As if you didn’t know.
Daily Archives: October 20, 2021
As you can probably guess, we’re already starting to see some shrinkage in schools receiving votes, down this week to 60 from last week’s 74. Here’s the top 25:
And here are the AP and Coaches Polls for this week:
Again, the level of correlation there is fairly high. It’s just that we get there more quickly.
Voting was slightly more Georgia-centric this week, at 63.3%.
Thoughts and observations:
- This week, two voters did not include Georgia on their ballots. As you can see, that had little impact on Georgia’s standing in the MP.
- Like Week 6, three teams cleared the Tier One threshold of being on at least 90% of the ballots cast, Georgia, Cincinnati and Oklahoma. ‘Bama just missed.
- Eight teams made it to at least half the ballots, one fewer than last week.
Okay, now that we’ve all taken our little snips at Mark Stoops for that time out at the end of the game, allow me to offer some words of praise. Kentucky is the best coached team that Georgia faced this season. Unlike, say, Arkansas, they came into a hostile environment — it was loud, peeps — and maintained their composure throughout the game. (I think their o-line was penalized for only one false start, which was impressive.)
They had a terrific game plan, which, unlike some of the other teams Georgia played, took into account the reality that Georgia’s offense is effective at scoring. The Dawgs only ran 47 plays on offense and were dominated in time of possession, allowing UK to run twenty more plays. That would have worked better if it weren’t for the fact that Georgia kept busting explosive plays when it had the ball. The Dawgs made those 47 plays count, well, except in the first quarter, when they weren’t particularly sharp.
And that’s the bottom line here. Georgia didn’t bring its A game against an undefeated opponent that was motivated, focused and had a good plan… and still dominated the game, winning by seventeen after that now infamous drive in garbage time. All the rest is commentary.
Speaking of commentary, on to the bullet points.
- It’s not that the offensive line is bad. It’s just frustratingly inconsistent. There are stretches when the run blocking is cooking, holes are opened and backs are getting their yards. The second scoring drive of the first half, five plays, 80 yards, all runs, was stunning to watch. But they’re still vulnerable to teams loading the box to stuff the run. The very next series, which went nowhere — no, make that backwards — was a good example. To be fair, pass blocking has been considerably better.
- I think it’s time to admit that we can stop making fun of the “this year, they’re finally gonna throw to the tight ends” narrative, since they are, you know, finally throwing to the tight ends. The Dawgs used a lot of 13 formations on the day. Bowers continues to be a very pleasant revelation. Washington is rounding back into form. And they all do that blocking thing pretty well, although I recall Bowers whiffing on a block that resulted in a negative play. (I’ll give him a pass. This time. Heh.)
- I may be wrong about this, but I think only two receivers had catches. The route Mitchell ran on his touchdown catch was razor sharp.
- The three backs all had good days, both running and receiving. With regard to the latter, maybe they should throw the ball Zamir White’s way a little more. I sure wish Milton had been able to stay in bounds on his big run, which still wound up being the longest run from scrimmage on the season. Cook continues to show he’s a legit running back, not just a pass catching, run the ball outside specialist (although he doesn’t suck at those, either).
- Stetson didn’t come out sharp at all. But he started warming up by the end of the first quarter, survived a fumble (way to go, Kendall Milton!) and followed that with a terrific slant pass to Cook for the first score of the game. He was on fire in the second half. He burned the UK defense with a couple of timely runs, threw a nice block on McConkey’s end around and, most importantly, played another solid game from a decision making standpoint. He and Monken are comfortable with each other, and it shows. I also think his one completion to Fitzpatrick, a perfectly placed ball, may have been his best throw of the season.
- Jalen Carter is a monster who played his best game as a Georgia Bulldog. That is all.
- Dean had a great game, topped by blowing up the last backdoor screen play Kentucky ran in the game.
- Kendrick also had his best game as a Dawg. Ditto Ringo, who notched his first sack of the season.
- But biggest kudos have to go to Quay Walker, who absolutely killed it out there.
- Really, all you need to know about how well the defense played is that it made the SEC’s leading rusher a complete cipher on the day.
- I was impressed with UK’s offensive coordinator’s play calling. The first half touchdown drive had a little of everything and he clearly caught Georgia’s defense over-pursuing and made them pay for it. That being said, there were a lot of three-and-outs by Kentucky. It’s just a tall task to think you can score enough running long, multi-play drives without screwing up at some point against Georgia’s defense.
- Special teams were, again, something of a mixed bag. Jackson had more than his share of adventures fielding punts (granted, the weather didn’t do him many favors). Podlesny bonked an extra point, although he made his field goal cleanly. Camarda had one kickoff go out of bounds. But they controlled the return games. And any time you block a field goal — damn, was that a satisfying moment — and an extra point, you haven’t had a bad game.
- Coaching? Well, I’ve already sung Monken’s praises this week. Lanning had his guys ready against a team that may have the best offensive line they’ll see all season. Levis threw the ball a lot, but never really seemed to go far with it. Not only did they shut down Rodriguez, but they didn’t allow Robinson to burn them for big yardage. As far as Kirby goes, I continue to be impressed with how even keeled he keeps this team from week to week.
And so, the midseason run against ranked teams comes to an end. Oh, you didn’t realize Georgia heads to Jacksonville to face the unranked Florida Gators, after playing the nos. 8, 18 and 11 teams in the country? Yeah, well, I doubt many people saw that coming before the start of the season. In any event, I’m sure the Dawgs are about to get Dan Mullen’s best shot. I can’t wait.
Dan is tearing it up on the recruiting trail. Just tearing it up.
I’m not sure what’s behind the antagonism from the Cox publishing empire, but apparently Chip Towers shares his colleague Mike Griffith’s disdain for the Cocktail Party.
On Tuesday, Kirby Smart was asked about weighing out the positives and negatives of the annual rivalry being played at a neutral site, which has been done every year since 1996, with campuses only hosting the game twice since 1933.
“I haven’t even thought about it, Chip, to be honest with you,” Smart said. “I don’t concern myself with things I don’t control. All I’ll ever say is the home atmosphere we have is incredible and the ability to bring recruits in is big. If I knew every year, we’d have home games like we’ve had this year, it probably would be less of an issue, but it’s an issue when you don’t have what might be your biggest rivalry and you don’t have the ability to bring official visits in and recruits in every other year because you wouldn’t have it every year anyway. It certainly is valuable in the time when kids are deciding on the early signing date in December and enrolling in January. Those are the most critical weekends you can have to get kids on campus. I stand by the fact that we miss out on one of those opportunities every other year and everybody else in the country doesn’t.”
To reiterate why this question is tiresome:
- Playing the game in Jacksonville is more profitable for both schools than a home-and-home series. Until that changes, any discussion is a moot point, which is why Smart doesn’t concern himself with the issue.
- The schools could change the recruiting matter any time they choose to take away seats from fans in order to provide them to recruits and their families. See the above bullet point regarding profitability as to why they don’t change it.
- Kirby, everybody in the country that plays in a neutral site game — hey, I’m old enough to remember traveling to Charlotte in September — misses out on “one of those opportunities”. Once more, refer yourself to the first bullet point.
- It’s not as if Georgia’s recruiting is suffering from not being able to bring recruits in for one additional visit every other season, is it?
When it comes to any future in college football coaching, clearly Jeremy Pruitt’s run out of fucks to give.
The lawyer representing former Tennessee football coach Jeremy Pruitt gave UT an ultimatum this month: Either reach a settlement with Pruitt by Oct. 29, or face a lawsuit that the lawyer claims has the potential to “cripple UT’s athletic programs for years.”
The university intends to stand its ground, with no plans to settle, promising a “vigorous defense” if Pruitt chooses to go to court. A lawsuit is a certainty if there’s no settlement, said Michael Lyons, Pruitt’s Texas-based lawyer, in an interview Tuesday with the USA TODAY Network.
“On behalf of my client, I can tell you that he’s not happy that this is the only choice they’ve left him with,” Lyons said, “but he’s not going to walk away without getting his day in court.”
“He’s going to file a lawsuit,” Lyons added. “They’re not leaving him much choice.”
Here’s the zero fucks part:
Lyons’ letter made no attempt to defend Pruitt, but instead threatened a lawsuit that would aim to embarrass the university and unmask widespread rule-breaking behavior Lyons alleges extends above and beyond Pruitt’s football staff…
Lyons made several broad assertions in his letter to UT that are not supported with details in his letter, writing that his law firm unearthed “startling information” that points toward NCAA rule-breaking conduct dating back several years and across multiple sports.
Lyons alleges that university administrators ignored or covered up NCAA violations occurring before and during the Pruitt era, and he wrote that UT’s administration was involved in or encouraged impermissible recruiting tactics. Lyons wrote that his firm has learned of impermissible booster involvement in recruiting across multiple sports.
“If Coach Pruitt is forced to file a lawsuit,” Lyons wrote, “it is inevitable that this information will become public, embarrass UT and those associated with it, including its largest donors, and result in debilitating NCAA sanctions.”
A potential lawsuit, Lyons wrote, is a “no-win situation” for Tennessee. [Emphasis added.]
Ummm… is it possible to bring anything new to the table that would embarrass UT? We’re going from a meteor game to a meteor lawsuit, except that, unlike the game, both sides can lose in discovery. And I’m all here for it.
Pruitt’s lawyer is the same dude who helped David Beaty prevail against Kansas. The problems he’s got here are that he doesn’t have Jeff Long on the other side and he’s already admitting his client’s hands aren’t exactly pristine.
Speaking of less than pristine, Pruitt’s former boss is having a sad.
“The days I interviewed each candidate for the head football coaching position at the University of Tennessee, including Jeremy Pruitt, I emphasized that you did not have to cheat to win at the University of Tennessee and that cheating would not be tolerated,” Fulmer told ESPN. “Jeremy has no one to blame but himself for his firing from UT. He had a great opportunity at a great university, and he simply screwed it up.”
He wasn’t the only person at UT who simply screwed up. I hope Jeremy’s attorney has a little dirt to share on Phil. Unleash the popcorn bags!
Georgia’s defense, in two bites. One:
Halfway through the regular season, no single UGA defender ranks among the top 10 in the SEC in any major statistical category, including sacks, tackles for loss, interceptions, and passes defended, or in the top 50 in total tackles.
I’m not gonna even ask my sarcastic “is that good?” here, it’s that obvious.
Around the world of college football:
- Bert has an interesting approach to motivating his players: y’all suck, really.
- Gotta love the SEC’s response to the Tennessee mess — a slap on the wrist with a $250,000 penalty and a promise to review UT’s alcohol availability policy, because, you know, stuff like that never happened before you could buy a beer in the stadium.
- Georgia announced an enhancement to its NIL program, allowing its student-athletes to use the school’s official trademarks and logos.
- Speaking of marketing, long time reader Chris Robinson has put together a line of hats and visors promoting you know what. Check ’em out on Instagram @buckheadbrimco.
- JT Daniels’ health appears to be improving. Bye week, for the win!
- And speaking of health, Smart was asked about George Pickens’ recovery time. Florida, maybe? “There’s a long term plan there, but I don’t disclose timelines on that kind of stuff,” Smart said. “Probably the week of the game we’d know more. We did a walk-through yesterday and he was able to do that, get signals, get calls. He’s done a tremendous job of working in recovery.” So he’s saying there’s a chance? Yeah!
- Is Dan Mullen’s seat the hottest in the SEC?
- Conference USA sent a letter to the AAC asking about reorganizing the two conferences on the basis of geography. Instead, the AAC is expanding by adding six Conference USA schools. Talk about your “you can have my answer now, Senator” response.
- Scott Cochran is back at Butts-Mehre, but not back as special teams coordinator yet.
- On a sad note, a reader who was a member of the Redcoats passed this on to me to share with y’all: “One of my instructors on the drum line, John Moates, was married to an instructor of the Redcoats flagline, Cassie, who just passed — tragically, days after she had delivered their third daughter. John has been an instructor for 10 years now, and I believe Cassie had been helping out just as long.” There is a GoFundMe set up for her, at https://gofund.me/dd1449c6.