Boffo box office returns for Saturday’s game:
Just imagine what going home-and-home would do for those viewership numbers.
Boffo box office returns for Saturday’s game:
Just imagine what going home-and-home would do for those viewership numbers.
Okay, so Smart is saying the right things about this week’s opponent.
Off to Missouri. [Head Coach] Barry Odom and his staff have done a tremendous job. Got a lot of respect for him. He’s a guy that I share a lot of ideas with and discuss a lot of things with when we are at SEC meetings, very similar to me, a defensive guy and also coaching his alma mater. I think he’s done a great job motivating this team, and putting them in a good situation.
They are extremely physical. They are a tough match-up from their defensive perspective because they are so big and physical up front. You look historically against us, they have done a really good job. They are top probably 15 in the country in almost every defensive category and they do a good job of that.
Overall, the Tigers have generated defensive stats worthy of respect (not to mention that in the wake of the South Carolina loss, Georgia had best remember that every SEC defense is worthy of respect), but when you break the stats down a little, that Mizzou defense is pretty Jekyll and Hyde-ish.
In defensive yards per play, for example, Missouri is second in the SEC at 4.44 ypp, right behind Georgia. But move over to defensive yards per play on the road this season and that number drops to 6.08, only good for ninth-best in the conference.
Another example is opponent red zone conversions. Overall, Missouri is third in the SEC in scoring percentage; on the road, though, the Tigers are thirteenth and have only prevented one red zone score.
Interestingly, one area where Missouri maintains excellence is opponent third down conversion percentage. The Tigers lead the conference in road performance. (They’re actually better on the road than overall in that regard.) Of course, before last weekend, Florida led the SEC in that category, so we’ll see if Coley maintains his roll.
Anyway, there are reasons Missouri has yet to win a game on the road, and this appears to be one of them. Though Smart would prefer not to discuss this form of rat poison, thank you very much.
On Missouri’s road record …
“I don’t look into it much to be honest with you. I think it’s not really to be — it’s not a big deal. The bottom line is, I know the football team they have got. I know the coaching staff they have got. I know the players they have got and I can watch the tape and know they have got a really physical football team. One of the games was played in some extreme weather conditions, which I know how that impacts the game, and I know that impacts when you’re playing against a guy that’s probably not a quarterback; he’s an athlete, he completely changed the game for how they played. It’s very different.”
No rain is expected in Athens Saturday night, in case you were wondering.
By the way, one thing Matt Hinton highlighted about Jake Fromm’s performance against Florida is this:
Coming off 2 of his worst games, Fromm responded in the Bulldogs’ most crucial regular-season test with undeniably one of his best, turning in the weekend’s highest-graded performance vs. a Power 5 opponent, according to ESPN’s QBR metric.
Admittedly, that was only in a setting where the divisional lead was at stake against Georgia’s biggest rival. Savvy Dawg fans know the only QBR that really matters is what gets posted at G-Day.
One of the puzzling comments from Kirby Smart in the wake of Saturday’s win:
I suspect this was more deflection from criticism of the offensive game plan we watched against South Carolina and Kentucky. In any event, let me make it clear: the fan base hasn’t wanted Jake Fromm’s head, ever. What it’s wanted is for the coaching staff to have the same faith in Fromm’s ability and leadership as it has.
That’s exactly what we saw on Georgia’s last and biggest third down conversion of the day, too.
Don’t take my word for it, either. Here’s Matt Hinton on the subject.
A bit of a heavy-handed sentiment when the truth is closer to the opposite: If anything, the overwhelming consensus among Georgia fans before Saturday was that coaches didn’t trust their veteran, NFL-bound quarterback enough. They weren’t the only ones. The low-level buzz that plagued the offense over the past few weeks — murmurs which briefly escalated into outright boos in the Bulldogs’ waterlogged, Week 8 win over Kentucky — had almost nothing to do with doubts about Fromm’s ability and everything to do with Smart’s and offensive coordinator James Coley’s reluctance to exploit it to its full potential. The “doubters” weren’t watching Fromm and wondering about his arm. They were wondering why he wasn’t letting it rip.
Look, in a sense, I don’t really care if Kirby wants to use us and the media as a prop to motivate his team to coach and play to the best of their ability. Whatever works, and all that. It does come off sounding a little silly in the aftermath, though.
In any event, if the strategy succeeded, as Bill Withers once said, keep on using us until you use us up.
Here comes California, messing with college football again.
What began as SB 206 in the California assembly— and became known nationally as the Fair Pay To Play Act — has help fuel a revolution in college sports.
Now along comes AB 7, which threatens to play havoc with your Pac-12 kickoff times.
Think those 7:30 p.m. games along the west coast are a too late?
If Assembly Bill 7 becomes law, late-season games on Pac-12 campuses will start at 8:30 p.m.
Sponsored by Assemblymember Kansen Chu — and already approved by voters — AB 7 would place California on Daylight Saving Time all year: No more falling back and springing forward.
California would be permanently sprung forward, with all the lifestyle benefits that come with evening daylight and none of the disruptions to our circadian rhythms caused by changing the clock.
Apparently, if this goes into law in California, Oregon and Washington are prepared to follow suit in short order. And that would make things inconvenient for Mickey.
The entire West Coast would skip the process of falling back, leaving it two hours behind Eastern Time from early November through early March.
That would create a problem for Pac-12 kickoffs in the final month of the season.
ESPN and Fox use three-and-a-half-hour programming windows (approximately) on football Saturdays, starting with 12 p.m. Eastern and followed by 3:30 p.m., 7 or 8 p.m. and then 10:30 p.m.
The final window is reserved for the Pac-12 — the only Power Five conference capable of starting home games as late as 10:30 p.m. Eastern. (And those are sometimes pushed back to 10:40 or 10:45 p.m.)
If the West Coast doesn’t join the East Coast in falling back, the three-hour difference during Daylight Saving Time would become a two-hour difference from early November through early March.
In order for the Pac-12 games to fill the 10:30 p.m. Eastern window, they would have to start at 8:30 p.m. on the west coast.
Pacific Daylight Time in the winter months would be the same as Mountain Standard Time.
Late games would get later.
Eh, not to worry. I’m sure Larry Scott’s on the mother.
David Wunderlich’s Cocktail Party postmortem is worth a read. He softly dings Mullen for some of the same reasons I mentioned yesterday.
Down two scores with 10:01 to go against Georgia, Florida did score a touchdown but needed 17 plays and 6:50 to do it. That left 3:11 left on the clock with only two timeouts, meaning that even if they got an improbable (given how the game had gone) three-and-out, they’d have had almost no time for the final desperation drive. After preseason talk of pushing the tempo, Florida appears unable to actually do that. Maybe Mullen only trusted Feleipe Franks with that package.
The real strange thing was all the coaching blunders on the Florida side. Mullen had to burn three timeouts due to either the wrong players or wrong play or both going in, and they still got a delay of game after a sack and an ineligible receiver downfield penalty when one of two senior receivers lined up incorrectly. The initial OL lineup didn’t make sense, nor did the jet sweep to Toney. The third down defense was atrocious and remained so all game. Coaches are human too and will have some bad games, but having one in a hugely important game coming after an open date boggles the mind.
Despite that, he’s comforted by the thought that Florida only wound up losing by one score. There is that, although I’d argue that the slow pace of the game from both teams meant it was unlikely there was going to be a large scoring gap between the two, barring turnover luck that never materialized for either.
Considering that four of the five teams on my last ballot didn’t play this past weekend (I could argue that Clemson didn’t really play either, while we’re at it), this week’s effort was a snap, taking less than five minutes to cobble together.
Next week is when I suspect ballot selection starts getting tougher. If a one-loss Alabama or LSU deserves to stay, what about some of the other one-loss teams, like Georgia, Oklahoma or Oregon? For that matter, what if Minnesota upsets Penn State?
Georgia leads all Southeastern Conference football teams this season in time of possession, owning the ball for an average of 33 minutes and 54 seconds per game. In Saturday’s 24-17 downing of Florida in Jacksonville, the Bulldogs gobbled up 35 minutes and 48 seconds.
“It helps us a lot,” Bulldogs senior tight end Charlie Woerner said Monday. “It gives our defense time to rest on the sideline, and it has kept the ball away from Florida and our other opponents. It’s a big thing for us, because it wears the other defenses down. By the end of the game, they’re tired.
“When you look at it from the outside, it’s kind of obvious — you want to hold the ball more than they do.”
This is manball.
Georgia has won the time of possession in all eight games this season, with the No. 6 Bulldogs (7-1, 4-1) looking to extend that trend this Saturday night against visiting Missouri (5-3, 2-2). The Bulldogs held the ball for 36:28 during their 43-14 win over Tennessee and for 36:04 in the 20-17 double-overtime loss to South Carolina.
“One of our objectives on offense is to win the time of possession,” Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said. “It’s one of the 15 or 20 things that we list. Winning that battle was important Saturday, and it’s important in every game to win the time of possession, but it can be misleading for explosive teams.”
This is very much manball.
“Teams are doing things to us that aren’t normal,” Smart said. “They’ve got five defensive linemen in, when most people have four, but they’re taking risks when they do that, too. We’ve got to find more ways to expose that. They know that we’re hell-bent on running it, and they’re hell-bent on stopping it.
“If you don’t run the ball in this league, pass-rushers will chew you up. You have to keep them honest and wear them down. I know people think it’s boring because it’s not explosive, but in this league you’ve got to be able to have the threat of that to sustain.”
It’s not boring when it works, Kirby.
Dan Mullen’s not sayin’, y’all. He’s just sayin’.
Dan Mullen, who is catching heat from the Florida fans and media over the UGA loss, turned his attention to the SEC about officiating on Monday.
Mullen wants to know what the SEC’s “motive is” for allowing Lawrence Cager’s catch in the second quarter to stand in UGA’s 24-17 win over the Gators (see below for the video). The catch was reviewed on replay, and confirmed as a reception.
The Florida coach was asked if he’s heard from the SEC office about the call.
“I’ve not gotten any word, we’ve asked,” Mullen said on Monday during his weekly press conference.
“You’d have to ask them that, that decision was made in Birmingham on that play. I’ve asked, I haven’t heard anything from them. I guess you’d have to ask what their motive is for making the decision the way they did in Birmingham. That had nothing to do with on-the-field officials.”
Cool beans, buddy. While you’re at it, maybe you could check on the motivation behind this no-call:
What are the odds Mullen spends the offseason telling Gator booster groups that the refs stole the Cocktail Party from Florida? Hey, it’s gotta work better than the truth.