Daily Archives: November 22, 2021

“The media didn’t get Dan Mullen fired. Dan Mullen got Dan Mullen fired.”

With an assist, according to Finebaum:

“This is just my theory and Steve [Spurrier] can shoot it down tomorrow. He’s welcome to. I think Spurrier was involved in this,” Finebaum said about Mullen’s firing on The ESPN College Football Podcast. “Scott Stricklin lives across the street from Steve Spurrier. Spurrier hangs out with Stricklin in the [press] box all the time, they’re close.

“The Spurrier wing of the party had had enough of Dan Mullen. They didn’t like his attitude, they didn’t like his quirkiness. They didn’t like the way he berated assistant coaches in front of others. And it rubbed them the wrong way. That much I can tell you. I’m not saying Steve Spurrier pulled the trigger but I sincerely doubt this decision was made without Steve Spurrier’s blessing.”

If the Evil Genius had a hand in canning our favorite Gator coach, that’s another reason to dislike him.  Also, WTF is “The Spurrier wing of the party”, anyway?

77 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., PAWWWLLL!!!, The Evil Genius

Monday ticket exchange

It’s not a home game, although it sorta feels like one, but, anyway, who’s got tickets to sell for the Tech game?  Who needs ’em?

Share what’s what in the comments and, as always, please be specific.

33 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

Better than you think

You’re not getting an Observations post this week.  For one thing, the mass substitutions kind of blurred in my mind.  For another, it was a 49-point seal clubbing of a mediocre FCS team that got its only score by virtue of a bizarre double-turnover play by the third string defense.  What else is there to say, really?  Except for Dom Blaylock seeing the field for the first time in a while, there really isn’t anything memorable to report.

Instead, I thought I’d walk back through the schedule, at least against Georgia’s P5 opponents, to see how those wins have held up over time.  [SPOILER ALERT:  Better than you think.]

CLEMSON (10-3).  One of the funnier developments of the season has been everyone continuing to blow off the Tigers because of their slow start.  You may not have noticed, but they’ve gotten some traction of late:  they’ve won four in a row, averaging 38 ppg during that stretch.  No, that doesn’t make them world beaters by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re not a pile of crap, either.

SOUTH CAROLINA (40-13).  The Gamecocks are bowl eligible.  In their last three games, they’ve blown out Florida 40-27, narrowly lost to Missouri on the road 31-28 and beat Auburn 21-17.

VANDERBILT (62-0).  The most lopsided loss Vandy has suffered this season.

ARKANSAS (37-0).  The Hogs have won seven games and just lost to Alabama on the road 42-35.

AUBURN (34-10).  See notes on South Carolina, above.

KENTUCKY (30-13).  Biggest loss of the season — even accounting for that infamous garbage time scoring drive — for an eight-win team.

FLORIDA (34-7).  Another loss by a team’s widest margin of the season.  Also, see notes on South Carolina, above.

MISSOURI (43-6).  The only game this season Mizzou was held under 14 points.  Last two wins are against South Carolina 31-28 and Florida 24-23.

TENNESSEE (41-17).  Largest negative margin of loss at home this season; would have been worst loss of season but for late garbage time TD.

I know there’s a tendency to dismiss results because of small sample size, but there’s a very consistent pattern with regard to Georgia’s conference play.  Over and over again, the Dawgs have beaten their opponent by a wider margin than any other team has managed.  Teams that Georgia beat convincingly struggle when facing each other.  Even Alabama has been less consistent in its play than Georgia has.

Add in how Clemson has stabilized at this point as something close to a top 25 team and that schedule makes for a pretty good resume.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“Will this person wake up every morning thinking about how to kick Georgia’s butt?”

Andy Staples has advice for Scott Stricklin on Mullen’s replacement ($$).  Namely, defining Job One for said replacement:

… the No. 1 criterion needs to be an obsession with building the best roster in the country to overcome the rival that currently has the best roster in the country.

I have no idea who that may be, although I suspect, with Florida’s track record on head coaching hires, Stricklin is more likely to whiff than to hit a grand slam, but I do have a pretty good idea of the hire that would accomplish maximum short-term trolling success over said rival.

Dan Lanning (10), Georgia defensive coordinator. If you can hit your nemesis where it hurts and hire an unproven rising star, do you do it? While Smart is a defense-first head coach, there is no doubt that the 35-year-old Lanning has put his own stamp on the Bulldogs’ historically great defense. That unit remains on pace to have the highest differential between points allowed and the national scoring average in FBS history—currently Georgia is allowing 7.5 points per game and the national scoring average is 28.7, a difference of 21.2. (Alabama 2011 has the current mark at 20.1.) And that scoring defense would be even lower this week if it weren’t for a pick-six touchdown by Charleston Southern to avoid a shutout. The drawback: Lanning obviously has not been a head coach and is even relatively new to coordinator status. This would be a gamble by the Gators.

Lanning’s a helluva recruiter, to boot.  He’d be crazy to turn down the job were it offered.  None of which is to say he’d be the success there that Smart has been in Athens.  But, like I said, in the short run, the Gators would have a lot of fun with the hire.  These days in Gainesville, maybe that’s the best you can hope for.

53 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

SEC Net YPP, Week 12

In the conference’s penultimate week of the regular season, there were two kinds of games:  those against cupcakes plus Vanderbilt, and everything else.  (As always, stats via cfbstats.com.)

  1. Georgia 3.22 (6.91 o; 3.69 d) [NC: +.21]
  2. Alabama 2.07 (6.90 o; 4.83 d) [NC:  +.02]
  3. Texas A&M 1.50 (6.07 o; 4.57 d) [NC: +.22]
  4. Florida 1.43 (6.89 o; 5.46 d) [NC: -.10]
  5. Ole Miss 1.14 (6.68 o; 5.54 d) [NC:  +.13]
  6. Tennessee 1.13 (6.43 o; 5.30 d) [NC: +.25]
  7. Kentucky 1.07 (6.46 o; 5.39 d) [NC: +.46]
  8. Auburn:  .83 (6.14 o; 5.31 d) [NC:  -.04]
  9. Arkansas .76 (6.31 o; 5.55 d) [NC: -.36]
  10. Mississippi State .59 (6.05 o; 5.46 d) [NC: +.51]
  11. LSU -.13 (5.31 o; 5.44 d) [NC: -.05]
  12. South Carolina -.35 (5.17 o; 5.52 d) [NC: +.09]
  13. Missouri -.40 (6.00 o; 6.40 d) [NC: 0]
  14. Vanderbilt -2.15 (4.54 o; 6.69 d) [NC: 0]

Turnover margin, after week six:

  • +12:  Ole Miss
  • +8:  Alabama
  • +5:  Arkansas
  • +4:  Missouri
  • +2:  Georgia
  • +1:  South Carolina, Tennessee
  •  0:  Mississippi State
  • -1:  LSU, Texas A&M
  • -2:  Auburn
  • -3:  Vanderbilt
  • -8:  Florida
  • -14:  Kentucky

Observations:

  • Georgia reclaimed the top positions in both offensive and defensive ypp.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and predict they’ll hang on to that after this week’s game.
  • In case you couldn’t tell, Alabama played a phenomenal offense game against Arkansas.  They remain over the 2.0 net figure to be CFP worthy.
  • Kentucky is mid-pack in net ypp and abysmal in turnover margin, yet will finish second in the SEC East.  I have no idea what regression to the mean will be for the ‘Cats next season.
  • Along those lines, Mizzou and SC are both bowl eligible, despite negative net ypp figures.
  • Tennessee, despite all the roster turnover and a radical change in scheme, is sixth in net ypp.  Heupel’s done a respectable job this season.
  • Florida, on the other hand…

17 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Stat of the day

Here’s to the Dawgs extending that streak.  (It’s not the streak in the COFH series, but it’ll do until that ninth win in a row comes along.)  Being worse than UConn football in anything is pretty embarrassing.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Stats Geek!

“Everybody is going to do this, for sure everybody in the SEC…”

The wages of Alston:

Allen Gordon has accomplished plenty in his life to this point and he’s not yet out of college.

The senior Ole Miss long jumper is an All-American. He was a finalist for the U.S. Olympic Trials, and his shirtless dancing moves on TikTok have turned into nearly 1 million followers.

On Friday, he scratched off another achievement: He made history.

Gordon was the first Ole Miss athlete to pick up a $2,990 check that the school is disbursing to its players.

It is believed to be the first such payment as part of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling granting schools the right to provide athletes additional financial support for academic achievements, up to a maximum of $5,980 per year. Ole Miss, the first known school to start cutting such checks, is splitting the distribution into two payments—one in the spring and one in the fall.

Gordon was able to receive the payment because he was academically eligible — Ole Miss athletes who met those academic requirements the previous semester and who are on an active roster (walk-ons included) meet the criteria for this academic bonus.

The ramifications of this are interesting.

These academic payments are seen as a significant recruiting advantage in equivalency sports—an extra financial incentive for an athlete and his family. For instance, a full Ole Miss scholarship for an in-state athlete is worth about $25,000 when factoring in tuition, fees, books, boarding and other expenses, according to the university’s website. A baseball player on a 25% scholarship (roughly $6,500) who received the nearly $6,000 in academic bonus payments would, essentially, have half of his scholarship covered. Only 25% of that would count against the team’s athletic scholarship allotment.

The payments will also be an advantage in the recruitment of walk-on players at every sport, including football, where recruiting battles over walk-ons, though somewhat unreported, do unfold.

And let’s not forget the “R” word.

All schools won’t follow Ole Miss’s lead. Some, like Iowa State, are planning to deposit the payments into a trust to be disbursed to athletes once they graduate—an incentive to obtaining a degree but also one that might put the program at a recruiting disadvantage. Other programs are debating whether to distribute only a portion of the money immediately.

Some schools are exploring ways to create more stringent criteria, such as a tiered approach based on an athlete’s GPA.

“Coaches are all going to want the (Ole Miss) model,” says one Power 5 administrator, “but you’ve got to find the money somewhere.”

They just need to ask themselves a simple question:  what would Greg McGarity do?  (Grumble, and then do whatever Kirby Smart said to do.)

Every SEC team will be doing this by next spring is my prediction.

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Filed under SEC Football

SEC Power Poll Week 11

All I can say is, if you’re a Georgia fan and you’re not seriously enjoying this season, why exactly are you a Georgia fan in the first place?

  1. Georgia.  As chaotic as this season has been, it’s remarkable how consistently this team has played, week after week.
  2. Alabama.  It’s a little strange to see the Tide clinch the West two weeks after Georgia punched its ticket to Atlanta.
  3. Ole Miss.  The Egg Bowl is gonna be lit.
  4. Texas A&M.  The conference’s most inconsistent team pounded a cupcake.
  5. Mississippi State.  Ditto for the Bulldogs.
  6. Arkansas.  Defense wore out again.  Funny how nobody’s praising Barry Odom the way they were at the start of the year.
  7. Kentucky.  Lots of yardage and lots of mistakes, again.  Such is the state of UK football this season.
  8. Auburn.  Just think — three weeks ago, normally sensible people were actually pushing the idea that Auburn winning the Iron Bowl was a real possibility.
  9. LSU.  Forget about playing for bowl eligibility this week — if the Tigers lose to TAMU, they’ll finish last in the division.
  10. Tennessee.  At least the Vols didn’t lose a guarantee game this year.  Progress!
  11. Missouri.  The win over Florida meant the Gators finish next to last in the division, a game behind the Tigers.
  12. South Carolina.  I still can’t figure out how the ‘Cocks beat Auburn.  Not that I’m complaining…
  13. Florida.  Words I never thought I’d type:  Florida and Florida State meet next Saturday with bowl eligibility on the line.
  14. Vanderbilt.  The last FBS team Florida beat.

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Filed under SEC Football

Requiem for a Portal Master™

David Wunderlich gets to the heart of what ultimately was the cause of Dan Mullen’s undoing in Gator Land:

That’s the kind of game management you do when you’re the head coach at Mississippi State looking to steal a win that maybe you’re not supposed to get. It’s not what you do when you’re the head coach at Florida and playing a Kentucky or Missouri team that is supposed to be at a distinct athletic disadvantage.

… Mullen made a lot of decisions in his UF tenure that were defensible in the moment but not in the bigger picture. Add them all up, and they don’t amount to a championship-caliber program.

… You might think you have the choice to play conservative when you don’t have to, trying to eke out a win by the slimmest of margins because any win’s a win. You might think you have a choice to keep people you really like on your staff even when they don’t produce on the recruiting trail or when their on-field units underperform. You might think you have a choice to heavily favor experience and seniority, even when younger players are more promising, if also more volatile.

Starkville ain’t Gainesville.  Mullen never got that.  Eventually, it caught up with him.

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Filed under Gators, Gators...

Surreal

Jeez… talk about your rat poison:

Alabama and Georgia are meeting for just the third time in the SEC title game, with the Tide winning the first two in thrilling fashion, 32-28 in 2012 and 35-28 in 2018. The common thought before each of those was, “Can Georgia keep this thing close?”

This year, the more relevant question seems to be, “Can Alabama keep it tight?”

Saban’s gonna have that article pinned to the bulletin board stat.

39 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football