This is a cool picture.
Although I can hear early 20th century Kirby wondering how that crowd would help recruiting…
This is a cool picture.
Although I can hear early 20th century Kirby wondering how that crowd would help recruiting…
Unless I missed something, I don’t think Alabama’s come anywhere close to saying Tua’s 100%. Whatevs, Gary.
… break out the fake juice.
You know, if Georgia loses almost every starting skill position player it has, that might work.
As the result of an open records request, Seth Emerson ($$) is reporting that a May 20th offer by the city of Jacksonville to extend the contract for the Cocktail Party through 2026 wasn’t accepted.
It’s a great feeling when your best player is put in limbo because of a potential NCAA violation, let me tell ‘ya.
The Heisman Trophy campaign and the most dominant individual season in college football is on hiatus: Chase Young is facing an indefinite suspension.
Fresh off the finest performance of his career in a record-breaking win over Wisconsin, the Ohio State junior is now suddenly, shockingly unavailable for the nation’s top-ranked team heading into the final month of the regular season, according to multiple Lettermen Row sources. Poised to break the school’s single-season record with his next sack, the captain won’t be available to do it for the Buckeyes on Saturday against Maryland — and now the wait is on to see exactly how much time Young will miss.
Ohio State has not publicly commented at this point on Friday morning, and exact details about the potential NCAA violation remain unclear at this point. Multiple sources have indicated that the program is optimistic that Young will be cleared to return to Buckeyes this season, but a resolution for the matter still hasn’t been reached.
The rumor swirling around is that Young took money from an agent. He can pay it back and take that familiar four-game hit, if that’s the case, I suppose. Fun in the meantime, though.
And if I can offer one small bit of advice… don’t waste any time consulting with Greg McGarity about how to deal with the NCAA on the matter.
UPDATE: This didn’t take long.
UPDATE #2: From Chase Young, comes this:
A loan. From a family friend he knew before he enrolled. That’s been repaid.
Thank Gawd the NCAA is on the mother.
UPDATE #3: And from Young’s representative…
UPDATE #4: This just gets better and better.
A source told The Dispatch that the loan is believed to have been used to pay for airfare for Young’s family to attend the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. If Ohio State had been in the College Football Playoff, such expenses would have been covered by a special fund to defray costs for players’ families. But since the Rose Bowl wasn’t a CFP game, families of players had to pay their own way.
OMG. Please, just stop now with this, Kirby.
Even with the Georgia offense sputtering, Cook only has 3 touches in the past two games. Smart was asked about Cook this week and did speak on the desire to get him the ball more often.
“Yeah, I wish I could get everybody more opportunities in space. He’s a good player,” Smart said. “We’ve got to keep trying to find roles for him. He’s been an impact player for us on special teams and we’ve got to keep doing that with him.”
They didn’t even have Cook returning kickoffs in the Florida game.
This is what things have come to in college football:
In 2018, Ohio State’s football team went 13–1. Its only loss came in a fluke night game on the road against Purdue, which played out of its mind in front of a young fan suffering from cancer. The Buckeyes recovered by scoring 62 points in an upset demolition of their biggest rival, then won the Big Ten, then won the Rose Bowl.
Ramzy Nasrallah, a Columbus native and Ohio State fan who co-founded the blog Eleven Warriors, recently told me that this sequence of events was “disappointing”—a “lackluster, lost season” in which the team’s coaches “screwed themselves.” The tweet he has pinned to the top of his account is from October 2018 and describes that month’s version of the Buckeyes as “the stupidest team I’ve ever seen in my life.”
To understand why he felt this way is to understand that the United States’ most proudly regional sport has become nationalized by ESPN and the College Football Playoff. [Emphasis added.] As a consequence, this is at once the best time ever to be a fan of college football as a sport and the worst time ever to be a fan of almost every major college football team.
That is my problem with the sport in a nutshell. The morons who think they are geniuses running college football, with plenty of encouragement from Mickey, have convinced themselves that the sport’s future lies in swapping its regional appeal to diehards for that of a more homogeneous, less passionate national one. And this is exactly what’s it’s about now:
The sport’s most important media outlet is ESPN, whose dominance in the TV, talking head, and online journalism realms has expanded as local papers have withered and died. The network has mostly unchecked power to set college football’s narratives via its studio shows and in-house opinionists. What ESPN naturally considers the defining achievement of a season, now, is earning one of the four spots in the ESPN-broadcasted playoff. One of the top stories on ESPN’s college football page when I was writing this story was about how Georgia and Oregon’s big weekend wins raised the possibility of getting “a second chance” at a “first playoff impression.” ESPN, more than anyone or anything else, is the entity creating those impressions, as major sports media becomes increasingly dominated by takes—provocative, declarative statements of opinion whose effectiveness and virality derive from their capacity to enrage.
College football is not better off for it.
… and when your team does lose, you can ruin your week by reading dozens of articles and Twitter arguments about why and how it did so, then be reminded of your newfound irrelevance by TV production teams whose concerns begin and end with the national race. As Banner Society’s Ryan Nanni told me, “It’s strange, but somehow expanding the playoff slightly has made everyone more worked up. … Everyone just sort of accepted that you could have a solid season and not make the [two-team] BCS title game. We all hated it, but now there’s juuuust enough access that if you’re not one of those four and you theoretically could have been, you fucked up.”
I made the mistake of thinking that expanding the playoff field from the old BCS format of two to the CFP version of four would have little effect on the sport. The reality is that it’s had an enormous one already, in that it’s helped accelerate the change away from regional focus. The BCS, by working to have number one and number two face off for all the marbles, had a simple goal of making sure there was a clear number one at the end of every season. (That’s not the same thing as saying it succeeded in that every season, but it had lots more hits than misses in that regard.)
The CFP, by broadening the field, has morphed the discussion into a more general debate on several fronts — best versus more deserving, relative conference strengths, the value of conference championships, etc. And, as noted, it’s had the inevitable effect of diminishing the role of the regular season — if you doubt that, maybe you can explain to me why the Big 12 took it upon itself to tack on a conference championship game for a league that has its members play a round robin regular season schedule.
All that, plus the outsized role it’s given ESPN in shaping public perception of the sport.
The damage is done; the horse is out of the barn. I can’t even say I’m angry about it. Looking back now, given the money driving college athletics, honestly, I’m a little surprised they held off as long as they did with the CFP. But they’ve gone down the rabbit hole now and there’s no turning back. I’m sure that pleases many of you, but I’ll bet in a few years even those of you enthusiastic about postseason expansion will concede that it’s a shame college football lost a little of what made it unique.
I think I’ve hinted at this in some of this week’s earlier posts, but the more I read about Missouri, the more I’m convinced Georgia is about to play a mirror image of itself, albeit a less-talented one.
For example, here’s how Nathan describes the Tigers’ defense:
… this is one of the first times this season that UGA’s offense has faced a defense that outranks it in many advanced statistical categories. While this is a defense that has suffered some key injuries, they are still a fundamentally sound bunch that does an excellent job in limiting the efficiency of their opponents. They’ve also posted a statistical profile that, in a vacuum put them in the same tier as UGA.
Sound familiar? Meanwhile, on offense…
At everything but preventing havoc plays, this is an average to below-average unit. Couple that with an injured starting QB, and it’s hard to imagine this offense lighting up the scoreboard against what has been – to this point in the year – an excellent Bulldog defensive unit. In particular, the Tigers have been neither efficient nor explosive in the passing game — ranking 75th and 68th in passing SR and explosiveness respectively — a fact that does not bode well for the denizens of Co Mo, as UGA has been most susceptible to the air attack this season.
Mizzou even has inexplicable losses on its resume.
Missouri’s most impressive showing this season so far is a 34-14 thumping of South Carolina, the program responsible for Georgia’s lone loss, but the Tigers have since lost 21-14 to a Vanderbilt team coming off a 24-point home loss to UNLV and 29-7 to a Kentucky team that Georgia beat 21-0 the week before.
“I don’t look into it much to be honest with you,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said when asked about Missouri’s erratic play. “It’s not a big deal. The bottom line is that I know the football team they’ve got. I know the coaching staff they’ve got. I know the players they have, and I can watch the tape and know they have a really physical team.
“One of their games (at Kentucky) was played in some extreme weather conditions, and I know how that impacts the game.”
Kirby can be such a card sometimes.
This is a game where both teams are going to grind and do what they can to limit the other’s offense to as few series as possible. You know what that means.
As in, don’t commit them! South Carolina beat Georgia earlier this year by not committing a single turnover while benefiting from four of them. If the Tiger offense kills a drive by handing a superior opponent the ball more than once this game will, essentially, be over. Unless the Missouri offense can magically start connecting down field on big plays, utilize the run game successfully, and break some tackles, the focus should be to limit possessions, slow the tempo down, play the field position game, and make the safe choice on every play. It’s boring and ugly but its the best way to limit the effect that superior talent has on turning the game.
Boring and ugly will be Saturday’s mantra. There will be a premium on avoiding screwups.
Assuming both squads do manage that, it should play into Georgia’s favor as the deeper team. But it’s hard to argue with this conclusion:
Ultimately, while I agree with what the Senator points out here — that Mizzou is facing, in Georgia, an exponentially tougher opponent than any it has this season — I still worry about this offense. We discussed this at-length in the Florida review episode of Chapel Bell Curve, the Dawgs offense is a few excellent 3rd down plays away from being right where it was at the end of the Kentucky game. While it did appear to me, at least anecdotally, that Coley and Co. got a little more creative in the second half against the Gators, I have a hard time believing that the Butts Mehre brain trust is capable of breaking their core tendencies. Usually, that wouldn’t bother me, as those tendencies have led to quite a bit of success in the past three years. But past results don’t always dictate future performance, and most current data shows us that this is a team that is either unable or unwilling to move off of Man Ball Island, despite how many ferries are departing to parts unknown where teams can score 30 points a game.
My biggest worries for tomorrow are two-fold. One is Albert Okwuegbunam. I’m already assuming a big first half for the Missouri tight end and only hope that Smart and Lanning make the same effective halftime adjustments they did against Notre Dame and Florida.
The second is that Todd Grantham was last week’s defensive coordinator, so we can’t count on that third down magic tomorrow night. Missouri, in fact, is second in the SEC in opponent third down conversion rate, right behind Georgia (natch). Interestingly enough, even in their last two losses, the Tigers have been very good on third down defense, allowing only a 25% conversion rate. Coley, in other words, is probably going to need to up his game on first and second downs from what we’ve seen in recent weeks.
But it wouldn’t surprise me if it takes him more than a half to realize that. ‘Cause that’s the way manball rolls.
Like a car wreck on the side of the road, I suppose.