We all know what you are. We’re just haggling over the fee.

The Georgia Way, in one picture (Photo via Associated Press )

When it comes to the disparity in COA numbers, it seems that Greg McGarity and Jay Jacobs are of one mind – it’s a recruiting advantage.

“I think we all agree in the conference it’s an issue,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told AL.com. “It does make a difference to some individuals; to some young men and some young women. I would hope the majority of the conference would love to see some consistency in those numbers.”

Tennessee ($5,666) and Auburn ($5,586) offer the most money for full cost-of-attendance not only in the SEC, but in the entire country. Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs has no problems with his school’s high figure. In fact, he told USA Today in February he thinks the high number should be helpful in recruiting.

“At Auburn, we are going to have the best student-athlete experience in the nation,” Jacobs told AL.com. “We are going to do whatever we can within the rules to provide the best for our student-athletes.”

McGarity is at least honest enough to admit (1) if he was “at the high end, I might not be as concerned with it”; and (2) it’s not possible to have one number across the board in the conference.  So, what’s the end game with pushing for transparency, as Georgia intends to do this week in Destin?  In the end, that’s up to the lawyers.

“But what I think we are trying to do is find some legal way that is within the law where we can solve a problem that was probably an unintended consequence from this vast discrepancy you are seeing.”

There’s a lot of loaded stuff in that sentence.  But if he thinks shame alone is going to work… well, that would be an SEC first.

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Filed under Recruiting, SEC Football

The straw that stirs the drink in Georgia’s offense

Yesterday, in a post about solo tackle rates and Georgia’s offense, I said Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb are a couple of ridiculously talented running backs, because Georgia’s 2014 offense managed to be one of the most efficient in the country despite every team keying on shutting down its running game.

In that light, here’s an interesting observation from the man who just drafted Gurley to play for the Rams (h/t Parrish Walton):

“Here’s what it came down to for us,’’ said GM Les Snead. “Todd, for us, was one of those once-every-few-years talents, one of the best players we’ve seen come out in a while. We just felt he was somebody we couldn’t pass up. This wasn’t about Week 1 against Seattle, whether he’d be ready to go then; we will let nature takes its course on that. This was a long-term decision.

“One of the things we looked at was the team around him. I’m not sure about this, but it’s possible there might not be an offensive lineman who blocked for him at Georgia who will start at the next level, or play at the next level. When we looked at him on tape, we saw him playing against a lot of seven- and eight-man fronts, which is what he’s going to be seeing when he lines up for us. We saw him playing against not a lot of air, which is what he’s going to be seeing when he plays for us. So that translates pretty well.”

Now I think Pyke and Theus have a shot to play on Sundays, but that’s not really the main thing there.  It’s what Snead saw Gurley doing regularly in the face of a stacked box that’s key.  Making something out of nothing has been a characteristic of Richt’s best backs over the past few seasons, going back to Knowshon Moreno.  With those kinds of backs, it hasn’t mattered if the offensive line play has been less than stellar.  (Handing the ball off to Carlton Thomas up the middle?  That’s another story.)

Mark Richt likes to ride the beast when he can.  Good thing he’s got two more seasons of Nick Chubb.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The new mid-major math

Louisiana Tech’s new AD steps in, finds his team has three SEC West opponents on its 2016 schedule, and proceeds to find a way to lighten the load.

Fortunately, there’s gold in them thar schedule changes these days.

McClelland said A&M administrators had asked if he’d pay $500,000 to buy out the game, which would have paid Tech $200,000. Texas Tech offered an $800,000 game guarantee, so Louisiana Tech will be $100,000 ahead even after paying A&M.

One thing college football doesn’t lack these days is willing bidders.  Lighten the load and make a profit in the process is a nice business model.  Expect to see more of it.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

“The smartest person in the room”

Mississippi State’s athletic director slobbers all over the once and future conference commissioners:

“Mike Slive, if he’s in a room, he’s usually the smartest person in the room — unless Greg Sankey is also in the room,” Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said. “Then it’s a tie. … They’re like great chess players in that they don’t just see the next move, they see three or four moves ahead. I don’t know what that looks like, but I have confidence that Greg does…”

As they say, ignorance is bliss.

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Filed under SEC Football

It’s only rock ‘n’ roll, but we like it.

Pretty cool look at big concerts in college football stadiums over the years here.

(via Michael Goldman)

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Filed under Uncategorized

Nowhere to go but up.

Jeez, this sounds a little daunting.

Florida hasn’t averaged more than 186 passing yards per game in a season since 2009, and with a QB battle between Treon Harris, who started six games last year, and redshirt freshman Will Grier, defenses should be licking their chops. “It’s a learning curve—a steep one right now for them,” says new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier. “They weren’t under center last year, so we’re starting from that. Talking about getting in a stance, proper hand placement to take a snap.”

Maybe he should think about bringing in RichRod as a consultant.

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Filed under Gators Gators

A little more on stopping the run as a means of generating turnovers

I brought up Manny Diaz’ philosophy last week and a couple of bloggers of a more statistical bent than I explored the topic as well.

At Football Study Hall, Chad Peltier did a little regression analysis on the subject and found that Diaz wasn’t full of shit.

There’s enough evidence to reject the null hypothesis that there isn’t a relationship between defensive rushing S&P+ and turnovers gained. Rush defense doesn’t explain the whole variation in the data on turnovers gained (r squared is .14), but the two variables do seem to be related in a non-random way (at the 95% confidence level).

In short, the stats do seem to support Diaz’s argument that a defense should work on stopping the run first and foremost for more turnovers.

And today at Team Speed Kills, David Wunderlich does a little statistical exploration, finds some correlation, but wonders if there’s more to it than what Diaz suggests.

But wait a second. Let’s apply a different truism, this one from Football Outsiders: “You run when you win, not win when you run.” As Aaron Schatz explained it:

There are exceptions, usually when the opponent is strong in every area except run defense… [h]owever, in general, winning teams have a lot of carries because their running backs are running out the clock at the end of wins, not because they are running wild early in games.

Apply this to a defensive context, and winning teams will defend more passes than runs. Certainly it’s possible to have a great defense that doesn’t win a lot of games—see Auburn and Tennessee in 2008, or Florida in 2013—and it’s possible to win a lot of games with a terrible defense—see 2011 Baylor, which won 10 games despite being 113th in scoring defense. There are always exceptions, and that’s why these correlations are in the +/- 0.300 to 0.400 range rather than, say, the +/- 0.700 to 0.800 range.

Still, teams that win a lot of games usually have good defenses. We should also expect that good defenses will force a lot of turnovers. We’re now stuck in the correlation vs. causation trap. Does strength at stopping the run cause a team to generate more turnovers? Or does simply being a good defense cause that unit to both stop the run and generate more turnovers?

I’ve always believed that context matters, so I would be stupid to dismiss David’s qualifiers there.  But it’s worth mentioning that Louisiana Tech, while leading the nation in turnovers last season, finished 9-5.  Take that for what it’s worth.

In the meantime, let’s see what Diaz does in his second tour of duty at Mississippi State.  As David concludes,

One thing I can say for sure is this: when you share a division with Nick Saban, Bret Bielema, Gus Malzahn, and Les Miles, focusing on stopping the run isn’t a bad plan.

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Filed under Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics