Daily Archives: January 16, 2020

Two out of three ain’t bad, just not good enough.

Final SP+ rankings for 2020:

Screenshot_2020-01-16 Final SP+ rankings for 2019 college football season

So, Georgia finished first in both Defensive SP+ and Special Teams SP+… and fifth overall, behind four of the five top offensive SP+ teams (Oklahoma was the other, natch).  Should we call Kirby’s team the best Manball team in the country?

By the way, if you’re curious, as I was, about LSU’s second place ranking, Bill does his readers the courtesy of providing an explanation:

This is a long way of saying that LSU, 2019’s national champion and a team that finished the season playing otherworldly ball, didn’t finish the year No. 1 in SP+, just as it didn’t finish No. 1 in FPI. Ohio State all but clinched the No. 1 spot by playing the best overall ball in the regular season and then playing Clemson to a near-statistical draw in the CFP semifinals.

Oh well. LSU timed its peak perfectly, playing well throughout the year and then going nuclear late. In the Tigers’ last four games, their average per-game SP+ percentile rating was 99%. Play like that all year, and you’re the greatest team of all time. As it stands, their midseason defensive funk (driven in part by injuries) dragged their full-season numbers down to that of a merely tremendous team.



Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“It’s not treason to leave a university…”

It sounds like Tom Mars isn’t going scorched earth (at least not publicly) with the University of Georgia over Cade Mays’ transfer waiver request after all ($$).

“In this case, there’s no value in being more explicit about what happened,” Mars said. “Being at all transparent about what happened would probably not sit well with Georgia fans anyway. Because I don’t think any of those Georgia fans want to hear anything that’s the least bit critical of their school’s athletic department or their football coaching staff. In fact, the decision to remain quiet about this is a very principled decision. It’s not one that’s necessarily to the advantage of Cade Mays or his family. It’s one that’s the appropriate approach and an approach that’s respectful toward Georgia.

“I’m sitting in Atlanta right now. I’m not interested in trashing UGA, and there’s no benefit to doing that. And even if I tried to be very diplomatic about it, I’m sure what I had to say would not sit well with anybody in Athens or anybody that’s part of Dawg Nation. The decision to not talk about it is not only a decision that reflects the privacy every student-athlete has, it’s also a decision that reflects respect for the process and for UGA. If UGA wanted to try this case in the press, I’d be happy to. But I don’t think they want to. And therefore, I don’t have any desire to.”

For what it’s worth, he says daddy’s folding chair lawsuit is not a factor in the waiver request.


Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

“Every blade of grass”

Manball, meet Bradyball.

First part of that is basically Coley’s “players, not plays” credo.

Second part of that is what Kirby got a heavy dose of all through the SECCG.


Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Pod people

I don’t remember Andy Staples stating it so clearly in his earlier post on the topic, but today he says there is a significant amount of support among SEC schools to ditch divisions and go to a pod system ($$).

… The SEC office has been getting pushed by several schools in the past year to consider adopting a pod system that would set three fixed rivals for each school and then use a rotating schedule for the rest. The two best teams would play in the conference title game, and every team would play every other team at least twice every four years. A player who spent four seasons at a school would play in every stadium in the conference.

When I wrote about this subject in October, I asked around to get a sense of who would support such a plan and who would oppose it. Essentially, the schools in the West division and Florida would be in support.

There would have to be a lot of moving parts addressed to make this proposal a reality.  And I’m not sure it really gives the conference’s weaker schools the bowl eligibility protection they want, as there will be plenty of years when the rotating schedules won’t be so kind.  But Staples says they’ll be talking about it at the SEC spring meetings.  Interesting.

(You can insert your snarky comment about what McGarity will offer to give up at the meetings now.)


Filed under SEC Football

James Coley isn’t going anywhere.

In case you need a suggestion why, Seth Emerson ($$) is here to help.

Georgia has in its proverbial backyard one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country: Brock Vandagriff, currently a junior at Athens’ Prince Avenue Prep, de-committed from Oklahoma last month. Vandagriff is known primarily as a pocket passer but he can also run. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a sophomore and is on the basketball and track teams at Prince Avenue Prep. (He missed most of his junior season after breaking his fibula.)

Vandagriff is rated the nation’s top pro-style quarterback recruit by 247Sports, and is the No. 8 overall prospect in the 2021 class. But Georgia has also been in the mix for the top-rated dual-threat quarterback, Caleb Williams of Washington D.C., who is the No. 15 overall prospect in the 2021 class.

Both Vandagriff and Williams are being recruited by James Coley, Georgia’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Coley also ran lead on Newman, in case anyone needs reminding his value to Kirby Smart as a recruiter.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“If you have better players, you want to play as many plays as possible.”

If you’re posing the question which team is most likely to follow in LSU’s footsteps in the coming season by making a leap due to a change in offensive philosophy, it’s not hard to think of Georgia.  But that means you have to think about Kirby Smart.

“Nick Saban basically admitted this on the broadcast…Talking about the RPO and spread and how it’s really kind of just changed the game. He’s basically said that if you aren’t hip with the times that you just aren’t going to be able to have the explosive play rate of these other offenses. I think that if you’re a team that can recruit elite players, you almost have to run this. Because think about it — if you’re running a ton of plays — it increases the sample size. If you have better players, the more plays you are going to run. There’s better chance the talent is going to run to the top instead of shrinking in the game and kind of putting it in the chance whether you get turnovers or you’re worried about field position.”

If you’re recruiting at a better clip than almost every team on your schedule (remember, Alabama’s on the program this season), what’s the best way to use that to your advantage?  Manball says, play like an anaconda, slowly squeezing the life out of the other team by subjecting them to a physical pounding on both sides of the ball and play slowly to limit the number of opportunities each offense has, thus putting more pressure on the opponent to play each series efficiently.

Saban says college football is now in an era where explosive plays have a greater impact, making manball a less effective approach.  Is he right?  Well, neither he nor Kirby made an appearance in this year’s playoffs, but the four teams that did certainly had more explosive offenses than did Georgia.

I don’t presume to know if that’s enough to sway Smart, but I do wonder if something else may matter to him.  “… if you’re running a ton of plays — it increases the sample size” also means that your offensive players have the opportunity to play more.  Forget about the way that also puts pressure on the opponent and ask yourself what sells on the recruiting trail.  I’ve got a feeling that telling some star receiving recruit or a quarterback that you’re running 75 plays on offense instead of 65 might make a difference these days.  Does Smart?


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Hello, Newman.

Jake Rowe’s been watching some tape of Georgia’s newest quarterback.

A few observations…

– He’s a tackle-breaking machine. Some QBs are mobile and they’ll take what is there. Some will make you miss. Newman does both of those things, but he also bounces off tackles and steps through them. He can run in traffic but it also caused him to get a little banged up so he’s going to have to get that fixed.

– I saw quite a few batted balls. He’s a tall guy and seems to have a normal release, but I went through several full games and a lot of passes were tipped at the line of scrimmage.

– Really good deep-ball accuracy and seems to read the coverage well in doing that. I’m going to highlight a throw he made against Va. Tech that really impressed me because it’s not as easy as folks might make it out to be and he really helped his receiver with the ball placement.

– Definitely prefers to throw the ball outside and that’s where he’s at his best. Gets the ball out quickly and has a lot of zip on the ball so he can take advantage of teams playing inside leverage by throwing darts and allowing his guys to work up field. Throws the ball pretty well in the middle of the field but, as noted, tipped passes were an issue at times.

– I wouldn’t expect UGA to put him in the line of fire as often as Wake Forest did. He had 180 rushes on the year and some of those were sacks, but Wake used him to split the zone in the run game a lot of times — meaning that they would use a walk-up handoff where Newman would essentially set a pick on the backside edge rusher. I’d never seen that before watching Newman’s games. I’ve provided a GIF of what I’m talking about below.

I can’t get the gif to load here, but watching it, I can see why Newman wanted a change of scenery.  Wake beat the hell out of him last season.  I doubt Coley’s going to add that to the playbook.


Filed under Georgia Football


$cenes from a post-natty:

And, of course, the inevitable backtrack…

Yeah, good luck with that, dumbasses.  Somehow you managed to stumble on to the one course of action designed to distract from a national championship.  Well played.

Actually, I suspect the party who did play this well is Odell Beckham, Jr., who seems like he knew exactly what he was doing.

If Burrow’s retelling of events is correct, Beckham handing real cash to other LSU players seems likely. After all, was Beckham really in possession of different bundles of real cash and fake cash, and then distinguishing which type he gave to LSU players based on their remaining NCAA eligibility? Sure, that’s theoretically possible, but sounds like a stretch.

Another relevant piece of evidence is the fact that Beckham requested, and received NCAA permission, to provide every LSU player a pair of Beats Studio 3 wireless headphones (which retail for several hundred dollars). On one hand, it’s clear that Beckham wanted to furnish a valuable benefit to LSU players. On the other, Beckham offering advance notice to LSU (and in turn the NCAA) before carrying out a plan suggests he was mindful of amateurism consequences. Was he cautious about headphones but then reckless about cash?

I’m gonna have to go with nah, there.  Beckham wanted to make a point about amateurism and he’s sure done that, with LSU stuck having to clean up the consequences, some of which are self-imposed.

Mind you, I really don’t give much of a shit about this.  The hair-splitting the NCAA is having to do insisting that giving out expensive headphones is okay, but handing over a few bucks directly isn’t, is all the reward I need here.  If they had any sense, they’d figure out a way to starve the situation of any oxygen, but this is the NCAA we’re talking about, so I expect LSU to flail about stupidly for a while.  Now, where’s that bag of popcorn I had a minute ago?


UPDATE:  The shit show quotient is going off the charts here.


Filed under The NCAA