Daily Archives: August 6, 2020

It’s a small world.

Screenshot_2020-08-06 Home Twitter

Two thumbs up, Divaad!

59 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Cold and alone

This is so straightforward as to be almost startling.

Screenshot_2020-08-06 Brett McMurphy on Twitter Penn State announces no fans will be allowed at home games this season Twit[...]

Evidently that’s tied into the directive coming from the Governor’s office.

I wonder how much money Penn State is holding for season tickets and contributions.

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UPDATE:  Hardball.

Screenshot_2020-08-06 Dan Wetzel on Twitter In Penn State’s letter to season ticket holders announcing no fans this season,[...]

That’s an excellent way to endear yourself to your fan base.

39 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, The Body Is A Temple

Number Four

I’m a little surprised they’ve gone through the motions with this, but, anyway, Georgia is ranked fourth in the preseason Coaches Poll.

Screenshot_2020-08-06 Ross Dellenger on Twitter USA Today coaches preseason poll https t co ZW0kDHD7fh https t co QEbPepGjo[...]

‘Bama is third, LSU sixth fifth and Florida is eighth, so that’s four SEC teams in the top ten.

26 Comments

Filed under The Coaches Poll Is Stupid.

Dawg vs. Dawg

Interestingly enough, al.com has a piece on how the Newman/Daniels battle to be Georgia’s starting quarterback shapes, based on the opinion of outside observers.

You can read it here.

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Of COVID, stats and personal perception

We had a little debate in the comments to this post the other day about how anecdotal examples concerning the pandemic aren’t relevant in the face of statistical evidence.  I’m not trying to start a flame war here, nor am I dismissing valid, verified data, but I do think it misses the point to claim that the data is all that matters as we watch the college football season unfold.

Take a look at these stories, all recent:

Dellinger goes on to mention other young athletes who have suffered serious problems from the coronavirus.

You may find it convincing to compare the death rate stats of, say, Northern Italy to those of the US Southeast in order to declare that college athletes don’t face a serious risk, but these kids and their parents probably don’t feel the same way.  These anecdotes carry more weight when it’s you or your child facing those conditions.

Or if you’re a college athletics administrator, for that matter.

While the situations at Colorado State, UConn and Rutgers have echoed loudest in the news cycle this week, Feeney’s situation is the biggest force behind the scenes at the administrative level. His mother’s viral Facebook post about her son’s struggle with COVID-19, posted in a forum dedicated to the concerned parents of college football players, had a chilling effect on athletic administrators and beyond.

Feeney’s mother, Deborah Rucker, detailed her son going to the emergency room with breathing issues and enduring “14 days of hell.” The words that have administrators most nervous were this: “Now we are dealing with possible heart issues.”

Many schools have instilled a protocol that includes extensive cardiology reviews to be cleared to go back. But this is why a “novel virus” is so thorny for administrators to deal with: We won’t know the impact for years. For administrators, Feeney’s story represents both health risk and financial liability. And the early studies of COVID-19 and its impact on the heart suggest a “lasting impact.”

“It’s been important that most of the cases for this demographic of healthy student athletes have been asymptomatic or with just mild symptoms,” said another high-ranking official of the cases that have emerged. “The Feeney story makes everyone pause on the idea of just accepting and managing positive cases.”

That’s what makes relying on the statistics and insisting everything else is just noise in evaluating the risks these kids are being asked to take so dicey.  As I keep saying here, we just don’t know enough about COVID to be definitive about anything.

The bottom line is that when the autopsy of the 2020 college football season is conducted, it will state the obvious about COVID-19’s role as saboteur. The spiral to get there – and it will be a classically disjointed process – has begun. The defections, cancellations and health concerns, taken individually, haven’t been enough to cancel the season. Collectively, they’ve created a new level of concern at the presidential level that will ultimately set the course for the sport.

“Each day, many campus executives become more unsure about playing fall sports,” said an industry source. “They read the headlines, they see the student concerns and they have a greater understanding of the risks involved. Ultimately, this may come down to simply who wants to go first.”

Apparently the data isn’t as convincing for those inside the sport as it is for many of us outside of it.  All I’m saying is that dismissing the anecdotal in favor of the statistical isn’t going to get us any closer to a football season.  If you want that — and we all do, right? — risk assessment has to take into account both factors because perception matters at least as much as the raw data does.

[Ed. note:  Again, the point of this post isn’t to inflame or incite those who disagree with my take.  Please consider that in commenting.  I’d hate for this to be the first comment thread I have to take down because some can’t respond reasonably.  Thanks.]

142 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

Rank ’em.

I’m stealing this from a message board thread I read, because it looks like it would be a fun exercise and, Lord knows, we could all use a little fun around here.

So, here goes:  how would you rank Georgia’s units going into the season?

I’ll start.

  1. Linebacker.  Duh.
  2. Defensive line.  There’s depth, and Davis is a beast.
  3. Defensive back.  There seems to be a pattern developing here…
  4. Running back.  Swift is gone, but this is Georgia’s quintessential reloading position.
  5. Offensive line.  Replacing last year’s two starting tackles is a big task, but it’s not like they don’t have talent to work with.
  6. Quarterback.  Remember how thin this position was going into 2019?
  7. Wide Receiver.  Ditto?
  8. Special Teams.  Largely because Blankenship’s left some rather large shoes to fill.

What say you?

28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“… with the health and safety of our student-athletes being our No. 1 priority.”

When #WeAreUnited says it’s about the money, Larry Scott says it isn’t.

Scott included six bulleted paragraphs in the email related to the conference’s coronavirus protocols as background to prepare for the call; however, like his initial response Monday, he did not address the group’s proposal for a drastic reduction to his own salary and the distribution of 50% of each sport’s total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports.

In a call Wednesday with the Pac-12’s Student-Athlete Leadership Team, which is part of the Pac-12’s governance structure and comprised of athletes from every school across several sports, Scott implied the #WeAreUnited group’s economic demands were unrealistic and a non-starter, according to multiple sources familiar with the call.

The idea that Scott would accede to a player demand to reduce his salary and split conference revenues was nothing more than a pipe dream.  If, however, that was offered as a negotiating tactic to get traction for issues like player health, that shows more smarts and realism.

There’s an indication that’s what those players may really be after.

Pick the battles you can win, kids.  And remember whom you’re dealing with.

12 Comments

Filed under Look For The Union Label, Pac-12 Football

“How will Matt Luke handle the offensive line?”

Hell if I know.

Seriously, I’m not sure this is as traumatic as we think it might be, at least from a personnel standpoint.  From what it sounds like, three of the five spots are probably locked in:  Salyer at left tackle, Hill at center and Cleveland at right guard seem pretty obvious.  That leaves left guard and right tackle.

Here’s what Rowe says about the first of those:

At right guard, Justin Shaffer is a senior and has two starts under his belt. He’s a good football player but there are a couple of question marks. After suffering a neck injury and going to long without physical activity late last year, will he be in necessary shape? The answer to that is probably yes but it’s fair to ask. Secondly, does he fit what Luke wants to do up front? Shaffer made sense in Sam Pittman’s scheme that was built on moving guys off the ball. Luke will want some of that too but if the Bulldogs are going to go with pace and be more explosive in the run game, they’re going to need guys working up to the second level at a higher clip. Will someone like Clay Webb or Warren Ericson get more of a shot?  [Emphasis added.]

What Luke wants to do is the bigger question.  What’s going to be the basic blocking/protection scheme this season?  Luke did a good job stepping in with what he was handed for the bowl game, but now he gets to take things in his own direction (not to mention that of Monken’s).  How well do Pittman’s guys plug in to the new?

As far as right tackle goes, that likely is the biggest crap shoot in preseason from a personnel standpoint.

With that out of the way, let’s jump out to right tackle where we have one more thing on our mind. Will the starter to begin the season really mean anything? Is it going to shock anyone if McClendon or Truss begins the season as the starter and Ratledge or Jones finishes it? The Bulldogs have a ton of talent up front and those youngsters are going to grow as the season goes along.

With the reductions in prep and practice, he may not have a choice.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Thank you for supporting our shitty business model.

And the beat goes on…

Screenshot_2020-08-06 Steve Berkowitz on Twitter Alabama board approves contract for Steve Sarkisian that will increase his[...]

Meanwhile, Wisconsin joins the ranks of Clemson in asking donors to become part of something larger than themselves.

The Wisconsin Badgers are facing a critical financial challenge but we remain committed to our mission of achieving long–term excellence. If the football season is canceled, we are facing a revenue shortfall in excess of $100 million. In the best-case scenario where we’re able to complete a conference–only schedule with limited capacity at home games, we still stand to lose $60–70 million in revenue. Without financial support from our community, the experience we love as Badgers is at risk.

In order to emerge stronger than ever, we are calling our fellow Badgers, who have helped build this extraordinary legacy.

The Badger Legacy campaign aims to do just that: provide an opportunity for all Badgers to play a role in furthering the legacy of Wisconsin Athletics that has been built over many decades. We want to ensure we continue raising trophies, developing student–athletes that make us proud and we keep the world watching when we Jump Around.

… To directly fund our student–athlete services during these challenging times, we are providing season ticket holders the opportunity to reinvest their ticket and seat donation contributions. These resources will go specifically to support scholarships, training and a range of academic and athletic support services for the student–athletes we cheer every game day.

Do it for the kids, yadda, yadda, yadda.  It’s evergreen bullshit.

Meanwhile, Larry Scott is busy propping up his conference’s finances.

The Pac-12 is planning a mammoth loan program that would provide an escape hatch for cash-strapped athletic departments in the event the football season is canceled because of coronavirus, according to internal documents and conference sources.

Football accounts for the majority of each department’s revenue, generating in excess of $50 million dollars in ticket sales and media rights alone.

The loan program would be large enough to cover that loss for each school, if needed:

According to a series of emails obtained by the Hotline through public records requests, the loan would provide a maximum of $83 million for each university at a rate of 3.75 percent over 10 years.

Each athletic department could decide whether it wanted to participate in the program.

If all 12 opted for the maximum amount, the total would be $996 million.

“The conference is trying to be nimble and give schools some options,’’ a source said.

The collateral for the loan is future television revenues.

The point isn’t to mock Scott for doing this — hell, it’s good business to save what you can for a better day — but to point out that, at least for P5 programs, the apocalypse probably isn’t upon us.  And by that I mean the business model that they love isn’t going the way of the dodo any time soon.  Not as long as they’re willing to do it for the kids, anyway.

8 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

Nobody said there’d be a test today

A good start…

Screenshot_2020-08-06 Josh Kendall on Twitter The SEC plans on testing players on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays each week[...]

Now, what about everyone they come in contact with on game day?  And contact tracing?  And…?

Screenshot_2020-08-06 💫🅰️♈️🆔 on Twitter Based on numbers I’ve heard from various schools, the cost of this, just for the[...]

This is gonna be pricey.

5 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple