Daily Archives: August 24, 2019

Week 0 game day post, Florida-Miami edition

You got that right, Bruce.

With apologies to those jonesing to watch Hawaii swing into late night action, I’m going to spend my blogging effort here on the first game of the night, Florida-Miami.

Michael Irvin is pumped.

This should come as no surprise.

It’s a neutral site game and Florida comes in as around a seven-point favorite.  Bill Connelly thinks the Gators will cover the spread.

As much as it pains me to say it, I don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation.  While, as this chart notes, overall talent for both teams is fairly even…

… the experience level at quarterback definitely favors Florida.

That being said, I don’t think that alone is going to be the deciding factor tonight.  For one thing, these coaches know each other, and in some cases, know each other really well ($$).  Diaz worked for Mullen.  Grantham and Enos have faced off against each other in the SEC wars.  Moreover, Miami’s defensive strategy isn’t going to be a blank slate for Florida, as Diaz was the ‘Canes DC last season under Mark Richt.

So everybody knows what everybody’s up to, which makes for some interesting history to track.  Start with Franks’ passing on third downs last season.

It wasn’t his strong suit:  36-81 (44.4%), 2 TDs, 1 INT all added up to a 100.73 passer rating.  Can you guess whose pass defense was really good in third down situations last season?  If you picked Miami’s, give yourself a gold star.  Diaz coached these stats:  39-98 (39.8%); 5 TDs; 6 INTs; 78.77 passer rating.

You’ve got two very aggressive defensive coaches who will be calling a ton of blitzes against two very shaky offensive lines.  Mullen, obviously, will do what he can to avoid putting Franks in third down passing situations, but Miami has its own problems dealing with pressure.  Check out this bit of 2018 awfulness:

If you’re looking for whether Dan Enos is going to have a positive impact this season with Miami, start with that.  Because Dan Enos loves the screen pass.

When Dan Enos was head coach at Central Michigan in 2014, he recruited David Reese. The Florida linebacker and Michigan native recently recalled Enos, now Miami’s offensive coordinator, as “a really great guy.” That’s nice, but Enos’ personality isn’t what Reese remembers most about the 51-year-old.

Reese remembers the screens.

All eight of them. During Reese’s freshman year in 2016, Arkansas, with Enos as its offensive coordinator, beat Florida, 31-10. Austin Allen, the Razorbacks’ quarterback that day, went 8-for-8 on screens for 115 yards (14.4 yards per attempt), according to Sports Info Solutions,

“They threw the most screens in a game I’ve ever seen in one game,” Reese said.

Grantham is going to go balls out attacking the line of scrimmage, because that’s what Grantham does.  In this case, it’s an especially good strategy against a green quarterback and an inexperienced offensive line.  There’s also a decent chance the Gators run blitz Miami’s rush game into being ineffective, which takes away one obvious means of reducing the pressure on a rookie QB.  If Miami can’t use a screen game to take some pressure off Grantham’s scheme, it’s going to be a long night for Enos.

I’m not forgetting what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, but Florida, with its secondary and second-year coach and quarterback, would appear to be the better equipped team.

The real wild card, of course, with questionable at best offensive lines and aggressive defenses, is turnovers.  Last year, Florida was +12 in turnover marginMiami was minus-1.  You tell me how that breaks tonight and you’ve probably got a very good chance of calling the winner.

As usual, comments are there for a game night thread.  Have at it.



Filed under ACC Football, Gators, Gators...

Nowhere to go but up

I mentioned yesterday that Arkansas may have the worst roster in the SEC.  How bad are things in Fayetteville?  This bad.

Neither of Arkansas’ top two quarterbacks from 2018 will begin this season as the starter at their new school.

Ty Storey was announced as the runner-up in his battle at Western Kentucky on Tuesday, while Cole Kelley has been unable to overtake the returning starter at Southeastern Louisiana.

The pair combined to start 11 of the Razorbacks’ 12 games last year…



Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Coming soon, to a stadium near you

How ’bout this as the ultimate fan friendly experience — on-site betting?  Talk about a whole new set of wallets to fleece… what’s that, you say?  No way anything like that ever sees the light of day in the Bible Belt?  Um, not so fast, my friend.

Senators will get the first crack at sports betting. The initial meeting will occur Tuesday in the offices of the Georgia Lottery Commission. It is a second, post-Labor Day hearing that will bear closer watching.

That will happen at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. The proposed witness list is impressive: Derek Schiller, president of business for the Braves; Rich McKay, president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons; and Steve Koonin, CEO of the Atlanta Hawks. (We reached out to all three organizations, which declined comment.)

“They will come talk about it, and explain how it might work,” Beach said. “What they’re trying to do is drive attendance. The fans want it. The franchises need it.”  [Emphasis added.]

In researching this column, a skeptical GOP leader told us that the push to expand gambling in Georgia has always lacked the voices of “local people of influence.” Atlanta’s three largest pro sport franchises might fill that gap.

Their argument is that high-definition television has made sports enthusiasts far too comfortable in their living rooms. On-site betting would be a new way of keeping ticket-holders engaged and in paying seats.

The Tennessee online-only example offers an alternative to those opposed to casino gaming, fearful that brick-and-mortar operations serve as hubs for sex-trafficking and other bad behavior.

Participants will be able to place bets on smart phones from any location, whether stadiums or sports bars or home. “Geo-fencing” will allow Tennessee to require that bets be placed only by those inside the state.

Those same digital fences could be made much smaller in a Georgia version, perhaps restricting bettors to Phillips Arena, SunTrust Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Those brick-and-mortar casinos wouldn’t have to be build. They would already be an established part of the landscape.

“Okay,” you say, “fine, that’s the pros”.  No way that trickles down to the college level…

We understand that sports betting has some support from local metro Atlanta interests who hope a portion of the revenue might be applied toward the ballooning expenses associated with hosting such major events as the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four.

There’s a fine line between covering expenses and looking for a more direct path for coming up with money to cover those expenses.  Perhaps all it’ll take one day is Kirby Smart explaining to the Georgia legislature that their vote is needed to help Georgia win a natty to do the heavy lifting to get this across the finish line.  How many gamblers do you figure would like to join the Magill Society?

Maybe I kid, maybe not.  All I know is that if there’s enough political cover for it, nobody’s turning down new money.


Filed under Bet On It, Georgia Football, Political Wankery

Two dipshits walk into a bar…

Imagine sitting on a bar stool, nursing a cold one, minding your own business, maybe watching a little football on the TV over the bar, when up sidles this guy

“We were shut out of the playoff and if we went six or eight, we would have been in,” Meyer said. “I just don’t know. The first people you think about are the student athletes. How do you do that? Then, bowl games are gone. … You would have to expand the roster then for a couple more games. When are they played? The spring semester starts usually around Jan. 10, Jan. 8. Are you going to play once the semester starts because there are going to be players that are moving on to the NFL? I’m not part of the conversation. I think there is certainly going to be more and more of it. But at this point in time I don’t see how you do it.”

… and before you could say, “But, Corch, you know you’d be arguing the exact opposite if you were still coaching there”, you’re both joined by this guy.

“A lot of people are going to keep their mouths shut on this topic because they’re afraid they’re going to get a call.  I don’t care.  I only care about the game.  I want the game to improve, I want the game to be better.  I want more access for those involved.”

While no solution is simple, one relatively easy fix could be expanding the College Football Playoff.  Double the number of teams invited and watch the sport’s popularity explode, Brando believes.

“You can’t tell me that by going to eight teams in this playoff you wouldn’t be doing that.  Imagine the interest you’d have with teams ranked somewhere between, say, fifth and sixteenth in the last month of the season jockeying for positions five through eight. “

Brando seems to be alluding to the illusion of parity the NFL has built their empire on.

At that moment, you realize there’s only one way left to respond.  You motion to the bartender and say, “Check, please”.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs