Daily Archives: January 6, 2022


One thing I’ve been curious to find out is if there’s a decided advantage to one side or the other when two college football teams face off against each other again in the same season.  Brian Fremeau did the leg work for me on that.

Monday will be the 55th instance since 2007 of two FBS teams meeting twice in the same season. Most of these rematch situations have been in conference championship games, but there have been several bowl games mixed in as well. The BCS Championship Game at the end of the 2011 season featured an Alabama-LSU rematch that ushered in the playoff era. Of all rematches to date, the same team won both games 29 times (53.7%). Regardless of the outcome of the first game, the team favored by closing lines (per covers.com) won 79.6% of the rematch games. Compare that number with closing-line accuracy in forecasting all game winners since 2007 (74.6%), or with closing-line accuracy in forecasting conference championship and bowl game winners in the same span (only 66.3%).

Not much, in other words.  Of far more interest is the winning percentage of betting favorites in the rematch.  Just this side of 80% is not insignificant, especially in comparison to the overall percentage of postseason game favorites.

As an aside, if Saban is looking for more yummy rat poison, he might want to point to Brian’s conclusion:

For what it’s worth, FEI agrees with Vegas that Georgia should win on Monday. The Bulldogs had a single aberrant result in that game, but otherwise have been an exceptionally strong team offensively and defensively in all other outings this season. In terms of the metrics I track, Georgia rates among the most efficient and dominant teams of the last 15 years. It’s perfectly reasonable to say they are the measurably superior team in the matchup. It’s also perfectly reasonable to think Nick Saban’s football machine in Tuscaloosa will overcome and possibly even dominate the supposed “measurably superior” team once again. The two best teams are playing, and regardless of which team hoists the trophy, the two best teams at their best should put on quite a show.

FEI Projection: Georgia 33, Alabama 25



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

The more reps, the merrier

Todd Monken, who’s been around the block more than a few times, makes a good point about his starting quarterback:

Q. How do you best quantify the improvements when you’re talking about Stetson, that he’s made from last year to right now being starting quarterback?

COACH MONKEN: Obviously, second year in the system. Being around us as a coaching staff, what we do offensively is big. And just playing. I think we forgot at times that he really hadn’t played a lot of football here. And I think being around the same players.

I think the consistency that we’ve had at times that we’ve tried to get the ball to those guys have helped. But to me he’s matured in terms of understanding what we want to get done. And also just playing. There’s just the reps that you get in practice and then games that get into your memory bank, whether they’re scars or things you’ve solved or decision-making, I think all comes into that.

And the longer you play — a guy like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady or those guys or Ryan Fitzpatrick — some of the things they do now they didn’t do early on in their career. That develops over time. And they continued to improve their game and their understanding of what we want done.

Stetson’s flaws have been well documented, but, in fairness, maybe it bears repeating that he really hasn’t been the guy all that long.  That’s not just about experience, either.  Bryce Young has started a comparable number of games, but under vastly different expectations and circumstances.  His career path had a very straightforward course set from the moment he set foot on campus.  Bennett’s, by comparison, has been about as on-again, off-again as it could be over the last two seasons.  (His own coaches admit they underrated his ability.)

And yet, for all that, it’s Bennett with the superior passer rating and QBR (sorry, couldn’t resist).  As much as that’s a testament to Bennett, it may be an even bigger one for Todd Monken.


Filed under Georgia Football

The story of college football, in two sentences

Short and sweet, from Andy Staples ($$):

Because schools don’t want to label the athletes as employees — this began as a workers’ compensation dodge and continues because people making a ton of money tend to want things to stay as they are — there is no current way to structure the sport in a manner that doesn’t allow the wealthiest programs to dominate it. In fact, pretty much every rule made to level the playing field over the past century wound up being used in practice to widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

There’s your tradition unlike any other.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Celebrate good times.

This is kind of head shaking to me.

This Saturday marks an anniversary of sorts.

On that day three years ago—Jan. 8, 2019—college leaders set off on the long, winding road of seriously exploring an expansion to the College Football Playoff. Within a lavish, downtown San Jose hotel, Mark Keenum, the Mississippi State president and the chair of the CFP’s highest governing body, the Board of Managers, approached executive director Bill Hancock with a directive.

“We’re halfway through the 12-year CFP contract,” he told Hancock. “Let’s examine the Playoff.”

Exactly three years later, college football’s most powerful executives meet Saturday from Indianapolis in a somewhat fractured state, frazzled and frustrated, lacking consensus on a format for expansion.

Three years?  Three effing years?  An additional $450 million in revenue at stake and this sorry pack of whining babies can’t get their shit together?

“Candidly, given everything that’s been said publicly, looks like we are stuck at four for a while,” Kliavkoff said on 750 The Game on Portland radio Wednesday.

Looks like it.  Kliavkoff’s strategy of coming up with an end around for 2026 looks equally promising.

Some are already focused on 2026. With a new deal, comes new rules. While unanimity is required to expand the Playoff before the contract ends, it’s not necessary to create a Playoff format in a new contract.

A “subset” of the CFP management committee could agree on a model and “then others would have the right to join us,” Kliavkoff told reporters last month in Las Vegas.

Hey, good luck with that if those others include the SEC and Notre Dame.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

The game of their lives

Dawgs, this is some stat.

Jeez, I’m not expecting perfection come Monday night, but if you can’t clean something like that up, you don’t deserve to win.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Hits are painful.

Just ask Aaron Murray.

Not a day goes by that former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray isn’t asked about “The Pass.”

… But Murray’s pass was tipped and the ball fell into the arms of Georgia receiver Chris Conley at the Alabama five-yard line. The clock kept running. Georgia was out of timeouts.

“It was the longest eight or nine seconds in my life,” said Murray. “There had to be some way to get that clock stopped. But there wasn’t.”

Murray says he still gets questions about two plays from his career:

“The Prayer at Jordan-Hare (a miracle touchdown pass for Auburn in 2013) and the pass against Alabama,” said Murray. “I will never escape those plays.”

Murray said he will be doing an event with former Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm, the starter on the 2017 team that lost to Alabama for the national championship.

“I guess they put us together because we’ve both been stabbed in the heart by Alabama,” said Murray.


There are demons waiting to be exorcised Monday night.  No pressure, guys.


Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football

How yummy is the rat poison this time?

Look, he’s the GOAT and I’m just some random fan with a blog, but I really wonder how much mileage Nick Saban can get out of the Vegas spread this go ’round.

“We’re still going to be underdogs in the game,” Saban said. “I can see why people would think that. It’s a challenge.”

The thing is, there’s a big difference between now and the week leading up to the SECCG.

Davis also pointed out that Bama’s underdog advantage isn’t emotional; it’s technical. It’s that Saban, perhaps more so than any other coach, can correct the shortcomings that made his team underdogs in the first place. “That’s where the real money lies,” Davis said.

It’s also why some former players questioned whether Monday’s rematch fits the Underdog Bama mold. In this case, it’s Georgia — led by a Saban disciple, Kirby Smart — who must make corrections, and respond to last month’s thumping. Some Tide alums wondered whether Bama’s 41-24 SEC title game victory would lure players into a false sense of security, and make a repeat tough.

That last sentence is complete bullshit — there’s no way a Saban-coached team heads into a national championship game with a false sense of security — but if anybody’s got to worry about correcting shortcomings, it’s Kirby Smart.

Or, to put it another way

Neither Johnson nor Jones bought into the idea beating a team twice adds difficulty to this dynamic for Alabama.

“Especially when you beat a team by 17,” Jones said. “I mean, it’s not like you just beat up by one point or on a last-second field goal. Alabama beat them pretty soundly there that first time and I do think that will give them some confidence going into this game.”

Of course it does.

I’m not being snarky here, but genuinely curious.  Betting line aside, there’s no general perception that Alabama comes in at some disadvantage Monday night, so how convincing is the rat poison going to be?


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

All together now

So, here’s a visual to keep in mind when you hear the grand poobahs running the CFP use “inclusive” as their moral compass to chart the playoff expansion route in the wake of another all-SEC national championship game.  It’s Brian Fremeau/Bill Connelly’s F+ advanced stats mashup and it’s pretty damned graphic.

I’ve got to admit that grey does look pretty inclusive.


Filed under Stats Geek!

An oinker of a story

Jeff Schultz put together something of an oral history of the 1980 national championship team here ($$) and it’s a great read.  I’m not gonna post the whole thing here — that’s what subscriptions are for, y’all — but this little bit about the infamous stolen pig incident is too good not to share.

Dooley, of course, was pissed when he found out about it, and laid out punishment for the guilty parties.

Dooley: I was not happy. I took them off scholarship and had them work all summer to earn their scholarship back in the summer. They were painting the wall around the football field. I went around inspecting it after they put one coat on it, and I told them it needed another coat. They all had to chip in to pay for the pig.


Welton: That summer I was in the dining hall, and Coach Russell was in there. He motioned to me come over. He took some time and after a few bites said, “So, Chris. I understand we stole a pig.” I looked back at him and said, “Yes sir, we did.” He paused for a few seconds and says, “I think that’s great.”

Bless that man.

By the way, there’s a pretty good postscript to the story.

Woerner: We were out there painting that wall during the hottest summer of all time. When (head coach Mark) Richt was here they tore the wall down, but he heard about the story, and we all have a brick from it, and Coach Dooley signed it. It says, “Vince Dooley: It needs one more coat!”

Needless to say, you should read the whole thing.  LOL.


Filed under Georgia Football

Coach 30 sees George Pickens.

You will chuckle.


Filed under Georgia Football