Daily Archives: September 25, 2019

The new second year bounce

Denial ain’t the river the Vol Navy sails down, is it?

40 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Nice cartel you got there. Be a shame if anything happened to it.

Mark Emmert says granting college athletes the right to control their name, image and likeness would be an “existential threat” to the collegiate model.

If that adjective sounds familiar, it’s only because Emmert tends to describe other athlete compensation proposals he doesn’t like, such as the cost of attendance stipend (‘As we’ve talked about it more and the membership has had a chance to digest it, it’s being seen as less threatening.’), in the same way.

Sounds like he has a nerve wracking job.  Maybe that’s why he says he can’t do math.

Emmert was asked if the NCAA could become a partner with players in marketing their name, image and likeness.

“You’ve got 50 different states with 50 different labor law rules,” Emmert said. “If you move into what are, in essence, labor negotiations, you have to do that state-by-state … It just falls apart in its complexity.”

Complexity.  That must be why the NCAA wouldn’t let each school set its own COA stipend level… oh, wait.

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UPDATE:  This, too.

These people are so bad at this.

20 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

If it walks like a job and quacks like a job…

… it’s a fucking job.

None of that should be taken as a knock on Fields, or a slam on his approach to academics.  By all accounts he’s sharp kid who did well in school.  Nor is it to suggest that his situation is unique.

But if “few visits to campus” and “from what I have seen” aren’t ginormous tells about his tenuous link to student life, I don’t know what is.  He’s a football player who signed up for online classes because that’s the most efficient use of his time.  He’s not a college student in the normal sense and to suggest otherwise is simply enabling the NCAA’s myth making.

48 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Your 9.25.19 Playpen

I don’t have the stomach for an impeachment discussion — not that I’m stopping any of you from doing so in the comments — but, speaking of stomach, I hope you guys saw Andy Staples’ piece ($$) on the top 25 college towns ranked by dining experience.  Two Georgia places made his list:

4. Georgia

When you get to Athens, the first thing you need is a Knuckle Sandwich. No, this isn’t what happens when you tick off a Georgia offensive lineman. It’s knuckle ham (also called ham hock, this is essentially the meat from around the pig’s ankle) with egg, cheddar cheese and apple butter on a fresh-baked biscuit at Mama’s Boy. While you’re there — and they’ve now opened a second location so the wait isn’t so interminably long — order a cinnamon roll. They’re the size of footballs, and they’re perfect for splitting four ways over a leisurely brunch. (Or for me to eat by myself with breakfast after a particularly hard workout. Not saying that happened last week, but it might have happened last week.)

The Knuckle Sandwich at Mama’s Boy in Athens (Andy Staples / The Athletic)

Few towns pack so many great restaurants into such a small area. Get the Redneck Reuben or more standard barbecue fare at Pulaski Heights. Get drunk on Tango Whiskey Foxtrots (whiskey, lemon, maraschino liqueur and ginger ale in a glass rimmed with Tang powder) and then chase them with a chicken and waffle club (fried chicken between two waffles with bourbon maple butter and hot sauce) and fried pickled okra at The World Famous. After polishing off The Gravy Train (a fried chicken biscuit smothered in gravy) at The Farm Cart, walk next door to Home.Made and cool off with the green tomato crisp (baked green tomato with streusel topping over grits ice cream). Or, if you’re going for a heavy lunch, try the meatloaf sandwich at Last Resort Grill.

10. Georgia Tech

A mixed plate at Superica (Andy Staples / The Athletic)

America’s best fajita plate is at Atlanta’s Superica. Most mixed plates include chicken, steak and pork. Most places don’t use such high-quality steak, and no one else uses pork belly. Everyone at the table will say “oooooh” when this is set down sizzling.

B’s Cracklin’ Barbecue burned down in March, but pit master Bryan Furman isn’t going to let the people of Atlanta go without pulled pork, ribs and cracklin’ cornbread. Next month, one of the nation’s best barbecue joints will reopen inside a Kroger supermarket on Ponce De Leon Avenue. Furman is still working on rebuilding the standalone location, but now he’ll have a chance to be open consistently again instead of only in a series of pop-ups.

No mention of Georgia Tech and food would be complete without pointing out that chili dogs and chili burgers from The Varsity and beautiful biscuits from The Silver Skillet are within walking distance of campus. But a short bike or Uber ride will take you to Antico, home of Atlanta’s best pizza. Get the Diavola (spicy soppressata, pepperonata and buffalo mozzarella) and marvel at the crispy-yet-soft-and-bubbly crust that comes out of the ovens that came across the Atlantic from Italy.

So, I thought I’d ask what you think of those, what you might subtract and what you might add.

Also, what other college towns have had memorable dining experiences for you?  Somebody asked me at the tailgate if Georgia didn’t have a football program what school I would choose to follow.  I gotta tell you, if fandom was a primary excuse to be a foodie, it would be hard not to be a Tulane fan, although if I had to root for a bigger, more winning program, I could settle for Texas and Austin.

And you?

131 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

Run the damned ball, Swift.

Georgia only ran 59 offensive plays against Notre Dame.  Part of that was due to only having three first half possessions as a resulted of the fumbled punt and part was due to a sub-par night with regard to third-down conversions.  (By the way, with regard to the latter, against FBS teams only, Georgia is currently 105th nationally in third-down conversions.  But I digress.)

Because of that, and because Georgia was presumably making an effort to maintain balance offensively (in the Mike Bobo sense, that is), we got this:

… The Bulldogs only ran the ball 33 times and the Fighting Irish’s commitment to stopping the ground game played a huge role in that. It’s only the eighth time in Georgia’s last 33 games that it ran the football fewer than 35 times in a game.

What that, in turn, led to apparently was, as I mentioned in my Observations post, that we didn’t see Zamir White make his way into the game.

“We wanted to get Zamir involved and we need to do that,” Smart said. “And he’s growing and getting better. He had two of the best blitz pick-ups I’ve seen out there today where he stoned them. So he’s getting better and he’s getting more confident and I want to be able to show confidence in him and put him out there and let him go play. It wasn’t just Zamir. It was a lot of guys. There were a lot of guys that I would’ve loved to get in the game but the opportunity never presented itself. And we still played a lot of people.”

What Kirby wanted — and I can’t say I blame him — was a heavy dose of D’Andre Swift.

“If number 7 is running the ball the way he was running the ball, it’s hard to give the ball to anybody (else),” Smart said. “The guy was making people miss, running possessed.”

On the night, Swift had a total of 21 touches (18 runs, 3 receptions) out of those 59 offensive plays, about 36%.  I’m not going to go back digging, but I’ll bet you Georgia hasn’t had a back handle the ball that much on a percentage basis since Chubb’s freshman season.

Quite out of character for this head coach, in other words.  He’s never really been a hot hand kind of guy before, so I wonder what made him go that way this time.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“… the NCAA probably is upset with me right now because this wasn’t the intent of the rule.”

Good luck selling this, Dana Holgorsen.

Holgorsen said anyone suggesting that the team is tanking the rest of the year is misguided.

“I can assure you that whoever is saying that was not at our practice last night, was not in our meetings on Sunday night, these long coaches meetings that we had preparing for a game,” Holgorsen said. “We’re full go ahead on playing a game this weekend. So that to me, is absolute nonsense.”

I’m not assured, but I’m not Houston’s AD, either.

Said Houston athletic director Chris Pezman to suggestions that the team is throwing in the towel: “We’ve got kids that we’ve recruited to come into program that we have confidence in that can play at a high level. … We’ve got a lot of confidence in our coaching staff and everybody else that’s on the team and in the program.”

Oh, I’m sure.  Makes you wonder what Holgorsen said when he interviewed for the job.

Holgorsen expressed a desire to get his roster older, citing a lack of fifth-year seniors on his team. Pezman said the Cougars “mortgaged” themselves with their younger players by not having them redshirt in recent years.

“My experience with this thing is when you get a team that’s old and mature and experienced, there’s something that happens to those guys who are fifth-year seniors,” Holgorsen said. “And we’ve got way too many guys on this football team right now that are not in position to be fifth-year seniors. And that makes it hard to win championships.”

Added Holgorsen: “This is Year 1 for me here at the University of Houston. I’ve identified some things that I need to pay attention to. And I’ve identified some things that need to happen for us to be able to be successful and compete for championships, which is the goal here at the University of Houston. We’re not currently in a very good spot when it comes to that, and there’s a number of reasons why.”

Should be a lot of fun for college football fans everywhere to watch this turn into a trend.

10 Comments

Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Oh, baby, he’s got it.

We all know that Jake Fromm chased off two five-star quarterbacks from Athens.  You’d figure something like that might clue people in to his talent level, but we’ve been treated to observations about throwing slant passes and similar nonsense.

This is not said to knock Eason or Fields.  (The latter in particular, is having a stellar season and is routinely included in Heisman talk.)  But I want to show you a couple of Fromm’s plays from Saturday night and ask a question.

First, here’s his touchdown throw to Cager.

From the pre-snap read through the timing of the throw to putting the ball right on the money, that is spectacular.

All in all, football is a game of inches and milliseconds. This entire play happens in the span of 2 and a half seconds. Jake Fromm is an elite quarterback from coverage recognition to pinpoint accuracy. The right call was made on defense, the players were in the right position, but sometimes there is no defense for a perfect throw.

Brian Kelly’s body language says it all there.

Then there’s Georgia’s last pass from scrimmage in the game.

It wasn’t completed, but look what else happened:  Fromm dropped the ball after receiving the snap, didn’t get flustered, knew he still had his protection, knew where he wanted to go with the throw and tosses it 40 yards on a rope despite not being able to get all his usual mechanics in place.  To have the presence of mind to pull all of that together is pretty special.

The ease of it was even more striking, watching it unfold in front of me live, than it appears on the broadcast.

My question is this:  taking off your red and black spectacles for a second, do you think either Eason or Fields could make both of those throws?  Honestly, I don’t see it.

42 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Is Jeremy Pruitt in over his head?

This ($$), my friends, is a stunning body of work compiled in a short period of time.

pruitt

For perspective,

  • Phillip Fulmer lost six games by at least 25 points over 16 seasons.
  • In his one season in Knoxville, Junior had one loss by at least 25 points.
  • Derek Dooley?  In three seasons, he lost seven games by at least 25 points.
  • As for Booch, five seasons, nine losses by 25 points or more.

Pruitt’s on pace to demolish all of that… assuming he gets the opportunity, that is.  As it is, in the short run, his team will face Alabama and Georgia by mid-October.

30 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Stick to politics

Ed Kilgore highlights some comments from Pete Buttigieg that will likely be dismissed in all the usual quarters.

Presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg said he had moral qualms about being a college football fan and found it “problematic” on Monday.

In response to a question from Jewish Insider about the issues with following a sport where unpaid athletes risk serious injury, Buttigieg said, “First, you need to look at what we owe students. Obviously the model says you get an education in exchange for contributing this way, plus the sport is supposed to be its own reward, but I don’t think that that’s really fair anymore….”

It’s not just the money he finds problematic, either.

Buttigieg also said that if he had a child, he “would hesitate to let them play football.”

With regard to that latter point, this is pretty damning stuff.

As you would expect, football leads the way there, but there are troubling statistics all throughout collegiate athletics, which support a conclusion like this one.

Ultimately, this is what’s going to doom college athletics as you and I know them presently.  There are glaring issues which the NCAA and its member institutions choose to ignore.  Doing so doesn’t make them go away.  It only postpones the inevitable.

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.  It seems like every week there’s another politician doing everything from calmly stating qualms like Buttigieg here to suggesting support for legislation impacting current NCAA practices to actually passing such legislation.  The NCAA ignores the political world at its peril.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Greg McGarity savors the moment.

I hope he didn’t throw his shoulder out patting his back.

Screenshot_2019-09-25 Georgia Athletics

Perhaps he should speak with a few of these folks (h/t eethomaswfnc) about that pure magic.

But not all UGA students were satisfied with their experience at the historic game. Some are alleging they were removed from the stadium due to a lack of seating in the student sections.

UGA negotiated a deal with Notre Dame in 2014 to schedule two games, one in South Bend and in Athens, with the promise of hosting 8,000 Fighting Irish fans in Sanford Stadium. The agreement meant UGA needed to prepare 500 extra seats than usual in the visitors seating area, so the university planned to “shift” one of the student sections in the West End Zone area to make up for the surplus.

Some students believe UGA athletics oversold tickets and prioritized the experience of higher paying ticket holders and Notre Dame fans over students.

The Red & Black talked to students who were removed or could not find seating in the stadium and how they felt. UGA officials did not respond to requests for comment as of press time. The Red & Black is continuing to report this story.

Caroline Stevens, first-year doctor of pharmacy student from Cumming

After arriving an hour before kick off and not finding seating, Stevens said a police officer then grabbed her by the arm and tried to drag her out of the stadium.

“This was a big game, and kicking out students to make room for certain fans just because they paid more money for their ticket is incredibly unfair. Overall, Sanford really let me down.”

“UGA officials did not respond to requests for comment”?  Color me shocked, shocked.  Don’t harsh Greg’s mellow with your silly questions about money and seating priorities, kids.  Just chalk it up as part of your educational experience.

Twenty years down the road, they’ll be wondering why they can’t coax people like Ms. Stevens into becoming loyal season ticket buyers.

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football