Today, in pay to play

It’s basketball, but it’s also Auburn, so follow the bouncing tweets.

And in the understatement of the day…

Finally, Ole Miss finds somebody to hold its beer.  You sure are running a clean conference these days, Commissioner Sankey.

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UPDATE:  You want somebody to draw you a road map?  Okay.

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UPDATE #2:  Auburn is “angry”.

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37 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, It's Just Bidness

The East is least.

An entire division makes ESPN’s Bottom 10 list.

How do I love an entire division in the Coveted Fifth Spot? Let me count the ways. Vandy lost to Bama by 59 points; Mizzou lost to Auburn by 37; Kentucky fell to Florida for the 31st time in a row by blowing a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead. Then Florida had nine players tagged in a fraud case. And the team that had just lost to Kentucky last week, South Carolina, had to kick a late field goal to win 17-16 over Louisiana Tech, a team that came in the day ranked 94th in the nation in points allowed. Am I missing anyone? Oh yeah, Tennessee message boards have been filled with eleventy-billion #FireButch complaints after being in this spot solo last week and then narrowly escaping UMass. So, how many ways? All those other numbers added to eleventy-billion.

Yeah, that’s not a good look.  But you know what would make a worse look?  If Georgia can’t top this bunch.

19 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

If you’re looking for something to fret about at this year’s Cocktail Party…

In my Power Poll post, I joked about Jim McElwain being in possession of Gus’ ginormous rabbit’s foot, but it’s no joke that Florida’s two game-winning touchdowns came on throws where the opposing defenses were missing defensive backs.

On the one hand, I feel pretty good that Georgia won’t get caught short in that department, but on the other hand, as my inner Munson likes to remind me, it’s not wrong to worry about Florida pulling something out of its ass to win.  Rather be lucky than good, if you know what I mean.

18 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

Signs your team might be better than you think

At 17 TDs in 19 attempts, Notre Dame’s offense is currently fourth in the country in red zone touchdown percentage.  The two misses came against Georgia.

The Dawgs are twentieth defensively in that category, at 40%.  There are two things to say about that.  First, while you may like that ranking to be higher, considering where they finished last season, that’s one helluva lot of improvement.  Second, that win in South Bend is looking better and better.  We may have to say plenty of nice things about the Irish as the season rolls on.

24 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“Just because it’s Tennessee. I don’t like losing to them.”

I’ve already mentioned where Booch’s mind was at yesterday, but I want to return to the subject at least tangentially, because one of the most fascinating things about Saturday’s game is what both teams bring to the table on the intangibles front.

If it’s an exaggeration to suggest that Jones is coaching for his job these days, it’s probably not much of one.  What does seem likely at a minimum, though, is that if Tennessee loses to Georgia, its hopes of winning the SEC East are snuffed.  0-2 in the conference and on the wrong side of tiebreakers with Florida and Georgia isn’t on the road map to Atlanta.  Any way you look at it, then, the Vols are under a tremendous amount of pressure to win at home.

Meanwhile Kirby Smart has to thread a needle delicately between making sure his team plays with the confidence it takes to win an SEC road game while avoiding the overconfidence that can be the expected product of an unexpectedly dominant win over a ranked opponent.  As I posted on Sunday, the good thing is that Smart’s been there and done that plenty while in Tuscaloosa; the not-so-good thing is that he’s in Athens now and that’s behavior that has to be learned.

Add in the wrinkle of the bizarre ending to last year’s meeting between the two…

The penalty was assessed on the ensuing kickoff, meaning Georgia kicked off from its own 20 rather than the 35. The Volunteers took over at the Bulldogs’ 43 after UGA was flagged for being offsides on the kickoff. That left Tennessee with 6 seconds, which was just enough time for quarterback Joshua Dobbs to lob a Hail Mary pass to Jauan Jennings, who was remarkably open in front of several Georgia defenders in the end zone to secure a 34-31 win over the Bulldogs.

It made for one of the most drastic 10-second turnarounds in the history of college football ― certainly in Georgia annals at Sanford Stadium.

… and you really should have all sorts of emotions swirling around the field in Knoxville.  How each team reacts to the baggage they carry in will tell us quite a bit.

26 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football

Upon further review, MSU edition

Todd Blackledge’s soft “oh, boy” at about the 1:20 mark when he sees all three Georgia receivers break open for what turned out to be an easy touchdown throw to Isaac Nauta is worth the price of admission.

Oh, yeah, the other two hours are a fun watch as well.

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“…at the end of the day some guys get overlooked, some guys get overhyped.”

Seth Emerson has a good story on how Smart and Tucker have built Georgia’s secondary, which as we sit here right now sports the 18th-best defensive passer rating nationally, despite only having two interceptions to its name.  One big reason for that is it’s doing a ridiculous job of limiting the big play:  it’s fourth in yards per attempt with a paltry 4.9 average.

Anyway, what’s interesting about the starting secondary is that even with Smart’s deserved reputation as a great recruiter, it’s populated by guys who weren’t recruiting blue bloods.

Aaron Davis was one of those rare, literal walk-ons. Four years ago, then-Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham might not even have known who Davis was during their one season together.

“Probably not too much,” said Davis, who redshirted in 2013, Grantham’s final year season the team. “I didn’t spend too much time with him.”

… J.R. Reed came to Georgia last year after a nondescript first year at Tulsa. The general thought was Georgia accepted his transfer to get his cousin, 4-star recruit Deangelo Gibbs. Instead, it was Reed who earned a starting spot and might turn out to be one of the great finds in recent Georgia history, leading the team with 10 tackles against Mississippi State.

“He did a good job on the scout team last year. Coaches saying, ‘Hey man, J.R. Reed’s going to be a good player,’” coach Kirby Smart said. “Then when the spring came, and it was like, ‘This guy’s a starter.’”

So are Deandre Baker and Dominick Sanders, two 3-star recruits who each had an interception Saturday.

I continue to marvel at the season Reed is having, but he’s just one of several overachievers back there.  You can’t chalk all of that up to luck.  All in all, the secondary is a testament to the staff’s skills in talent evaluation and player development.  Pruitt probably deserves some of the credit for planting seeds, but it’s exciting to see where this is headed.

Maybe the best part is reflecting on what they’ll be able to raise out of the next bumper crop, considering a lot of those kids were highly sought-after recruits.

22 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football