Daily Archives: January 5, 2022

Losing my religion

A reader sent me this pic, taken at the intersection of 138 and GA 20 81 in Walnut Grove:

I mean, what more can you say?

89 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Legend

Know whom I’ll be rooting for next Monday night?  This guy.

May you get your wish, Nolan.

33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“And we’ve got to go to the doctor and fix this.”

Andy Staples identifies what went wrong with Georgia’s defensive game plan in the SECCG ($$):

… But while Tide linemen looked confused frequently against Texas A&M, LSU and Auburn, they didn’t look confused at all against the Bulldogs. Why? Probably because Georgia did exactly what it did all season and didn’t show Alabama linemen anything they hadn’t seen before.

This isn’t exactly a criticism of Smart and Lanning. They were playing with house money in the SEC title game. They would make the College Football Playoff win or lose. So why not do exactly what had produced the most dominant results we’d seen from a defense in this wide-open era of football?

The only problem is that this didn’t account for two things:

1) Alabama has better players than any team Georgia had played to that point.

2) Young played the best game of his young career. Sometimes, there is no stopping a great QB.

Of course, “playing with house money” may have led to the second thing on his list… but I digress, sort of.  Anyway, and I don’t think this is a genius take by any means, the house money has been taken off the table and the Dawgs must come up with a different defensive approach.  Andy argues they don’t have to go very far to find one — just run the tape on Alabama’s season.

How might Smart and Lanning deploy those players differently? By identifying what bothered Young and Alabama’s offensive line all season. And what was that?

Deception up front.

Again, it doesn’t take a genius, just somebody who’s watched what some sharp defensive coordinators did to confuse Bryce Young along the way.  (Staples thoughtfully provides some examples.)

Where Andy does get some bonus points is that, despite whatever criticisms you might want to lob Smart’s way about being stubborn, there is a very famous example of him adapting his defense to meet the challenge of a prolific offense:  the second half of the Rose Bowl, against Oklahoma.

Does history repeat?  The good thing is that it’s not that Georgia’s defense has to completely shut down the Tide’s offense to win; it just needs to do enough to keep Georgia’s offense in the game.

50 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Semi-Greedy

More common sense from our college football overlords?

As the leaders of the College Football Playoff prepare for another in-person meeting on Saturday in Indianapolis to discuss expanding the current four-team system, the lopsided semifinal scores that resulted in two SEC teams playing for the national title — again — might not resonate as much with the commissioners as they have with fans and critics over the past week…

“I think college football is better served by having a broader participation in national championship games, but the fact is, you’ve got to go beat those people,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told ESPN on Tuesday. “And that means you’ve got to go do it on the football field. That doesn’t have anything to do with the format; that has to do with who’s playing at the highest levels.”

That doesn’t mean they don’t continue to have their eyes on the expansion prize, of course.

“I don’t think it should really matter,” American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco told ESPN. “I think we’re talking about a playoff that would be essentially more inclusive, give more teams an opportunity, and if you gave more teams an opportunity, you know, a few of those teams might perform at a level better than the teams that you choose.”

And… a pony!

The good thing for someone like me who would prefer not to see any further enlargement of the CFP (futile, I know) is that these assholes are still bickering and sniping like they’re in high school.

Bowlsby said he would be “very pleasantly surprised” if they come to any conclusions “because I don’t think there’s much spirit of doing what’s best for the game.”

“I think people are protecting their territory,” he said, “and … we need to go into the meeting trying to think about what’s good, the best for college football, not what’s best for any particular league.”

Yeah, it’s a real shame to watch this group not united by greed, which is their usual default mode.

18 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Lots of stars, but no stars

Good piece from Seth Emerson ($$) about how Georgia’s having a dominant season without generating many dominant player statistics:

But the story of this Georgia offense goes beyond that. It includes about a dozen skill-position guys who were top-100 prospects, including a handful of five-stars, so many good options that they eat into their potential stats…

Bennett compared it to Georgia’s defense, which he said plays “more complementary defense,” and indeed the major stats (tackles, sacks) are spread around. Nakobe Dean leads the team with only six sacks (13th in the SEC), but Georgia is second as a team with 45 sacks.

There are plenty of reasons why, but a couple of the obvious ones are team depth on the defensive front seven, allowing Lanning and Smart to rotate personnel to keep players fresh and Monken’s play designs, which work to spread the wealth around on offense.

9 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Greatest moral victory evah!

Finebaum is “officially” recognizing Tennessee as finishing 8-5 this season.

That and five bucks should get your typical Vol fan a burger and large fries at their neighborhood Dairy Queen.  LOL.

37 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, PAWWWLLL!!!

Guarding

I mentioned in yesterday’s Observations post that we saw the best performance by Georgia’s guards all season last Friday night.  Here’s an example:

Not just Shaffer, either — watch the job Ericson (with a little help from Van Pran-Granger) does with Hutchinson.  Those dudes were working.

12 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

One more look and listen

Josh did something fun the other day.  He put together a video of the full Orange Bowl with the local radio call instead of the ESPN team, along with marking the key plays.  Enjoy.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Recruiting **is** coaching.

I don’t know about you, but for me, one of the more satisfying developments of this season has been the debunking of the whole game day coaching/scheming > recruiting narrative that swirled around the stock media evaluation of college football’s head coaches last summer.  I mean, you’d think anyone who saw where Charlie Weis’ decided schematic advantage got him would know better.

Anyway, here we are in January, 2022.  Dan Mullen, surely the poster boy of that line of thinking, is currently unemployed, while Nick Saban and Kirby Smart, surely the two best recruiters in the game, are playing for a national championship.  Go read a Florida message board and see how their fans have suddenly found religion about recruiting.  People are freaking out about Texas A&M’s recruiting class.  And Ari Wasserman has this to say ($$)“If you’re reading this mailbag, the hope is that you acknowledge the profound impact that recruiting has on the eventual national title winners.”

Not that it means much in the vast scheme of things, but I’m genuinely curious to see where Kirby Smart winds up on this year’s head coach rankings lists — not because of his relative merit, but to see if the lesson has started to sink in with the pundit class.

25 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting

The cost of arrogance

Is there anybody in college football easier to dunk on than Bill Hancock?

If you were planning the perfect day to air the College Football Playoff semifinals, New Year’s Eve would not rank very high on the list. Given Dec. 31 isn’t a federal holiday, plenty of potential viewers will work during the day, not to mention the revelry and bacchanalia that comes after dark.

The lords of college football, however, suggest you will forget such old acquaintances.

“We really do think we’re going to change the paradigm of New Year’s Eve,” said Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff.

That was from July of 2015.  Doubts began setting in the very next year.

Well, nothing’s changed.  Literally.

New Year’s Eve had a negative impact on the TV ratings for the College Football Playoff semifinals once again.

Friday’s semifinal games between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Cincinnati and No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Georgia drew significantly fewer viewers than the semifinals after the 2020 season. Those semifinals — the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl — were played on New Year’s Day.

It’s not that people weren’t interested in watching the games.

Maybe choosing to broadcast your crown jewels starting in the afternoon of a working day isn’t a genius idea.  It certainly hasn’t proven to be the paradigm changer Bill was so confident was coming.  Shocking, I know.

29 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Blowing Smoke