It’s Auburn Week!!!
It’s Auburn Week!!!
In the wake of Georgia’s narrow win over Missouri, there’s been a lot of gnashing of teeth in the comments here and questioning by the national media. Perhaps everyone should take a deep breath and then check out Bill Connelly’s advanced box score for the game.
Like they’ve done all season long, Georgia destroyed their opponent in success rate (46.8% vs. 28.3%). I know it felt like Missouri dominated for much of the game, but it was the turnovers and Mevis playing out of his ass that kept the Tigers on top until the fourth quarter. Maybe that’s a formula that comes back to haunt Georgia later this season, but I’m not sure it’s something to be counted on. When the Dawgs don’t shoot themselves in the foot, they just grind and grind, as we finally saw in the fourth quarter.
A few specific tidbits worthy of note:
The point of these stats isn’t to mislead. There’s no question Georgia struggled for a good bit of the game. But there are clear reasons for that and the majority of those weren’t structural. In other words, this is a very good team that’s got some cleaning up to do… and should be able to do.
The Athletic has a roundtable to address the question, “Is CFP expansion just a money grab?“. This is Ari Wasserman’s contribution ($$):
The regular season will never be meaningless. This is college football. There’s too much passion around it. But the high drama of the upset or the stakes that make this sport so compelling in the middle of the year no longer exist. And that stinks.
… That’s the best thing about the expansion of the Playoff. It seems to be a more inclusive system, even if the eventual national champions will be the same as they are today and the regular season is a little weaker. It is paramount to save the sport.
It would have been a lot quicker just to answer “yes”.
UPDATE: Apparently some of you think his first paragraph refers to the here and now. It doesn’t.
… We love upsets because we love watching teams’ dreams be destroyed, especially the big-timers who make the Playoff every year. Now all we’ve done is make a scenario where every single season Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia and others in that realm — even in big-time down years — make the Playoff.
Last month, the professional organization representing FBS athletic directors issued what amounted to a veiled ultimatum. The “overwhelming majority” of those ADs at a Lead1 Association meeting in Washington D.C. had a “strong preference” the NCAA continue running major-college football if the association “can be more streamlined and less bureaucratic.”
Or else … what?
The answer has opened the door to perhaps not a breakaway of major college football and basketball but at least a forming picture of what a new structure would look like. A growing number of those ADs believe they have a unique and powerful hammer as leverage if the NCAA doesn’t clean up its act.
“If not,” a Lead1 executive said. “We would explore other options.”
Among those implied options, CBS Sports has learned, is leveraging schools’ participation in the NCAA Tournament. While a separate basketball tournament operated outside of the NCAA isn’t likely anytime soon, the ADs’ realization they could create such an event provides a picture as to how the NCAA’s two biggest sports will be run in the future.
I wouldn’t put it past them to try. Not because it’s a guaranteed slam dunk… quite the opposite, in fact. Can you imagine the same people who can’t get their shit together hiring and firing coaches thinking they’re just the folks to remake one of the most popular events in American sports? Maybe you and I can’t, but I bet they do.
While everyone understandably is on Harsin watch, you might be interested in what sounds like some fairly significant personnel changes for the Tigers.
The biggest change was a reconfiguration of the team’s defensive personnel, shifting to a 4-2-5 grouping — with just one edge defender instead of two, and the first introduction of the nickel spot in the team’s base formation. The change was made following an injury to edge rusher Eku Leota, who started each of the first five games of the season opposite Derick Hall. Now, Hall is listed as the lone edge in the starting lineup, with redshirt freshman Dylan Brooks as the backup.
And on the offensive side…
Offensively, there were also a couple of changes to the depth chart, most notably along the offensive line. Brandon Council is listed as the starting center, while Kam Stutts is now the starter at left guard and Alec Jackson the starter at right guard. Those updates reflect the starting offensive line from last weekend’s game against LSU, which was shuffled following starting center Tate Johnson’s elbow injury.
That’s a lot of shuffling.
These two completions are a perfect summary of Georgia’s passing game Saturday night.
On the first one, the pass pro holds up beautifully, Stetson has plenty of time to set himself in the pocket, and still winds up throwing a pass that sailed a little to Blaylock, who barely had enough separation on a stop route to find room to climb up and grab the pass.
On the second one, the o-line picks up the blitz to start with, but the pocket begins to collapse. Stetson has the guts and patience to wait until the last second for Blaylock to run his route and then delivers a beautiful ball that hits the receiver in stride as he breaks open.
It’s an adventure.
Apparently a little dust up with some Missouri players before the game wasn’t enough ($$).
… When the game ended, a few players from each team had to be separated by coaches, including Kirby Smart, who cut short his postgame handshake with Eli Drinkwitz to make sure his team didn’t add a melee to the night’s list of problems.
What happened to pointing to the scoreboard and letting that do all the talking?
… Nose tackle Zion Logue, in his fourth year on the team, said that at Sunday workouts, after the coaches left the room, the players held an informal version of a players-only meeting.
“It’s a player-led team,” Logue said. “We sat down as a team and said we have some stuff to fix before we go into this next week.”
This definitely isn’t last year’s team.
Ask Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach a question on any topic, and you can count on a thorough answer. With the Bulldogs scheduled for an 11 a.m. CT kick against Arkansas on Saturday in Starkville, Leach was asked his top five items to bring to an early morning tailgate.
The coach happily obliged, starting his list off with something to drink.
“Well, some will bring Bloody Marys I imagine,” he said. “…Probably a comfortable lawn chair. Get a little sleep in before kickoff. You would definitely want something good to eat (that will) energize ya, but that’s quick and easy. Five, huh? Shoot, I don’t know.”
At this point, Leach was struggling to come up with more things to round out his list. That’s when a reporter interjected to suggest coffee, to which Leach agreed before going on the list the remaining early morning tailgate necessities.
“You definitely want that,” he said. “Definitely some level of stimulant. You need your sunglasses for sure. And then, probably if you’re really having a good time, you’re gonna have a long after the tailgate thing, too. So you’re definitely gonna want a good TV set up or somebody to have one. One of those screens out there on the lawn to watch the other games because you’re gonna be done before most of ’em.”
LOL. If there’s any coach I could see dropping in on an early morning tailgate before a game, it’s Mike Leach.