Daily Archives: June 3, 2019

I saw it on the Internet, so it must be binding.

Andy Staples has a suggestion to fix college football recruiting.  No, not this one:  I still believe that eliminating signing day entirely and allowing schools to sign players at any point in high school…”

This one:

Allow schools to publicize when they’ve offered a player a scholarship.

He offers several rationales for doing so which range from possibly relevant (“Some of them [schools] wouldn’t offer so many players”) to irrelevant (“No recruit would lie about getting an offer, either”).

There’s a third one that’s certainly well meaning, but I’m not sure how much real world effect it would have.

• It would turn up the heat on coaches who pull offers.

Go back and look at the Clemson offer that receiver Justyn Ross posted (and ultimately accepted). It’s full of disclaimers. He must qualify academically. He must continue to demonstrate good character. He must “continue to display the athletic characteristics consistent with a Clemson Tiger.” In other words, he must keep being good at football. Most scholarship offer letters—though not all social media offer graphics—contain this sort of language. And it’s perfectly understandable if a coach pulls an offer because a player is flunking classes or balloons to 400 pounds or knocks over a liquor store or waits to commit until the team has filled its allotment at the player’s position. What isn’t so understandable is when a player has an offer and commits months before signing day and then gets told there is no room for him in the class shortly before signing day. If the coach liked the player enough to post the scholarship and the player didn’t do anything that ran afoul of the disclaimers, the coach had better have a really good explanation for why he has no scholarship for the player. This could keep players from getting squeezed at the end of the process.  [Emphasis added.]

In response to the highlighted portion of that, so what?  Does anyone really think Bobby Petrino would care?  What about any coach on the proverbial hot seat who has a chance to displace a three-star for a better option at the last minute?

Every once in a while, we hear about high school coaches who get ticked off at a college coach for ditching one of his kids at the last moment — Spurrier did it a few seasons ago and Smart did it a couple of years ago.  I’m not sure how a school posting a scholarship offer publicly is going to shame a coach into sticking with it.  Most coaches are pretty shameless when it comes to recruiting.

What are y’all’s thoughts?

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16 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

The state of the program, a play in three charts

If you want the tl;dr version of Seth Emerson’s Georgia preview ($$) — not that I’m recommending you skip his well-written analysis (in fact, I almost took his intro as the source for an Envy and Jealousy post) — it’s in these three pics from his piece:

georgia_sotp_2019_returning_production-1024x448

georgia_2019_sotp_recruiting-1024x249

georgia

Shorter Seth Emerson charts:  this Georgia team is frickin’ loaded.

There’s only one little thing.

No, this is not a make-or-break year for Georgia. But already the whispers have begun about Smart not winning it all despite all this great recruiting. And it’s been pointed out by plenty that Smart and Richt’s first three years were almost identical. If this year falls short of a championship, or even the playoff, the chirping will get louder.

That may be unfair. Smart has done a fantastic job so far. The state of the program is strong.

There’s only one thing missing.

Alabama has been both Kirby Smart’s blessing and curse.  It’s time for Georgia to get over the hump.

57 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“I believe it’s the hottest rivalry in the SEC right now…”

If, by “hottest”, PAWWWLLL!!! means “the one I can do the most shit-stirring about”, I agree with him that Georgia-Florida qualifies.

“I think there’s a sense at Florida that they are gaining and literally breathing down Georgia’s neck, that’s been promoted by Dan Mullen, and I’ve heard it,” he said. “Georgia fans are like, ‘are you kidding me?’

“It’s like you’re at the company picnic on July 4 and a fly lands on your barbecue, and you shoo it away — that’s how I think Georgia fans feel about Florida.”

And for that we, including Finebaum, have Dan Mullen to thank.

“I was in Mullen’s office a couple of weeks ago and that’s all he wanted to talk about, he showed me the three (national championship) trophies, asked me the last time Georgia got one, and it was on,” Finebaum told DawgNation. “It reminded me of 20 years ago when Steve Spurrier would try out SEC Media Days material when guys like us would call him to shoot the breeze in May and June.”

“He was just very cocky and arrogant about everything, like last year didn’t happen, and the year before when he was at (Mississippi) State,” Finebaum said, referencing Smart’s domination in the head-to-head meetings with Mullen.

“I don’t know if (Mullen) necessarily believes that they are that close, but he wants his people to believe it, and based on what I hear every day, Florida fans believe it,” Finebaum said.

I have to say it’s certainly been an entertaining offseason for this blogger.  Half the Florida fan base seems to be slitting its collective wrists over the way Kirby has owned Mullen on the recruiting trail, while half appears to be… well, traditional Gator fans.

“They believe because they dominated in the 1990s, Mullen has enabled Florida to believe that they are back.”

It’s gonna be a spicy Cocktail Party this November.

22 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, PAWWWLLL!!!

Will Kirby Smart’s scheduling gamble pay off?

“I do think they’re one of the top four teams in the country but I didn’t think they were going to get in the playoff with two losses,” Saban said. “So I voted the teams that I thought had the best chance to get in, but I do think after playing Georgia they were one of the best four teams in the country.”Nick Saban

As we’ve all heard over the past few weeks, Georgia has taken the bold step of significantly upgrading its non-conference scheduling, adding a number of home and home series with P5 powerhouse programs like Texas, Oklahoma and Clemson.  Smart gave three reasons for the move when asked.  It’s one of those three I’ll explore in this post.

“We’re not running from Power 5s,” Smart said. “(The selection committee) has proven that later games in the year have more impact on who makes the Playoff, so if you can get a Power 5 team late in your schedule, I’m talking the last three or four weeks, you’ve got a chance to spike and send yourself into that conversation.”

As evidenced by Saban’s comment above, that’s a gamble on Smart’s part.  One I applaud him for taking, but a gamble nevertheless.  There’s no reason to think that the selection committee is ready to embrace that approach, particularly given the strategic whining we’ve heard from certain conferences that have whiffed lately on populating the CFP semi-finals field.

But there are other wrinkles that may complicate the equation Smart projects.  One is that there are P5 non-conference opponents such as the ones Georgia is scheduling, and then there are P5 non-conference opponents such as the ones Tennessee is scheduling.

The Vols will host BYU this season before traveling to Provo, Utah, in 2023. They’ll travel to Oklahoma in 2020 before hosting the Sooners in 2024. Tennessee will host Pittsburgh in 2021 and travel there in 2022. And UT will play at Nebraska in 2026 before hosting the Huskers the following season.

Of course, nobody can predict the future, so maybe BYU has turned itself into a top ten program by the time UT travels to Utah.  Or, maybe not.  But you can be sure Fulmer will be pitching how his football program’s scheduling has taken a step towards the level that Georgia’s had should the moment prove convenient for doing so.  It may not be a convincing argument, but it may also be an argument that serves to muddy the waters for a two-loss Dawgs team making a case for the CFP field.

Then, there’s the way the other half rolls, as Seth Emerson explains ($$):

The SEC is splitting into two tiers when it comes to scheduling: The upper-tier teams that are ramping up their schedules in expectations of being in playoff contention, and the rest of the league, which while no one would admit it publicly would consider a playoff run a bonus, and instead schedules so that it can win as many games as possible.

It’s about half and half. The traditionally stronger programs are pursuing bigger games, with the playoff at least partially in mind, but also jaded fan bases that are less likely to show up for Murray State. But the less-tradition-laden programs are less apt to pursue those games because wins are at a premium: When you talk to Kentucky coach Mark Stoops about perhaps ramping up his school’s schedule, the reticence is palpable.

“We’ve had our hands full with Louisville,” Stoops said. “They’ve had a very good team. So with the SEC schedule and with Louisville …”

Louisville!  The thing is the media (and I include a certain 800-pound rodent in that reference) loves itself an underdog.  You don’t have to look any farther back than last season to recall how Georgia’s trip to then ninth-ranked Kentucky was pumped up as a major head-to-head meeting with serious postseason implications.  That talk quickly evaporated after Georgia won by seventeen, of course, but Cinderella is going to be given every benefit of the doubt should the situation arise.

That all being said, I do think that Kirby’s gamble lessens considerably over time, because we all know, despite Bill Hancock’s protestations to the contrary, the CFP is going to expand to eight teams.  The irony there is, in an expanded field, nobody will blink twice with a two-loss team in the mix, but at least when it happens, we’ll have a better home schedule to enjoy.  Let’s just hope that Kirby’s scheduling aggressiveness doesn’t come to bite him in the ass before then.

28 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football

When concern is really about gaming the system

Five bucks on which SEC coaches said this to Greg Sankey:

This week’s portal discussion transitioned into SEC football coaches bemoaning how the added challenge increased transfers — especially those in the spring and summer after a team has finalized its incoming signing class — severely impact a team’s ability to maintain its 85-scholarship limit.

Among the suggestions was possibly creating opportunity to expand the NCAA’s 25-player initial counter or new scholarship-player signing limit per recruiting class.

“The (signing) number 25 was established at a time when the transfer frequency was lower, … and the declarations in pursuit of the NFL draft after the third year were lower, and I think we’ve seen (both) those numbers increase,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Wednesday. “So I think our coaches appropriately raised the question of how we evaluate the signing limit number, and what does that mean for graduate transfers as well. There are some roster number issues where the concern … is (when) you struggle to get back to 85, and if we’re not at 80-85 consistently, then we’re not offering opportunities for young people.”

The key word in that last sentence is “we’re”, although I’m sure Sankey would prefer you focus on the last eight instead.  The reason those young people are entering the portal is because they already feel like they’re no longer being offered an opportunity at their current SEC place of residence.

In any event, can you imagine what certain coaches — let’s call them masters of roster management — could do with a rule that let them sign extra recruits to make up for kids who are… um, encouraged to seek out new opportunities?

5 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

It isn’t paranoia if they really are out to get your team.

Bless your hearts, random Clemson fans.

The Post and Courier requested all ostarine-related emails, text messages and other correspondence from Dec. 1 to Feb. 10 involving athletic director Dan Radakovich, head coach Dabo Swinney, president Jim Clements and members of the sports medicine, training and nutrition staffs.

Clemson didn’t provide any correspondence involving  Swinney or Clements, except for Swinney’s pre-Cotton Bowl news conference statements, which were also heavily redacted.

But it did include a pair of emails sent to Clemson with thoughts on how players might have ingested the illegal PED.

Food tampering theory

“As a side note,” a person whose name is redacted wrote Radakovich in December, “Clemson does a lot of charitable work in hospitals with patients that could put players in jeopardy of being exposed to unknown chemicals.”

Another email was copied to six athletic department officials from a “serious tiger fan” in December. It puts forth the idea that Clemson players may have ingested ostarine as a result of food tampering at a team meal in Charlotte prior to the ACC Championship Game against Pittsburgh on Dec. 1.

Oh, a “serious” Clemson fan.  Well, then, that makes all the difference.

5 Comments

Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, General Idiocy

All together now

“Let us not be distracted by those who attempt to divide us. We must be united and stronger than ever before to help move our athletic program forward.”  — Greg McGarity

Bill King digs into Facebook to check the fan base’s reaction to the new, somewhat tone-deaf alcohol policy at Sanford Stadium.  The reaction is, shall we say, a bit mixed.

It set off a bit of class warfare among fans on Facebook. One longtime fan, who regularly attends a broad spectrum of UGA athletic events, said the move was “yet another slap in the face to the common folks that make a yearly donation. Let’s let those Magill Society folks have their alcohol AND all the post season tickets, too.”

That prompted a rebuke from another fan, who belongs to the Magill Society: “Don’t punish us just because we are a certain level of donor. We have nothing to do with this.”

The first fan responded that “donors of a certain level are benefiting in many ways, while others who scratch together their $3,500 a year are simply taken for granted.”

In response, the Magill member noted: “without big donors we have no new end-zone/locker room and no indoor practice facility. Big donors are needed. I am sorry that you think that hurts you, but it is not the donors’ fault. You need to talk to the people in charge.”

Yeah, now there’s advice that’s bound to make a difference.  Anyway, don’t bother that Magill member, who’s probably tied up trying to calculate how much money he’s going to make reselling his extra tickets to those primo road games coming up.

However, even in the Magill Society, there were those who questioned the move, with one member telling DawgNation:I think they are out of touch with their fan base, and I doubt this will be that successful. Many of the $100,000 contributors have access to suites. In a suite, you can drink your own alcohol and see the game. I think this will not go over very well.”

Man, at Georgia even the elite strata have strata.

Alcohol isn’t the only factor in the growing dissatisfaction among some UGA fans over the emphasis on fundraising and catering to those with money on game day. Said another fan in a different Facebook discussion: “They want to add to the experience of the high dollar donor, and jerk around the rest of us. They’re now going to a lottery system for the parking lots and decks that were free just 2 seasons ago.”

Sorry, fan base, but Greg says it’s against the rules for you to try to divide yourself.  Butts-Mehre has the exclusive on that, as long as there’s a buck to be made doing it.

34 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness