Category Archives: Media Punditry/Foibles

Stewart Mandel’s ultimate matchup

Man, the folks in Montana have to be going nuts over the helmet vs. helmet scene coming to the Orange Bowl:

Suppose we went to, say, Montana. And suppose we found 100 “average” college football fans (not necessarily message-board crazies, but not twice-a-year viewers, either) and put them in a room. If I held up a Michigan helmet, my guess is all 100 would know exactly what it was…

But if I held up a Georgia “G” helmet, how many of them do you think would be able to identify it off the top of their head?

I hope the announcers will help with that.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

TFW you need a narrative

Over/under on the number of times Smart and Harbaugh are reminded about this quote in their next pressers?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Heard About Harbaugh?, Media Punditry/Foibles

A ray of hope

Corso’s picking Alabama in an upset today, because Alabama is the more desperate team.

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Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

You were always on my mind…

Stewart Mandel and the Montana Project just can’t quit each other ($$).

It has not been a full five years since your last edition of Kings and Barons, but with USC and LSU poaching coaches from fellow “Kings,” do you think it is time for an update? Also, is there a hierarchy among the Kings, or is this year’s coaching carousel an anomaly? — Chris, Toledo

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 15 years since the original 2007 edition. I came back with updated editions as promised in 2012 and in 2017, so the next one is only a few months away. And yes, given all the changes to the sport, I am considering breaking it into more than four tiers. I guess I’ll have to brush up on feudal societies.

And of course, how fitting would it be if the school that touched off the original idea — whose exclusion from my Kings caused a guy in Montana to film himself quizzing people at sports bars about a football helmet — wins the national championship right beforehand.

That would be fine with me.

By the way, check out his list from 2017.  I’d say it’s in need of some serious revising.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

TFW you can’t shake loose from that narrative

Nicole Auerbach ($$):

The jury’s still out on how good the Georgia offense can be…

Jesus Christ, Georgia’s third nationally in offensive yards per play and sixth nationally in scoring.  What exactly is your jury looking for?

71 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Stats Geek!

Mike Bianchi finds religion.

That was then.

I tried to warn you doggone Dawgs after last year’s game, but you wouldn’t listen.

You only laughed at me and sent me nasty tweets and emails, saying I was a partisan, provincial Gator hack and a blind, biased Dan Mullen flack.

Before the most monumental Georgia-Florida game in years, let us take a moment to revisit what I wrote after Mullen’s Gators were manhandled 36-17 by coach Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs in Mullen’s inaugural Cocktail Party last year.

“Enjoy this, Georgia,” I wrote. “Savor this second consecutive victory over the Florida Gators. Relish your clear superiority over your rivals during Saturday’s 36-17 victory in the World’s Largest Outdoor Talent Discrepancy Party. Every Dog has its day. But your Dog days aren’t going to last as long as you once thought. In less than a season, new Gator coach Dan Mullen has at least put some chomp back in this rivalry after taking over a doomed, done-for, dysfunctional program that completely quit on former coach Jim McElwain during last year’s 42-7 loss to the Bulldogs.

“Cherish the 19-point victory, Georgia. Embrace it. Appreciate it. With Dan the Man in charge, you’re not going to be Dogging the Gators like this for very much longer.”

I hate to say I told you so, but here we are just one year later and Mullen already has his No. 6-ranked Gators rated higher and performing better than Smart’s No. 8-ranked Bulldogs. If the Gators win Saturday and I acknowledge that’s a big, big if Mullen will have proven in just two years at UF that he is a better coach than Smart.

This is now.

… It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that you can count the number of great college football coaches on one hand: Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney, Ryan Day, Lincoln Riley and Kirby Smart. And guess what? Those coaches aren’t coming to UF.

… Mullen was such a bad recruiter when he was Urban Meyer’s offensive coordinator at UF that Meyer wouldn’t even send him out on the road to recruit. Unfortunately for UF, Mullen’s recruiting skills didn’t improve much as the head coach, which is why the Gators’ are currently recruiting at UCF’s level.

There is more to being a head coach than drawing up a game plan, putting on the headsets and calling plays. The head coach is the driving influence for every element of the organization. Being an $8 million-a-year college head coach is a multi-faceted job that requires not just being a play-caller but a program-builder.

Welcome to the party, pal.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Media Punditry/Foibles

Just keepin’ it real

Mike Griffith has some thoughts about Georgia’s starting quarterback I’ll just leave here without comment.

I think people that watched that game now look at Stetson Bennett and go this guy isn’t that great. I had somebody say well, you know, Tee Martin came in after Peyton Manning. I said no, no, no, no, no, Stetson Bennett is not Tee Martin. (laughs) You’ve got this wrong. That’s not a good comparison.

I’m not saying he can’t be the quarterback of a national championship team. There’s actually people saying that he should be in the Heisman Trophy discussion. I’m just looking at it and this guy threw four passes in the Spring Game and was the third string quarterback. He was the third string quarterback going into Fall Drills. He was the third string quarterback coming out of Fall Drills. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what other SEC team he would start for. So I guess if you want to give him credit for seeing it through sticking around Georgia and being a good guy, he’s a cool guy, everybody likes him. But are his talents really in line with other SEC quarterbacks we see? I’m not sure. I mean, like I said, he’s behind a great offensive line, James Cook obviously was a pretty good running back, some of those catches the receivers made.

I’m just trying to be real here. I’m not trying to be a hater. And I get it, this kinda goes to the quarterback gets too much credit and too much blame thing. Let’s not make Stetson Bennett anymore than he really is. He’s a crafty little quarterback with good mobility but he’s got a pop gun arm. He’s got a hell of an offensive coordinator that can scheme ya and create open guys.

Again, if Georgia could trade Stetson Bennett for Hendon Hooker, if they were being honest, (chuckles) they’d do it in a split second. I mean, look at the dynamics Hooker brings. Think about how many times he shook off sacks, how big that arm is, (laughs) that is one heck of a quarterback there at Tennessee.

Well, okay, one thing — when members of the press do that “I’m just trying to be real here. I’m not trying to be a hater.” thing…  Sigh.

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The presser as purgatory

If you’re looking for a benchmark against which to judge whether a person asking a question at a head coach’s presser is so full of himself that it reveals more about the questioner than the coach (and not in a good way), might I humbly suggest your search is over?

I’m not a Sark fan, but you can almost see the moment when he thinks “what the fuck?”.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

The rehabilitation of Greg McGarity

I think Andy Staples is a good pundit, but the description he provided of McGarity a few years ago as a “sharp athletic director” struck me as either odd or coming from someone who didn’t follow the program as closely as he thought.

So, how else to explain the lede to his piece ($$) about the current state of affairs with regard to Dan Mullen?

In November 2015, Greg McGarity watched his team celebrate an overtime win against Georgia Southern as if it had just won the Super Bowl. That’s when he knew. McGarity, then Georgia’s athletic director, had been under pressure to make a coaching change for a while. But firing Mark Richt was a huge step. Georgia didn’t stink by any stretch of the imagination. That team finished the 2015 regular season at 9-3. But the Bulldogs weren’t meeting expectations.

That same week, Alabama coach Nick Saban had launched into his infamous “shit through a tin horn” rant — which, coincidentally, was about Georgia Southern in 2011 — as the Crimson Tide prepared to play Charleston Southern. Alabama beat its FCS opponent 56-6 on the same week Georgia needed overtime. The Tide didn’t need to celebrate as if they’d won a championship, because they had played to the level of their talent. McGarity and the rest of the Georgia leadership decided they wanted that mindset. They wanted to look and play like Alabama did. So out went Richt and in came Kirby Smart.

“That’s when he knew.”  That makes at least the third different time frame for that decision I’m aware of — Georgia Southern, Florida and hell, 2014, when events led up to Mark Richt addressing the rumors at his presser after the Belk Bowl victory.  For what’s supposed to be a story about a decisive guy, that’s not very decisive sounding.

And of course the take is truly ironic in this specific context because Dan Mullen was McGarity’s guy back then, as Dan Wolken related at the time.

McGarity, who has been Georgia’s athletics director since 2010, has never conducted a coaching search of this magnitude. He previously worked under Jeremy Foley at Florida, and it is expected he would lean heavily on Foley’s advice should he find himself in the middle of a coaching search.

Multiple people told USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity that McGarity has a very high opinion of Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen from their time together at Florida. Though that does not necessarily line up with Foley’s opinion of Mullen — he was not considered a candidate for the Florida opening after last season — Georgia is a job that worries Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin, according to one person with knowledge.

Sometimes, Occam’s razor is your friend.  Somewhere in the middle of the 2015 season, Mark Richt burned his last bridge with influential boosters who directed McGarity to can him and hire Kirby Smart.  The insistence that McGarity pulled all the strings by his lonesome is about as convincing as his need to spend money on a search firm to help with the hire then.

That’s all there is to it.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

1990 is just an attitude.

While I’m taking note of Stewart Mandel, I’ve got to give him real credit for something he said on his podcast with Bruce Feldman about Florida.  Dial this bad boy up to the 19:50 mark to hear Mandel speak about the attractiveness of the joint:

  • Hypothetically, if the USC, LSU and Florida jobs were all open, the Florida job would be the least desirable of those due to unrealistic fan expectations.
  • They’re unrealistic because, outside of the decade with Spurrier and Meyer’s shorter run, the Florida program hasn’t had a coach who’s sustained success, or, as he put it, “everybody else just flames out”.

You can tell Feldman wants to object, but really can’t bring himself to do so.  Truth bomb!

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