Daily Archives: August 31, 2021

What the Year of the Quarterback means at South Carolina

I don’t know if this is an SEC first, but dayum.

What a start, indeed.  I wonder if he’ll be the starter when the ‘Cocks come to Athens for game three.

43 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy

Kirby Smart, carrying the conference banner

This is a weird Matt Hayes piece, even by his standards.  For one thing, keep in mind as he’s laying out all the drama for Georgia, he’s picking the Dawgs to win the opener and he’s got them as the top team in the SEC (“Georgia (12-0, 8-0): I don’t care about camp injuries. This is the Year of the Dawg.”).

But, yeah, this is a trifle dramatic.

Don’t be fooled by the narrative. This game means everything for Georgia.

And by everything, I mean the season.

“Success comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it,” Kirby Smart has said over and over this offseason.

Success in a hyped 2021 season at Georgia, begins and ends with the opener Saturday against Clemson. Beat the Tigers, and the season sets up magnificently with a wildly fortunate schedule.

Lose to Clemson, and everything changes.

Because for all Smart has accomplished since returning to his alma mater in 2016 as coach, he hasn’t been able to push Georgia over the top when it comes to games against the king of college football, Alabama.

Now the Dawgs get a shot at college football king 1A, the Clemson Tigers – and more failure in this specific game exposes a nasty undercurrent that will grow stronger.

But it’s not the weirdest part of what he writes.  This is:

The events of this offseason have moved Saturday’s game at Charlotte into a more critical light.

Specifically, the SEC vs. The Alliance spotlight.

A Clemson win over Georgia is a huge step for the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC “alliance” desperately trying to slow the big, bad SEC from eating the entire college football world.

Because whether real or not, or believable or not, it’s no longer the SEC vs. the ACC in this rare replay of a one-time bitter rivalry from the 1970s and 80s. Just like it’s no longer SEC vs. ACC when Florida plays Florida State, or Georgia vs. Georgia Tech, or South Carolina vs. Clemson or Kentucky vs. Louisville.

Now it’s the good guys (The Alliance) vs. The Death Star (the SEC).

A loss by Georgia knocks the SEC down a peg, moving a significant win toward the alliance ledger. The more wins vs. the SEC, the more the strength of the alliance grows (whatever that means).

You may not believe it, and it may be a silly concept on its face value. But wait and see what happens if Clemson beat Georgia, and how the narrative quickly becomes the alliance – all 41 teams – can trade blows with the SEC any time, any week.

Seriously?  Georgia is the underdog and the lower ranked of the two, but Clemson winning means Wake Forest can trade blows with Texas A&M?  Even if ‘Bama and LSU win their openers?

I’m looking forward to the day when Greg Sankey, having watched his conference and ESPN crumble into dust in a few years, looks back and says to himself, “if only that fucking Kirby Smart had beaten Clemson…”.

33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Derion Kendrick, secret weapon?

JT Daniels:

What has Derion Kendrick brought to UGA and will Daniels get any insight from him going into this game…
“I love DK. Since he’s been here, me and him talk a lot of trash to each other in practices. We have a really good relationship. I really like him. He’s a really good ball player and then yeah, I’ll ask him whatever I can, whatever I see based on technique and certain things Clemson does. But really with DK, it’s awesome to have a really good competitor. A really good ball player.”

Kirby Smart:

On Derion Kendrick and having a player that knows the opposing team well… 

“I don’t know that you can or can’t. His information would probably be more personnel, in terms of what guys are like. I’ve been against these guys. I know their wideouts. I know maybe something about their defensive backs or something specific. Scheme-wise I think it’s tough. There is so much more that goes into it. There’s not like, oh when they do this, this is what’s coming. You can’t say that because no offensive coordinator, no defensive coordinator gives the same look over and over. All that ends up doing is gets you chasing the wrong idea. So from a personnel standpoint, it probably helps because I think he knows those guys, but outside of that there is not a lot to it.”

Over/under on the number of sign stealing questions he’s been asked this offseason?

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

There’s the beef.

One thing of interest with regard to Florida is how much size the Gators have added to their offensive and defensive lines through the transfer portal this offseason.  Yesterday, they announced the transfer of Auburn d-lineman Tyrone Truesdale, who’s a big boy at 6-foot-2, 326 pounds.  They’ve added several on both sides who weigh well over 300 pounds.

It sounds to me like Mullen is hoping to play more pound and ground football this season, which makes sense considering the losses he’s suffered in offensive personnel.  The Gators are going to be a different looking team than they were in 2020.

21 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

Three betting takes on the opener

Pat Forde:

Clemson vs. Georgia (21). When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Where: Charlotte. Line: Clemson by three. How big is it: With the No. 3 and No. 5 teams in the AP poll, this is the highest-ranked opener since No. 1 Alabama beat No. 3 Florida State in 2017. That game turned out to be a bit of a dud, and the Seminoles’ season was doomed after a late injury to quarterback Deondre Francois. Let’s hope for better this time.

The overreaction if Clemson wins: Kirby Smart still can’t win the big one. He’s just a recruiter who is slightly better than Mark Richt but will never be Vince Dooley.

The overreaction if Georgia wins: Clemson’s run is done. Opponents have figured out the defensive signal stealing and it’s over.

Reality: Barring a 40–0 result, the loser of this game sustains no irreversible damage. The winner can start dreaming College Football Playoff dreams.

Stat: Dabo Swinney is 11–1 in season openers, with his only loss to Georgia. Smart is 5–0.

Matchup: How does Clemson’s good-not-great offensive line fare against a Georgia front seven that features half a dozen NFL prospects?

Dash pick: Georgia 24, Clemson 21.

If I recall correctly, the over/under is in the fifties, so Forde is really sold on both team’s defenses.

Adam Kramer:

But if I were a Georgia fan and not just a gambler sitting on an array of Bulldogs future tickets — and I’ll get to those — I would feel good about this team. Not overly confident. Good. History says feeling any other emotion might be unwise.

Now, things aren’t perfect. The injury bug has already impacted Georgia at tight end (Darnell Washington) and defensive back (Tykee Smith). Arik Gilbert, the team’s star offseason acquisition, is also currently not with the team for personal reasons.

These issues are real, but elite teams can overcome these types of issues. And to me, Georgia is not only an elite team but the best team in college football.

I bet Georgia to win the national title. The Bulldogs are currently + 700. I bet them to win the SEC (currently + 200). I have them over 10.5 (currently -130). And I have J.T. Daniels to win the Heisman (currently 12-1).

And yes, I like Georgia (+ 3) against Clemson this week in what could wind up being the best game of the college football season.

The talent across both sides of the ball at seemingly every position is spectacular. And while quarterback has always been a mixed bag, JT Daniels has the gifts to change that.

The narrative, of course, says otherwise. Unfair or not, Georgia has long been regarded as a resource-rich team incapable of conquering the sport despite so many advantages and close calls. Given the historic and absurd run of Alabama in the same conference, that feels a bit unfair.

From his lips…

And, finally, from The Athletic’s Austin Mock ($$):

Georgia under 10.5 +105 (projected for 9.9 wins)

Georgia opens up with the equivalent of a playoff game against Clemson where they’re an underdog, so 0-1 isn’t far-fetched. The offense did start to click when J.T. Daniels was inserted as the starter, but I’m not sure the opponents were of the quality where I’m giving the Georgia offense the benefit of the doubt. Add in Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs always dropping a game they have no business losing, and you can understand why Georgia under 10.5 at plus money has value.

And there’s your turd in the punch bowl.

Thoughts?

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

It’s the offensive lines, stupid.

Y’all have heard me obsess (too much, probably) over how the fate of the losing team in Georgia’s opener will most likely stem from it being the one whose offensive line did the poorer job.  Given that, I thought this observation from Kirby Smart was of interest:

On the similarities between Georgia and Clemson…

“I don’t think we’re real similar… Their front is different than our front. We both do have experience in our front seven. Theirs is different than ours. Ours is a lot bigger, built to stop the run, and theirs is pushy, more athletic and built to rush the passer. They’ve done that, statistically, really well. They’ve effected every quarterback they play in terms of sacks and those numbers. We’ve been better in those categories, but not as good as what they’ve done.

The stats, courtesy of Josh, bear that out.

I will grant you that quarterback pressures are a somewhat amorphous stat, but even so, it’s pretty apparent that Clemson’s front has a better track record of getting after the quarterback than does Georgia’s.  That’s not the be all and end all, of course — for one thing, note that the highest PFF grade belongs to Georgia’s o-line and the lowest to Clemson’s o-line — but it does illustrate where the challenge lies ahead for Georgia’s offense.

16 Comments

Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Mark Richt has lost control over Dabo’s program.

Well, well, well, looky here.  Fred “Hell on Wheels” Davis is listed at first team cornerback for Clemson this week.

I’m really looking forward to Herbie’s sniff of disapproval during the broadcast.

30 Comments

Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Crime and Punishment

SEC COVID Cancellation Policies

Greg Sankey hath ordered:

In the event a team is unable to begin or complete a regular season Conference event due to the unavailability of participants (due to COVID-19, injuries or other reasons), that team will forfeit the contest and will be assigned a loss in the Conference standings. The opposing team that is ready to play will be credited with a win in the Conference standings. Both teams will be deemed to have played and completed the contest for purpose of the Conference standings.

If both teams are unable to compete due to the unavailability of participants (due to COVID-19, injuries or other reasons), both teams shall be deemed to have forfeited the game, with a loss assigned to both teams and applied to the conference standings. Both teams will be deemed to have played and completed the contest for purpose of the Conference standings.

The Commissioner retains discretion to declare a “no contest” for any event if extraordinary circumstances warrant.

Anybody have an idea what might constitute “extraordinary circumstances”?  Besides a team being in CFP contention, that is.

14 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

When there’s a will, there’s a way.

You, a Georgia fan who thinks they should stop playing Florida in Jacksonville:  look, Kirby can’t recruit at a neutral site game!  Why should the program give up an advantage like that every other year?

It, a neutral site game:  wut

13 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting