Another season of pick ’ems coming right up. Invites are going out as you read this. If you don’t get one, click here to sign up.
Same rules, same format as always, so you will be picking against the spread. Hope you’ll sign up; the more, the merrier.
Stewart Mandel’s relationship with Georgia? Call it… complicated. In today’s Mailbag ($$), he manages to describe UGA as one of three, maybe four teams with a legitimate chance of winning the national championship this season and goes on in the next breath (“But even I have some slight hesitation jumping fully onboard the UGA bandwagon…”) to concede there’s some validity to the perception that the Dawgs are overrated at number three.
What’s a Montanan to do, I asks ‘ya?
The thing about this problem ($$)…
… is that it’s not the problem you think it is.
“What the business model was for years was to get as many people in the stadium as possible,” said Kenny Mossman, senior associate athletic director of external operations at Oklahoma. “I think the philosophy has now shifted to making sure that this seat can deliver the revenue that we need to sustain our department.”
Suck it, alumni.
“Over the past 10 or 12 years the trend in college football facilities, specifically, was quantity,” said Stephanie Pope, vice president, director of interior design at Davis. “We want more people in the stadium, we want the biggest stadium out there. Over the past three to four years, it’s shifting from quantity to quality. That is what the University of Alabama is proposing to do.”
Okay, but whose “quality” are we talking about there?
“Coach Saban doesn’t ask a lot from the students, but he wants his students to be there the whole game and cheer the whole game, and that’s not that much to ask for if you see what he’s done for this community and what he’s done for this university.”
Never mind. We’re screwed.
Tommy Tuberville is running to be the great state of Alabama’s United States Senator.
He’s got some baggage, though. He has a hard time with commitment.
Just ask the folks at Ole Miss. Or this kid, “who was in Lubbock for an official visit last weekend, told the recruiting site Wreckem247.com that Tuberville stepped away from a dinner with several recruits and assistant coaches Friday night and never returned” after receiving and accepting an offer to become Cincinnati’s coach. Or Cincinnati, for that matter.
That seems like a target-rich environment for a political competitor. So, if you’re Tubs, and you really don’t want to stick to sports, what’s the winning strategy? Apparently, it’s pandering.
Tuberville returned several times to the theme that a belief in God is essential to fixing what he believes are the nation’s pressing problems. He received applause and an amen or two when he said he believes the Trump presidency was a gift from God.
“I want to help Donald Trump and you get this mess straightened out,” Tuberville said. “And I’m going to do that. But we’ve got to put Jesus and God before everything else. And if we don’t do that we’re going to be brought down to our knees again.”
Maybe that’s why he never won a national title at Auburn.
This is one of those random exercises I go through now and then out of sheer curiosity, so take it for what it’s worth, y’all. Georgia’s last losing season came in 2010, when it finished 6-7 after that embarrassing bowl game loss.
How many losing seasons have the other SEC East teams endured since the last time Georgia finished below .500? Welp, here you go:
- Florida: 2017 (4-7); 2013 (4-8)
- Kentucky: 2015 (5-7); 2014 (5-7); 2013 (2-10); 2012 (2-10); 2011 (5-7)
- Missouri: 2016 (4-8); 2015 (5-7); 2012 (5-7)
- South Carolina: 2016 (6-7); 2015 (3-9)
- Tennessee: 2018 (5-7); 2017 (4-8); 2013 (5-7); 2012 (5-7)
- Vanderbilt: 2018 (6-7); 2017 (5-7); 2016 (6-7); 2015 (4-8); 2014 (3-9)
That’s a lot of mediocrity this decade. The two things that stand out are South Carolina having the same number of truly crappy seasons as Florida and (I almost hate to admit this) how good a job James Franklin did at Vanderbilt.
Is the reason the East is thought by some to be swinging back against its Western counterpart due to the slight decline in the number of its teams that finished with losing records — only two last season, compared with four in 2015?
Beats me. Any thoughts?
Yeah, this has aged well.
UGA’s staff knows that the talent margin is closing, that we are no longer a team with a couple of nice pieces – that we are getting deep. Sandridge was a cannon shot. A championship playoff run, at a position of need, and we still get the commitment – regardless of what is being written about currently (and make no mistake, it isn’t a coincidence).
It has been a long time since we’ve been this deep. On the staff and on the roster. It’s the middle of July and we are all in the same range of commitments and we are ahead of them. Pressure is all on them.
This is what cracking under pressure looks like.
Chalk that up partly to Kirby’s prowess on the recruiting trail and partly to the 2013 signing class finally dropping out of the calculations. And here’s hoping that’s the last time I’ll refer to that smoking crater at this blog.
I can’t help coming back to LSU’s athletic director’s comments about ending the money flow from his department to the school, not so much because of the money itself as instead because of the open way he discussed what he sees as the real world relationship between the two.
Yesterday’s post contained a comment in which he referred to the athletic department as “an auxiliary” to the university. If the subtext isn’t clear enough, try this quote:
“This needs to be run as an enterprise,” Woodward said. “Recently you’ve seen how much we’ve invested in our student-athletes — unlimited meals, cost of attendance, you name it. It’s covered in a positive fashion from our TV contracts and generous donors. But (the growth of overall cost is) not ending.” [Emphasis added.]
This isn’t someone who sees the role of an athletics department as being subservient to a school’s larger academic mission purpose. Those student-athletes, “our student-athletes”, are part of keeping a functioning operation profitable. They’re with the school, but not of it.
I’d say this is radical stuff, but, let’s face it, all Woodward is really doing is saying the quiet parts out loud. You’re kidding yourself if you believe otherwise. He should make for a fun witness in the next antitrust lawsuit.