If you’ve signed up, don’t forget the first two picks are for games tonight.
And if you haven’t signed up, click here to do so.
If you’ve signed up, don’t forget the first two picks are for games tonight.
And if you haven’t signed up, click here to do so.
Given how the school didn’t have his back with the NCAA when he was suspended, it’s amazing how loyal Gurley has remained to UGA. He’s the embodiment of a DGD.
Turns out there is a football team out there that’s been kept in a bubble. You’ll never guess which one.
Central Arkansas exited its comeback 24-17 victory against Austin Peay in the first college football game of the season unscathed. The team had zero positive tests for COVID-19 in its first round of tests after the game and has maintained that baseline heading into a final round of testing — a rapid antigen test — on the eve of a showdown against UAB on Thursday.
How did they do it? They created their own off-campus bubble as a traveling road show — and they did it with the help of their second opponent on the schedule.
UCA bussed from Montgomery to Birmingham late Saturday night after its victory at the FCS Kickoff inside the Cramton Bowl. Since then, life has been rather uneventful, which is exactly what coaches and administrators desired heading into second week of the season.
Well, it’s as normal as life can be in a pandemic. They’re just a group of college kids traveling across the South, away from their families, friends, homes and campus, with nothing but nasal swabs, hand sanitizer, laptops, playbooks and virtual classes.
They’ve done this after the school, faced with the Southland Conference’s decision to move its season to the spring and Missouri’s cancellation, chose to restock its fall schedule for… well, money. (“The Bears’ athletics department is set to earn $450,000 in guaranteed money in non-conference games compared to the $425,000 it would have collected from Mizzou.”)
I don’t defend the trade off, but at least they’re making an effort to preserve the kids’ safety. Hope that part continues to work.
Seth ($$), you’re such a tease.
Fields, as everyone knows by now, was at Georgia’s scrimmage last Saturday. The Big Ten, as we all know, has canceled, postponed, however you want to put it, the fall season. Fields wants to play, as he’s made clear with his efforts to get the Big Ten to reverse the decision.
So why not? Two main, probably insurmountable hurdles:
The NCAA would have to approve a waiver for Fields to play right away. And thus far the NCAA has not said it will do that for players who want to play in the fall. Plus the organization has appeared skeptical about the idea of fall sports taking place, canceling fall championships in volleyball, soccer and other sports, only to have the SEC decide it’s going ahead with its fall seasons anyway. Do you see the NCAA doing any favors for Georgia or any SEC team?
Also, Fields would have to enroll back at Georgia, where classes began on Aug. 20.
Would Georgia like to have Fields back? Would Fields like to come back, if a fall season at Ohio State is completely off the table? The answer to both questions is almost certainly yes. But it’s probably too late. (Probably.)
Yeah, he’s joking. Probably.
Earlier in his piece, he does make a solid point that some of you out there gnashing your teeth over Newman’s decision to leave should consider:
But if he were going to make this decision at least Newman did it with more than three weeks until the opener. There’s time for Daniels to get more work with the first team, more time for Daniels to learn Monken’s system and form a rapport with his receivers.
Can you imagine what it would be like if Newman had waited a couple more weeks, been named the starter for the Arky game and then opted out?
And here are the APR standings with conference rank in offensive touchdowns, touchdowns allowed, and APR in parentheses. This includes conference games only with the championship game excluded.
Finally, SEC teams are sorted by the difference between their actual number of wins and their expected number of wins according to APR.
I use a game and a half as the standard of determining which teams significantly over or under-performed relative to their APR. By that standard Mississippi State and Tennessee significantly exceeded their APR.
… and stay for his trashing of Tennessee.
Since LSU’s fourth quarter comeback, its been all downhill for the Vols, at least in SEC play. In the twelve seasons since that championship game appearance, Tennessee has posted the fourth worst conference winning percentage among SEC teams. In those twelve seasons, Tennessee has a better record than perennial punching bag Vanderbilt, a basketball school, and a team currently riding a nineteen game conference losing streak.
Alabama has pretty much lapped the SEC field, finishing seventeen games better than second place Georgia over the past twelve seasons. But to paraphrase Marc Anthony, I come to bury Tennessee, not praise Alabama. So, for the rest of this post, I’ll try to put in perspective how bad Tennessee has been.
Alabama has twice as many undefeated conference seasons (4) as Tennessee has winning conference seasons (2). In fact, the Vols have more seasons of one or fewer conference victories (3) than they have of winning conference seasons. Texas A&M, a team that has played 32 fewer conference games than the Vols have over the past twelve seasons, has more league victories. Missouri, another SEC newcomer that has also played 32 fewer games is just three victories behind them. Tennessee has losing records against ten of the other thirteen teams in the conference.
Nearly one third of their conference victories since 2007 have come against Kentucky and over half have come against Kentucky and Vanderbilt. There have been fleeting moments of competency with the Vols blowing out Big 10 teams in Florida bowl games three consecutive seasons (2014-2016), but their conference record in that span was just 12-12. The 2014 team raised expectations, but the Vols were not able to win divisions in flux in either 2015 or 2016 and once the other two traditional powers in the division got their collective acts together, the Vols were not in position to contend. It’s been a rough twelve years, but lets be optimistic. Say Jeremy Pruitt has a successful run in Knoxville and his replacement is, I don’t know, Jon Gruden, or Bill Cowher, or Lane Kiffin, or Amos Alonzo Stagg. Imagine over the next twelve years the Vols post a 63-33 conference record (Florida’s SEC record since 2008). Then they would have played .500 ball in the SEC over nearly a quarter century!
As much as I cherish the 2007 season as a football fan — it’s still my favorite year — I have to admit it was disappointing from a Georgia perspective, to say the least. Two inexplicable losses, one to a subpar South Carolina team, killed the Dawgs. But I also have to recognize that it was sort of Tennessee’s year.
Tennessee also finished 3-0 in one-score conference games, beating Kentucky, South Carolina, and Vanderbilt by a combined six points.
And the way those Kentucky and South Carolina games ended! Basically, it was the football gods’ way of telling Georgia fans we can’t have nice things.
Recent history suggests it might not be quite the walk in the park some think:
Florida has dropped three in a row to Georgia and went 1-7 against A&M coach Jimbo Fisher during his stint at rival Florida State.
Obviously, I know about Georgia’s run, but I had completely forgotten that Jimbo had the Gators’ number. Let’s hope his roll continues in 2020.
You know, the side of the ball that didn’t have Jamie Newman playing on it.
Jake Rowe updated the defensive depth chart yesterday, based on practice observations. You wouldn’t expect it to have many surprises and you’d be right about that. Still, there were a couple of comments that jumped out.
Basically, there’s depth, talent and several of the young ‘uns are really coming into their own. What more could you ask?
Good piece from Pete Thamel here, about what we can expect from the level of play this college football season.
With the FBS college football season kicking off Thursday – buckle up for Southern Miss hosting South Alabama and old friends Central Arkansas playing at UAB – Yahoo Sports polled 30 college coaches, coordinators and assistant coaches about what the on-field impact of COVID-19 restrictions will be. With most schools missing a majority of spring practice and both positive tests and contact tracing proving disruptive at more than two dozen programs, coaches have concerns about how all the inconsistency and instability will impact the product on the field.
Sifting through all the answers, it’s clear that coaches are bracing for a season like no other. The biggest on-field concerns have been overall conditioning, a lack of rhythm due to lack of consistent practice reps and the weekly prospect of potential roster chaos from positive tests and contact tracing. A majority of coaches expect some ugly and sloppy football, especially early in the season. Some are optimistic there won’t be a noticeable impact.
From the standpoint of personnel, the gist of it:
“It’s funny, I’m not really sure,” said Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson, who opens with Clemson on Sept. 12. “I’d say this, physically and conditioning and strength-wise, we’re not close to where we’d normally be now. But mentally, kids knowing assignments, we’re way ahead.”
And from the coaching side:
The challenge for a new staff like the one at Baylor is getting the practice reps to master a new scheme. Fedora said last week that he has about 50 to 60 percent of what “you’d really like to have” in his offense. That’s going to lead to less sophistication. “It may cause teams to simplify their schemes,” Fedora said. “I do think the quality of that game itself is going to change this year.”
Miami coach Manny Diaz disagreed with the notion of a thinner playbook, even with a new offense under coordinator Rhett Lashlee. “We’re not an overly complex offense,” Diaz said. “If you were in a highly complex system with a lot of different concepts, that’s different.”
There’s more in there. Definitely worth a read.
The decision to add JT Daniels to the roster back in May is certainly looking smart right now. Daniels started 12 games for USC in 2018 and 2019. He hasn’t yet been fully cleared after sustaining a torn ACL and other knee damage in the season opener against Fresno State in the 2019 season opener, but that’s expected to come before the start of the 2020 season. It hasn’t affected his ability to prepare thus far because he’s waiting on clearance for contact and the Bulldogs, like every other program in the country, don’t hit the quarterback in practice.
Conventional wisdom places him as the No. 1 with over three weeks of preseason practice left, but it may not be a given. Dawgs247’s Rusty Mansell reported recently that redshirt freshman D’Wan Mathis got off to a strong start in preseason camp and turned some heads right away. In talks with sources after the Newman news broke on Wednesday, other contacts have indicated the same. The UGA staff is very excited about his potential. He has some physical attributes that you just can’t teach.
Daniels is still not fully cleared for contact as he continues to rehabilitate from the torn ACL he suffered at USC almost exactly a year ago. If the Bulldogs training staff gives him the all-clear at some point this month, though, he will presumably take the first snap of the 2020 season for Georgia when the Bulldogs play at Arkansas on Saturday, Sept. 26. It’s a remarkable twist of fate for Daniels and Georgia, and it could have an impact on the wider college football landscape, depending on which version of Daniels shows up under center for the Bulldogs.
If it’s a hobbled version who’s not adequately acquainted with a new offensive system, then you can go ahead and crown Florida as the SEC East champion. But if the Bulldogs get a healthy version of Daniels, their ceiling is arguably just as high or even higher than it would have been with Newman, and an SEC title and College Football Playoff berth will be within Georgia’s grasp…
You can see why the knee-jerk reaction is to immediately crown Florida as the new division champion. But it all comes down to Daniels, his health and his grasp of what Monken wants to do.
All just a reminder that Smart restocked the cabinet in the quarterback room after last season. I don’t know how things will turn out, but at the moment nobody can say Georgia is out of working options.
The NCAA will furlough its entire Indianapolis-based staff of about 600 employees for three to eight weeks in a cost-saving move, according to memo obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
The memo from NCAA President Mark Emmert went out to the association’s more than 1,200 member schools Wednesday. The furloughs will not affect senior executives.
Starting Sept. 21 through the end of January 2021, all national office staff will be subjected to a mandatory three-week furlough, Emmert wrote. Some staff will be furloughed up to eight weeks, depending on position and “seasonal timing of their duties.” [Emphasis added.]
Amateurism — it’s not just for college athletes anymore! (But it’s not for everyone, either.)