Mandel was asked in his Mailbag ($$) if, in the wake of all the new media deals, we should expect any changes in how kickoff times are set. Part of his answer might be of interest:
The six/12-day TV windows are a byproduct of most conferences having multiple network partners, which themselves are balancing deals with multiple leagues…
However, SEC fans are about to find out if there’s an advantage to having one company, ESPN, own 100 percent of their league’s inventory. When the parties announced their new deal (which begins with the 2024 season), Greg Sankey said, “I think more than half of our games we can set up (kickoff times) during the summer.” If it were this year, for example, the league could announce this week that the Oct. 1 LSU–Auburn game will be in prime time. Then the week of the game, after seeing how the teams start, ESPN would decide whether to put it on ABC, ESPN or the SEC Network.
That might be nice, although it’s ironic that once CBS gets the boot, the Cocktail Party might no longer have its convenient (if you’re tailgating there, that is) 3:30 automatic slot.
Nobody can make an 11-1 regular season mark in the SEC sound as unappetizing as our good buddy Erik Evans does.
Georgia 10.5 (O/ -210, U/ +170) — Like Alabama, the Bulldogs are a big favorite to run away with their division, largely because they should be able to out-talent practically everyone on the schedule. The OOC is full of UGA’s usual kicked cripples (Samford, Kent State, Georgia Tech)… except for that season opener vs. Oregon. And while the Lanning connection is somewhat intriguing as a viewer, I suspect the Ducks are a lot like the Gators and Gamecocks: a year away from being the true threat. 4-0 should be the expectation. That said, if Oregon is going to lay into Georgia this year, getting them early is the best shot. The divisional schedule is a bit tougher than usual, with trappish road trips to Mizzou and South Carolina. UGA also hits the road against Bowl-ish Kentucky and Mississippi State. But the ‘Dawgs do host Auburn, the most dangerous team on the schedule in Tennessee, and then the annual drubbing of UF in Jacksonville. Still, the Bulldogs lost a whole lot of talent to the draft, and another 13 players to the portal. It’s rebuilding. Someone is going to wind up getting them, but I don’t see two losses here. Over, 11-1. Just too much talent to Kirby this away.
Apparently only ‘Bama is allowed to reload in Erik’s world. I guess we’re just gonna have to suffer through another rebuild. Sigh.
Tim Tucker conducts a thoughtful Q&A with former Dawgs Keith Marshall and Aaron Murray here. Both of them acknowledge the current excesses, but Marshall tempers his outlook with a dose of “it’s the free market, bruh” wisdom. Wisdom born of a certain experience:
AJC: How did your own college football experience influence your stance on what’s happening now?
Marshall: For me and what I dealt with – the success early on, then the injury and battling to get back in position where I was fortunate enough to be drafted – I definitely feel like if I would have been able to get compensated earlier, I could have helped provide my family with a foundation that could sustain me longer. But think about Murray: He was the SEC all-time leading quarterback, one of the biggest faces of college football, and probably would have made millions of dollars over the course of three or four years. And we didn’t get to participate in any of that.
I’m a little surprised neither mentioned what happened with Gurley, but it’s not hard to understand where they’re coming from now.
Pete Fiutak’s Georgia Tech preview begins with this:
Georgia Tech should be a whole lot better than this.
It seems like 50 years ago when the program was hanging around in the ACC Championship – going in 2012 and 2014 – and the idea of simply going bowling feels like it’s 50 miles away after three straight three-win seasons under head coach Geoff Collins.
Even worse than the lack of wins are the lack of competitive performances. Since the last year of the Paul Johnson era in 2018, 22 of the last 29 losses were by double digits.
Closing out last season losing to Notre Dame and Georgia by a combined score of 100-0 didn’t help.
It’s not for the lack of trying. Collins had to change the program around from being designed for the triple-option to a more balanced attack to now more of a pro-style version, but that’s the offense. The defense should’ve been better from the start.
Collins knows how to coach – the guy took Temple to two straight bowl games and 15 wins in two seasons before taking over the Yellow Jacket job – but his team needs to catch a break.
Big changes in the coaching staff are a part of the last gasp push, and several gets from the transfer portal will help, but it’s still a reboot four years in.
Considering all the changes and the nasty schedule, it’s going to take something big for there to be a Year Five.
Not gonna happen, according to Pete, who pegs Tech’s win total at 3.5. Sounds about right for Coach 404. I mean, at least the man’s consistent.
Interesting Twitter thread yesterday from David Hale:
Right now, NIL is a shiny new toy for a lot of boosters, so what happens when the shine starts to wear off, either because there really isn’t much of a business boost from players’ promotional value or because their team’s record doesn’t show the kind of improvement they were expecting from their investment? I can’t imagine the well is bottomless.