Daily Archives: February 21, 2022

Back to eight

I didn’t see this one coming.

Matt Luke is expected to step down as Georgia’s offensive line/associate head coach, multiple sources have confirmed to UGAsports.

An official announcement is expected soon.

The replacement hire is going to be interesting, considering that the scheme changed significantly when Luke succeeded Pittman.  Kirby’s offseason continues to be a challenge on the staffing front.

67 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Envy and jealousy, gallows humor edition

From Jeff Schultz’ “How They Really Stand In Georgia Team Sports” ($$), which ranks all the local sports teams in terms of their level of performance and outlook, comes this great one-liner about the bottom-dweller:

25. Georgia basketball (13): How bad does a program have to be to rank behind Tech football?

It’s funny, ’cause it’s true.  Unfortunately.

84 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football

Finding their religion

Look who’s suddenly all in on talent accumulation.

“We’re going to take an inside-out approach here,” Napier said last week on an interview with 1010XL radio in Jacksonville, Fla. “We do a ton of research about player production, about the make-up of the roster. When the University of Florida won national championships, when they won SEC championships, anywhere from 65 to 80% of the roster was made up of players within 4.5 hours of Gainesville, Fla.”

Napier isn’t out to reinvent the wheel.

In fact, if there’s one thing former coach Dan Mullen failed to do in trying to duplicate the success he had in his first stint at Florida as an offensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, it was failing to recruit the way Meyer did.

It’s a pretty simple formula, really. Stockpile hordes of top-rated talent and the margin for error — both on individual Saturdays and with your coaching tenure as a whole — grows considerably.

Ah, if only the former guy had walked the walk.

Truthfully, it’s not hard to wonder what might have been with Mullen if he had fully embraced that fact, especially when you consider that the 2020 edition of the Gators came within six points of the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game, then the 2021 squad played Alabama to within a failed two-point conversion attempt before things really flew off the rails.

If Florida fans aren’t careful, they’re gonna develop a collective case of whiplash.  I kind of expect to hear them saying “Mullen who?” in a few years.

24 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

Eyes on the prize

Andy Staples’ one-paragraph tribute to Jim Delany ($$):

Delany caught a lot of heat for trying to stymie the sport’s evolution from the old bowl system to the College Football Playoff, but he was always miscast as being afraid of progress. He was interested in protecting his employer’s corner, and nearly all of his philosophical choices reflected that. We can laugh at his empty threat to take the Big Ten to Division III if athletes were allowed to make more from their role in the enterprise, but Delany never feared progress when progress could make the Big Ten’s schools a boatload of money.

Sounds like Hyman Roth.

I’d laugh about that, except it’s college football fans like me who enabled Delany’s behavior.  And we still are with his successors.

6 Comments

Filed under Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness

The “please don’t slander the young men” rankings

I got a chuckle out of this:

‘Bama’s second, but if you count all the unofficial vacated wins they claim, they’d be first.

21 Comments

Filed under Stats Geek!, The NCAA

“We’re all conditioned to want the shiny and new thing.”

Ari Wasserman ($$) nails exactly what I find so exasperating about this whole “playoff expansion will fix some of college football’s parity problems” narrative.  [HINT:  It won’t.]

This part in particular is perfect:

There seems to be this longing to duplicate what the NCAA Tournament does for basketball. We love Selection Sunday, the CBS theme music and the potential for a few upsets. We love seeing the little guy end the powerhouse’s season. In college basketball, nearly everyone is invited to the party, and we all hope an 11 seed makes it to the Sweet 16. We love Sister Jean. We love Cinderella stories.

But you know what else we love? Regular-season upsets in college football.

And in college football, upsets in September, October and November have a tendency to end seasons the very same way they do in the NCAA Tournament. That’s why we all collectively turn a game on when an undefeated, top-five power is losing in the fourth quarter. We sit on the edge of our seats and hope and pray that the top-five team loses, taking a huge punch to its CFP resume. We love the stakes. We love what losses mean. And, above all, we love the CFP discourse, the arguments, the Twitter beefs, the podcasts. We love all of it.

Do we really want to devalue upsets in college football? Do we really want to say, “Who cares, they’re making the CFP anyway” after a traditional power suffers a critical loss or a second loss? College football is amazing because the stakes are so high every week. Taking away those stakes because we’re starved to want more participation isn’t healthy. It’s not the problem-solver we think it is.

If you prefer the tl;dr version of that, here ’tis.  “All we’re doing is taking teams that aren’t fit to compete for a national championship and guiding them to a 28-point blowout loss to the teams that would have made it in the four-team field.”

Beyond that, if you’re pro-expansion, there are some troubling statistics you’re going to have to deal with.

Since the CFP’s inception in 2014, the teams that ranked between No. 5 and No. 12 in the final poll the most were Ohio State, Georgia and Penn State — each did it four times. Ohio State, in the world of an expanded Playoff, would have made the field every year (keep in mind, OSU has lost more than three games only twice since 2001).

Wasserman asks if we want a world where Michigan knocks off Ohio State in the regular season and the Buckeyes still make the playoffs.  That is what folks like me mean when we talk about expansion devaluing the regular season.

So is this:

If (when?) the CFP expands to 12 one day, the first No. 8 seed to win a national title isn’t going to be a Cinderella. It’s not going to be Pitt or Baylor or Wisconsin or Washington or Cincinnati. It’s going to be a two-loss Ohio State, Alabama or Clemson that does it because those are the types of teams that are talented enough to win multiple games on that stage when things click.

What’s the point of that?  Other than to let the conferences make more money, I mean.

Look, I know I’m on the losing side of this debate.  I’ve made my peace with that.  I only wish the people jonesing for expansion would quit creating all these horseshit justifications for it.  Just say you’re bored, want brackets and be done with it.  We’ll all be better off for it.

42 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs