For those of you fretting about free agency, remember — it’s what’s on the front of the jersey that counts, right?
Daily Archives: April 14, 2021
I’ve got to say that I’ve never had a stretch where I’ve had so many of you send me Playpen topic suggestions. In fact, to clear the backlog a little, I’m presenting a twofer today.
The first of these is the topic of more suggestions than I’ve ever received before. It’s for a worthy cause you may have heard about (well, given the number of emails and comments I’ve gotten, have heard about is like more accurate), Spencer Hall’s Charity Bowl.
The link to donate is here. With three days to go, they’ve raised almost $300,000 for refugee assistance. Doing good with trash talking is a heady combination. Feel free to jump in.
Today’s second topic comes from MileHighDawg, who assures me it will result in result in ‘lively’ discussion.
The only thing I’m curious about is what a Venn diagram of those supporting Herschel running and those urging other athletes who offer political opinions to “stick to sports” would look like. Why do I have a vision of a perfect circle?
And on that note, the floor is yours in the comments. You don’t have to stick to sports.
As you can imagine, ESPN is getting a ton of pushback regarding its preseason FPI rankings, primarily over Mississippi State’s lofty number eight position. Despite the neutral definition ($$) (“What’s FPI? The short answer is that it’s our statistical rating and projection system for every FBS team in college football”), the defense of the pick gives the game away.
Offensively, there’s reason for optimism too. To be clear: FPI does not think Mississippi State’s offense was good last season. It ranked 94th in efficiency. But still, it does believe coach Mike Leach and the Bulldogs’ offense will improve this year, in large part due to their experience at quarterback. Mississippi State will likely have either Will Rogers (who threw over 300 passes for the Bulldogs last year) or Jack Abraham (who played three seasons at Southern Miss) under center. Even though neither has previously been anything particularly special, the way FPI sees it: Players with a lot of experience (Abraham) or earned experience young (Rogers) are likely to improve a good bit, and the chances that one of them plays much better is quite high.
Uh hunh. Lotta projection there, fellas. I didn’t know computers had so much imagination.
As a foil, take a look at another preseason ranking I came across yesterday. It, too, has a fairly mundane description.
But check out the rankings.
Where’s Mississippi State?
The point here isn’t to pick and choose which is a better assessment. It’s that any preseason projection, coming off of what has to be one of the most anomalous years in college football history, is little more than a crap shoot. It’ll take a few weeks’ worth of games to get a good feel for who’s got what in 2021. Hang on to that grain of salt for a while, in other words.
C’mon, kids, don’t be difficult.
That’s gonna be a logistical pain in the ass, not just for the teams unvaccinated players are on, but their opponents, too. Let’s not screw around with this, okay?
Jake Rowe has a list of ten players to watch this Saturday. Of those, Truss is the one I’m most interested in seeing play.
Honestly, I’ve been to enough G-Day games at this point to expect not much more than to be entertained. The playbook is restricted. Ultimately, it’s a scrimmage and the coaches are there to watch players play under certain conditions. That’s why I expect to see a lot of passing, way more than we’ll see come September. There’s the matter of sorting who can play defensive back. There’s a legitimate fight to figure out the pecking order behind Daniels at quarterback.
So, QBR aside, there really isn’t much drama to be seen, with perhaps one exception: mechanics. Are the players who have kinks to work out, based on last season’s work, being coached to do so? Here’s what Rowe said about Truss, for example:
The last time we saw Truss in action he was struggling with Cincinnati’s pass rush. He seemed to abandon his technique and patience in pass protection in his first start. With that said, he has gotten better this spring. The mammoth lineman had an up-and-down first scrimmage followed by a strong second one. Can he keep things going in the right direction? Truss is a forgotten man amongst fans when it comes to the left tackle job. Most want Broderick Jones or Amarius Mims, two guys we’ll also be watching, to win the job but Truss has gotten most of the first-team reps thus far. A good G-Day showing will go a long way toward helping him hold on to that.
He had a poor bowl game. And right now, he’s more of a default option at left tackle than anything else. Georgia needs more than that. Either Truss finds that, Jones or Mims steps forward, or we’ll be looking at Salyer back at the spot against Clemson. So I want to see where Truss is at after a full spring practice.
But he’s not my number one center of attention, mainly because Salyer can play the position if that’s how things pan out. What I want to see Saturday, more than anything else, is how much progress has been made with Daniels’ fundamentals throwing the long ball. Has he fully recovered from his surgeries? Has he eliminated — okay, consistently eliminated — that awkward hop so that he’s able to get just a little more velocity on those throws that were caught, but not in a way that allowed his receivers to gain more yardage after the catch?
What are y’all wanting to see?
Playoff expansion is an inevitability. I’m not in favor, but even I can read the cards. There’s too much money for the greed heads running college football to ignore, money always being the driving factor behind postseason growth.
My advice to proponents of bigger playoffs? Relax. They’ll be here soon enough. There’s no reason to go through mental gymnastics like this and exhaust yourselves.
But expanding the Playoff means that G5 teams and teams in the Big XII or PAC-12 now have a direct shot into the Playoff. That regional talent won’t have to export itself to the southeast or Ohio and can reasonably pick a school in their geographic footprint and have the same shot at the Playoff as everyone else. Over time, those 80% blue-chip rosters will be whittled down and the talent will be (slightly) more evenly distributed across conferences. The rich will still be rich, of course, but not nearly to the extent that it is at this point.
I had an exchange on Twitter this week with an individual who said the BCS was Missouri’s best friend because, if they ranked in the Top 2, they’d just have to beat one team to win the National Championship. This is true, but the Tigers have been in the Top 2 of the polls for a grand total of…what…two weeks in its entire history? An expanded Playoff benefits Missouri as they just need to be ranked high enough to make an at-large bid…or, you know, just win the conference and be automatically included. That’s a much more reasonable method than the BCS or our current setup…until Drinkwitz starts regularly bringing in Top 5 Recruiting classes, that is.
Recruiting is the most important thing about college football and, currently, the best recruits want to play for teams that make it in the Playoff. Expand the Playoff to conference champions and at-large bids to help diversify the schools those recruits go to and introduce some parity and chaos into an increasingly predictable sport.
The best recruits want to play for teams that have the resources to get them to the next level. Coincidentally, those most often happen to be the teams making the playoffs. Those kids aren’t picking Bowling Green over Ohio State, or Troy over Alabama if the CFP grows itself to an eight-team field with a guaranteed slot for a G5 team. (Anyway, eight probably isn’t enough to guarantee a Missouri ranked just high enough to crash a playoff with an at-large bid.)
Look who had a birthday yesterday.
In honor of the occasion, allow yourself to be swayed by the dulcet tones of the Reverend Al.
The dude could sing the phone book and it would kill.