Category Archives: Big 12 Football

This monetary aggression will not stand, man.

With the Big 12’s release of its tax return, here’s a summary of where the P5 conferences stand in terms of financial distributions to their members:

  • Big 12:  “The conference reported nearly $371 million in revenue for a fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017… the per-school payouts to roughly $34.3 million…”
  • SEC:  “… the 14-team Southeastern Conference’s returns showed $650 million in revenue, or an average of about $41 million per school.”
  • ACC:  “… $373 million for fiscal 2016, distributing that money among 14 full members and Notre Dame…”
  • Pac-12:  “The Pac-12 reported that it distributed an average of $28.7 million per school in fiscal 2016.”
  • Big Ten:  “Citing a document from the University of Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported in June that it was projecting revenue from the Big Ten of $51.1 million for the 2018 fiscal year (the one that’s ongoing), up from $36.3 million for 2017.”

As the cliché goes, one of those numbers is not like the others.

A $10 million a year revenue gap between the SEC and Big Ten?  I’m sure Greg Sankey’s bosses will shrug that off, just like they did before… oh, wait.



Filed under ACC Football, Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Georgia’s advanced stats ain’t played ‘Bama, PAWWWLLL.

S&P+ says Alabama by 2.3 points in the title game, but I’ll worry about that later.

In the meantime, check out Bill’s percentile performances from the Rose Bowl:

  • Overall:  UGA, 85%; OK 17%
  • Offense:  UGA, 93%; OK 71%
  • Defense:  UGA, 29%; OK 7%

That was the worst performance of the year for the Sooners defense… and here we’ve bragged about SEC defenses, when maybe we should be pumping our chests about SEC offenses. (I keed, I keed.  Sort of.)

Speaking of offense, there’s one note from Bill’s five factors worth a mention.  Remember how so many were talking about Georgia using its running attack to slow the pace of the game down to keep the ball out of Mayfield’s hands?  My response was that given the weaknesses in the Oklahoma defense and Georgia’s own propensity for the big play, that might not be as much a thing as people hoped.

In the end, that turned out to be the case.  Georgia averaged only 3.5 plays per possession, compared to Oklahoma’s five.  That’s what happens when your rushing IsoPPP, which measures explosive plays, winds up more than tripling the national average.  Wowzer.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“… For him, I think the sky’s the limit.”

Say what you will about Baker Mayfield, he sure was gracious in defeat.

Baker Mayfield was incredibly complimentary of Georgia QB Jake Fromm after the Rose Bowl: “A true freshman that led his team to a playoff victory. You don’t typically see that. He’s an incredible player. You can tell he commands his offense and he has the respect of his teammates. For me, that’s about the greatest character trait you could have.

I’m glad he had the opportunity, because somewhere in the second quarter, I thought he was going to run Georgia out of Pasadena all by himself.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football

The Rose Bowl, a study in contrasts

It’s not just the epic great offense versus great defense aspect — it’s balanced versus unbalanced.

Among this year’s four playoff teams, three are extraordinarily balanced: Alabama, Georgia and Clemson each rank among the nation’s top 10 in efficiency on both offense and defense.1

Oklahoma, on the other hand, is a study in imbalance.

Not only do the Sooners have the best offense of 2017, but the difference between their offensive efficiency and the second-ranked offenses (Alabama and Oklahoma State) is about the same as the difference between No. 2 and No. 10 Central Florida’s. Since the playoff started four seasons ago, the only offense remotely close to being as efficient as Oklahoma’s belonged to Oregon in 2014 — and the Ducks weren’t really that close to the Sooners.

At the same time, the Oklahoma defense is easily the worst of any playoff team. The Sooners allowed 25 points and nearly 385 yards of total offense per game this season. They rank 59th in the country in defensive efficiency. It’s safe to say that Oklahoma has the most one-dimensional profile of any team to ever make the College Football Playoff.

Does that matter?  Well, maybe.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Sooners are primed for a playoff letdown. Oklahoma has the best quarterback in the country (Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield) and a host of other weapons that can make opposing defenses pay. Their stat sheet could give any defensive coordinator a heart attack. (This is, after all, a team that surpassed 600 yards of total offense in more than half of its games!)

But it’s also worth noting that in three years of playoff action, the more efficient defense won 67 percent of its games, while the superior offense won only 56 percent. Even if those numbers are skewed by Alabama’s success as a defensive juggernaut, the Tide have won with defense for a reason. Oklahoma will have to buck that trend if they want to prove that a great offense can win, too.

I think the conclusion hits directly at what Oklahoma wants to happen and what Georgia wants to avoid.

… But perhaps Oklahoma’s best chance against the Bulldogs is to use its dominating offense to jump out to an early lead, then hope its defense can force Fromm into freshman mistakes while playing from behind. Between Georgia’s impressive balance and Oklahoma’s shaky defense, however, that might be a task easier said than done.

From your lips, brother.  From your lips…


Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“That’s up to Lincoln.”

Finally, some Rose Bowl drama.

But that changed here Friday morning when Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield did not attend a previously scheduled media availability for Sooners’ offensive players, an absence attributed to an illness by a school spokesman.

Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winner and a player who typically relishes the spotlight, has now missed every public appearance, including an arrival news conference Wednesday at Disneyland. While there’s no reason to suspect that Mayfield’s status for the semifinals is in doubt — he has continued to practice this week and was seen on the field during the team’s media viewing window Thursday — the vague nature of the illness, the fact it has now gone on for three days and the preprogrammed answers about it from Oklahoma coaches and players have left enough of a void to be filled with inference and speculation.

He’s playing.


Filed under Big 12 Football, The Body Is A Temple

About that other Rose Bowl matchup

Yeah, my nerves are tingling over what Georgia’s defense will be facing with Baker Mayfield, but what about the other side of the ball?  The Sooners offense is the best single unit playing in the CFP, but their defense is the weakest single unit hitting the field on New Year’s Day.  What should we expect from Chaney, Fromm, Chubb, Michel, et al.?  And what’s Oklahoma going to do about that?

Well, there seem to be a few common themes out there about those questions.

  1. It’s the Big 12, and those offenses, man.  That’s one the Oklahoma team appears to embrace, itself.  “In the Big 12, you’re going to be stressed in a lot of different ways,” senior defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo says. “We’re not complaining — it’s just the nature of the beast. I think it’s just a little misleading, looking at it on paper.”
  2. SEC defenses are overrated because they don’t face many good offenses.  The complement to theme #1 means that Georgia’s offensive staff hasn’t had to work as hard to game plan as your typical Big 12 staff because they can get away with a vanilla offense due to the level of opposing offenses.  Here’s Oklahoma’s DC on that“It’s a unique league. The quarterbacks, the offensive coordinators do a great job, really, scheming week to week and trying to pick at your weaknesses. I would imagine Georgia’s had three or four weeks to do that. So we’ll see.”
  3. Oklahoma’s defense will be playing with a chip on its shoulder.  Hard to do when you’re 12-1 and in the CFP, but:  “The only time you pretty much do hear about our defense is how much we suck … or how we’ve got to improve in this and this and this, and how we’re holding the team back,” sophomore linebacker Caleb Kelly says. “So we have a lot to prove and we have these next two games to do it. And I’m just hoping we come together as a defense and continue playing well like we have the past couple of games.”  Seems to me you could apply the same sort of thinking to Georgia’s passing game, if you want to.

As you can see, those are all kind of generic.  Ian Boyd, though, gets more specific with what is an interesting point.  Amidst pointing out the weak spots in Oklahoma’s defense this season, he finds one potential strength:

The saving grace for the Sooners in this contest is that Georgia is much simpler as a rushing team than Kansas State and their favorite play, inside zone, is vulnerable to the Sooners’ favorite front.

The challenge of this “tite” front, which uses a pair of 4i-technique DEs clogging up the B-gaps and then outside linebackers on the edges is that it makes it hard to run the ball downhill as the play is designed and either the sam linebacker or the mike can be a free hitter that the offense doesn’t block. Georgia has tended to handle that with either a Fromm keep option or a quick pass outside to the slot but the Sooners are hard to beat that way with strong safety Steven Parker dropping down. The senior is a pretty sure tackler and these options all involve giving the ball to someone other than Chubb or Michel which isn’t the preference in Athens.

Boyd goes on to say that “There’s a chance Georgia mauls the OU defensive line and blows open holes up the middle anyways, or that they can use their supporting run plays to attack the edges or get OU from clogging up their inside zone play, but the strength of the Georgia offense is not in attacking a defensive front like this.”  Look, if Georgia can’t win either line of scrimmage Monday, this is going to be the first Auburn game all over again.  I just happen to think that Chaney’s learned a lot from that debacle and will be prepared to react, as he did in the SECCG, if Oklahoma has early success loading the box and stuffing the inside running game.

By the way, read the entirety of Boyd’s piece.  He’s got some interesting things to say about the flaws that have plagued the Sooners defense most of the season.  There are definitely areas for Jim Chaney to try to exploit, particularly in terms of the steps Stoops has taken to scheme to protect linebacker Caleb Kelly in coverage.

One thing about Ian’s “Georgia is much simpler as a rushing team than Kansas State” observation — and he’s a much sharper Xs and Os guy than I’ll ever be, so I take him at his word there — is that it took me through several game logs for a few teams to see how that sorted out.  The Kansas State game was Oklahoma’s worst of the season in terms of defensive yards per carry (interestingly enough, the Iowa State loss involved one of their better efforts).  Without Georgia playing the Wildcats it’s a little hard to provide complete context, but there is a common opponent between KSU and Georgia, and that’s Vanderbilt.  You may remember that Kansas State lost to Vandy, but still managed to turn in one of its better rushing efforts of the season, gaining over 200 yards and averaging almost six yards a carry.

However, that pales in comparison to what Georgia did against Vanderbilt: 423 rushing yards; 7.83 ypc.  Sometimes, success is more about execution than it is about scheme.

And I think in the end that’s where it all comes back to.  If I have a fear it’s that it takes Georgia’s offense longer to sort itself out than Mayfield does against Georgia’s defense, and the Dawgs are looking at an early two or three score deficit.  As Boyd concludes,

The Sooners have a large and talented if inconsistent defensive front and they’ll be keen to send numbers to stop the run and encourage Georgia to ask Jake Fromm to out duel Baker Mayfield in a shootout. If Georgia is going to rise above that and impose their will in the trenches then they’ll either have to slow down Mayfield or get going early on the ground in this game. That may be the battle to watch in this game.

As we saw on the Plains, Georgia isn’t really built for massive comebacks.  It’s got to maintain some semblance of control on at least one side of the ball to win.


Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“It will be interesting.”

It’s reassuring to know that coaches don’t have any more real insight into what we’re in store for in the Rose Bowl than the typical GTP comment thread.  I mean, “Either Georgia kills ’em or Baker Mayfield puts on a show” is one helluva hot take, ain’t it?


Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics