Daily Archives: July 16, 2019
S&P+ sez the SEC East is gonna be a bitch, y’all. (Although not quite as rough as its Western counterpart.)
- Georgia: 2019 S&P+ projection: 10.1 wins (No. 2)
- Florida: 2019 S&P+ projection: 8.7 wins (No. 6)
- Missouri: 2019 S&P+ projection: 8.1 wins (No. 16)
- South Carolina: 2019 S&P+ projection: 5.9 wins (No. 18)
- Tennessee: 2019 S&P+ projection: 6.5 wins (No. 21)
- Kentucky: 2019 S&P+ projection: 6.1 wins (No. 37)
- Vanderbilt: 2019 S&P+ projection: 4.9 wins (No. 53)
It’s something to expect the eighteenth-ranked team to be engaged in a season-long struggle for bowl eligibility.
One side note worth sharing is the second-year effect in the SEC.
There’s one more factor in UT’s favor: the second-year effect. If a coach is going to oversee a major surge in his program, it’s probably happening in either his second or third season. Pruitt’s division rivals, and a certain former boss, provide anecdotal proof of that.
Kirby Smart’s second UGA team went from 42nd in S&P+ to fourth. South Carolina improved from 85th to 41st in Will Muschamp’s second year. Missouri went from 70th to 28th in Barry Odom’s second season. Kentucky improved from 74th to 51st in Year 2 under Mark Stoops. Former Pruitt boss Nick Saban oversaw a leap from 31st to 10th at Alabama in 2008.
There are a lot of SEC head coaches entering into their second year at the helm. Given how tough the conference appears to be shaping up, I doubt they can all shine in 2019, but we’ll see.
So, in the switch of platforms from SB Nation to ESPN, we lose Bill’s voluminous, meticulous team-by-team analysis in exchange for a division-by-division look. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to garner from his take. You’ll find his SEC West preview quite informative.
For one thing, S&P+ projects the West to be one tough neighborhood: its top five teams rank 1, 4, 8, 10 and 13, respectively, and even the two lowest teams come in at a respectable 39 and 48. Only one team projects to win at least 9 games (do I really have to tell you which?).
This is a pretty typical story for most of the teams in this division: “S&P+ projects A&M 13th overall — and projects an average win total of seven. That says a lot.”
There are also some great individual tidbits, like this one about Nick Saban’s management skills:
Alabama head coach Nick Saban has, of late, gone through coordinators like Spinal Tap drummers.
• 2015: offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, defensive coordinator Kirby Smart
• 2016: offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin (and, for one game, Steve Sarkisian), defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt
• 2017: offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt
• 2018: offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi
• 2019: offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, defensive coordinator Pete Golding
That’s insane. That’s eight different coordinators in five seasons.
Interestingly, Bill thinks we’re starting to see a few cracks in the ‘Bama foundation. If so, that’s good timing for Georgia.
Expected to run in the red for another year, it’s tough times on the Flats.
… When teams submitted their proposed budgets for the 2019-20 academic year, Lewis had to put the brakes on several wish-list items from the department’s coaches.
After tabulating the teams’ initial budget proposals put forth by each varsity team, Lewis said that the overall budget deficit would have been about $9 million before he had the teams pare down their requests so the deficit for the year was reduced to the projected $1.7 million.
That’s definitely the way to embark on your master plan for state dominance.
Florida was up on the first day of SEC Media Days, and the Gators certainly didn’t disappoint. In fact, what follows is a mini-Buffet.
- Despite recruiting in the most talent-rich state in the country, Mullen ponders a signing strategy of taking more Juco players. Go for it, big guy!
- A walk-on who was awarded a scholarship entered the transfer portal while Mullen was delivering his SEC Media Days presser.
- Florida’s starting running back labels Gator fans as “the most bipolar fans ever”.
Shoot, if I were Kirby, I’d offer to waive my program’s time today and give it back to Florida. Surely there’s more where that came from.
You know the cliché about being stuck between a rock and a hard place? Welcome to Will Muschamp’s world. ($$)
… The man whose opinion on that subject matters most, athletics director Ray Tanner, is a fan of Muschamp’s — a big fan.
“I think he’s outstanding. I think he’s done a great job here,” Tanner told The Athletic earlier this month. “I’ve been very impressed with the way he manages his program, his staff, his student-athletes, the fan base, our donors. He’s a tireless worker. He’s genuine and sincere, and he is a tremendous communicator.”
He’s also 0-6 against Clemson and Georgia.
Muschamp inherited a program that was 3-9 in 2015 and needed a top-to-bottom overhaul. He has overseen significant infrastructure improvements and modernization efforts while posting a 22-17 record. Considered in a vacuum, he has done an excellent job, but Muschamp doesn’t live in a vacuum. He lives, literally and figuratively, between the Tigers and Bulldogs, his program’s two most-hated rivals. They are among the best programs in the nation, and they have beaten him by an average score of 40-16 in the last three years.
I’ve said it before. The ‘Cocks have a decent team this year, but if turnover margin doesn’t swing their way, 2019 is shaping up to be one brutal season in Columbia.
Bill Connelly, in his new gig at ESPN, started spewing some great stuff yesterday — more on that in a sec — but he tweeted a couple of charts that, in particular, are worth sharing.
There’s a lot to unpack there, so let’s do some unpacking.
- Over fourteen seasons, there’s only one when Georgia was below the conference average — 2016. Crap on Richt all you like, but that’s a remarkable run of consistency.
- That being said, it’s impossible to deny that over the past two seasons, Smart has rapidly elevated the program to a level superior to Richt’s.
- If you don’t think Bobo’s departure killed Richt, take a close look at that week-to-week graph for 2014 and 2015.
- As bad as Schottenheimer sucked, Chaney managed to outdo him the next season. Good luck with your transition this season, Vols.
- Speaking of 2015, we all heard stories about how Pruitt was throwing his weight around that year, as the defense was carrying the offense, but that was after a 2014 season in which the reverse was true. Not to mention the first half of 2015 was a bit rocky for Georgia’s defense, too.
- You can really tell when Smart and Tucker got things sorted out for Georgia defensively, can’t you? It started coming together Week 10 of the 2016 season and what’s really noticeable from that point on is how consistent the performance level of the defense has been.