There’s loaded. And then there’s LOADED.

The top recruit in the class of 2016 signed with Michigan, but beyond him, the SEC did alright last week.

* SEC schools signed the top two pro-style quarterback prospects and three of the top five.

* SEC schools signed each of the top three dual-threat quarterback prospects, along with four of the top six.

* SEC schools signed four of the top six and six of the top 14 running backs. And league schools signed two of the top eight all-purpose backs.

* Robertson is the top wide receiver and he has yet to sign. As it is, SEC schools signed three of the top six, four of the top nine, five of the top 18 and six of the top 20 receivers.

* SEC schools signed the top tight end, along with four of the top nine and eight of the top 17 at the position.

* SEC schools signed three of the top four safeties.
* SEC schools signed three of the top five cornerbacks, as well as six of the top 10 and 11 of the top 20 at the position.
* SEC schools signed the top inside linebacker, as well as six of the top 15.

* SEC schools signed two of the top five outside linebackers.

* You’ll notice we skipped over the linemen. That’s because as well as SEC schools did at the other positions, they absolutely dominated in the trenches. SEC schools signed the top two offensive tackles, along with three of the top six, five of the top 10 and seven of the top 18. SEC schools signed three of the top 10 guards. SEC schools signed five of the top eight centers. Finally, SEC schools reeled in a boatload of top defensive linemen. League teams signed eight of the top 12 and 11 of the top 17 defensive tackles, along with four of the top six, five of the top 10 and six of the top 11 defensive ends.

Actually, that’s pretty staggering. And it’s how you wind up with this:

* Tennessee was 14th in the nation in recruiting — but that was good for just seventh in the SEC, smack dab in the middle. Consider this, though: That No. 14 finish puts put the Vols third in the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 and second in the Big 12.

Hugenin points out that Georgia reeled in its third top ten class in a row.  That’s nice, but…

Alabama has finished in the recruiting top 10 nine years in a row. FSU has finished in the top 10 in seven consecutive years; Ohio State has finished in the top 10 in six consecutive years. LSU has finished in the top 10 four years in a row, while Auburn, Georgia and USC have finished in the top 10 three years in a row.

When the day comes that college football delivers a sixteen-team playoff, you’ll likely see the field loaded with SEC teams.  In the meantime, with a four-team field, if Georgia can’t separate itself from the middle of the conference pack, it’s likely that its dreams will die regularly in Atlanta.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Too much progress isn’t a good thing.

Give the NCAA credit for finding a way to discourage graduate transfers in the name of accountability for the academic progress of athletes.

Some opponents contend grad transfers should be rewarded for earning a degree early and that the NCAA should not interfere with the current system.

Gosh.  Isn’t virtue it’s own reward?


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

The further adventures of ten wins don’t mean as much as they used to

Check out Bill Connelly’s last five years of S&P+ ratings.  Georgia’s eighth overall, but notice the precipitous drop in last season’s score.  It reversed a steady trend of improvement (discounting the tally for the injury plagued 2013 season) for the program.

That’s what a couple of poor decisions on assistants and a devastating injury to Nick Chubb will do to you.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“The system is broken.”

Michael Adams most assuredly does not approve of this message.

Pitino offered an alternative to the NCAA’s tortured crime-and-punishment system, which almost always penalizes players who had nothing to do with the violations. His suggestion: fine the bejesus out of the school and take 50 percent of the head coach’s salary.

“Kill the university’s pocketbook and put it in a scholarship fund for needy kids to go to college,” Pitino said. “… We should be penalized, no question about it. But not this team. … I think it’s wrong to penalize these kids. You hurt a lot of good people, a lot of fans. Innocent people will pay the price.”

Say what you will about Pitino, at least he offers a suggestion that would have penalized the crap out of him personally.  But the idea that the schools should bear the brunt, financially speaking, of this kind of sordid behavior by their employees?  That they should acknowledge their responsibilities for operating athletic departments?  Yeah, that’s gonna happen.

It’s a lot easier to screw over the ones with the least amount of power.


Filed under The NCAA

When the (blue) chips are down

It’s from a post at an FSU blog looking at Jim McElwain’s recruiting, so you can guess the overall tenor, but I can’t say I disagree in the slightest with this conclusion:

Stars matter, folks, especially at the macro level. You can scour the rankings and find terrific stories of 2 and 3 star kids who were missed in evaluations or found the right time and place to showcase their abilities, but at the end of the day, teams with the most talent win the most games. Alabama has won four national titles since 2009, FSU has a title, UF under Meyer has two since 2006, Meyer won another at Ohio State in 2014, and LSU and Texas each have one in the last 11 years. All of these programs recruit at the highest of levels, they are mainstays in the recruiting top 10 rankings, and their success on the field is not a fluke. New coaching can spark enthusiasm and excitement around a program, but at the end of the day in college football, it all comes down to recruiting. If you don’t have the players, you probably won’t win (enough). It is really as simple as that.

The author finds that Florida has come up short, or at least shorter, compared to its rivals, in signing four- and five-star studs.

Which brings us to Jim McElwain’s debut at UF in 2015. A National Championship winning offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, with the pedigree and experience at the highest of levels, Florida’s confidence and optimism was expectedly high from the beginning. The 2015 class cannot be properly judged for a few more years, but on paper, only signing 20% blue chips is not the beginning for which many were hoping. With signing day 2016 upon us, the Gators sit at 37.5% blue chips and, given the way the second half of 2015 ended on the field for UF, the continued question marks at quarterback, and the fact that FSU does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon in terms of acquiring talent, either the coaching needs to get significantly better in a hurry, or UF could be in need of a fourth head coach in less than 15 years. A combined 30% rate over the first two classes is just not up to standards, and would rate outside the top-20 nationally.

If you blindly compared what McElwain (30%) has done to the first two years of Fisher (41%), Meyer (59%), Muschamp (64%) and Golden (24%), the closest match is to Al Golden. That doesn’t mean it won’t improve, but things certainly did not trend up in Year 2 like it did for Jimbo Fisher in 2011.

It didn’t hurt too much in 2015, as UF won the East, but it will be interesting to see if that begins taking a toll going forward.

Along those lines, one other thing to mention:  Georgia’s 2016 class sports a 65% blue chip rate.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting

Experiencing experience

Bill Connelly continues to tinker with his analysis of returning experience.  The correlations he’s found:

With a couple years of data, here are the correlations between a percentage returning category and change in Off. S&P+ (the higher, the more correlated returning experience is with production):

  • Receiving yards returning: 0.285
  • Passing yards returning: 0.264
  • Rushing yards returning: 0.079
  • Career offensive line starts returning: 0.015

And here are the correlations between some returnee categories and Def. S&P+:

  • Passes broken up returning (overall): -0.440
  • Passes broken up returning (DBs): -0.404
  • Tackles returning (overall): -0.388
  • Tackles returning (DBs): -0.378
  • Sacks returning (DLs): -0.194
  • Passes broken up returning (DLs): -0.161
  • Tackles returning (LBs): -0.161

He finds little to no correlation between returning starters on the offensive line and a team’s offensive performance, which probably comes as a little shock to anyone who doesn’t follow Georgia football.

This is clearly a work in progress, but one that’s worth keeping an eye on, especially since Georgia doesn’t come off too unfavorably.


Filed under Stats Geek!

Redemption song

Interesting little note Marc Weiszer shares with us:

Smart, hired in December, did not sign a kicker in his first class, but did ink a punter in Marshall Long from South Rowan High in China Grove, N.C., who decommitted from Virginia Tech.

“The decision on a punter, in my history, I’ve found that you can find more quality kickers through the walk-on route than you can quality punters,” he said. “After sitting down, sharing ideas, talking to people in the NFL, people that even have experience on the college level, we felt like as a staff it was going to be harder to manufacture punting than it would be placekicking.”

So Georgia offered the 6-foot-2, 223-pound Long who averaged 46.5 yards per punt as a senior and knew special teams coach Shane Beamer when he was a Virginia Tech assistant.

Long is the No. 8 rated punter nationally by the 247Sports Composite.

Two in-state punters were higher-rated and signed elsewhere: No. 2 Blake Gillkin from Westminster School with Penn State and Anthony Lotti from West Hall with Wisconsin.

Georgia already has Brice Ramsey, a quarterback, who took over for scholarship punter Collin Barber last season.

“Brice Ramsey finished the season out punting, but (Smart) said he wanted him to play quarterback a little bit,” Long told the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. “He’d seen my tapes, and Coach (Shane) Beamer had talked to him about me. I guess he just felt good about it. I was glad they finally did pull the trigger.”

I don’t want to read too much into the tea leaves there, but it sure sounds like Richt was prepared for another season with Ramsey as the punter and that Smart has decided to put the kibosh on that.  Before we get all wrapped up with Eason as the 2016 starter, wouldn’t it be something if Chaney were able to salvage Brice Ramsey’s college career?

And before you dismiss that possibility out of hand, remember that Chaney is the man responsible for the creation of the Beyond Crompton meme.  He also made a functional quarterback out of Nathan Peterman last season.  If he’s capable of pulling those off, Ramsey’s got a chance.


Filed under Georgia Football