Daily Archives: February 7, 2020

“It’s very real.”

Oh, boy.

Name, image and likeness supporters may have a potential new advocate: the Trump administration. A White House spokesman told CBS Sports this week the Trump administration is evaluating whether “it would be appropriate for the federal government to become involved with policy solutions” regarding the fair treatment of college athletes.

CBS Sports sought comment from the administration after two sources said there had been at least one meeting between the Trump White House and individuals involved in developing name, image and likeness rights for athletes.

“The White House wants to make sure NCAA student-athletes are treated fairly without harming the integrity of college sports,” said Judd Deere, White House deputy press secretary, when asked about that meeting.

I have literally no idea where this is going, and given that “(a)dministration officials are in the process of learning about these issues”, there’s even more reason to expect a crap shoot.

Were I Mark Emmert, I would just remind Trump it’s another opportunity to stick it to California.  That might be enough.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Coming back

If you can read a piece that ranks Georgia Tech 2nd and Georgia 59th in something without losing your shit, then Bill Connelly’s take on returning production for 2020 has some good news and some not-so-good news for us Dawg fans.

First, a reminder of what he’s measuring:

As a remedy for this, I have for a few years been deriving what I call a team’s returning production percentage as an alternative to returning starters. It looks at the most predictive key personnel stats — percentage of your QB’s passing yards returning, percentage of your secondary’s passes defensed returning, and everything in between — and is weighted based on what correlates most strongly with year-to-year improvement and regression.

In other words, he’s not saying Georgia Tech is returning the second-best team in the country; rather, he’s saying that Tech has the second-highest probability for improvement, based on returning personnel.

For offense, that means

… the following percentages create the strongest tie between returning production on offense and the following year’s improvement and regression:

• Percentage of last season’s QB passing yards returning: 32% of offensive returning production formula
• Percentage of last season’s WR/TE receiving yards returning: 32%
• Percentage of career starts returning on the offensive line: 17.5%
• Percentage of last season’s offensive line snaps returning: 12%
• Percentage of last season’s RB rushing yards returning: 6.5%

And for defense,

Because teams differ so much in their use of linemen (some teams feature three in their base defense, some four), linebackers (three to five) and defensive backs (four to five), it’s a bit trickier to derive the importance of each unit. So while I still use unit-level numbers, I also feature full-defense numbers to a degree.

• Percentage of defensive returning production formula derived from defensive line: 5%
• Percentage derived from secondary: 37%
• Percentage derived from full defense: 21%

You can probably see where the good news and bad lies in those numbers:  a new quarterback is likely to hurt, but that secondary percentage is bad ass.

And bottom line, what does it mean from an advanced stats perspective?

… What does that tend to mean for a team’s SP+ ratings?

Over the past six seasons, offenses with returning production above 60% average an improvement of about two points per game, while those below regress by about three. And the extremes are pretty stark: Only one of the 18 teams that have returned at least 90% of their offensive production saw its offensive SP+ rating fall, while nine improved by at least seven adjusted points per game.

Meanwhile, of the 37 offenses that returned 35% of their production or less, only five improved, while 19 regressed by at least seven adjusted points per game.

It’s the same story on defense: Teams returning at least 85% of defensive production improve by an average of five adjusted points per game, while teams returning 40% or less regress by five adjusted points per game. If you’re on one end of the spectrum or the other, your fate is pretty settled.

Georgia returns 50% of its offensive production and 80% of its defensive production.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Supply meets demand.

Visiting fans’ loss can be your gain, if you’re looking for Georgia season tickets.

Georgia is cutting back on visiting team allotments in Sanford Stadium and turning them into football season tickets

Donors on Friday were being notified via email of the change.

That means Auburn and Tennessee—the two highest profile opponents on the Bulldogs 2020 home schedule—will see their allotments decreased from 7,500 tickets to 6,000 after Georgia informed those schools of the changes.

South Carolina and Kentucky returned a significant number of tickets last year. Some nonconference opponents have had allotments as low as 1,000.

“It’s really handicapped us in what we can do with season ticket sales because we’ve got this variable number on the visiting allotment,” said Josh Brooks, Georgia senior deputy athletic director. “It will open up some more opportunities, a full package. This will allow us to create new season ticket inventory that we haven’t had before”

Georgia has sold four- or five-game mini-packages in recent years in the summer from tickets returned from visiting schools.

Now, Brooks said, there will be more of an opportunity not only for new season ticket holders but for students and faculty to have more access to tickets.

One small catch:  the new season tickets will be on the 600 level.  They’ll run you $75 a game (less than what they cost individually after last season’s returns) and a $275 donation per seat.  But at least you’ll have ’em just in time to join us in complaining about the mediocrity of the 2020 home schedule.


Filed under Georgia Football

“Graphics have never won a football game.”

Sure, it’s totally professional to spend a big chunk of your signing day presser yelling at kids who didn’t sign with your program to get off your lawn.  Bonus points for bitching about social media, too.

Before you ask, dude’s been at Delta State for seven seasons.  It’s also the seventh school he’s coached at.


Filed under College Football

If there’s a cat in the bag, when will Kirby let it out?

In yesterday’s post about Smart not having to address a question about how much autonomy is being granted to Todd Monken to run the offense, I had a commenter state that Orgeron kept his offensive changes last season under wraps, too.

That’s actually not the case.  LSU’s head coach was talking about the playbook being opened up before the spring game.

Orgeron said Thursday (March 7) it’s a “new offense” in 2019 that will see LSU spread the ball around more and use different formations.

That was also the plan in 2018, and LSU spread the ball the most it has in years, but injuries and pass protection issues limited its ability to fully commit to it. Mix a healthier, more experienced offense with the addition of Brady, and there will be more changes.

“We’re implementing the run-pass options that Joe brought in,” Orgeron said. “We’re implementing the Saints’ passing game that Joe brought in.”

He said it.  It’s just that nobody believed him at the time.

Now, I don’t believe Kirby Smart is going to be nearly that open this spring, but I also wonder how long they can keep changes to the offensive playbook — assuming there are any, of course — hidden from view.  When you’ve only got about 40 practices to implement a new design, that’s not a huge amount of reps to use to get your players ready, especially when you’re breaking in a new starting quarterback.  You almost have to show some of your hand in the spring game, don’t you?


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Today, in litigation

Boise State 1, Mountain West 0.

The Mountain West Board of Directors has quietly voted to rescind a decision that would end Boise State’s additional slice of revenue from the conference’s TV contract, several sources told the Union-Tribune.

In exchange, Boise State will drop a legal complaint filed last month against the conference and agree to terms of the new TV contract that begins this summer.

Essentially, the two sides are back to square one.

Nice try, small fry.


Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, See You In Court

In control

There’s one other interesting tidbit from that Dennis Dodd piece worth sharing:

Best team you never saw: Air Force, which was only of only 17 teams to win 11+ games. Why does coach Troy Calhoun come up for jobs so often? The Falcons finished No. 1 in SportsSource Analytics’ offensive control metric. Offensive control measures time of possession, first-down efficiency, third-down efficiency and percentage of drives resulting in touchdowns. Remember, we’re talking about Air Force (11-2 in 2019). Among the top 10 in that category, LSU was fifth and Ohio State was fourth. Air Force also finished first in fewest penalties per game, second in time of possession and third in pass efficiency.  [Emphasis added.]

I don’t know where Georgia finished in that metric, but will note that only in time of possession did Georgia finish ahead of LSU and OSU.  Ohio State was first in third down conversion percentage, LSU was fourth and Georgia was 50th.  LSU scored 95 touchdowns last season; Ohio State scored 88.  Georgia?  The Dawgs produced only 50.

If you’re a control kind of guy, something I think it’s fair to assume Mr. Manball is, then last season provided pretty good evidence there were better ways to skin the efficiency cat than Georgia’s offense managed.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Is there a revolution upon us?

Per Dennis Dodd:

Defense wins championships? Think again. LSU’s title in 2019 may have marked a turning point in an era we already knew had arrived.

The five highest scoring seasons in college football history have all come since 2012.

The offensive revolution continued this past season with all-time highs being set nationally in completion percentage, passing yards per attempt and yards per play.

LSU in particular proved that it is becoming more efficient to outscore opponents on your way to a national championship. The Tigers ended the season with the third-“worst” total defense of any national champion since the beginning of the wire service era in 1936. Only Auburn in 2010 and Penn State in 1982 allowed more average yards among all titlists since polls began deciding things 84 years ago.

LSU also finished third-worst all-time for a champion in total defense, allowing 21.9 points per game. That’s behind only Ohio State in 2014 (22.0) and Auburn in 2010 (24.1).

Read between the sidelines: Scoring a lot trumps defending a lot. Five of the 10 all-time worst defensive performances by a national champion (yardage and points allowed) have occurred since 2010. None of those five finished lower than seventh nationally in scoring.

I don’t think that means defense is obsolete, but I do think Gene Chizik may be on to something when he says this:

“Here’s what I always say. … If you want to win big, one of two things [has to happen]. Offensively, you need a difference maker at quarterback, first-round draft pick guy, a total difference maker in college. Or you better surround him with a bunch of first- and second-round draft picks,” Chizik said.

Again, it’s something that makes me wonder what Kirby Smart’s been pondering for the last three months or so.


Filed under College Football, Stats Geek!

Hell hath no fury like an insurance company scorned.

This is probably the weirdest story you’ll read today.  How weird?  Well, put it this way:  it’s a Mike Bianchi story worth reading.

The last-minute political strong-arming that recently nixed UCF’s lucrative $35 million football stadium naming-rights deal with Roofclaim.com has also killed FAU’s already-announced $5 million sponsorship deal with Roofclaim.com, FAU confirmed Tuesday…

According to Sentinel sources, the influential insurance industry and several prominent state politicians intervened behind the scenes to cancel the UCF and FAU naming-rights deals with Roofclaim.com. The UCF deal would have been worth $35 million for 15 years — a figure that Danny White said in a December meeting of the UCF Foundation Board of Directors would be the “third or fourth” most lucrative naming-rights deal in the history of college football.

Even though UCF’s cash-strapped athletic program could desperately use that influx of working capital, the deal was killed because Roofclaim.com is an arch-enemy of the state’s massive insurance conglomerate. Roofclaim.com is a subsidiary of Jasper Contractors, a high-volume roofing company headquartered in Atlanta. The company, like many others in the industry, cashed in on a loophole that has cost insurance companies mega-millions of dollars. The loophole is a controversial-but-legal practice known as assignment of benefits — often referred to as AOB.

An AOB is a legally binding document through which a homeowner gives a third party (including companies such as Roofclaim.com) the right to negotiate, file insurance claims and collect insurance payments without the homeowner’s involvement. In May 2019, at the prodding of the insurance industry, the Florida Legislature overhauled the law governing AOB agreements.

It’s no secret UCF’s and FAU’s corporate partnerships with Roofclaim.com are the impetus for a controversial bill introduced in Tallahassee last month that would give the Legislature final approval on whether a sports stadium or arena at a public university can be branded after a company willing to pay for the naming rights.

A harbinger that state politicians and the insurance lobby would kill UCF’s naming-rights deal with Roofclaim.com came at the UCF Foundation Board of Directors meeting in December. Board member and treasurer, Alan Florez, who admitted at the meeting that he himself has ties to the insurance industry, raised objections to the naming-rights deal with Roofclaim.com.

“It is my understanding and expectation that this will draw a negative reaction from policy makers both locally and throughout the state,” Florez is heard saying during a recording of the meeting obtained by the Sentinel. “Is everyone aware and prepared for there to be a negative response to this, especially among our policymakers in the legislature?”

They actually wrote a bill to regulate naming rights.  That may be your ultimate stick to sports story.  Man, poor Danny White can’t get no respect anywhere.


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

That playing field’s getting more level every year.

Quite the graphic here:

Georgia is within a whisker of catching Alabama, recruiting-wise, and will probably do so once the 2015 results drop off.  The reason I say that is because the 2020 class still ranks above the trend line, meaning it was better than the five-year average.

I’d say Kirby’s accomplished Job Two, which is eliminating the talent gap at Georgia.  On to Job One.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting