Daily Archives: November 4, 2021

When you’ve got two quarterbacks, you’ve got an opportunity to choose.

Okay, I know some of y’all have been jonesing to have a certain debate here.  You know the debate I’m talking about:  who should start at quarterback?  So, let’s have it.  Let me kick it off with this Josh Pate clip, which spends a fair amount of time on the question.

Now, as an enthusiastic rider on the “Trust Smart and Monken” train, I’m good with whomever the coaches choose, but I will say that I think Pate is likely on to something when he says that he doesn’t believe Daniels is fully recovered from his injury yet.  If Bennett is good enough to lead his team to wins against every school on the regular season schedule — and it certainly looks like he is — where’s the rush to get Daniels back in action?

Spare me with the rustiness talk.  As I’ve posted before, Daniels, after an absence of more than a year and a half from live action, stepped on the field against Mississippi State and delivered a 190+ passer rating performance against a defense that literally sold out to stop the run.  We’re supposed to believe that now he needs to clear the kinks out since he hasn’t played in a few weeks?  I’m not buying it.  He’s kept himself mentally sharp, even, as Bennett mentioned post-game, to the extent of going over the pre-snap coverages with Bennett during the Florida game.

If there’s any rustiness to be concerned about, it’s not with Daniels.  It’s with the receiving corps, which is slowly returning to full strength.  Jackson and Washington have both shown it takes a little time and action to get back up to full speed.  The returning receivers can work on getting back to game speed just as easily with one quarterback as with the other.

On top of that, how much of a workout do you want to give your quarterback against a wretched Missouri run defense?  If there’s even a hint that a little more rest and recovery benefits Daniels, why risk that?

Obviously, if the coaches have decided that Bennett’s their man, the above really isn’t that relevant.  If, however, their choice is Daniels — and I think it will be, simply because his third-down performance and his ability to unload uncannily quickly separates him from Bennett — waiting until there’s a good opportunity to insert a fully healthy Daniels into a game when he can work with most of the receiving corps makes the most sense.

Enough from me on this.  Add your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

149 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Consistency, hobgoblins, small minds, etc.

Andy Staples ($$) nails the real problem with the selection committee’s decision making.

The “best four” versus “most deserving four” argument has raged since the College Football Playoff began in 2014. My issue with it isn’t that the committee occasionally designates a team one of the best four without an on-field result that backs it up. It’s that some teams get the “best” treatment and some get the “most deserving” treatment and the committee chair then acts as if they were judged by the same standard when questioned.

In a nutshell, that’s it.

Right now, ‘Bama is number two in their rankings because they’re perceived as being better than any team besides Georgia.  But that’s not what the committee thinks about Oregon at four, is it?  Oregon is there, not because of its overall resume, but because it went into Columbus and beat Ohio State.  Not that that’s nothing, but consider:

… if Oregon and Ohio State wind up 12-1 conference champs and find themselves duking it out for the No. 4 spot, Ohio State would have the better collection of wins (Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, the Big Ten West champ) versus Oregon (Ohio State, um, Utah, um, Utah again?). Oregon would absolutely have the worst loss (Stanford for Oregon; Oregon for Ohio State). Plus, we know Vegas would make Ohio State a favorite in a rematch against Oregon on a neutral field even though the Ducks already won in Columbus while playing without their best player…

In a sense, this is a problem that will likely work itself out as the season progresses.  In Alabama’s case, for example, either the Tide runs the regular season table, goes 12-1 and winds up with the number one ranking, or, it loses again and finds itself likely gone from the playoffs.

What doesn’t change is how inconsistent the selection committee is with its decision making criteria.  As long as that’s the case, the grumbling will not cease.

37 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Florida football, for better or worse

Man, this David Wunderlich piece… if you’re looking for ways the wheels could go off the wagon in Gainesville for next season, well, let’s just say it doesn’t take that much imagination.

One big reason UF isn’t already markedly worse is the COVID-19 eligibility mulligan. The Gators wouldn’t have functional lines without it, as Stewart Reese, Jean Delance, Daquan Newkirk, Antonio Valentino, and Tyrone Truesdell all would be out of eligibility without it. The Gators have maybe five offensive linemen ready to play at an SEC level without Reese and Delance. Absent the three transfers, defensive tackle amounts to Gervon Dexter, an out-of-position Zach Carter, eight-to-ten plays a game of Desmond Watson, and prayer.

I expect all five key offensive linemen to return next year. Watson should be in much better shape, though Carter will be playing on Sundays. I don’t know how many current reserves on either line will be ready to contribute next year — this is an expression of ignorance, not doubt — which means they’ll probably have to go to the portal again for defensive tackles at a minimum. If the portal search comes up empty, UF is in a world of hurt in its line-of-scrimmage league.

Outside of intermittent line problems, the offense lacks for skill position players that keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night. Mullen even told the broadcast team before the LSU game that he lacks speed outside at receiver.

Unless Mullen is willing to play guys younger and greener than normal, that’s not going to be fixed next year. The 2020 and ’21 wideout signees who’ve yet to play much are taller and more physical guys and not real burners. Current ’22 commits Isaiah Bond and Chandler Smith have legit speed, but Mullen doesn’t play true freshman receivers often.

Speaking of the ’22 class, right now it’s small and on the whole lightly regarded with 13 commits and a No. 22 national rank. Bond is the only top 100 prospect. Unless there’s a remarkable turnaround, the class won’t produce many, if any, immediate contributors.

Yeesh.

As for the way it gets better?  “Mullen has the opportunity to work on rebuilding his program’s culture and discipline over the offseason. It’s not an easy fix, but it can be done.”  In other words, he has to reinvent the way he coaches the program from how he’s done it since he got there.  Sure, that can happen.  All it’ll take is hitting a home run on every new assistant hire and doing a 180 in recruiting.

Since the beginning of his tenure, Mullen has been doing things differently than the national hegemons like Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and Ohio State. He hasn’t prioritized recruiting like they do, and he hasn’t been proactive about making sure his staff is the best it could be. But, there always could’ve been a chance that his way would work out. That results on the field would become title-worthy anyway. That improved play would naturally attract top talent.

More than three-and-a-half seasons in, none of that has happened. He’s yet to field a championship-caliber offense and defense at the same time. The recruiting results are not getting better.

The power to tip things in a better or worse direction is in Mullen’s hands, and the stakes are high. Whatever changes he makes have to all or mostly work right immediately because he’s dug himself such a hole, so luck will have to be on his side too.

The last three weeks are either going to end up a turning point in Mullen’s Florida tenure or the beginning of the end. It’s up to him to determine which way it goes.

Funny how doing things differently from the programs that keep making national title runs doesn’t work out.  I wonder if Mullen will ever figure that out.

53 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

On another level

Max Olson, on Georgia’s defense ($$):

That dominance can be measured in all sorts of ways. Let’s start with another check-in on the stop rate standings. Stop rate is the percentage of a defense’s drives that end in punts, turnovers or a turnover on downs. It’s a simple measure of success that assesses whether you’re achieving the goal every defense in college football has on every drive: getting a stop and getting off the field. We’ve been tracking this for each of the past four seasons (here’s 202020192018 and 2017).

The gap between Georgia and the second-best defense in college football keeps growing, at least by this metric. This star-studded group is now getting stops on 90.6 percent of its drives this season and allowing a mere 0.48 points per drive. The next-best defense in stop rate, Cincinnati, is getting stops on 81.4 percent of drives. That’s exceptionally good. But topping 90 percent after eight games? That’s ridiculous.

“Ridiculous”?  I’m seeing that word used a lot lately by pundits to describe the defense’s play.  For once, I think that word means what they think it means.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“So, it’s four or 12.”

As someone who is not a fan of playoff expansion, the thought that the people running the sport may be just petty enough to let their personal feelings stop the contemplated move to a 12-team playoff fills me with a certain glee.

It is the latest and maybe the most important chapter in a somewhat contentious and frustrating saga that’s existed since June, when a subcommittee of conference commissioners announced a 12-team playoff format that at first drew overwhelming praise but has recently faced pushback from their colleagues.

Commissioners enter the meetings having either resolved or have deemed resolvable some of the issues explored in this story from September, including the Rose Bowl, media rights partners and on-campus games. However, more obstacles stand in the way: As many as three league executives, most notably the ACC, prefer an eight-team format.

“What’s holding us up is the eight versus 12,” says one source.

Be still, my heart.  I mean, they really can’t be that egregiously moronic, can they?

Apparently, the possibility exists.

Twelve teams tripled the field. It was all-inclusive. Then suddenly, after a few conferences got their feelings hurt, it wasn’t.

What’s become obvious over the last few months is that it’s either four or 12. There is no in-between.

“We will end up staying at four,” a person intimately involved in the talks told CBS Sports over the weekend.

The math is actually very simple.  The vote to expand the playoffs has to be unanimous, so any conference or Notre Dame has veto power over any given proposal, which is why an 8-team proposal is DOA.

However, there exists a deep divide on each of the two eight-team models. Group of 5 commissioners say they will not vote for an eight-team format that does not grant them an automatic berth into the field—a “Best 8,” as it’s known. Meanwhile, several commissioners, including the SEC’s Greg Sankey, are against an eight-team model that provides six automatic qualifiers to conference champions and two at-large spots—a “6+2” format that they believe would leave out worthy schools.

Including Notre Dame, which makes them another veto point.  Expanding the overall field while shrinking the number of at-large teams is a solution only a conference that’s jealous of the SEC could love.  Sankey is better off with the status quo, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that.

That’s not all, though.  There’s one other math problem with the eight-team format.

Passing on expansion to 12 would be eschewing millions. A 12-team playoff in 2024 and ’25 would bring in a combined $450 million in additional television revenue, sources tell Sports Illustrated. An eight-team expansion would not generate any additional revenue because it does not create more inventory[Emphasis added.]

Again, I ask:  these people can’t really be that stupid, can they?  One can only hope.

27 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Celebrating Mark Richt

If you’re not aware, Georgia plans on honoring former head coach Mark Richt at halftime of the Missouri game.  Plans have been in the works for a while to do so, but were sidetracked, as Seth Emerson relates ($$):

This week, Richt returns to Sanford Stadium for the first time. He will be honored at halftime of Saturday’s game against Missouri, with some other surprises planned outside of halftime, as the school that fired him now embraces him, in the same year it may finally get the ring that eluded Richt.

This was supposed to happen in 2020, the administration — including then-athletic director Greg McGarity — wanting to honor Richt “for all he had done for Georgia,” according to current athletic director Josh Brooks. When COVID-19 ended those plans, Georgia wanted to do it next year to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Richt’s first SEC championship team. But when Richt announced he had Parkinson’s disease, Georgia’s administration moved it up.

“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him,” said Brooks, who first came to Georgia as a football operations staffer. “I’m indebted to him. He’s a great man, a great person, a great husband, a great father.”

The thought of McGarity honoring Richt is quasi-nauseating, as far as I’m concerned, so if that postponement is the one good thing to come out of the pandemic, that’s okay by me.

Anyway, the ceremony is deserved and I’m glad he’s being honored.  His career in Athens wasn’t perfect by any means, but he’s got a list of accomplishments that certainly merit celebration.  The only way to improve on it would be to hold a special ceremony for the man at Bobby Dodd Stadium.  After all, Richt was perfect there.

44 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Today, in is this good?

I’m pretty sure this is:

Okay, I’m probably underselling it.  But you get the point.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!