Daily Archives: August 21, 2020

The sincerest form of flattery

I’ve thought this myself.

I mean, why wouldn’t you?  (Assuming you’re not James Coley, that is.)

The question is what SEC teams have the offensive personnel to make that really go.

27 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

With only the best of intentions

So, there’s this.

The NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday evening released a set of recommendations that could have far-reaching impact on college football for years to come.

While sandwiched in the middle of the release, this section is the meatiest issue the Council addressed on Wednesday night:

Members also recommended the board give all fall sport student-athletes both an additional year of eligibility and an additional year in which to complete it, a recommendation that is even more flexible than what it endorsed last week.

They don’t just want to give seniors an extra year to compete, they’re giving all fall student-athletes an extra year of eligibility.

My first thought upon reading that was, if you’re a head coach, you aren’t going to redshirt any player in 2020.  There’s no incentive to do so; the NCAA has invited you to call for all hands on deck.  And, given the nature of the coronavirus, that makes sense.

But if there’s ever a devil’s in the details decision, this surely constitutes one.

So while the Council had to make that concession to make 2020-21 work, that could have massive, massive implications that might not fully untangle themselves until 2025 or so.

Let me explain.

The way I read this, not only do all 2020 seniors receive the opportunity to play a second senior year in 2021, all 2020 juniors get to be juniors again in 2021, etc. And while 2020 freshmen get to repeat their freshmen year in 2021, another crop of freshmen will arrive behind them in 2021 as well. The Council essentially just created one mega-freshman class of 2021, and either schools will have to respond by signing tiny classes in 2022 and ’23, or the NCAA will have to relax the 85-man scholarship limit until the 2020-21 classes exhaust their eligibility.

Or Saban’s roster management protocols will have to be put on steroids.  As I can’t imagine the NCAA changing the 85-man rule, something that would bring its own set of unintended consequences, that’s going to be one big challenge.

No matter how this shakes out, this could have a major chilling effect on competitive imbalance in major college football. Consider the following:

— If the NCAA doesn’t relax the 85-man limit beyond 2021, suddenly Alabama has much less room in its 2022 class and beyond. Players that normally would have signed with the Tide now go to Ole Miss, players that would have gone to Ole Miss go to Memphis, and on and on it goes.

— If the NCAA does relax the limit and temporarily pushes it to, say, 105, there are still only 11 spots on the field at a time. Players that waited their turn to play suddenly find themselves stuck between a veteran repeating his senior year and two groups of freshmen nipping at their heels. Now, for example, redshirt sophomores with four years in a Power 5 strength program (not three, because 2020 doesn’t count) are going to hit the Transfer Portal in even greater numbers than they were before.

— The most likely scenario, particularly at the bottom of the FBS food chain, is that schools who were already struggling to pay the bills before the pandemic hit find themselves unable to fund an extra 20 or so scholarships in a time when they can’t sell football tickets, and a lot of players’ careers are prematurely cut short.

A choice between the Alabamas and the bottom feeders of the college football world?  Gee, I wonder which way the NCAA will jump.

Oh, and here’s the topper:

Update: The NCAA got back to me on Thursday morning. Here is their response:

If the Board of Directors approves the Council recommendations tomorrow, it is accurate that the recommendation to allow all fall student-athletes a season of competition waiver will – in effect – give any fall student-athlete that competes in 2020-21 five total seasons of competition (including this year).  And six years in which to complete those seasons.

The only student-athletes whose aid would be exempted from the limits next year would be those who would have exhausted eligibility this year under normal circumstances. The Council has noted the issue you raised, and will continue to work through that and other effects of the new flexibility provided to student-athletes in this challenging time.

In other words: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Yeah, this is gonna work out just fine.

11 Comments

Filed under College Football, The NCAA

“… A healthy and safe campus is the highest priority.”

Shot.

Of all the damned bloody lousy aspects of a pandemic that belong in the nontragic categories, one has begun trickling across the American Southeast. It’s the school-by-school cancellation for 2020 of on-campus football tailgating, that national art form of runaway merriment mingled with an alleluia of fat grams.

Auburn announced its cancellation on Wednesday. Alabama had done so on Tuesday. Mississippi State canceled its alumni-association tailgating back in early summer. These absences will double as rational and offensive to anyone who likes life, and if one moves through those three places along the map westward, one begins to approach Shangri-La.

This thought must be a peerless bummer in tailgate Shangri-La: the University of Mississippi.

There hasn’t come any announcement from Ole Miss, that Sydney Opera House of tailgating, and there’s ample reason for reasonable procrastination like they’re doing at Georgia, where athletic director Greg McGarity took a wait-and-see on Wednesday by telling reporters, “We’re not even out of August yet, so we’ve got plenty of time.” But in a league which plans to play a conference-only football schedule beginning Sept. 26, and for the Ole Miss people who arrange their autumn Saturdays around the rhythms of the 10-acre mirth mass called The Grove, there’s already cause to wince.

Chaser.

Oh, and speaking of Athens

Even with plans rolled out this week calling for mask-wearing, social distancing and hand sanitizing ticket holders, bringing together somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 people together in a pandemic is risking exposing them and others to COVID-19, according to two epidemiologists.

“I don’t think that’s a wise move right now,” said Kathleen Bachynski, assistant professor of public health at Muhlenberg College. “When you have 20,000 people coming from all over the place to be in the same space together even though being outdoors could mitigate some risk, there’s just so many other moving parts and so many ways that social distancing could be ignored or forgotten about that I think you’re creating an additional both significant and not necessary risk certainly in terms of public health. There’s just not enough added benefit here to warrant the risk that could generate for the community.”

… Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said he’s leaned on the 14-member SEC’s medical advisory group. Georgia also consulted with local and campus officials that included UGA health officials, it said.

“We think we’ll be able to practice social distancing in a way that will allow fans to come and be as safe as possible,” he said. “We feel that we’ve mapped out the stadium that wan can maintain social distancing and still abide by CDC guidelines as far as keeping people as safe as possible. People can opt out. People elect to come to our game. People that do come certainly will have a level of risk as they move towards the stadium. We’re thinking the numbers that we have will be like a rainy G-Day (spring game)….It’s going to look very sporadic for sure.”

“People that do come certainly will have a level of risk as they move towards the stadium.”  Well, then.  Don’t say he didn’t warn ‘ya, homies.

Of course, this being Greg McGarity, a little bet hedging is in order.

McGarity said depending on health conditions, it’s possible that games could still be held without fans.

“We have to be ready to pivot every way,” he said. “If the numbers are where we can’t do it and we’re being advised not to do it, certainly, that would affect attendance.

Bottom  line, just as it’s been for months, these folks don’t have any more of a clue about what we’re facing than we do.  They want college sports to get paid without risk exposure, which is a pretty narrow line to walk.  Hope is a helluva drug, that’s for sure.

25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

Out of the gate

Here’s Pete Fiutak’s early take on Georgia’s opener:

Georgia at Arkansas

Knee-Jerk Instant Analysis: New Georgia starting QB Jamie Newman – that’s a projection, by the way – looks the part right out of the gate as he carves up the Arkansas secondary on the way to an easy win. The downfield passing game will get Dawg fans fired up right out of the gate.

It’s not that Arkansas will be awful; it’s that Georgia is that good with a defense that will shut everything down hard in the second half after Newman generates a few big plays early.

First Thought Prediction: Georgia 41, Arkansas 10
First Thought Line Guess: Georgia -26

Thoughts?  I’ll just say that the last time Feleipe Franks faced a Georgia defense, he was playing with more talent than he will be playing with in a month or so.  And that didn’t go too well.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Labor law, college football players and COVID

If you have a few minutes, spend them listening to this clip about the labor law environment college athletes find themselves operating within.

(h/t DawgStats)

3 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Look For The Union Label