Monthly Archives: April 2022

Tick tock

I know the NFL Draft has sucked all the oxygen out of the room, but has it occurred to anyone that if Georgia is looking to get a 2022 contributor out of the transfer portal without needing a waiver, time is running short?

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Filed under Georgia Football

“We’re not talking about it.”

I keep telling myself I shouldn’t get my hopes up about it, but the clown show that is college football playoff expansion has entered a new phase, and I’m loving it.

The sun was shining Wednesday afternoon at the sprawling Four Seasons resort as the 10 FBS commissioners and College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock gathered in person for the first time since their tense playoff expansion meetings at the national championship game in Indianapolis almost four months ago.

And yet, there was no change on where they left matters, as they avoided any substantive discussions this week about the future of their sport’s postseason.

“We’re not talking about it,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said bluntly during a break between the annual meetings, which instead focused on the usual mundane playoff recaps with bowl partners, ESPN television executives and athletic directors who participated in the 2022 CFP.

As far as the topic of expansion was concerned, Sankey compared it to the sitcom “Seinfeld”: a “show about nothing.”

This placid meet-up was a complete reversal from months of sometimes contentious conversations and stressful meetings that boiled over and played out publicly until they ultimately culminated in February with an 8-3 vote that will keep the four-team format in place for four more years. For now, the issue of college football’s championship format beyond the 2025 season is on pause — most likely for another year. No expansion meetings are currently scheduled, and no changes have been made to how the four best teams are determined.

“I don’t sense any momentum for conversations on the side at the moment,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told ESPN recently.

But they can avoid it for only so long.

A decade or so would work just fine for me, thank you very much.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

They’ll always have Metchie and Williams.

Roll ‘Bama Roll ♥ Mel Kiper.

Mel Kiper Jr. said what everyone knows and Georgia fans get testy over.

“He’s an awesome football player,” Kiper said Thursday. “He’s a tremendous warrior on the football field. I’ve always contended they beat Georgia if he plays that entire football game in the national title game.

“Against Georgia, they couldn’t cover this guy. They could not cover Jameson Williams. He got hurt in the second quarter. They win that football game (if he plays the second half.)

It is what it is. The replacements for Metchie and Williams didn’t make plays, and one of them hit the portal after seeing significant time in the national title game. Alabama has plans on being back there this year.

I figure we’re six months away from their fan base claiming 2021 as another national championship season for the Tide.

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Filed under Alabama

Today, in doing it for the kids

Just your annual reminder that there’s no good reason players who aren’t selected in the NFL Draft shouldn’t be allowed to return to college to continue their careers.

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Filed under The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Pay me or trade me

No doubt this will make some of your heads explode.

Agent, money, public demand… yeah, that checks all the boxes. And, of course, the demand isn’t made of the school, but of the dude who’s running Miami’s NIL compensation.

Ruiz has 111 deals signed or pending with Hurricanes athletes to promote his companies, LifeWallet and Cigarette Racing, according to a report in the Miami Herald on Wednesday.

“It’s a unique situation just completing Nijel Pack’s deal with Miami,” said Papas, who also represents Miami power forward Jordan Walker and South Dakota State star Baylor Scheierman for their NIL deals. “Understanding what John Ruiz is trying to do with the NIL space and the city of Miami, we feel the value of Isaiah Wong should meet or exceed the value of an incoming transfer.”

Ruiz confirmed his knowledge of Wong’s dissatisfaction with his NIL compensation.

“Isaiah is under contract,” Ruiz said in a text message to ESPN. “He has been treated by LifeWallet exceptionally well. If that is what he decides, I wish him well, however, I DO NOT renegotiate! I cannot disclose the amount, but what I can say is that he was treated very fairly.”

This shit is the perfect example of be careful what you wish for.  It’s why I don’t think this Wild West burst is sustainable over the long run.  I don’t care how enamored you might be over your school’s athletics program, how often are you going to keep throwing money at kids who can walk away from you (at least once) at the drop of a hat?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Auburn, Bryan Harsin is fighting for you.

And I’m sure it will make all the difference this season.

“I said it then and say it now,” Harsin said. “I wasn’t going to turn and run just because we faced some adversity. I was going to fight like hell for these players because they deserve it. I want people to know that, whoever you are, that these players at Auburn deserve your support. These guys bust their ass.”

… Harsin, who admittedly remains angry over the toll the whole ordeal took on his family, said those inside the Auburn football program rallied around each other this spring and that the vibe among coaches and players is the best it’s been since he took the job in December 2020.

“Something else I want to make clear is that people are underestimating this football team, and that’s one thing I’ve told our players,” Harsin said. “When they say I can’t recruit and can’t do all these things, they’re underestimating the players on this team. These are our players. We believe in them, and we know talent. These guys busted their asses this spring. It felt like the teams I’ve coached before.”

Harsin brought in three new assistant coaches, including former Auburn player Jimmy Brumbaugh as defensive line coach and promoted Eric Kiesau to offensive coordinator and Jeff Schmedding to defensive coordinator. Harsin believes all the uncertainty from February actually became a rallying point for the players and coaches on this team.

“Coming out of this, we’re stronger,” Harsin said. “We’re in a much better position than we were 16 months ago. Our team, the leadership, the chemistry, the cohesiveness — all those things — have really shown up over the past two or three months.”

Yeah, everything’s better in the offseason.  But them boosters ain’t going anywhere, dude.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands

What a year we’re having

Quite the run we’re on, Dawgnation.

With five first-round picks, the Georgia Bulldogs flexed their muscles on the opening night of the NFL draft — but it was just a continuation of a red-hot streak for UGA football.

Just months after the Atlanta Braves won the World Series, the Bulldogs kicked off 2022 by winning the College Football Playoff National Championship in January, ending a 40-season title drought. The victory also broke a seven-game losing streak — including three with hardware on the line — against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

And just think — we owe it all to Metchie and Williams getting hurt.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Georgia, Georgia, Georgia

Kirby Smart has his shiny new pitch for the recruiting trail.

And not just that…

If only he could develop players, amirite Gators?

48 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

TFW patience is a virtue

Good piece from Ivan Maisel here.

It’s rare enough that Georgia will have as many as seven defensive players go in the first two rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. You have to scour the draft logs closely to find another unit as talented.

There’s the Alabama offense in the 2021 draft (six of the first 37 picks, five in the first round).

There’s the Oklahoma defense in the 1984 draft (five of the first 36 picks, another two in the first and second rounds of the supplemental draft).

Take a good, long look at Bulldogs who will parade across your screen on Thursday and Friday night. They are linemen Travon Walker, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt, linebackers Nakobe Dean, Quay Walker and Channing Tindall, and safety Lewis Cine. They may be the last group of homegrown, one-school-no-portal stars who develop as a unit. Only Wyatt attended a junior college. The others came in as raw freshmen.

As spring practice closes, and self-declared refugees flock to the portal gates, as college football careens toward an uncertain future with, to coin a phrase, all gas and no brakes, the 2022 draft class of Georgia Dawgs may be the last we see of a homegrown crop of stars.

So how do you deal with the new mentality, driven by the transfer portal?  Kirby Smart has some thoughts.

“What is the greater goal?” Smart asked. “Is it the endgame of where I go? Or do they think, ‘I have to play to make it?’ You got to get better. What gets you better?”

A player has to be mature enough to decide between the discomfort of working toward an opportunity to play and the allure of a better opportunity somewhere else.

“What you’re doing,” Smart said, “is you explain, ‘You will have the same opportunity to play in the NFL being here going against the best every day in practice. You’re still going to get an opportunity to show the NFL. You don’t necessarily have to do it on a Saturday at 2 p.m. at a smaller school or a different school.’ ”

It’s a fair point, made even fairer by Smart acknowledging that Justin Fields helped himself out by transferring to Ohio State.  (Although I notice he didn’t say anything about Jermaine Johnson.)

I’m not sure this is as fair, though.

“This all-in, NFL mentality, all or nothing. It’s really not meant to be that way,” Smart said. ‘It’s get a good education, and if you make it to the NFL, that’s an added bonus. The fun point was playing a game, playing for a school, playing for something you love. Now it’s all transactional and how do I get to the NFL?”

“I think the old world, they realized that and they focused on their education. The current world, when they realize that, they go somewhere else. And there’s not a realization until they get to the other place and they say, ‘It might be important that I get this education.’ ”

Am I supposed to believe coaches at places like ‘Bama and Georgia aren’t selling top recruits on their programs being the surest way to develop for a shot at the next level?  Or ignore how often schools made every effort to shunt athletes into academic programs modeled more for keeping them eligible to play than for providing a meaningful degree?

Perhaps I digress.  One thing Maisel underplays is that the success of Georgia’s 2022 draft class is itself an excellent example for Smart to use in countering the lure of the transfer portal.  Will that be enough?  If anybody can make that work, it’s Kirby Smart.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The NFL Is Your Friend., Transfers Are For Coaches.

“It’s going to make some heads explode.”

The NCAA’s Transformation Committee wants to blow your mind.

Several athletic administrators and college sports insiders discussed the Transfer Committee’s concepts under the condition of anonymity. They include (1) eliminating scholarship caps on sports that offer only partial scholarships; (2) abolishing the limitation on the number of coaches per team; (3) expanding direct payments from schools to athletes; (4) reconfiguring the recruiting calendar; and (5) implementing closed periods in the NCAA transfer portal. At least the first three items will be left in the decision-making hands of individual conferences, if the concepts are approved.

Uh hunh.

Keep in mind two things here:

  • The Transformation Committee is co-chaired by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.
  • “Every G5 AD is like, ‘Holy s—!’” says one Group of 5 athletic director who attended the presentation.

The committee’s ideas on deregulation were met with opposition from a wide swath of administrators. The moves to abolish restrictions on equivalency scholarships and coaching positions threaten to further widen the gap between the rich programs and those with lesser resources, some believe.

No kidding.

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Filed under The NCAA