Based on this…
Daily Archives: June 24, 2022
(The percentage is based on the total number of votes cast, 3849.)
- Honestly, overall this came out almost exactly where I thought it would for the top teams. You can draw a line where you see fit separating the kings from the rest of Mandel’s feudal classes, but to me, it’s certainly fewer than the eleven he came up with.
- So, having said that, where would you draw the line in defining a national power? After the top three? After the four with more than 10% of the votes cast? After seven, which would include every team that got at least 100 votes? I’m thinking six, max.
- Are you surprised by any team’s finish?
- I’m not sure which amuses me more, that Georgia received more votes than Alabama (you homers know who you are) or that Georgia Tech received any votes at all. With regard to the latter, don’t assume those three votes were simply the result of mistaken votes for Georgia. The first ballot I saw that had a GT vote also had a Georgia vote.
- Looking at that list, which team would you be most strongly convinced will be in a much higher spot five years from now? Which team would you expect to see drop in five years? (And why is it USC and Oklahoma, respectively?) Or do you think little will change over the next half decade?
Thanks to all of you who took the time to participate. And, as always, thanks to my approval voting partner in crime, Peyton, without whom this never gets off the ground.
I’m a big fan of Kansas coach Lance Leipold, so I read Bill Connelly’s piece ($$) about how he’s trying to rebuild the program there, perhaps the tallest task in college football. I mean, here’s a quick look at the giants who came before Leipold:
… First came Buffalo coach Turner Gill, hired for his program-building prowess despite his four-year Bills’ tenure, including only one winning season and no SP+ ranking above 97th. He went 5-19.
Then came former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, he of the professed “decided tactical advantage,” whose Florida offense had ranked 57th in offensive SP+ in 2011. His teams went 7-29, and in his impatience, he loaded up on junior college transfers and handed his successor a ticking time bomb of a roster.
That successor? David Beaty, a well-intentioned former Kansas offensive co-coordinator who was regarded primarily as a strong recruiter, but he never had a chance of bringing many four-stars to Lawrence. Dealing with massive player shortages and incapable of developing what he had, he went 6-42.
After all of this came maybe the most inexplicable hire yet: Les Miles. Dismissed from LSU for failing to keep up with the times (his offenses were prehistoric, and he didn’t update them even as Nick Saban and others did), he went 3-18 in two seasons with KU and was fired in March 2021 after accusations of inappropriate behavior at LSU were unearthed. The school went through spring practice under the guidance of interim coach Emmett Jones, then officially hired Leipold on April 30, maybe the single most awkward point on the calendar for bringing in an outsider.
Ugh. Kansas football was essentially a toxic waste site when Leipold was handed the keys.
What I found interesting was that Leipold, much like Kirby Smart, is a big believer in establishing a culture as the rock upon which to build a successful program. The difference, of course, is that it’s one thing to build a culture at a resource-rich environment like Georgia’s, and an entirely different one at a dump like Kansas. But this isn’t Leipold’s first rodeo in that regard.
“We get done with that 2-10 year and we start talking about culture more and researching it more,” Kotelnicki said. “We became very intentional that spring about what culture is — how we install it and, more specifically, how we define it.”
How do you define it?
“It’s when the locker room leads itself,” Leipold said.
“Player-led culture,” strength coach Matt Gildersleeve said.
“Culture is behavior,” Kotelnicki said. “We try to install it with our kids, kind of like a playbook.”
“Go back to when Lance and I worked for Coach [Barry] Alvarez at Wisconsin,” general manager Rob Ianello said. “The buzzword ‘culture’ was not what you used — it was, ‘This is how we do things. This is how we’re gonna win.’ We’ve done a really good job of defining what our culture is to our team, teaching it to them and demanding it.”
With proper expectation and accountability in place, Buffalo began to win. The Bulls rose to 6-6 in 2017, then to 10-4 with a MAC East title in 2018. Despite losing quite a few key pieces, they won eight games and scored the program’s first ever bowl win in 2019, and in the pandemic-shortened 2020, with experience levels again high, they went 6-1, won another MAC East title and finished ranked in the AP poll for the first time.
“When you say ‘player-led culture’ … it takes time,” Gildersleeve said. “You have to get those guys comfortable doing what you ask, but it’s also getting teammates comfortable hearing it from a peer, not a coach. That’s a whole ‘nother layer of complexity. But [by 2020] it was to the point where I was almost bored — I was just coaching technique and stuff, and I wasn’t coaching culture because before I could ever get a coaching cue out of my mouth, there were six seniors doing it for me.”
I hope what worked before works again. Kansas is never going to become a CFP contender, but becoming a competitive D-1 program would be a helluva reworking, considering how lifeless KU football has been. Leipold has the background to give his efforts credibility, so we’ll see if his hire pays off.
Tennessee is now in a position to be Tennessee again.
Set The Tennessee Volunteers Regular Season Win Total At … 8
Sounds about right.
Bryce Young has had the look.
His dad, Craig Young, knows it well. He’s witnessed it before. Several times, in fact, throughout the Alabama football quarterback’s life. And it’s back this offseason.
“I can see that look in his eyes where he’s been so motivated,” Craig said.
… The look appeared again in 2021 when Young strived to take advantage of the open Alabama quarterback spot. He ended up winning the Heisman Trophy.
“This,” Craig said, “looks very familiar to those times.”
Young is fresh off a season that ended with a 33-18 loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff championship. It was only Young’s fifth loss over his past four seasons of football.
Now, the quarterback who seldom loses has the task of responding to his greatest loss yet.
“He’s hungry,” said Taylor Kelly, a long-time QB trainer for Young. “It’s the hungriest that I’ve seen him.”
So, you’re saying he wasn’t hungry to win a national title? Maybe he just lost his appetite after Metchie and Williams went down.
Well, when you’re coming off a national title, it’s unreasonable to expect a whole lot of anonymous criticism from opposing coaches about Georgia, as Athlon finds. Still, if you put your mind to it…
“The quarterback is back, but one of the worst things that can happen after a successful season or a title run is when a good-but-not-great QB comes back,” the coach said. “Everyone is expecting an advancement that might not be possible. Remember, there were times last season when they won in spite of this offense.”
“Times”, as in plural? Outside of the Clemson game — in which Bennett didn’t play — what other wins came in spite of the offense?
“They’re loaded with elite young guys coming in, but they aren’t going to have the luxury of that defense from last season. So eventually, they’re going to have to open the offense up and push Stetson Bennett,” the coach said. “They won a national title in the most comfortable way possible for their head coach: The best defensive players in the country doing their thing and then playing a safe offensive game. That will have to change some.”
“They have to open the offense up” is the new “you can’t win championships playing defense”. I’m waiting for somebody to ask why Georgia is paying Todd Monken so much when all he does is call a safe offensive game.
Let’s go a little farther down the rabbit hole I entered the last couple of days. The Wondermints are Brian Wilson’s backing band when he’s on tour and here’s their cover of a song he wrote in ’64, originally for the Beach Boys, but recorded instead by Glen Campbell, who, incidentally, had been hired as an emergency fill-in for Wilson on the group’s concert tours back then. Whew, got all that?
Anyway, here’s “Guess I’m Dumb”.