Daily Archives: September 11, 2019

When you’re 0-2…

… you can forgive a lot.

Anybody surprised?


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Crime and Punishment

Back to the drawing board

You’ll be relieved to know that your use of the word “THE” isn’t restricted.



Filed under Big Ten Football, General Idiocy

The NCAA, saying the quiet part out loud

So, the NCAA has sent off a sternly worded letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, threatening to unleash hell if the Fair Pay to Play Act becomes law.

By “hell”, I mean, of course, more litigation.

Reference to the bill’s legality signals the NCAA’s potential willingness to sue California under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says that only Congress has the power to regulate commerce among states.

The letter is signed by every member of the NCAA Board of Governors, the association’s top policy- and rules-making group.

In an interview with USA TODAY Sports, Ohio State President Michael Drake, who chairs the board of governors, confirmed that the association would consider legal action if the bill becomes law.

“We’ve looked at this very, very carefully and it does raise constitutional challenges,” Drake said, “so that’s something that would be looked at … yes.”

That letter, though, raises a concern that gives the amateurism game away.

“If the bill becomes law and California’s 58 NCAA schools are compelled to allow an unrestricted name, image and likeness scheme, it would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics and, because it gives those schools an unfair recruiting advantage, would result in them eventually being unable to compete in NCAA competitions.”  [Emphasis added.]

Those of us with an ordinary grasp of economics would react to the highlighted portion of that quote with a shrug and a “duh”, but if you’re an amateurism romantic who’s fully bought in to the notion that student-athletes are fairly compensated for their services already and should appreciate how good they’ve got it, the idea that there’s more money out there for them — something the board of governors clearly concedes — is heresy.  And yet that is what the NCAA is warning California it’s risking with the passage of this law.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Is the second year still the charm?

I noted a few days ago that the second-year coaching bump effect is off to a somewhat rocky start in 2019.  Bud Elliott, in his Banner Society newsletter, speculates about a possible cause for that.

For whatever reason, though, the bump doesn’t appear to be happening with this year’s sophomore coaching class.

Let’s acknowledge that a two-week sample set is far too small to draw meaningful conclusions. Let’s also acknowledge that it is also possible that this group of coaching hires was simply poor…

As Banner Society’s recruiting writer, I try to think about everything in CFB as it relates to recruiting. And a very important recruiting thing happened in 2018: the first Early Signing Period for college football recruiting. Prior to 2018, when a coach was hired in late November or early December, he had about 10 weeks to assemble his staff and put together a recruiting class by the traditional National Signing Day, the first Wednesday in February. It wasn’t easy, really, to catch up on relationships with existing verbal commitments, evaluate the class, and target new recruits to bring in to the class.

As you might expect, the first abbreviated recruiting classes signed by coaches typically had a high wash-out rate and were not as good as the classes put together once the head coach and his staff had a full year or more within the program.

But with the advent of the Early Signing Period, which now happens a week before Christmas, coaches had only about three weeks between Thanksgiving and ESP to get their staff together and sign their prospects. And while waiting for the traditional National Signing Day date in February was technically an option, it wasn’t a realistic one, as more than 90% of FBS recruits signed in the Early Period.

There is not enough early data to prove this, but anecdotally, some of the recruiting classes signed by these programs in such short order are worse than what you would normally expect to see with an abbreviated class. It’s just a natural consequence of having so little time to put together the class. Some of the quality athletes who were “available” to be signed were likely available because they had character or competitiveness red flags that established staffs identified and stayed away from, while new staffs had to roll the dice in an effort to get some sort of talent injection.

The early period also set back some staffs in their second year. The major, successful programs who did not make coaching changes had most of their class wrapped up well before the Early Signing Period, and had already moved on to making contacts for the next class (in this case, 2019). Meanwhile, the new staffs hired during the Early Signing Period were having to recruit for the Early Signing Period and, thereafter, survey the landscape to try and fill out their class on the traditional NSD from the leftovers who did not sign in the ESP. This effectively gave the programs who did not make a coaching change a 100-day head start on the 2019 class. While new staffs were hosting official visitors for the class of 2018, existing staffs were hosting junior days, where the class of 2019 was checking out their program.

While not fatal, this did put the new staffs at a disadvantage for the 2019 class, which was to be their first “full” class.

Bud goes on to note that, except in cases like, say, Georgia Tech, where the administration realizes the rebuild is going to take time, new coaches need to hit big with that first class and that usually there’s a decent chance they will because of the excitement and a new direction surrounding their hires, neither of which has been tainted by disappointing on the field results.

Yeah, it’s way too soon to draw any substantive conclusions, but Bud says at the end exactly what I was thinking as I read his piece:

Could the mad dash to make something out of the first Early Signing Period have caused a snowball effect that is seeing coaches fail to meet expectations and show progress? I’m not ready to say yet, but I’ll be watching. And as time goes by, if more data supports that theory, it has some fascinating ramifications for the CFB hiring calendar.

In other words, ADs will panic earlier than they do now, even though hiring or firing based on a recruiting class is generally a mug’s game.  What do you guys think?


Filed under Recruiting

Close to perfect

Watching this live, I thought it was the best kickoff of Rodrigo Blankenship’s career.

I don’t know how you could place that ball any better than he did.


Filed under Georgia Football

Your 9.11.19 Playpen

Ben Watson was not the droid Laura Ingraham was looking for.

That was… awkward.  Have at it in the comments.


Filed under GTP Stuff

“The more information you have, the more there is to look at.”

If there’s any coach out there I expected to embrace the use of analytics wholeheartedly, it’s Mr. “aggregate of marginal gains.” ($$)

“We use a ton of analytics,” Smart said. “We’ve got people that come in, they give us a breakdown, they read through it, and sometimes you use it, sometimes you don’t, but it’s there. We purchase it. We use a lot of analytics.”

That’s not to say Kirby’s made a slave of himself to them, but he’s not going to leave any stone unturned, either.

“What does it all mean in a huge bucket?” Smart said. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to do what you feel is best for your team’s chance of success, but there’s a lot more analytics involved.”

Just what you’d expect from a Terry College grad. 😉


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Parity is a beyotch.

From Stewart Mandel’s Mailbag today ($$):

My theory is this: There are more good coaches out there than ever before, but there’s only a finite amount of great ones. If you put a Nick Saban at Alabama or Dabo Swinney at Clemson and give them a blank check to hire the best assistants, pay for the best nutritionists and trainers, take private planes to recruit, etc., they can basically build a parity-proof juggernaut. But if the guy in charge is really a $500,000-a-year Sun Belt coach in a $5-million-a-year body, all those bells and whistles won’t matter. Because he’s competing against a bunch of good coaches more qualified for his job than he is, all of whom have enough good players to compete with his.

Gee, I wonder who he’s referring t…

The poster child for this is Tennessee, with its national title trophies and 100,000-seat stadium, but which is now on to its fourth overmatched coach in a row, and it shows.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Updated Dawg odds

Evidently, the sports book money’s been flowing Georgia’s way since the start of the season, as the spreads on some of its major games have widened significantly, per Westgate LV Superbook.


  • “In Georgia’s home matchup against Notre Dame on Sept. 21, Vegas has the Bulldogs favored by 11.5 points according to Westgate. That is a two-point swing from the Golden Nugget’s original line from June, which had Georgia favored by 9.5 points.”
  • “On November 2, Georgia takes on Florida in Jacksonville, Fla. While the June line from Golden Nugget had the Bulldogs as 3.5 point favorites in that contest, Westgate likes Georgia a bit more now, favoring them by 7.5 points.”
  • “On Nov. 16 Georgia faces Auburn on the road and Vegas sees this one a bit differently now. While Golden Nugget had Georgia as a 7.5-point road favorite in June, Westgate initially listed them as a 4-point favorite. Now, Georgia is favored by 11 points.”

The one of those three that surprises me a little is the Auburn spread.  It’s a road game and Auburn’s defense has been impressive in its first two games.

There is one home game that has seen the spread tighten slightly.

Facing each other for the first time as SEC rivals, Georgia and Texas A&M will play in Athens on Nov. 23, with Georgia favored by 12 points, a point decrease from August.

And then there’s Tech.

To end the 2019 regular season, Georgia will play in-state rival Georgia Tech on the road on November 30. In June, the Bulldogs were favored by 20.5 points and were 25.5-point in August. Now, Georgia is listed as 24-point favorites against the Yellow Jackets…

The romantic in me would like to think that’s caused by Jackets fans who are super optimistic after Tech’s epic win over South Florida.


Filed under Georgia Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

93,246 of our closest friends

It’s gonna be cozier than usual at the Notre Dame game.

When you hear that Georgia will have an overflow crowd for the Notre Dame game, believe it.

The Bulldogs will set an all-time attendance record for Sanford Stadium when the Fighting Irish visit Sept. 21. In the visitors ticket agreement UGA made with Notre Dame when it brokered a home-and-home series to be played in 2019 and 2017, the Bulldogs promised 8,000 tickets to the Fighting Irish for this year’s contest.

The trouble is, Sanford Stadium does not have the room to accommodate its home crowd plus 8,000 visitors. It has room to seat only 7,500.

To solve the problem, UGA decided to bring in extra seats for next week’s historic matchup between the hedges between the No. 3-ranked Bulldogs and No. 8 Notre Dame (8 p.m., CBS). To do that, temporary aluminum bleachers will be installed on the West End plaza, underneath the Sanford Stadium scoreboard and at the back of Sections 143 and 139.

A contract is a contract and McGarity was grateful for every drop the Irish offered him on the 2017 game.

“This is all due to our up-front request to maximize our seating block at Notre Dame (in 2017),” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said Tuesday. “They offered us 8,000 seats and we accepted it, even though we knew we didn’t have room for that many here. We knew we were taking a risk, but it was extremely important to us to get 500 more seats; 500 tickets is like gold to our fans. So, I wanted to be able to get as many as we could, and we’d figure it out later.”

More like gold to Butts-Mehre, but I digress.  In any event, if you’re McGarity and you know what ticket demand for a Georgia-Notre Dame match is, the issue isn’t providing ND with 8,000 tickets, it’s finding a way to do that without giving up any seats for the locals.

I don’t have any problem with that, but it’s sure gonna stretch game day logistics a wee bit more at a facility that’s already maxed out in certain ways.


Filed under Georgia Football