Daily Archives: July 9, 2021

As if it never happened

And there we go.

Now, sonny, back in the days of Greg McGarity…

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

The Nix Mix

Demetris had better hope Mike Bobo is a miracle worker this season.

Yeah, that worked out well.

21 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

Accentuate the positive

A reminder of how Kirby Smart got himself into hot water with pundits everywhere.

I mean, if he would just quit the incessant bragging modest noting answering stupid questions about Georgia’s recruiting, maybe they’d all get off his back with this “you should’a already won a natty” stuff.

12 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Thank you for your input.

Shot.

North Carolina coach Mack Brown said Thursday that during a team discussion about the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff, his players were against the format and preferred six to eight teams.

During a wide-ranging Zoom with reporters, Brown mentioned that ACC commissioner Jim Phillips had asked all coaches to get feedback from players about playoff expansion. Last month, the CFP board of managers authorized commissioners to move forward with expanding from four to 12 teams, with an implementation date to be determined.

North Carolina linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel told ESPN that nobody on the team raised their hand in favor of a 12-team playoff. He said a few players preferred to stay at four, while the majority was split between six and eight teams.

“I feel like 12 teams is too many games in a season for players who want to play long-term football,” Gemmel said in a phone interview. “Sixteen, 17 games in a season is a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially for guys who don’t come out when they’re playing.”

Chaser.

… The possibility of two teams playing 17 games must be disconcerting for a game that has battled significant medical issues over the last two decades. More than 30 players have died in that timeframe, mostly from heat exertion during practice.

One CFP source said as many as half the 12-team field could play no additional games (assuming six teams do not play in a conference championship game and lose in the first round).

For a team to play the maximum of 17 games, it would have to participate in its league championship game, a first-round playoff game and reach the national championship.

“That’s such an unlikely occurrence,” one Power Five AD said. “We could go a decade with that not happening.”

With more games and more revenue comes increased responsibility. At $1 billion per season in an expanded playoff, an extra $12 million would pour into the coffers of Power Five athletic departments (assuming 78% of the revenue continues to be distributed to teams in those conferences).

Will that lead to enhanced medical coverage from institutions or conferences for athletes, some of whom will put their bodies on the line nearly as often as professionals? Perhaps it results in additional funds going into the pockets of athletes in the CFP beyond what is now possible through name, image and likeness rights?

“Can [CFP participants], if they graduate, walk away with an additional $20,000 or $30,000?” another Power Five AD suggested. “I know the CFP committee is talking about those kinds of things. … At the end of their careers, they get a check for whatever. Those kinds of things are the type of things we’re going to have to consider.”

They’ll consider it.  And then they’ll go with the unlikely occurrence approach, with a dash of doing it for the kids sanctimony.  It’s worked before.

23 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, The Body Is A Temple

“… the Boise blueprint melds perfectly with Auburn’s ideals.”

So, Bryan Harsin has a great run at Boise State and Brandon Marcello thinks that’s gonna translate beautifully to Auburn.

Bryan Harsin is never far from Boise. The Auburn coach is an ardent believer in carefully-crafted plans, hard work, accountability, and one-on-one instruction and mentorship wrapped in blanket of understanding and empathy.

He picked up those traits and molded his own coaching philosophy from his 25 years as a coach and player alongside Boise State greats Chris Petersen, Dan Hawkins, Dirk Koetter, Justin Wilcox, Andy Avalos and others. It’s a blue-collar approach with a personal touch. Petersen calls it his “Built for Life” philosophy. Others have adapted it, but it was mostly tweaked, perfected and handed down by four head coaches from the same coaching tree over the last three decades at Boise State, a program that evolved from college football’s Cinderella into a powerhouse in the 2000s and 2010s.

I hate to rain on anyone’s parade (although I’ll make an exception for Auburn), but has Marcello bothered to look at how Harsin’s predecessors at Boise fared when the moved on to big boy football?  I did and it’s not impressive.

  • Dirk Koetter:  26-10 at BSU; 40-34 overall/21-28 conference at Arizona State
  • Dan Hawkins:  53-11 at BSU; 19-39 overall/10-27 conference at Colorado
  • Chris Petersen:  92-12 at BSU; 55-26 overall/34-20 conference at Washington

Petersen, who I really respect as a head coach, did a decent job, but let’s face it, overall, the three of them didn’t exactly set the world on fire.  And all of that was in the relatively friendly confines of the Pac-12, which, while a step up from the Mountain West, ain’t exactly the SEC.

Like the Auburn Creed declares, it’s work — hard work — that remains a constant force in Harsin’s life.

On a late afternoon in May, Auburn’s athletics building is quiet but Harsin is busy studying in his office. His large desk is strewn with papers. A computer monitor with film of an Ole Miss game is frozen on the screen. Across the room is a board pinned with several pieces of important papers and pictures. One sheet on the board stands out: a recent interview with Petersen about his life as a coach and now a professor. The refreshingly honest and open interview about the challenges of being a leader is required reading for the staff at Auburn, which is composed of SEC veterans and a few assistants from Harsin’s time at Boise State.

This is the blueprint.

“We’re going to get families and players that are going to feel [Auburn],” Harsin said. “There will also be guys we bring into this program and people are going to go, ‘Where the hell this guy come from?’ This program, how we develop our players, this culture, and the people in the program are going to be what helps build the ability to sustain success.”

If Harsin thinks the key to success at his new gig is hard work, scouting and player development, I’ve got some bad news for him.  Pretty much every SEC coach believes in the same formula.  Welcome to the party, pal.

42 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

The most optimistic take on Georgia’s 2021 season…

… is a post at the Mizzou blog Rock M Nation.  And it’s definitely on the positive side.

Add in the fact that Georgia has plummed (sic) the transfer portal for elite tight end talent Arik Gilbert and it’s no wonder that Georgia is not just the favorite to win the SEC, but win a national title as well.

My money is certainly on them to do both.

Despite a couple of omissions (Pickens’ injury and Jordan Davis, who, honestly, I thought was kind of hard to miss), it’s definitely a fun read.  There are also a couple of charts worth noting.

Georgia only had defensive problems with teams ranked in the top five in offensive SP+.  (Insert “other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” snark here.)  I’m more interested in seeing that the defenses the Dawgs faced in their last four games were not as bad as some make out.  South Carolina was, but Missouri and MSU were relatively respectable and Cinci was downright good.

That being said…

… JT Daniels has a sack issue.  Last year’s sack rate was the worst of his career, and, given that he was pounded as a true freshman at USC, that’s saying something.  Some of that — okay, maybe a lot of that — was due to him facing defensive coordinators who chose to sell out to stop Georgia’s running game, particularly, Mississippi State and Cincinnati.  But as we saw on more than one occasion, Daniels had a bad habit of holding on to the ball too long.  That’s something that needs fixing.

But don’t let that take away from enjoying the post.

This is one of the main reasons Georgia is looked at as a legit Playoff contender: this schedule is incredibly manageable. If they beat Clemson in Charlotte in the opening game – and, as I see it, they are going to absolutely detonate the Tigers – then UGA has a sleepwalk to an October 30th matchup with a rebuilding Florida team. Their West opponents this year is the plucky Arkansas underdogs that took every team to the limit but only won three games and an Auburn squad that is going under a total rebuild. South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Tennessee are all under construction as well and they get Missouri in Athens. Book ‘em for the one-seed right now.

Well, let’s see how the opener and the SECCG go, first.  But I like the cut of your jib, fella.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The dog ate their computer’s homework. Or something.

How it started.

Georgia’s FPI has dropped significantly from the end of last season.  FPI also has Georgia playing 2021’s 22nd ranked strength of schedule, which, given the current state of the SEC East, seems a might bit ambitious.

I guess I could accept that, at least until I look at the two teams bracketing the Dawgs.  Texas A&M, a spot ahead of the Dawgs, has to break in a new quarterback and replace a fair amount of its offensive line.  Plus, the Aggies play in the tougher neighborhood.  And then, c’mon, Mississippi State eighth?  And closer to Georgia than Georgia is to TAMU?

Either I’m crazy, or this season is going to be.

How it’s going.

Editor’s Note: We recently discovered that our previous preseason release of the Football Power Index in April contained data and modeling errors. We have remedied the issues and are re-releasing FPI here ahead of the 2021 season. ESPN Analytics regrets the error.

Hunh.  Guess I wasn’t crazy.

Several teams were disproportionately affected by the aforementioned errors in FPI’s initial release, and we wanted to call those out. Perhaps no team generated more attention than Mississippi State from that initial release, when we (in error, we now know), ranked the Bulldogs in the top 10. The Bulldogs are No. 24 in our current release.

Again, this was the result of data and modeling errors, and the change is of no reflection on anything occurring in Starkville. Nonetheless, we feel it’s necessary to call it out given the attention the Bulldogs’ original rank received. Likewise, we’d like to note other notable teams that were also significantly affected by the errors and their resulting move since: Miami (moved up from No. 20 to No. 10), Oklahoma State (down from No. 9 to No. 19), Washington (up from No. 59 to No. 25), Utah (up from No. 57 to No. 30), UCF (up from No. 70 to No. 34), BYU (up from No. 63 to No. 38), Coastal Carolina (down from No. 35 to No. 60), Kansas State (down from No. 44 to No. 67).

Mickey’s stat department has a credibility problem, which is a strange thing to say given that Bill Connelly works there.  If ESPN has a shred of shame… eh, who am I kidding here?

11 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Stats Geek!

Siri, what is clickbait journalism?

Seriously, “Felony charges follow Georgia transfer Demetris Robertson to Auburn“?  I mean, WTF, AJ-C?

19 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles