Daily Archives: August 29, 2022

We’re playin’ those mind games… together.

Shot.

Chaser.

12 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Not your regular SEC preseason predictions, 2022 edition

Once again, you’re gonna get my best shot at what’s coming this season in our favorite football conference.

And once again, I feel the need to say this:

The format for my picks, in case you haven’t tuned into this broadcast before, hasn’t changed.

Rather than give you my predicted records, I’ll list the schools in the order they finished in the conference last year, look at areas of potential improvement and decline and assess in what direction I expect each to go by comparison to (2021).

In other words, pure seat of the pants BS.

Based on that, the teams are listed in the order of [last season’s] conference order of finish.  Remember that, before you start freaking out over where a school shows up in this post.

And once again, I feel compelled to make my evergreen prediction that at least two commenters will fall short with their reading comprehension skills.  Ah, well, tradition, amirite?  Anyway, here we go.

SEC WEST

ALABAMA (13-2, 7-1)

  • Pros:  Along with Georgia, conference’s best depth; Nick Saban and The Process; defense; quarterback; schedule
  • Cons:  Offensive line; replacement of Metchie and Williams (had to go there)
  • Outlook:  Same as it ever was in Tuscaloosa.  There are plenty of people who think the Tide are a lock to lose a regular season game.  Okay, but to whom? (I wrote that last year and I see no reason to change it.)

OLE MISS (10-3, 6-2)

  • Pros:  Offense; schedule
  • Cons:  Defense; overall depth; two new coordinators; turnover at quarterback
  • Outlook:  The schedule is quite generous.  There’s a decent chance Ole Miss gets out to a 7-0 start.  From there, it gets dicey.  Kiffin had to welcome 17 players from the portal, and while there’s some talent there, that kind of changeover doesn’t mesh overnight.  Right now, I’m thinking eight wins.

ARKANSAS (9-4, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Stable coaching staff; quarterback; running backs
  • Cons:  Schedule
  • Outlook:  I am officially done underestimating Sam Pittman’s head coaching ability.  He’s built the team he wants.  My only hesitation with regard to the Hogs’ record this season is another tough schedule.  But I’m taking nine wins for them.

TEXAS A&M (8-4, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Defense; offensive line; rising talent base
  • Cons:  Quarterback; change at defensive coordinator
  • Outlook:  My feeling is that people are getting ahead of themselves with the Aggies, based on that incredible recruiting class.  Jimbo needs a great quarterback to have a great team, and there’s no way of knowing that as of now.  I like TAMU to win nine.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-6, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Third year in Leach’s system; quarterback; receiving corps; team experience
  • Cons:  Offensive tackles; defensive depth
  • Outlook:  Historically, Leach’s teams tend to show improvement in Year 3, but improvement is a relative term in the tough SEC West.  I’ve got the feeling MSU is good for one big upset and one embarrassing loss — pretty much a typical year, in other words.  I’ll say they’re good for a shaky, eight-win season.

AUBURN (6-7, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Running back; defensive line
  • Cons:  Coaching staff under pressure; quarterback; defensive back seven
  • Outlook:  Harsin’s got a mess on his hands, and we know why.  His best chance for success is if he can convince his players and coaches to buy into an us against the world mind set.  (Hey, that’s worked for Auburn before.)  The front end of the schedule is accommodating.  That being said, it’s very easy to see the wheels coming off the wagon.  I’ll go with five wins.

LSU (6-7, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Receivers; running backs
  • Cons:  New coaching staff; quarterback; defense
  • Outlook:  I’ve got the coaching staff as a negative, simply because it takes time for a new head coach, even one who’s an improvement over his predecessor (and Kelly is that), to transition to what he wants.  The defense has a way to go.  There is talent on this offense, though, especially if a young and gifted offensive line jells.  LSU is another team that could get off to a good start with a soft early schedule.  They may be good for eight wins, but should be no worse than seven.

SEC EAST

GEORGIA (14-1, 8-0)

  • Pros:  Conference-best roster depth; tight ends; running backs; schedule; offensive cohesion; coaching staff
  • Cons:  Defensive losses
  • Outlook:  They’ve climbed the mountain, so they know the journey.  The stability/cohesion between quarterback and offensive coordinator is huge.  The defensive losses should be of some concern, but that is ameliorated by the way Smart has recruited.  Like Alabama, there shouldn’t be more than one regular season loss; like Alabama, I’m not sure where that will come from.

KENTUCKY (10-3; 5-3)

  • Pros:  Quarterback; Stoops’ game management skills
  • Cons:  Both lines of scrimmage; loss of Robinson on offense; questions about Rodriguez’ availability
  • Outlook:  I thought they’d win eight last season, and they topped that nicely, but they’ve got some rebuilding to do on both sides.  Rodriguez’ status makes them hard to judge, but we should get a good handle on them early against Florida.  For now, I’ll say eight wins again.

TENNESSEE (7-6, 4-4)

  • Pros:  Quarterback; offensive scheme; offensive line experience; second year coaching staff
  • Cons:  Team depth; secondary
  • Outlook:    Everybody’s dark horse darling in the SEC East, the Vols should both score a lot of points and give up a lot of points.  The non-conference schedule has one challenge (@ Pitt) and three snooze fests.  Once they get past Georgia in November, things should be fairly smooth sailing.  Can they get over the Florida hump this year?  If so, eight wins is certainly manageable.

SOUTH CAROLINA (7-6, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Running back; quarterback; tight end; defensive line; second year coaching staff
  • Cons:  Offensive line; defensive back seven; overall depth
  • Outlook:  Shane Beamer did a helluva job last season and topped it by fixing his quarterback problem via the transfer portal.  But South Carolina faces three teams in the preseason top 6 and a division that looks to be improving.  I’ll say the ‘Cocks make it to bowl eligibility, but that’s about it.

MISSOURI (6-7, 3-5)

  • Pros:  Schedule; ’22 recruiting class
  • Cons:  Defense; loss of Badie; quarterback
  • Outlook:  The schedule is the best thing these Tigers have going for them, I’m afraid.  Drinkwitz may be great with the quips, but the jury is still out on his ability to build an SEC program.  He signed his best class this year, and with the departures Mizzou suffered on both sides of the ball, I can see this season turning into a learning experience to build towards next year.  Four, maybe five, wins.

FLORIDA (6-7, 2-6)

  • Pros:  Offensive line; secondary
  • Cons:  Overall depth; coaching staff changeover; wide receiver
  • Outlook:  Let’s get this out of the way first:  Florida’s got talent.  Its starting 22 is as good or better than anyone else’s in the East outside of Athens, Georgia.  But it’s a little scary to think about how a couple of key injuries, starting at quarterback, could derail this team.  That being said, Napier strikes me as an improvement over Mullen from an organizational standpoint, but, again, football teams, like Rome, aren’t built in a day.  The schedule has a rough start to it, but is fairly manageable after that.  The Gators ought to be good for two more wins if the team doesn’t quit on its head coach like it did in 2021.

VANDERBILT (2-10, 0-8)

  • Pros:  Receivers; second year coaching staff
  • Cons:  Schedule; overall lowest talent level in the conference
  • Outlook:  Vandy better get its wins early, because it finishes out with eight consecutive conference games, beginning with Alabama.  Three wins at best.

And there you have it.  Come at me!

51 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Another offensive depth chart projection

What’s striking about Jordan Hill’s post on the subject is how few surprises show up.  If we’re honest about it, the only position with a bit of intrigue is left guard, where he projects Truss narrowly beating out Willock.  The rest of it, any of us could probably put together with a little thought.

To me, that reflects a similar take to what we saw regarding Georgia’s decision to forego transfer portal signees — it’s a sign that the staff is comfortable with the existing roster and player development.  Given their track record, it’s hard to argue with that.

4 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“… from five-foot-nothin’, hundred-and-nothin’ walk-on to local legend”

Matt Hinton’s clear-eyed take on Stetson Bennett has a couple of very interesting stats worth sharing.

The first is this:  “His overall passer rating (176.7) set the school record.”  That’s the mark of a very good, consistent season.  But he had help, as the second stat indicates.

A big part of keeping Bennett within structure is keeping him well-protected. He was relatively unhurried last year, facing pressure on just 27.2% of his total dropbacks per PFF, but his completion percentage on those snaps (35%) ranked near the bottom of the SEC. In the SECCG loss to Alabama, he was just 1/10 on pressured attempts and took three sacks.

All of which makes me wonder if we’re on the cusp of seeing a change in tactics from opposing defensive coordinators.  The old approach was to load up the box to stop the run and make Bennett beat you throwing the ball.  Will the new one be to pressure Bennett relentlessly and take your chances with Georgia’s run game?

19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Boom’s gonna Boom.

The man gets points for consistency, you gotta admit.

24 Comments

Filed under Agent Muschamp Goes Boom, Georgia Football

“It’s everywhere and nowhere.”

The Air Raid offense, that is.

Mike Leach settles into a leather chair in his office overlooking Mississippi State’s practice field after a routine spring session with his team and is asked to give a status report on the Air Raid offense, which has been carving up major-college defenses for the last 25 years.

As is often the case with Leach, his assessment of the pioneering, pass-centric scheme he helped hone into a record-breaking tour de force is a bit over the top but not without merit.

“Well, three of the last four teams that won the Super Bowl have run it so I guess it’s doing pretty good,” the 61-year-old head coach said.

Birthed from the mind of Hal Mumme at a high school in East Texas in the 1980s and passed down to the latest batch of Leach-inspired, 30-something coaches, the Air Raid’s evolution over four decades has made the offense both ubiquitous and inconspicuous.

It would be difficult to watch a football game at any level and not find a team running at least some of the Air Raid’s foundational concepts and plays — mesh, Y cross, four verts, the quick game.

However, finding a team at the highest levels of the sport running Air Raid in a way that resembles what Mumme unleashed on the Southeastern Conference as Kentucky’s coach in 1997 is nearly impossible — outside of Leach’s teams.

It’s amazing how it’s mutated at both the college and pro levels.  It’s also pretty amazing how many branches have grown from the Air Raid coaching tree.

11 Comments

Filed under Mike Leach. Yar!, Strategery And Mechanics

The Dawg that didn’t bark

Something unusual about Georgia’s offseason, you say?  What might that be ($$)?

Georgia: Before you start yelling, see my upset prediction below. It’s not an accident that Georgia didn’t take any transfers this offseason. Despite losing 15 players to the draft, Kirby Smart looked at his roster, looked at what was available and said, “I think the players I have are all better.” That should scare the hell out of the rest of the SEC.

Georgia: Kirby Smart did something this offseason that I don’t think many people noticed. Georgia did not sign any players out of the transfer portal. Not one. Coming off their national title, I’m sure they could’ve brought in almost anyone they wanted. Didn’t need ‘em. What does that tell you? It tells me Smart really likes his roster and doesn’t see big deficiencies that can’t be solved by the Bulldogs’ young blue-chip talent. I’m not too worried about whether they’ll be able to reload and find some new stars on both sides of the ball.

That makes two… er, three of us.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

“The tills are down and we can’t take cash.”

It’s Greg McGarity’s worst nightmare.

Fans attending the Nebraska and Northwestern college football game in Dublin, Ireland, on Saturday expected to have plenty of fun in a unique environment, plus all the food and drink they could handle.

When the concession workers notified fans in the first half that the credit card machines used to take payments were down because the Wi-Fi connection was out at Aviva Stadium, those in line literally got all the food and drink they could handle.

… The solution: Christmas morning for those in attendance. Social media posts showed hundreds of fans filling the concourses as they patiently waited.

Or it would be, anyway.  After all, you can’t have Wi-Fi go out during a game if it never worked during a game in the first place.

Roll Safe GIFs | Tenor

24 Comments

Filed under I'll Drink To That, Science Marches Onward

Another Fabris Pool invite

140 people have signed up for this season’s pick ’em.  Week One picks have posted.

It’s not too late to join the action!  Click here and get in on it.

2 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff