Such a deal

Tasty cupcakes in Athens ain’t cheap.  And the price is rising.

  • Middle Tennessee State: $1.7 million for 2018
  • Arkansas State: $1.8 million for 2019
  • Kent State:  $1.9 million for 2022

No worries, though.  There’s plenty of time to push through another increase in ticket prices by 2022.

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Filed under Georgia Football

It’s that time of year again.

I just got the email about setting up the 2017 Fabris pick ’em pool.  Who’s in?

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UPDATE:  I shotgunned invites to everyone who’s participated before, but if you’re a newbie who’d like to join in for 2017, click here.

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Filed under GTP Stuff

Today, in tonedeafness

It’s already been taken down, but whoever in the Ole Miss athletic department thought it was a good idea to post this on Twitter is pretty much clueless.

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Filed under General Idiocy, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

Nick Saban, “so far out”

Nick Saban’s over a nine-game conference schedule now.

He wants ten games.  And more.

“We should play all teams in the Power 5 conferences,” Saban said Wednesday. “If we did that, then if we were going to have bowl games, we should do the bowl games just like we do in the NCAA basketball tournament — not by record but by some kind of power rating that gets you in a bowl game. If we did that, people would be a little less interested in maybe bowl games and more interested in expanding the playoff.”

“You eliminate the six wins to get in a bowl game and now you can have a different kind of scheduling that is more fan interest, more good games, bring out the better quality team,” he said, “and whether you expand the playoff or have a system where it’s like now — we take the top 12 teams and decide what bowl game they go to — just take them all.

“In this scenario, there would be more opportunity to play more teams in your league, as well as to have more games that people would be interested in. We all play three or four games a year now that nobody’s really interested in. We’d have more good games, more public interest, more fan interest, better TV.”

Saban suggested a 10-game SEC schedule, for example, plus two Power 5 nonconference opponents during the regular season.

Other than why this would need to lead to playoff expansion, I’m in love.  How can you argue with any of “more good games, more public interest, more fan interest, better TV”?  That’s why I question his embrace of the basketball tournament format.  An expanded tourney waters down the regular season; there may be more good regular season college basketball games by his standard, but March Madness dilutes them of much meaning and, thus, public interest.

But combine the rest of what he’s talking about with the current four-school football playoff?  Jeez, talk about heaven on earth…

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Nick Saban Rules

“We have so many guys back.”

Explain to me why Georgia shouldn’t have a great defense this season.

No other SEC team can boast what Georgia can about its defense.

That would be the fact that Georgia is returning 10 starters.

The Bulldogs certainly hope their defensive experience plays a vital role in competing for an SEC championship this coming season.

Adding to Georgia returning 10 starters is that most players in its front-seven two-deep got game experience a year ago. And for the two-deep defenders who weren’t with the program last season, linebacker Monty Rice, defensive back Deangelo Gibbs and safety Richard LeCounte all enrolled early for spring practice.

Georgia’s unit ended the 2016 season fourth in the SEC in total defense at 327.5 yards per game. With head coach Kirby Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker in their second season at Georgia, the combination of returning players and scheme familiarity should bode well.

An abundance of riches, talentwise, tons of returning experience in the front seven and the second year in a scheme directed by an experienced Nick Saban disciple all point to what should be significant improvement over what was a decent effort in 2016.

Georgia, however, has more than experience working in its favor:

  • Defensive tackle Trenton Thompson posted five sacks as a sophomore, including three in a Liberty Bowl win over TCU. While shoulder surgery and a related medical issue held Thompson out of the spring, he is expected to be full-go with his teammates in preseason practice. Among those joining Thompson up front will be Julian Rochester, David Marshall, Jonathan Ledbetter and Tyler Clark. Those four players combined for six sacks in 2016.
  • The pass-rushing duo of Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy combined for 10 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. While it took three games for the two to get going with some sacks, their totals suffered down the stretch due to run-heavy teams Kentucky, Auburn, Louisiana-Monroe and Georgia Tech. But Bellamy, especially, was disruptive in coverage with a team-high 17 pass deflections. Carter finished second on the team with 13. With every 2016 defensive line contributor coming back, running the ball should be difficult for opponents. That should create more passing plays for Carter and Bellamy to capitalize on.
  • Georgia’s top two tacklers in 2016, juniors Roquan Smith and Natrez Patrick, have cemented themselves as key defensive leaders. Smith totaled 95 tackles and fits the new-age mold of a sideline-to-sideleine inside linebacker. Smart has repeatedly praised Smith’s work ethic and brought him to Hoover, Alabama for SEC Media Days. Patrick is also a swift-footed linebacker who added seven pass breakups a year ago.
  • Losing defensive back Maurice Smith will certainly hurt. Having safety Dominick Sanders back, and healthy, should more than help soften the blow. Sanders played through multiple injuries and still totaled three interceptions. Depending on safety J.R. Reed’s emergence, Aaron Davis, a senior defensive back, could slide into the nickel spot Smith vacated. If this turns out to be the case, one of the most important positions in Smart’s defense will be occupied by one of the smartest players on the entire roster.

There’s a lot to work with there, in other words, and that’s before you factor what some of the talented incoming freshmen might bring to the mix.

This is the opposite situation from what Georgia faces with the offensive line.  All the pieces on the defensive side of the ball are there to put together a dominating result.  It’s one area where Smart shouldn’t be given any slack.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The NCAA needs to talk to you, son.

Mississippi State linebacker Leo Lewis gets an invitation.

In a letter obtained by SB Nation dated May 17, 2017, Xavier athletic director Greg Christopher, Chief Hearing Officer of the NCAA Division 1 Committee on Infractions, instructs counsel for five former Ole Miss football staffers and one current assistant coach, as well as NCAA Vice President of Enforcement Jon Duncan and Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter:

The panel will request student-athlete Leo Lewis attend the infractions hearing. Mr. Lewis’ grant of immunity related to this case is predicated on his full cooperation in the infractions process. In addition, Bylaw 19.2.3 establishes a responsibility to cooperate. Part of that duty to cooperate is ‘to make full and complete disclosure of any relevant information, including any information requested by the … relevant committees.’ More specifically, Bylaw 19.7.7.5.1 authorizes the panel to request specific individuals to attend the infractions hearing, including enrolled student athletes.

Mr. Lewis’s participation at the hearing is consistent with the expectation of cooperation on which his grant of immunity was predicated. … Mr. Lewis will receive an appearance letter.

The letter also states that the panel can ask questions of Lewis at the hearing “that it believes necessary to decide this case.”

While I’m sure every Ole Miss fan with a grudge has visions of Jack McCoy breaking a witness on the stand, it’s not going to be that kind of show.  To begin with,“… lawyers involved in the case expect that Lewis will field questions only from members of the committee and not from lawyers representing Ole Miss coaches or the University of Mississippi.” 

You’re no fun, NCAA.

Also, there’s this whole limited immunity thing Lewis is operating under.

Lewis was granted limited immunity by the NCAA in exchange for his testimony. SB Nation has confirmed that Lewis spoke to the NCAA under immunity on three occasions between August and December of 2016.

Limited immunity protects an individual (“prospective student-athlete, current or former student-athlete or current or former institutional employee”) from certain consequences for violating NCAA legislation. Limited immunity is an investigative tool that allows information to be elicited from an individual concerning his or her potential involvement in or knowledge of NCAA violations, with the understanding that the NCAA will not put the individual at-risk in the infractions process by bringing identified allegations against him or her.

Basically, with limited immunity, Lewis can speak freely to the NCAA without his statements impacting his eligibility at MSU.

That essentially means the committee will be going over the same ground that’s already been plowed with Lewis in his three prior interviews.  (And, remember, Ole Miss’ lawyers weren’t allowed to grill Lewis in any of those; in fact, they weren’t even permitted to attend the third one.)

However, it has to be said that the Rebel Rags suit complicates things for Leo Lewis.

Lewis’ inclusion at the COI is potentially massive. Multiple legal teams involved in representing individuals named in the NCAA’s investigation, as well as the Rebel Rags civil suit, have cited inconsistencies and contradictions in Lewis’ comments to the NCAA.

If Lewis doesn’t show, the NCAA revokes his immunity, which is not an outcome you’d think he’d welcome, so it’s reasonable to expect him to appear.  It’s also reasonable to expect that he’ll be well prepped by his lawyer.  He’d better be, because you know there will be other lawyers parsing every syllable he utters at the hearing.

If you’re a Georgia fan, as someone pointed out the comments yesterday, the timing for this is fortuitous.

The date for the COI hearing for Ole Miss has not yet been determined, but multiple sources have confirmed to SB Nation that a date in mid-September or mid-October is likely. In addition, the hearing likely won’t occur at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, but instead at an undisclosed location closer to the University of Mississippi’s campus in Oxford.

Georgia hosts Mississippi State on September 23rd.  Think that could be more a little distracting as Dan Mullen gets his team ready to come to Athens?

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Filed under Freeze!, The NCAA

The difference between a “mix” and a spot

We finally learn there’s a bridge too far even for Bill Hancock’s shilling.

The playoff director is at Mountain West media days and during his open media session he discussed the playoff, and that includes him saying that “absolutely” a team from the Group of Five has a chance to make the playoff.

Hancock also went on to say that an unbeaten Mountain West champion would be in the mix for a spot in playoff. The key word there is “mix,” because it will take a special season for any team from a non-power conference to have a chance to make the playoff, and that special season would have to be accompanied by a bit of chaos at the top.

Bless his heart.  I doubt even the Mountain West commissioner bought that.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant