Daily Archives: July 10, 2019

Well, it’s getting to be that time of year.

The SEC announces which players will officially attend SEC Media Days next week.  Here’s who’s coming from Athens:

Georgia
Jake Fromm, QB, Jr.
J.R. Reed, DB, Sr.
Andrew Thomas, OL, Jr

My only quibble, such as it is, is that it would have been fun to see Blankenship in on the deal.

By the way, nine of the conference’s fourteen schools are sending their quarterbacks, including Ole Miss’ redshirt freshman Matt Corral.  He appears to be the only underclassman making the trip.

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Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Your Daily Gator is making excuses.

Eh, losing your highest-rated recruit is no big deal, amirite?

It really is amusing how much these people sound like we did ten and twenty years ago.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

Your 7.10.19 Playpen

As I posted in last week’s Playpen, I didn’t use the whole Betsy Ross flag/Nike controversy as a topic because I find it cynical and overblown.  Let me give you two examples of that.

First of all, to those of you who have taken offense, even to the point of professing never to buy Nike gear again, I hate to break it to you, but you’re probably not part of Nike’s targeted market, and likely never will be.

If controversy sells, it’s likely, then, that your outrage is a feature for the company, not a bug — a feature that was probably factored into the decision to pull the shoes in the first place.

Nike and the right, Chick-fil-A and the left, it’s all the same thing.  Those mega successful companies haven’t gotten where they are without a better understanding of the marketplace than those who profess outrage at their quasi-political decisions do.  Because they know us better than we do, they can game out the consequences better than the outraged do.

Outrage is for the politicians to mine.  And they do, cynically.

That some people let themselves fall for this garbage repeatedly is a reflection on them as much as it is the politicians who exploit it.  As the saying goes, fool me once…

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UPDATE:  You knew this was coming.

A little more than a week after pulling state incentives from Nike following its decision to pull its Betsy Ross Flag shoes after former NFL star Colin Kaepernick raised issues around them, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) reversed his stance.

Ducey tweeted Thursday welcoming a Nike facility to Goodyear, Ariz., saying the company will bring more than 500 jobs and $184 million to the state.

The contempt pols like Ducey have for the people who vote for them is blatant.  The sad thing is that they can count on the outrage… and short memories.  After all, the next thing to rail about is just around the corner.

209 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

S&P+ preview, Georgia edition

Bill Connelly has left SB Nation for greener pastures at ESPN, which means we don’t get a 2019 Georgia preview from him.  Fortunately, Bill has been gracious enough to do his annual Google data dump of all D-1 teams, so at least we can mine those to paint something of a picture of his statistical projections for this season.

It makes for a good comparison with the FPI numbers I posted yesterday.  Here, for example, is his schedule projection:

Screenshot_2019-07-10 2019 college football preview data

FPI version:

Georgia is favored in every game here, just as it is by FPI, but note that Tennessee is not nearly the close call ESPN finds it to be.  Auburn’s another case where the win projection is widened.  Florida is the only game both formulas project to be tighter than the norm.

This is probably the point where I should remind you that Bill’s preseason projections rest to a larger extent on 2018 results than they will as the season progresses, so take all this with a grain of salt, if you want.

Georgia finished 2018 ranked second overall in S&P+, 3rd in offense and 8th in defense.  S&P+ projects Georgia at number two again for 2019, 4th in offense and 6th in defense, with approximately 10 wins.  For context, here’s how the conference as a whole plays out on wins (order based on S&P+, ranked nationally):

1 – Alabama (10.7)
2 – Georgia (10.1)
4 – LSU (8.9)
6 – Florida (8.7)
8 – Auburn (7.8)
10 – Mississippi St (8.4)
13 – Texas A&M (6.9)
16 – Missouri (8.1)
18 – South Carolina (5.9)
21 – Tennessee (6.5)
37 – Kentucky (6.1)
39 – Ole Miss (5.4)
48 – Arkansas (5.5)
53 – Vanderbilt (4.9)

How much do you think those rankings will change as we get into the season?  Can’t say I’m too confident Mississippi State finishes tenth in S&P+.

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

What comes around, goes around and then comes around again.

I saw this tweet yesterday that made me ponder almost 20 years of quarterbacks in Athens.

Really, what a strange path Georgia has taken with its starting quarterbacks since Jim Donnan was canned.  The Richt era was characterized by quarterbacks who started at least three years — Greene, Stafford and Murray covered eleven of Richt’s fifteen years in Athens.  For that matter, the one-year starters before 2015, Shockley, Cox and Mason, were players who stuck around the program from day one until their chance to start arrived.

Quarterback stability was a hallmark, one that we kind of took for granted, even.

That all came to a crashing halt in 2015.  Mason was gone; Bobo left.  Musical chairs at the position was a disaster, culminating in that debacle we saw in Florida.  Even if Richt hadn’t been fired at season’s end, there was no guarantee that matters would settle the next season, because Georgia would be faced with starting a true freshman quarterback (Eason) with a new offensive coordinator calling the shots.

That happened anyway with Smart, with predictable results.  Then Eason got hurt and Fromm got his chance.  Last year, Fromm’s second, saw his passer rating improve from 160.09 to 171.22.  That’s close to Murray’s best mark of 174.82 in his third season.

Murray’s cast of receivers in 2012 was certainly respectable, but not exactly legendary.  Murray’s experience and comfort in the system made them all better.  That’s the realistic hope for Fromm and Georgia’s passing game this year.  (The realistic fear?  Look at what injuries did to Murray’s 2013 season.)

Jake’s got a better surrounding cast than Aaron had, when you take into consideration who will be blocking for him, but, just as importantly, Georgia’s got the luxury of a quarterback running the show who knows what he’s doing.  That counts, big time.

60 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“The one thing that would’ve changed our bargaining position? Cash.”

By the way, if you read the ESPN piece I linked to in the last post, you saw that sound bite from former Oklahoma State offensive lineman Russell Okung, who’s been an NFL player for a decade now.

“Why does a free-market system work for everyone but the student athlete?” Okung asked. “It’s about basic civil liberties and repressive measures that still exist today.”

Good question.  Okung fleshes that out in this well-written piece for The Players’ Tribune.

If you wonder why there’s grumbling now, when there wasn’t so much before…

The summer going into my senior year at Oklahoma State in 2009, I had a hundred dollars in my bank account and many bills to pay.

My mother had just lost her job and required my financial support. I was lucky enough to know that I would likely be picked in the first round of the NFL draft that spring and would eventually be financially secure. But at that point in time — like so many college athletes around the country — I was broke.

Being broke stung, particularly because I knew that my teammates and I had made others rich. During my days at OSU, I saw fans regularly pay thousands of dollars to fly out to Stillwater to attend games, while many of my teammates didn’t have enough money to fly home to see our families during school breaks. I watched our university lavish elite donors with high-end dinners, while some of my teammates were skipping meals due to lack of funds.

All of this happened while we were wearing commercial insignia on our helmets, shoes and jerseys so that big-time apparel companies could write multimillion-dollar checks to our schools; while we watched universities sell jerseys with our names on the backs — and memorabilia with our images on it — every day; while we saw our likenesses displayed on NCAA video game posters. Our team was worth millions to the school and yet we often had no more than a hundred or so dollars in our bank accounts.

And if you’re wondering why the court cases and the legislation now…

This is one of the main messages I’m bringing to the floor of the California legislature this afternoon, July 9, when I testify in support of the Fair Pay to Play Act. Things ended up working out for me, but there are countless other athletes who have really struggled because of the NCAA’s arcane bylaws.  College athletes are in school for a very short period of time, which makes it hard for us to organize — all colleges need to do to prevail is wait us out. We cannot win without support from the outside.  [Emphasis added.]

That’s why the NCAA plays the long game as it does.  It’s worked well, too.

24 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

“Armageddon threats”

It sounds like Mark Emmert’s threats to the California legislature have gone over as well as you might expect, based on the tone of yesterday’s hearing and vote (9-0) by the state assembly’s Committee on Higher Education.

… chairman Jose Medina called the NCAA’s threats and requests to slow down the legislative process during the past couple months “akin to bullying.”

“I don’t take too fondly to threats to the state of California regardless of where they come from,” Medina told ESPN on Tuesday evening.

It’s what a charm offensive looks like, minus the charm.

And how could the committee not be swayed by the powerful reasoning of Long Beach State athletic director Andy Fee?

He raised the scenarios of athletes accepting endorsements from casinos (giving the gambling industry a foothold in college sports) or marijuana products (a substance banned by the NCAA and illegal under federal law) as potential issues that should be considered. He also said the threat of not being able to compete in championship in the future could negatively affect coaches trying to recruit athletes.

“Where are the protections that prevent these things from happening? That’s why I urge a pause,” Fee said. “This is a good conversation. It’s the mechanism I oppose.”

Andy likes talking.  He just isn’t comfortable with the talking leading anywhere.  And his gambling concern is simply precious in this day and age of schools accepting “integrity fees” from the industry.

These people make it difficult to take them seriously.  Not that they care, of course.  They just want to hold off Armageddon as long as they can.

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UPDATE:  Political blogger, California resident and (most importantly) Georgia alum Ed Kilgore has a few thoughts on the subject here, including what should be our collective woke moment.

Perhaps I’m biased because my own alma mater, the University of Georgia, lost two all-American football players (A. J. Green and Todd Gurley) for parts of two separate seasons for, respectively, selling jerseys and autographs.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA