Category Archives: College Football

You can have my free agency, when you pry it from my cold dead fingers.

I hate to pick on Kirby, since he’s actually one of the better actors when it comes to player transfers, but, still.

Smart said it would be especially tempting for freshmen, struggling to adjust to college life, to look elsewhere if it were easier for them to transfer.

“It’s not easy your first year in college,” Smart said. “It’s one of the biggest adjustments you go through in life. So to be able to make it easy to leave, I think that’s tough. I think it’s a fine line. I want the players to be able to have the freedom and rights, but it’s tough. Put yourself in that situation when you come in there and you’ve been told how good you are your whole life and it’s difficult to make that transition.”

Makes you wonder how he feels about prohibiting all students from transferring after their freshman year.  Or coaches after one year on the job, for that matter…

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Filed under College Football

Keeping an open mind

How about this as the opening paragraph on a story about why the writer prefers the NFL over college football?

For the past six years I have watched almost every NFL game and, aside from a few pre-draft projects, zero college football games. This is partly because covering the NFL is my job, but mostly because I enjoy pro football infinitely more than college.

It only gets better.

I realize many fans watch football mainly for that glitzy presentation. They love the pageantry of football. The tradition. The sense of community. Most people say that in this regard, college beats pro. To those people, I say: you’re right. In fact, it’s really not that close. But there are those of us who like football’s pageantry but love its strategy. We see the game as a chess match, only where everyone’s pieces are not the same, those pieces are not confined to individual squares, they move not one at a time but all at once, and that movement usually doesn’t stop until someone scores or gets hit.

I guess that explains why the pros keep stealing all kinds of college offensive strategies.

Look, it’s fine not to like the college game.  I don’t watch the NFL because its soulless uniformity tends to bore me.  However, I’m not going to wear my attitude proudly like a badge.  Instead, I’ll simply settle for quietly cringing every time I hear someone suggest how college football would be better if it would only follow the NFL in some way.

At least I follow the sport that hasn’t tied itself in knots over the national anthem.

53 Comments

Filed under College Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Being good is hard.

Over at Saturday Down South, Connor O’Gara takes a look at how SEC teams have done in the playoff era against teams that finish ranked inside the Associated Press Top 25.

  • Alabama — 18-5 (.783)
  • Georgia — 9-6 (.600)
  • Ole Miss — 8-11 (.421)
  • Auburn — 7-14 (.333)
  • LSU — 6-12 (.333)
  • Arkansas — 5-15 (.250)
  • Florida — 4-12 (.250)
  • Tennessee — 4-12 (.250)
  • South Carolina — 4-12 (.250)
  • Mississippi State — 3-12 (.200)
  • Texas A&M — 2-14 (.125)
  • Kentucky — 1-12 (.078)
  • Mizzou — 0-10 (.000)
  • Vanderbilt — 0-11 (.000)

If you’re looking for an answer as to why Gus Malzahn doesn’t get the respect Auburn fans think he deserves, there’s a good answer for you.

In the bigger picture, though, it turns out the SEC is fairly representative in that regard.

As it turns out, having a winning record vs. the final Top 25 is quite the accomplishment. I found that only 3 non-SEC programs (Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma) could claim that during the Playoff era.

I dug up the records vs. the final Top 25 for a bunch of other non-SEC programs (during the Playoff era):

  • Ohio State — 14-4 (.778)
  • Clemson — 14-6 (.700)
  • Oklahoma — 10-7 (.589)
  • Wisconsin — 8-9 (.471)
  • Florida State — 7-8 (.467)
  • Michigan State — 8-10 (.444)
  • TCU — 6-8 (.429)
  • Northwestern — 6-9 (.400)
  • Stanford — 6-10 (.375)
  • Notre Dame — 6-11 (.353)
  • USC — 7-13 (.350)
  • Oregon — 7-14 (.333)
  • Penn State — 6-12 (.333)
  • UCLA — 5-12 (.294)
  • Oklahoma State — 4-10 (.290)
  • Miami (FL) — 4-11 (.267)
  • Virginia Tech — 2-7 (.222)
  • Washington — 3-11 (.214)
  • Texas — 2-14 (.125)
  • Louisville — 1-10 (.090)
  • West Virginia — 1-13 (.071)
  • NC State — 0-9 (.000)

So much for sneering at Ohio State’s and Clemson’s schedules.

Or, to put it another way…

17 Comments

Filed under College Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Paralysis by analysis

I genuinely don’t know how much snark to push at Pete Fiutak’s top 30 quarterbacks list.  On the one hand, he’s got Jalen Hurts at #12 and Tua Tagovailoa, for whom I really should come up with a catchy anagram, at #7.

On the other hand, he’s got three SEC quarterbacks, including Fromm at #4, ranked ahead of Tua.

I feel so conflicted.

18 Comments

Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

“There was a time when it was sacrilegious to transfer, to leave your team.”

The coach whining, it burns.

It’s also true that transfers are up across the board, and not just at quarterback. There were 211 graduate transfers playing in the FBS in 2017, a drastic increase from the 117 such transfers in 2016 and the just 17 in 2011. But no other position embodies the transfer craze quite like quarterback, perhaps due to the overwhelming attention always paid to the position in the first place.

It’s led to the near extinction of a certain type of college player: the career backup. Once a roster staple, senior quarterbacks who begin their careers on scholarship and stay with the same program through four years of eligibility without ascending to the starting role are now the sport’s rarest breed.

“It’s definitely different, there’s no doubt,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “Those guys are few and far between.”

These guys are bitching about backup quarterbacks.  These guys are also accepting quarterback transfers.  It takes two to tango.  They simply hope nobody’s watching their moves on the dance floor.

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Filed under College Football

“I think coaches are paranoid in general.”

I don’t know why it would be a startling revelation to disclose that people who are notorious control freaks would have concerns — okay, maybe undue concerns — about that control being undermined by lower-handed efforts by other notorious control freaks, but if we’re gonna talk about paranoia, consider a couple of things from this article on the subject.

It’s also not uncommon to face an opposing coach familiar with Alabama’s communication methods.

Kirby Smart qualifies there.

“Yeah, there are a lot of really paranoid coaches about that,” Smart said. “You’re not looking at one that’s overly paranoid but maybe I should be because everywhere I’ve ever coached, people are freaking out a week before the game, day before the game …

“We played Alabama this year and I had so much other stuff to worry about, I wasn’t worried about that. We didn’t change anything we did and I don’t know if they did or not. I had my hands full with other things. So, I think there is a paranoia out there for that and it’s probably overdone in my opinion.”

Add to that one more thing.

Not long after the College Football Playoff national championship game, a grainy security-camera snapshot made news in Atlanta. A mystery man wearing a hat and coat walked through the Marriott Marquis hotel lobby a few days earlier with a backpack that wasn’t his.

Alabama was finishing its game plan for Georgia when part of it walked right out the door. A playbook belonging to then-Crimson Tide defensive line coach Karl Dunbar was in the bag snatched from a meeting room in Alabama’s team hotel.

Given today’s heightened emphasis on cloak-and-dagger secrecy, the theft was not an insignificant breach. That other items from the backpack were recovered while the playbook remained at large only added to the story, though it didn’t go public until two days after Alabama’s overtime win over Georgia.

Still, it doesn’t do much to temper the tin-foil hat mentality of football coaches who place a premium on keeping even minute details private.

The playbook heist is perhaps the most straight-forward crack in the fortress, though the guilty party was never found, nor were there any connections made between the assailant and Georgia’s football program[Emphasis added.]

Now, let’s say Sanders hadn’t been deked, broke up the pass that wound up being the actual winning score and Georgia held on to win.  Can you being to imagine the outpouring of tin-hatted, bizarre theories used to explain how Kirby’s perfidy cheated the Tide out of a natty?  Call it Alex Jones meets PAWWWLLL!!!.

Okay, it would have been a kick to listen to, but you get my point.  This game makes a lot of people weird.

72 Comments

Filed under College Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“We wanted to be responsive to our fans.”

The header’s a pretty good tip this isn’t about Georgia football.  It seems UNLV is making a fan-friendly gesture (h/t calderw) in hopes it’ll lure some bodies through the door.

Some tickets for UNLV football this fall will include unlimited concession items in an initiative university officials believe is unique in college athletics. They also say it’s a tremendous value.

The three-game “Eat All You Can Plan,” which will provide boundless hot dogs, popcorn, nachos and soda, costs $79. While all-you-can-eat promotions are common at Major League Baseball stadiums, it is not prominent on a college football Saturday.

The games are Sept. 8 against UTEP; Nov. 3 against Fresno State; Nov. 24 in the Fremont Cannon rivalry game against UNR.

“It’s a great way for your family to enjoy first-class entertainment and create a memory for an affordable price,” said Desiree Reed-Francois, UNLV’s athletic director.

What a novel idea.  It inspired three rapid thoughts on my part, one right after the other:

  1.   How cool would it be to do something similar at some of the cupcake games at Sanford Stadium?
  2.   Then again, can you imagine the nightmare at Sanford concession stands that would entail from offering that to thousands of Georgia fans?
  3.   Then again, charging for the concessions – never actually serving the concessions because of massive delivery bottlenecks =     moar profit!

I think I may be on to something here, Greg.

13 Comments

Filed under College Football