Category Archives: SEC Football

YBC, baby

If you were to tell me that the SEC’s top team in yards before contact per rushing attempt in 2020 was Georgia, I wouldn’t believe you.  But here we are.

That, in a transitional year for the position coach, both starting tackles from the prior season gone to the NFL and no spring practice.  Honestly, Matt Luke may be better at his job than I thought, and I thought he was pretty good.

28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

“I think we will be back toward normal. That is different than back to normal.”

Greg Sankey, in his inimical, yet ambiguous, style, clues us in on what to expect this football season.

Sankey shared his thoughts on a range of subjects in advance of the SEC men’s basketball tournament, which begins in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena on March 10. But while basketball was the primary focus, the commissioner looked ahead six months to the beginning of 2021 football season.

Thirteen of the 14 SEC teams have a season-opening game scheduled for Sept. 4. Mississippi is slated to play Louisville on Sept. 6 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta.

Sankey indicated it is possible the coming season could be affected in similar ways to the 2020 season. The SEC shifted to an all-conference schedule and did not start until Sept. 26 last season. Some games were postponed due to COVID-19 cases and contact tracing within programs. Four teams only played nine of 10 scheduled games.

“Some of the adaptations we had to put in place last year may have to remain,” he said. “Maybe not as dramatic as having to play conference-only football, but the potential for disruptions and readjustments of schedules may be there. The potential for having to continue to swab our nose.”

“There is a light at the end of this tunnel, but we are not done. We are not at the finish line. I want to be at the finish line more so than anyone, I think. I think the first step is to recognize we don’t know when it will fully end. …

“If we can get through this continuing decline in the COVID rates to a place where it is manageable, perhaps that toward normal is more like back to normal.”

Translation:  we need the money, so we’re playing all the games we can.  Unless we can’t.

7 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

Boom went the dynamite

Is this good?

It is, but, in a way, it’s like finishing fifth in the national recruiting rankings.

Either SEC pass offenses were crazy good in 2020, or nobody’s pass defense was crazy good.  Or maybe a little of both…

10 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Busted

Shot.

Chaser.

So, not everything about the SEC just means more.  At least when it comes to scheduling at Arky, Ole Miss and TAMU.  No discounting ticket prices, though.

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Filed under SEC Football

“We’re really fortunate to be part of the SEC, let me just say that.”

I’d sure love to know what UT Chancellor Donde Plowman means when she said this:

Tennessee athletics expects to incur an operating loss of more than $28 million during the 2021 fiscal year, and it will rely on financial support from the university and the SEC to cover the deficit.

The projected loss is primarily tied to a steep reduction in ticket revenue because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university has committed $12.5 million in institutional support from financial reserves to help cover the deficit, Plowman said. That support is not funded by tuition dollars, she said. Additionally, the SEC will provide financial relief, Plowman said.

“I can’t go into all the details about what that conference package is going to look like, but what I can tell you is, that (operating deficit) will be covered,” Plowman said. “It will be close, but we’re going to make it.”

Is Greg Sankey bailing out UT athletics with a loan?  An outright grant?  An advance on TV money?  That opens up an enormously potential conflict of interest.  For example, how motivated will the conference be to support NCAA sanctions if it impacts the school’s ability to meet future financial obligations?

There’s no indication anyone’s asked the SEC office about this, but I’d sure love to hear the details.

35 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

All in, in College Station.

Full speed ahead at Texas A&M:

Texas A&M officials are planning for a full Kyle Field for the 2021 football season, athletics director Ross Bjork said Tuesday on his monthly Facebook Live town hall meeting.

“Our approach as we sit here today on February the 23rd is that we will operate at full capacity, that we’ll have full stadiums,” he said. “We’ll have the full experience. We’ll have the Aggie band back on the field. We’ll do all the things that we normally do.”

He’s not being stubborn or insane — “If we have to pivot, we know we can,” Bjork said. “The virus will dictate.” — he’s merely being aggressive in making plans.  I’ll be curious to see how quickly any of his peers jump on the bandwagon.  Or if Sankey feels a need to weigh in.

Interestingly enough, four of the top five highest attended college football games last season were played at Kyle Field.  Sounds like there’s plenty of pent-up demand.

22 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

Grass is greener rankings

247Sports has posted the transfer portal numbers.  Here’s how the SEC shapes up on the departure front:

FB_IMG_1614038827630.jpg

Yes, those numbers include walk-ons, judging by Georgia’s list.  Every one of Georgia’s departing players has landed elsewhere.

Hate to keep beating a dead horse, but the Vols have lost an entire signing class to the transfer portal.  That’s stunning, especially considering the quality of some of the players who’ve left.

On the other hand, you’ve got to hand it to Nick Saban, don’t you?  All that talent stacked up, along with a monster 2021 class, and only six players head for the hills.

56 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Manball ain’t dead, y’all.

It’s just evolving.

Seriously, how many other SEC programs are going to have to grapple with parceling out carries to four or five qualified backs in 2021?  Georgia returns four players who finished in the top 30 in rushing yards per game last season and if Milton had played in one more game, he would have finished in the top 30, as well.

I’d call that an embarrassment of riches, except I’m not embarrassed and I doubt Kirby Smart is, either.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

SEC questions

Paul Myerberg’s SEC preview piece asks one question about every program in the conference.  It turns out those questions are a pretty good indication of what’s in store.

  • Alabama:  Can Bryce Young pick up where Mac Jones left off?
  • Arkansas:  Can the Razorbacks average 30 points per game?
  • Auburn:  Will coach Bryan Harsin get the most out of Nix?
  • Florida:  Will the offense look dramatically different?
  • Georgia:  Is this the best team in the SEC?
  • Kentucky:  Who wins the quarterback competition?
  • LSU:  Can the defense find its footing?
  • Mississippi State:  Can the defense repeat 2020?
  • Missouri:  Will it be by-committee in the backfield?
  • Ole Miss:  Will the defense make any noticeable gains?
  • South Carolina:  What would make new coach Shane Beamer a success?
  • Tennessee:  How bad is it going to get?
  • Texas A&M:  Are the Aggies headed to the playoff?
  • Vanderbilt:  Can Vanderbilt win two in the SEC?

It seems like the SEC breaks down into four categories:  (1) teams with quarterback questions (Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Kentucky, TAMU); (2) teams with defensive questions (LSU, MSU, Ole Miss); (3) teams that are in rebuild mode (South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt); and (4) the rest (Georgia).

With regard to category 1, ‘Bama is likely to be just fine and Florida and TAMU will both probably be fine.  The rest?  Who knows.  LSU is a good bet to bounce back on defense, but the future for the defenses at both Mississippi schools is murky.  The rebuild schools aren’t going to be a factor in the divisional races, although you’d think just on an any given Saturday basis, one of ’em will probably pull off an upset that will be proclaimed as proof the new coach has turned things around.

It’ll be up to Georgia’s secondary to provide a positive answer to Paul’s question.

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Filed under SEC Football

Will lightning strike twice in Baton Rouge?

I wondered about this yesterday, after I saw Bill Connelly’s SP+ preseason rankings.  The unadulterated good news for LSU is that Bo Pelini is gone.  The defense will be better by default.  What about the offense, though?  Yes, it underperformed last season.  Orgeron’s fix is to do the time warp again.

Ed Orgeron picked up the phone, called Joe Brady and asked for help.

The LSU coach wants to turn back time and replicate the 15-0 season that was powered by a record-breaking offense led by a Heisman Trophy quarterback and wunderkind coach who revamped the passing offense in 2019. That coach was Brady, 30, who worked alongside veteran coordinator Steve Ensminger to rethink the way LSU plays on offense, particularly with elite receivers such as Ja’Marr Chase on the roster.

Brady, now the offensive coordinator with the Carolina Panthers, made a quick recommendation: hire the men who coached under me for one season in the NFL.

Panthers quarterbacks coach Jake Peetz was hired Wednesday as LSU’s offensive coordinator and former LSU analyst DJ Mangas will be the passing game coordinator.

The hires send a clear message: Orgeron wants to party like it’s 2019, and he wants that offense to rumble through the SEC for the foreseeable future.

Just like Brady, neither of these two has much of a track record to rest on.

Peetz, 37, has been a journeyman mostly as an analyst and position coach since starting his career in 2006 at Santa Barbara City College. He has held nine different titles for four different programs, mostly in the NFL, in nine seasons. He served two stints as an analyst at Alabama before serving as the running backs coach and quarterbacks coach in the last two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, respectively. He has never called plays.

Mangas, 30, played alongside Brady at William & Mary and later sat beside him as an analyst in the LSU press box during the 2019 season. He joined Brady at Carolina, where he was Peetz’s assistant.

Mangas has play-calling experience, but his offenses were among the worst on the FCS level in 2017 and 2018, when he was the second-youngest offensive coordinator in college football. The Tribe averaged 15 and 13.6 points per game, ranking 112th and 121st out of 124 teams on the FCS level.

That’s a lot of trust.  And it’s not like Orgeron’s going at half measures, either, as LSU plans to go “all spread” this season, whatever that winds up meaning.

The good thing is that there’s plenty of talent to work with.  Will Coach O’s gamble pay off  — again?

29 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics