Daily Archives: February 25, 2022

2022 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAYS SCHEDULE

Here it be:

MONDAY, July 18

LSU – Brian Kelly

Ole Miss – Lane Kiffin

Missouri – Eliah Drinkwitz

TUESDAY, July 19

Alabama – Nick Saban

Mississippi State – Mike Leach

South Carolina – Shane Beamer

Vanderbilt – Clark Lea

WEDNESDAY, July 20

Arkansas – Sam Pittman

Florida – Billy Napier

Georgia – Kirby Smart

Kentucky – Mark Stoops

THURSDAY, July 21

Auburn – Bryan Harsin

Tennessee – Josh Heupel

Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher

Not gonna lie — I’m gonna miss a dose of Mullen’s buffoonery there.  Although Thursday morning has some serious awkwardness potential in its own way.

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UPDATE:  Speaking of Mullen…

16 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

TFW you lack a certain sense of urgency

Well, this ought to thrill every major Auburn booster.

Then again, if you won’t be around to sign recruits next year, why waste time contacting them in the first place?

Roll Safe GIFs | Tenor

10 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Recruiting

Everything is beautiful.

Coach 404 is getting his inner Booch on, now.

Gibbs was the first of 12 players to leave the Yellow Jackets through the transfer portal. Among other significant departures were defensive end Jordan Domineck, the team’s top pass rusher, running back Jamious Griffin, and starting safety Wesley Walker.

Collins, 9-25 through three seasons at Georgia Tech, said he doesn’t see the heavy losses through transfers as a collective vote of no-confidence in his program.

“I do not,” Collins said. “I just take it as we love those guys, we care about those guys. If they feel there’s another situation that they need, we counsel those guys, we have conversations with them. But then you have to look to the guys who are on your roster, on your team and your program that you’re blessed every single day you get to coach and focus on that and keep it moving.”

He’s about to care himself into another 3-win season.

21 Comments

Filed under Blowing Smoke, Georgia Tech Football

“We really won the national championship. Me and you.”

From today’s Seth Emerson story about Zamir White ($$) comes this quote that I just love:

… White led the way in the rushing game, racking up 856 yards and 11 touchdowns, including a go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter of the national championship game. Of course, it wasn’t the go-ahead one, which came in the fourth quarter. But ask White his fondest memories from that game and he mentions that quarter, especially the last drive.

“Just seeing my linemen fight for it, just give it all they had, seeing Stetson (Bennett) lead the team, and the young guys buy in,” White said, agreeing that it was so different than the fourth quarters in other Alabama games. “We had that confidence. As far as that last drive, guys were just like, ‘We’ve got it, man.’ Guys were just locked in together and saying: ‘Let’s take it on.’”

After 41 years of futility, for that sort of mentality to set in when it mattered most is genuinely thrilling.  And don’t think those of us sitting there in Indy watching it in person couldn’t sense some of that.

Damned good Dawgs, all of ’em.

39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The biggest loser

The majority of takes I’ve seen about the current impasse over CFP expansion, like this one and this one, accept the premise that the SEC is the conference holding the most leverage whenever future expansion discussions take place.  Needless to say, I found this contrarian take in the Los Angeles Times of interest.

Note that “of interest” doesn’t equate to convincing.  It’s kind of hard to swallow an argument that’s based on a conspiracy theory of sorts.

Then, in July, the news leaked that Texas and Oklahoma were working to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, creating the first 16-team “super conference.”

From the moment that happened, I believed that the Longhorns and Sooners had been convinced by Sankey that a 12-team playoff was coming, opening up the potential that nearly half the field could come from the stacked SEC. Sure, UT and OU would want the windfall of revenue from the SEC’s annual distribution, but Oklahoma in particular wouldn’t leave its cushy path to the four-team playoff in the Big 12 to battle with Alabama, Louisiana State, Georgia, Florida, Texas A&M and Auburn for a maximum of two spots the SEC could claim each year.

The rest of the country should be thanking the Texas A&M folks who tipped off the Houston Chronicle to the backroom maneuvering. Imagine if Texas and Oklahoma’s intentions had stayed quiet and the commissioners had signed off on 12 teams first?

Instead, Sankey’s power play was out in the open.

This smoking hot take ignores so many things — that the Big 12 commissioner was also one of the architects of that 12-team plan, that it was the schools that approached the SEC first, not the opposite, for starters — that it’s hard for me to take seriously, but, hey, the dude’s on a roll.

You can bet Kliavkoff’s conversations with his presidents and chancellors are going much better than Sankey’s — particularly in Norman, Okla., and Austin, Texas. The Sooners and Longhorns could be staring at an even more perilous climb back to the national championship game, which makes me curious how Sankey’s posturing that the SEC would be fine staying at four teams for the CFP is going over.

I can’t see how campus leaders at LSU, Georgia and Florida would be happy about sharing minimal access with Oklahoma and Texas, and we know how Texas A&M feels.

Yeah, Sankey’s having a terrible time pointing out to his bosses all that new money rolling in.  Meanwhile, Kliavkoff has a regular walk in the park with his guys.

… Kliavkoff’s work in that time is to continue to push his presidents to invest in football infrastructure; to max out the league’s upcoming media rights negotiations; to find a more financially friendly headquarters; and to make decisions with a football-first mindset. That isn’t exciting to the average fan, but it’s the real work at hand.

He’s got to sell that to do list after torpedoing a chance for his conference to obtain some degree of relevancy in the CFP for the next few years.  Truly, an underappreciated genius is at work here.

Anyway, once you’re willing to swallow all that, the conclusion is just an easy step away.

The stakes of the expansion decision were much higher for Sankey’s league. He will continue to say otherwise, and when negotiations begin anew for the next CFP contract, he is likely to use the immense leverage that the SEC is so self-sufficient it could just start its own postseason.

Would that be an empty threat? Probably. Sankey’s constituents are deeply driven by a desire for regional superiority. College football can’t just mean more in the SEC if the conference can’t prove it against the rest of the union.

There will be an expanded bracket in 2026. Now there’s a chance Pac-12 teams will enjoy a more even playing field.

Or not.  If the people running the sport have shown one thing over the past two decades, it’s that money trumps regional superiority every damned time.  Plus, there’s no reason the SEC couldn’t have its own playoff and then face off against the Alliance’s champion for all the marbles.  Money and regional superiority, for the win!  But you keep dreaming otherwise, dude.

28 Comments

Filed under Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Imitation, flattery, etc.

Marc Weiszer ($$) points out a recent similarity between two national championship-winning programs:

When offensive line coach Matt Luke stepped down earlier this week, he became the fourth departure of an assistant off the Bulldogs’ national championship team.

Georgia averaged just 1.8 coaches leaving in the first five offseasons under Smart.

It still doesn’t reach the level of the last two Alabama national championship teams under Nick Saban who lost five coaches after the 2020 title and five after 2017.

How much of that can be chalked up to the price of success and how much to demanding head coaches?

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules

“That’s almost a Captain Obvious moment.”

This ain’t good, college football.

… FBS attendance last season hit its lowest point in those same four decades years, according to annual figures compiled by the NCAA. The average for the division’s 130 teams slipped to 39,848 fans per game. That’s the fewest since 1981 when the average was 34,621.

Nationally, the average attendance in 2021 was down 15%, more than 7,000 per game, from a record mark of 46,971 in 2008.

Gee, I wonder what’s caused that.

“In some ways, the game doesn’t cater to the fan who chooses to attend the game in-person,” said Chris Bevilacqua, one of the most respected sports media consultants in the industry.

No shit, Sherlock.  But fear not, friends.  The geniuses who run the sport will soon embrace The Next Big Thing.

Bevilacqua is one of the leading voices in that area as well. Fifteen years ago, he helped develop what eventually became CBS Sports Network. His latest venture is Simplebet, a platform that allows fans to place “micro bets” — real time wagers on whether the next pitch is a ball or strike, whether Patrick Mahomes will hand it off or pass. Micro-betting is the future as more states allow single-game betting. It also doesn’t necessarily enhance the in-stadium experience.

“The generation of fans that aren’t really watching TV anymore, they’re on mobile devices. That’s really where the marketing of the sport has to go,” Bevilacqua said. “You’ve got to market a whole new fan base that isn’t watching their televisions.”

In theory, the rise of gaming on phones could help the in-game experience, according to R.J. White, managing editor of SportsLine, a gambling and fantasy sports website owned by CBS Sports.

“There’s a big difference between betting on a college football game and betting on the Super Bowl,” White said. “If this was the Super Bowl, there are so many props, so much attention paid to it. You’re not going to get that for most college games. … That’s where the fun comes in, being engaged in the sports sphere for three hours by being able to bet events in the game.”

Just shoot me now.  My fandom is living on borrowed time.

40 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Back in (red and) black

This is kind of low key, but welcomed, news:

Arik Gilbert is back.

Gilbert was supposed to play a huge role for Georgia last fall but left the program early in fall camp to deal with personal problems. To Kirby Smart’s credit, he stuck with the Marietta native, who rejoined the program back in January.

Georgia lists Gilbert as a wide receiver, although we understand he’s going to need to get his weight down lower than what it is. This spring will be huge from the standpoint of getting back in the shape he’ll need to be this fall.

I hope he makes it back as a full contributor this season, but good on him already getting this far.

25 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Inevitable

Of course this is happening…

The only surprise is that it’s taken this long to come to fruition.  One question:  does an analyst need a towel boy?

18 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules