasons with the Crimson Tide. Saban has had a class ranked outside the top five only once and has been within the top three 11 times.

What was more interesting, and maybe more telling of why Saban has topped every program year in and year out, were the number of his former assistants turned head coaches who were also dominating the recruiting class rankings.

Saban and his former assistants manning their own programs held five of the top-11 ranked recruiting classes in 2019. Kirby Smart and Georgia were just behind Saban at No. 2 in the rankings, Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M were No. 3, Mario Cristobal and Oregon were sixth and Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee held on to No. 11.

Of the prospects ranked in the ESPN 300, 72 signed with Saban or his former assistants at those five programs.

Eh, probably just a coincidence.  Justin Fields, something something something, Mullen said.


Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

Is the NCAA working the refs, or are the refs working the NCAA?

Andy Staples has more background on that Mark Walker student-athlete compensation bill being introduced shortly.

Walker met with several NCAA leaders last week because he’d still like to get this issue settled without passing a law. The group included NCAA general counsel Donald Remy, who was named the NCAA’s Chief Operating Officer late last month. Remy’s presence at the meeting tells us the NCAA takes this very seriously. Last week, the NCAA contingent wanted to let the courts decide all these issues. (Which makes sense, because Remy knew which way the wind was blowing in Oakland.)

The NCAA should worry, because Walker isn’t alone. He says he has met with House Democrats such as Bobby Scott (Virginia), Cedric Richmond (Louisiana) and Hakeem Jeffries (New York) about this bill, and Walker expects bipartisan support. “When we get ready to drop this thing on Thursday, we’re going to have overwhelming support,” Walker says. “It isn’t just going to be a Republican thing.”  [Emphasis added.]

It’s pretty clear why Walker went on the record publicly about what he’s doing.  He hopes to goad the NCAA into being proactive on player compensation.  Unfortunately for Walker, the NCAA isn’t an organization known for taking hints, subtle or otherwise.

Will there be Congressional hearings on the legislation?  One can only hope.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Take the over?

Bruce Feldman’s ($$) liking what he’s seeing for Georgia’s chances this season.

Georgia over is 10.5. This is a loaded team led by a very experienced QB in Jake Fromm. The offensive line should be terrific, and the Dawgs have a terrific kicker. The schedule isn’t daunting, either. Aside from the home game against the Irish, the only team that I think will be close to the top 10 is Florida, and the Gators have to replace four starting offensive linemen. The Auburn game is on the road, but the Tigers are breaking in a new QB. I could see Georgia possibly stumbling once in the regular season, but not twice.

I can’t believe Bruce isn’t buying the Malzahn new quarterback magic (where’s that sarcasm emoji when you need it?), but the point about Florida’s o-line is a good one (not to mention there are question marks about the Gators’ d-line, too).

It’s really interesting to see the varied opinion about the quality of Georgia’s schedule this season.


Filed under Georgia Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

Boom’s five factors

Agent Muschamp has a vision, y’all.

South Carolina’s coaching staff has identified five factors it believes are critical to the Gamecocks’ success on the field. The 2018 season proved their point, head coach Will Muschamp said.

In the seven games South Carolina won three or more of its critical factors, it won. In the six games it lost, it did not.

“That’s indicative of kind of how we were, very inconsistent at times,” Muschamp said.

Again this year, starting with the spring practice, the Gamecocks will pour their energy into coming out on top of each of these five factors — turnover margin, explosive plays, field position, red zone and the fourth quarter.

No real shock there, but if you look at Muschamp’s career, one of those factors towers over the rest.  And don’t think he doesn’t know it.

The Gamecocks’ No. 1 emphasis throughout spring practice and much of fall camp will be reversing their turnover fortunes. South Carolina was 101st in the country last year in turnover margin, giving the ball away 21 times and only getting it back 16 times. The Gamecocks had finished in the nation’s top 25 in turnover margin the previous two seasons.

“It’s not something we don’t always emphasize, but it obviously really hurt us last year,” Muschamp said.

When his teams excel in turnover margin, they generally do well.  Those regression to the mean seasons are a bitch, though.  And since you can only do so much to control turnover margin, it makes it a little difficult to handicap South Carolina’s 2019 chances.


Filed under 'Cock Envy

We will serve no pass rush before its time.

I’m not sure I’m really convinced by this, but Smart says Georgia’s pass rush last season — more specifically, the lack thereof — was the product of inexperience.

“I’m hoping to get some more pass rush, we’re trying to increase the pass rush and tackles for loss, we’re always trying to give people negative plays,” Smart said. “The only way to get really good at that is practice and be aggressive and try to come after folks.

“This year we don’t feel like we’re as young on defense. We feel like we’ve got some guys coming back that can contribute, some guys coming back that played and that may allow us to be more aggressive.”

The reason I hope he’s a bit off kilter there is that he’s counting on some new studs coming in this year to upgrade that area.  I hope what he’s trying to say is that last year’s staff didn’t feel as confident being aggressive with the personnel as he expects it to be in 2019.  I hope.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Number two tries harder.

Well, now.  Florida keeps acting like the little brother in the Georgia relationship.  It’s definitely a weird vibe after the Spurrier era scars we all still have.

Just in case anyone was unaware, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart and Florida head coach Dan Mullen are not the best of friends. That puts an added layer to one of college football’s best rivalries. And looks as if Mullen threw some more kerosene on the fire Monday when he was discussing transfers.

While talking to reporters, Mullen appears to take a shot at Georgia, more specifically how everything unfolded regarding quarterback Justin Fields, who one of the most high profile players to enter the new college football transfer portal following the 2018 regular season.

“I’d think we did a poor job recruiting if guys were coming in and then immediately walking out the door because it was something different than what they thought it would be and we lied to them during recruiting, or we sold them on a dream that wasn’t true,” Mullen said, according to Thomas Goldkamp of Swamp247.

If Mullen’s saying that in public, one can only imagine what kind of insights he’s sharing on the recruiting trail.

Kirby just points at recruiting rankings and shrugs.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting