Daily Archives: May 24, 2022

One and done

While this Pete Thamel piece on SEC scheduling got some attention yesterday for this…

One idea certain to be discussed by SEC officials in Destin is the notion of the SEC creating, running and profiting from its own intra-SEC postseason. The most obvious model is an eight-team one, but there are others that will be discussed.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey stressed that no seismic change is imminent. But he did mention that an SEC-only playoff, in a variety of forms, was among the nearly 40 different models that SEC officials discussed at their fall meetings.

“As we think as a conference,” he told ESPN on Monday, “it’s vitally important we think about the range of possibilities.”

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin echoed that notion to ESPN: “We have an incredibly strong league, one that will be even stronger once Oklahoma and Texas join. The focus should be on how we as a league use that strength to further position the SEC as we face new realities. Commissioner Sankey has encouraged our athletic directors to think creatively, and an SEC-only playoff is a different idea that we should absolutely consider an option.”

… I’m a little skeptical that rates as anything more than a less than subtle reminder to the conference’s peers that the SEC has too much leverage to ignore in the battle to define the CFP’s future format.

What I did find more interesting was one of the options Thamel writes is on the table as Sankey and his member schools debate how to structure regular season scheduling once the expansion to 16 schools occurs.

1 and 7: If the SEC sticks with eight league games, this model would be best for the overall exposure and variety of league games, which Sankey values. (More Texas vs. Alabama and less of annual Georgia vs. Kentucky matchups.) Teams would get one rivalry game that’s played every year — think Auburn and Alabama or Oklahoma and Texas — and then rotate through the other seven. The eight-game schedule would be better suited to the current four-team playoff system, as it allows for the customary cushy SEC non-league game late in the season. When there’s a four-team playoff, there’s little margin for error, and that could bring hesitation to play more league games and risk missing out on a CFP spot.

I know a lot of the conventional wisdom out there from people who are better connected to the decision makers than I’ll ever be is that the SEC is a lock to go to a nine-game conference schedule, but I still have this nagging feeling that there are plenty of coaches and ADs who would prefer to stick with the current eight-game format.  Bowl eligibility drives some of that, but Thamel may also have a point about the CFP there.

If all that’s true, the 1 and 7 format leaves a lot to be desired for some fan bases.  Georgia, of course, would lose the Auburn annual rivalry.  I have no idea what school South Carolina would be paired with permanently, as it wouldn’t be UGA.

On the other hand, the Vols would love the 1 and 7, as they’d lose Alabama as an annual opponent and keep Vandy.

What do y’all think?

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UPDATE:  Ross Dellenger confirms the gist of Thamel’s story.

A week before the league’s leaders gather in Destin for their annual spring meetings, the 35 has been cut to two: an eight-game format where teams play one permanent opponent and seven rotating opponents (1–7 model); and a nine-game format where teams play three permanent opponents and six rotating (3–6).

While most officials feel strongly that divisions are likely gone, and a pod system first floated out in the fall has been eliminated, the conference is virtually split on what to do next: eight conference games or nine? With this issue—and so many others—the SEC is divided mostly on revenue-generating lines.

Now there’s a surprise.

… For instance, an eight-game model would allow every team in the league an additional fourth nonconference game to, some might say, pick up a needed victory—something the bottom teams need more than their big brothers.

And what do their big brothers want? To make the league more valuable than it already is by increasing the number of inner-conference matchups. A property that is already incredibly valuable could be made more valuable.

“We have to do what’s in the best interest of the league,” says one SEC administrator. That’s why the big boys might get their way. Most feel like at the end of this debate, the SEC will be playing a nine-game conference schedule in a 3–6 model.

Dellenger writes that the pro-nine group has offered a compromise to the others.

Already, there is compromise from one group to the other in regard to the three permanent opponents. In several versions of the permanent opponents floating around the league, it appears that the top eight teams would play two of their three permanent games against fellow top eight teams. They’d get two tops and one bottom. The bottom eight would get two bottoms and one from the top half.

It’s times like these when I can’t help but wonder what McGarity would do if he were still the AD.  Probably offer for UGA to play three top tier opponents annually, because, McGarity.

57 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Is the end really near?

Ordinarily, if I saw something like this on a college football message board, I’d brush it off as a rival fan’s fever dream.

A person close with Nick Saban speculated to The Athletic recently about the possibility of Saban retiring after his next national title, an observation that was met with an eye roll. After seeing Saban uncharacteristically call out multiple schools by name last week, though, that scenario is suddenly easier to imagine. The 70-year-old has never really shown signs of slowing down, or shown interest in doing much of anything besides coaching football. Could this era of player empowerment and roster turnover be enough to wear on him, though?

But it’s from a piece at The Athletic co-written by Bruce Feldman ($$), who’s pretty well connected in the coaching ranks.  Has the way certain programs appear to be taking advantage of the lax NIL regulatory environment brought Saban to the brink of being at the point of no return?  Or, to put it another way, does Nick Saban feel like he has to deal with this shit?

40 Comments

Filed under Nick Saban Rules

Siri, what is the opposite of Georgia’s 2013 recruiting class?

Kirby Smart and Georgia recruited 2018’s top class and guess what?  They lived up to their ranking, and then some ($$).

… Nine members of the Bulldogs’ 2018 class started in the championship game and five more played against the Crimson Tide to help deliver the school’s first national title since 1980.

… Among the 18 signees who stayed in the program, 15 started more than 10 games. Even the ones who moved on — such as Justin Fields, Cade Mays and Brenton Cox — have panned out.

Smart added several key chess pieces for what became an all-time great defense in 2021. They found a real gem in Davis, one of the few three-star additions, and developed him into a unanimous All-American and first-rounder. Fourteen members of this class have become NFL draft picks.

As slogans go, this one’s as good a summary as we’ll get:

… The success of Georgia’s 2018 recruiting class can be measured in so many other ways. But given where this program was when they arrived on campus, we can sum up their legacy like this: They got the job done.

That they did.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“Screw it! We know we are going to get sued anyway.”

I’m wondering if, when it comes to the NCAA and NIL, we’ve come full circle.  What I mean by that is illustrated by this quote:

But will the conversations with prospects or prospects’ agents really stop? “Somebody is going to have to be made an example of,” says Eddie Rojas, CEO of the Gator Collective. “There are people out there who are straight up ignoring the rules.”

When you’ve got one guy running a collective pointing a finger at others, you know somebody’s out there crossing a red line.  Maybe it’s time for the NCAA to consult with an antitrust lawyer who knows their business and make an example of somebody doing something truly egregious.  Seriously, what have they got to lose?  The states aren’t coming to their rescue.  Neither is Congress.

“At a certain point, the NCAA is going to have to face it,” says Gabe Feldman, a sports law professor at Tulane who’s been integral in NIL matters. “Either the NCAA is going to defend its current model or it is going to have to get protection from Congress so it no longer has to defend its current model. Or its model will be sued to smithereens and it will no longer exist.”

The irony is thick.  After spending a decade wasting millions fighting a losing battle in the courts, now that the organization is faced with what truly looks like an existential crisis, is it going to sit on its hands?  This being the NCAA we’re talking about, probably.

16 Comments

Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Envy and jealousy, with parity like this edition

In a piece dripping with sarcasm about Nick Saban’s yearning for a return to parity in college football, this one-liner stands out:

– Arkansas State plundered a valuable intern off Saban’s staff, hiring Butch Jones as its coach in December 2020. Jones displayed his acumen throughout the Red Wolves’ two victories last season.

Okay, but I bet they led the FCS in vacuous slogans and gestures.

10 Comments

Filed under Envy and Jealousy

Best of times

Here are a couple of stats for you…

Now that’s what I call manball.

7 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Looks like we’re gonna need a bigger chip…

… to put on Stetson Bennett’s shoulder.

Look, I’m not being a blind homer here.  He’s not gonna be in the Heisman mix.  He won’t be a high NFL draft pick, if he’s even drafted at all.  But you’re really going to insist that a kid who finished last season fourth nationally in passer rating and MVP-ed his ass off in the CFP isn’t one of the top 20 quarterbacks in the country this season?  Pundit, please.

30 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football