Familiarity breeds success.

Seth Emerson notes an interesting contrast between the offseasons of Kirby Smart and Nick Saban:

Saban’s staff has experienced a remarkable staff turnover since winning the national championship on Jan. 8. But that’s nothing new, and it’s a lesson going forward for those who follow Kirby Smart and Georgia as the Bulldogs ascend into the same top echelon.

Someone in the industry pointed this out to me this week: Tosh Lupoi is the only assistant coach remaining from the Alabama staff that won the national championship in 2016. Since then Saban has brought in nine new assistants, in part to replace four assistants who left for jobs as head coaches: Smart, Jeremy Pruitt, Lane Kiffin and Mario Cristobal.

Georgia, meanwhile, will have three new coaches this offseason, but only lost two from last year: Kevin Sherrer and Shane Beamer, who each moved on to more prominent roles. Georgia was able to fend off the programs that pursued some of Smart’s other valuable assistants, which is why a number of them got substantial raises.

Seth goes on to wonder how much that will help Georgia’s chances in 2018.  Nobody really knows, of course, and it’s obviously a small sample size, but if I have to answer that, I’d say it likely helps Georgia and doesn’t really hurt Alabama, if that makes sense.

The reason I say that is because the two programs are at very different points on their organizational arcs.  Georgia is undergoing a meteoric rise, but Smart’s regime is still very much in its infancy.  To use a tired metaphor, he’s done a remarkable job in two years changing the battleship’s direction, but it still got some ways to go before it’s fully headed in the optimal course.

At that point on the curve, continuity is vital.  The players on Georgia’s 2017 roster enjoyed having the same offensive and defensive coordinators year-over-year for the first time since 2013.  Getting everyone in the program on the same page buying in to the staff’s vision was huge.  It was also very unlikely to happen if there had been another round of coaching changes as had been the case for three straight seasons.

Alabama is a totally different animal.  The Process has been entrenched there for a decade.  The football program is a complete reflection of Nick Saban’s vision, secure in the knowledge that it works and works well.  The issue in Tuscaloosa isn’t making sure players are buying in; it’s hiring coaches that Nick Saban believes can best implement his blueprint for success.  Given his track record, there’s no reason to think his newest staff won’t work out.

I expect every year that goes by in Athens, then, will wind up being a year when staff continuity impacts the program a little bit less.  Not that I’m looking forward to seeing good coaches leave, but I expect the transitions to grow ever more smooth.

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Man, I never saw this take coming.

Randy Edsall.  Or, should I say, Randy Edsall!!!

I had to read that three times to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding.  I guess there’s still the possibility of sarcasm, but, damn, of all the people urging market compensation for student-athletes, Randy Edsall wouldn’t have been close to the top of my list.  Weird.

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“But if you’re a Georgia fan, this is when you feel real good about your coach being Mark Fox.”

Is there anything more quintessentially Georgia Way-ish than keeping a mediocre coach on the grounds that he’s doing something special by not cheating (which he’s not supposed to be doing anyway)?

I’m not saying Chip Towers is making that argument here.  But I’m sure as hell expecting McGarity to do so if he elects not to can Fox at season’s end.

All together now:  it’s a helluva way to run a railroad, Greg.

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“The NCAA’s intransigence on this issue is mind-boggling.”

Silly wabbit.  As any Georgia fan who followed the Kolton Houston saga can tell you, no, it’s definitely not.  The NCAA doesn’t do nuance.

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I am all for traditions, except when I’m not.

Jeffrey Trapnell, Georgia fan, has had it.

I am all for traditions. Having said that, I think the tradition of Georgia versus Florida in Jacksonville (the only reason our home slate of games is below average every other year) is stale. If we are not going to go to a home and home with Florida then we need to consider going Jacksonville-Atlanta every other year. I have always been frustrated by the amount of travel involved in that game for Georgia (fans and players alike) and not Florida. Year after year after year, we make the trek down there and play in the Gator Bowl, of all places, never getting a home game, travel wise in return. Meanwhile, the Gators sleep in their own beds and take an hour bus ride over from Gainesville.

This is insane.

Let’s start a new tradition of playing Florida in one of the greatest football stadiums on the planet Earth, Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga.

 Jeffrey Trapnell

Chip Towers skewers Mr. Trapnell’s suggestion by pointing out that as long as the money’s good, the Cocktail Party ain’t moving, but what I wanted to focus on in this post is a particular assumption Trapnell makes — along with a lot of other Dawg fans — that Georgia is at some enormous disadvantage because of travel.

Quite simply, what’s that based on?  Georgia flies out of Athens directly to Jacksonville.  That’s what… a two-hour flight?  So, we’re talking about an extra hour’s worth of difference getting to the venue between the two teams.  No snark intended, but what am I missing here?  It’s not like the Dawgs jump off the plane and bolt directly for the game.  What’s the big edge the Gators gain here?

I’m tired of the excuse making I’ve heard out of the fan base (and Richt, to be honest) about travel to Jacksonville as a reason for the lack of success Georgia’s had since 1990.  If travel disparity is such a big deal, what explains Georgia’s dominance at Bobby Dodd Stadium over the last couple of decades?  Coaching and talent wins consistently; if Georgia’s come up short regularly in Jacksonville, don’t blame that on the name of the stadium, dude.

By the way, if you’re complaining about your travel to the game, imagine how Dawg fans in South Georgia feel about trekking up to Athens several times a season to watch the likes of Austin Peay play.  Throwing them a travel bone once a year doesn’t seem that insane to me.

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“Loan to Players.”

This isn’t good.

Documents and bank records obtained in discovery during the federal investigation into the underbelly of college basketball detail in meticulous fashion the expenditures of prominent former NBA agent Andy Miller, his former associate Christian Dawkins and his agency, ASM Sports, including expense reports and balance sheets that list cash advances, as well as entertainment and travel expenses for high school and college prospects and their families.

Yahoo Sports viewed hundreds of pages of documents from the years-long probe that had federal authorities monitoring multiple targets and intercepting more than 4,000 calls across 330 days, providing a clear-eyed view into the pervasive nature of the game’s underground economy.

While three criminal cases tied to the investigation may take years to play out, the documents viewed by Yahoo revealed the extent of the potential NCAA ramifications from the case. The documents show an underground recruiting operation that could create NCAA rules issues – both current and retroactive – for at least 20 Division I basketball programs and more than 25 players.

The documents tie some of the biggest names and programs in the sport to activity that appears to violate the NCAA’s amateurism rules. This could end up casting a pall over the NCAA tournament because of eligibility issues. (NCAA officials declined a request for comment.) There’s potential impermissible benefits and preferential treatment for players and families of players at Duke, North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Michigan State, USC, Alabama and a host of other schools. The documents link some of the sport’s biggest current stars – Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Alabama’s Collin Sexton and Duke’s Wendell Carter – to specific potential extra benefits for either the athletes or their family members. The amounts tied to all of the players in the case range from basic meals to tens of thousands of dollars.

This is what happens when you forget Bagman’s First Rule:  always pay cash and never keep records.

I’m still not convinced this will ever gain enough traction to merit criminal convictions, but as far as NCAA recruiting violations go, yeah, I can imagine there are more than a few people shitting bricks today.  Maybe this will wind up being the straw that breaks the amateur camel’s back.

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UPDATE:  Guess who wants you to think he’s on the mother?

“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York’s indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it’s clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.”

— NCAA President Mark Emmert

Rest easy, America.  Help is on the way.

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UPDATE #2:  This.

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2018 SEC Football Media Days Schedule

They’re in Atlanta this year, so I guess we’ll see how well the Saban fanatics travel.  Here’s the order of appearance:

MONDAY, July 16
Kentucky – Mark Stoops
LSU – Ed Orgeron
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher

TUESDAY, July 17
Arkansas – Chad Morris
Florida – Dan Mullen
Georgia – Kirby Smart
Ole Miss – Matt Luke

WEDNESDAY, July 18
Alabama – Nick Saban
Mississippi State – Joe Moorhead
Missouri – Barry Odom
Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt

THURSDAY, July 19
Auburn – Gus Malzahn
South Carolina – Will Muschamp
Vanderbilt – Derek Mason

Kirby follows Mullen.  Maybe we’ll get another sharp crack that day.

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