Category Archives: SEC Football

SEC Net YPP, final edition

Thought I’d spend one more post on my favorite stat and how the conference shaped up in that regard for the season, now that it’s in the books.

(As always, stats via cfbstats.com.)

  1. Georgia 2.83 (6.98 o; 4.15 d) [NC: -.56]
  2. Alabama 1.77 (6.54 o; 4.77 d) [NC:  -.25]
  3. Texas A&M 1.30 (5.96 o; 4.66 d) [DNP]
  4. Florida 1.12 (6.60 o; 5.48 d) [NC: -.12]
  5. Tennessee 1.04 (6.47 o; 5.43 d) [NC: -.24]
  6. Arkansas .97 (6.37 o; 5.40 d) [NC: -.03]
  7. Kentucky .89 (6.40 o; 5.51 d) [NC: -.23]
  8. Ole Miss .78 (6.29 o; 5.51 d) [NC:  -.24]
  9. Auburn:  .54 (5.81 o; 5.27 d) [NC:  -.10]
  10. Mississippi State .33 (5.89 o; 5.56 d) [NC: -.24]
  11. LSU -.12 (5.39 o; 5.51 d) [NC: -.07]
  12. South Carolina -.33 (5.30 o; 5.63 d) [NC: +.20]
  13. Missouri -.52 (5.86 o; 6.38 d) [NC: -.12]
  14. Vanderbilt -2.23 (4.52 o; 6.75 d) [DNP]

Turnover margin, after week six:

  • +9:  Ole Miss
  • +8:  Alabama
  • +5:  Arkansas
  • +4:  Georgia
  • +3:  Missouri, Tennessee
  •  0:  Auburn, South Carolina
  • -1:  Texas A&M
  • -2:  Mississippi State
  • -3:  LSU, Vanderbilt
  • -8:  Florida
  • -11:  Kentucky

Observations:

  • First of all, remember why I track net ypp“As a general rule of thumb based on the last four seasons, you’d better create a net YPP of 2+ if you want a realistic shot at the CFP (the four-team version, that is). And if you want to win, you’d better wind up north of 2.5.”  Georgia, and Georgia alone, did.
  • The net numbers back up two impressions I had from this season.  Pittman and Beamer did impressive coaching work.
  • But the coach who I think deserves the biggest tip of the hat is Stoops.  A ten-win season in this conference with a minus-eleven turnover margin?  That’s damned good work.  And as an added bonus, UK’s got regression to the mean to look forward to in 2022.
  • Mizzou’s numbers are bad, but LSU with a negative net ypp should never happen.
  • This makes two straight seasons of Junior’s team fading noticeably at season’s end, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise, given his roster limitations.
  • There’s no question which team wound up as the biggest underachiever, based on net ypp.  That would be Florida.

Your final thoughts?

4 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

At QB, is Jimbo getting a pass that Kirby didn’t get?

Bill Connelly ($$), looking ahead to some prospective storylines for the 2022 season, makes this point:

Even the best-laid previews go awry. Just as we spent a good portion of last offseason talking about whether JT Daniels was ready to lead a national-title charge at Georgia, we also talked about whether quarterback Haynes King was ready to take Texas A&M to a new level.

In both cases, injuries rendered these topics moot. Daniels missed time and gave way to Stetson Bennett, who indeed led the Dawgs to the promised land, while King was lost for the season in Week 2, ceding the floor to Zach Calzada. Calzada put together a stunning performance in A&M’s upset of Alabama, but he otherwise lacked; at the end of a disappointing 2021 campaign, he decided to transfer to Auburn. Strike up the “Is King ready?” talk all over again. And after the coup Jimbo Fisher just pulled off in recruiting, turn the volume up quite a bit this time.

When you make what Fisher makes, and you sign one of the best recruiting classes on record, you’re going to face all sorts of expectations.

Yet it’s Kirby who got the heat for his quarterback management last season (and still is in certain quarters this preseason), while Fisher doesn’t seem to have gotten much questioning about his.  Think that changes this season?

15 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

247Sports way too early SEC projections

Without any further adieu, here’s how they see it, by divisional order:

EAST

  • Georgia (12-0, 8-0)
  • Tennessee (8-4, 4-4)
  • Kentucky (8-4, 4-4)
  • South Carolina (7-5, 4-4)
  • Florida (6-6, 4-4 3-5)
  • Missouri (4-8, 1-7)
  • Vanderbilt (3-9, 0-8)

WEST

  • Alabama (12-0, 8-0)
  • Texas A&M (10-2, 6-2)
  • LSU (9-3, 5-3)
  • Ole Miss (8-4, 4-4)
  • Arkansas (7-5, 4-4)
  • Mississippi State (7-5, 3-5)
  • Auburn (5-7, 2-6)

Observations:

  • Most obviously, if Harsin finishes with a second straight losing season, he gone.
  • I don’t know how I missed this, but Ole Miss plays at Georgia Tech this year.
  • If Florida finishes 6-6, Napier will break the streak of double digit wins in a coach’s first season there.
  • Sure, first instinct will be to mock the jubilation emanating from Knoxville if that’s how UT’s season plays out, but I’ve gotta say, were I a Vol fan, a second place divisional finish coupled with a win over the Gators would make me pretty happy, too.
  • All that being said, if LSU bounces back to go 9-3, it would be hard not to pick Brian Kelly as the SEC Coach of the Year.

34 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Another voice stilled

When I think of listening to SEC football, three announcers come to mind — Larry Munson, Verne Lundquist and Ron Franklin.

Former ESPN college basketball and college football sportscaster Ron Franklin passed away Tuesday at the age of 79, according to his friend and former colleague Mike Barnes. He called ESPN on ABC games, the French Open and the U.S. Olympic Festival along with many other events over his long broadcasting career.

Franklin grew up in Hazelhurst, Mississippi and attending the University of Mississippi. He started working in radio early in his career and eventually worked as the basketball and football play-by-play commentator for the University of Texas from 1983-88. Franklin also did play-by-play work for the Houston Oilers and served as sports director at several different local news stations.

He made the move to ESPN in 1987, where he worked until 2011. Franklin worked with several different color commentators over his career, including Mike Gottfried, Ed Cunningham and Fran Fraschilla.

As the news that Ron Franklin passed away spread, former sports broadcaster Mike Barnes shared a message about the loss of his friend.

“Just got the sad news that my friend Ron Franklin has passed away,” Barnes posted on Twitter. “If you’re a sports fan, you knew Ron Franklin and his amazing voice.  Incredibly talented and knowledgeable and very nice and gracious. RIP.”

He and Gottfried made a great pairing.  If you’ve got time to listen, here’s their call of the 1995 Georgia-Tennessee game:

If you want a happier result, here’s his call, along with Ed Cunningham, of Georgia’s comeback win in the 1996 2006 Peach Bowl.

His “he could’ve held him” quip at the 57-minute mark still makes me chuckle.

Franklin got in trouble at ESPN for a lack of political correctness and an inability to read the room, which was unfortunate.  But he was a great example of the less is more school of calling a game.  Too bad there don’t seem to be many graduates from there working the booth these days.

RIP, sir.

*************************************************************************

UPDATE:  Here’s one more.  Since it involves a Spurrier defeat, I figure you’ll watch.

18 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Biting the bullet: reviewing my 2021 SEC preseason predictions

Once more into the accountability breach, my friends.  It’s time to look back at my conference preseason predictions to see how much ass I wound up showing.

And, don’t forget this evergreen reminder:  schools are listed in the same order as they were in my preseason post, with this season’s won-loss totals.

[Ed. note:  Please read that last sentence again, carefully, before you blast me in the comments for not agreeing with the order of presentation.  You’ll save us both a lot of time.  Thanks!]

SEC WEST

ALABAMA (13-2, 7-1)

  • What I said:  Same as it ever was in Tuscaloosa.  There are plenty of people who think the Tide are a lock to lose a regular season game.  Okay, but to whom?
  • How I did:  That would be Texas A&M, stud.
  • Final grade:  B

TEXAS A&M (8-4, 4-4)

  • What I said:  The non-conference schedule is soft.  The crossover games are against Missouri and South Carolina.  The defense under Elko will be nasty.  This team will go as far as the o-line, which lost a bunch of starters, and a new quarterback will take them.  The offense isn’t cutting edge, but Fisher will game manage the Aggies to no worse than nine, and probably ten, regular season wins.
  • How I did:  That new quarterback thing didn’t take them as far as I thought.
  • Final grade:  C-

AUBURN (6-7, 3-5)

  • What I said:  Somebody said Harsin hired two coordinators better suited for 2013 than 2021.  That may be true, but I think Auburn’s success this season boils down to whether Bo Nix evolves into a functional SEC quarterback.  From where I sit, it feels like a seven-win season is coming.
  • How I did:  Bo didn’t.
  • Final grade:  B-

LSU (6-7, 3-5)

  • What I said:  This is the SEC’s biggest mystery team, and it’s because Orgeron’s management skills are, shall we say, questionable.  Does his new staff recapture some, if not all, of the 2019 magic?  Your guess is as good as mine.  The Tigers will be better, but I’m hedging my bets at eight, maybe nine, wins tops.
  • How I did:  The Tigers were not better.
  • Final grade:  B-

OLE MISS (10-3, 6-2)

  • What I said:  They’ll be fun to watch, for sure, but that defense has a way to go.  And they’re still digging out from under the rubble from the NCAA sanctions.  They get the Vols and Vandy from the East and the non-conference schedule is certainly manageable.  There could be as many as eight wins in store for them.
  • How I did:  I didn’t see a ten-win team coming, mainly because the defense didn’t suck as bad as I thought it might.
  • Final grade:  D

MISSISSIPPI STATE (7-6, 4-4)

  • What I said:  Leach has done what he’s done in his first year at previous stops: rip apart everything at the seams and rebuild from there.  It took him two or three seasons to show improvement and there’s no reason to think it’ll be any different at MSU — other than the fact he’s trying to reinvent the wheel in the SEC West.  I’ll say five wins, as the non-conference schedule is soft and they get Vandy.
  • How I did:  It wasn’t my year predicting the performance of teams from Mississippi, I guess.
  • Final grade:  D

ARKANSAS (9-4, 4-4)

  • What I said:  You could say the Hogs exceeded expectations last year, but that’s because the bar was set very low.  This year’s schedule, like 2020’s, is brutal and it’s hard to see where there are more than four wins on it.
  • How I did:  Er… I meant four conference wins.  Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket.
  • Final grade:  F

SEC EAST

FLORIDA (6-7, 2-6)

  • What I said:  My gut tells me UF will be a better team than we want it to be.  No, the Gators won’t be as good on offense as they were last season, but it’s hard to see how they can be any worse on defense.  The problem is that they’ve drawn Alabama as their floating cross-division opponent.  The rest of the schedule is fairly manageable, with the key game being against LSU.  Nine or ten regular season wins seem doable.
  • How I did:  My gut didn’t know shit about Florida.
  • Final grade:  F

GEORGIA (14-1, 8-0)

  • What I said:  Stability at quarterback is huge.  So is Monken having a full preseason to work on installing his offense.  The early injuries are a little concerning, but Georgia looks like a team that will improve as the season goes on.  There shouldn’t be more than one regular season loss.
  • How I did:  Can’t complain.
  • Final grade:  A

MISSOURI (6-7, 3-5)

  • What I said:  I’m not on the Mizzou bandwagon yet.  Drinkwitz did a good job in a tough year for them, but the team tailed off as the season progressed, and I don’t think Bazelak was very good in the second half.  The Tigers didn’t beat a team with a winning record.  Missouri has the early soft schedule that it typically relies on to build momentum; it doesn’t face a ranked team until week seven and only faces two others after that.  Seven wins.
  • How I did:  Not perfect, but pretty accurate.
  • Final grade:  A-

KENTUCKY (10-3; 5-3)

  • What I said:  They are making a major change on offense, with a new quarterback, to boot.  Hard to think there won’t be growing pains.  Fortunately, they’ve got a stout offensive line and some good backs to lean on.  The schedule is favorable, too.  This could be an eight-win team in 2021.
  • How I did:  The changes on offense worked out better than I anticipated, which is how UK managed a 10-win season.
  • Final grade:  D+

SOUTH CAROLINA (7-6, 3-5)

  • What I wrote:  What a mess.  The roster is lacking in talent for an SEC program.  The schedule has three teams ranked in the preseason top ten.  Vanderbilt is worse, but I’m not sure by how much.  Four wins is as good as it gets.
  • How I did:  Shane Beamer did a terrific job milking seven wins out of this team.
  • Final grade:  F

TENNESSEE (7-6, 4-4)

  • What I wrote:    A brutal offseason in the portal, where the Vols lost many of their best players.  They’re making a major stylistic change from Pruitt to Heupel.  Still, given the state of the East and a soft non-conference schedule, this team has a decent shot at bowl eligibility.
  • How I did:  Pretty much spot on.
  • Final grade:  A

VANDERBILT (2-10, 0-8)

  • What I said:  This was an awful team in 2020, so bad that I’m not defaulting coaching staff turnover as a con.  The talent was lacking, but last year’s Vandy staff flat out sucked.  The other blessing here for the ‘Dores is a return to non-conference play.  They could win three games this season.  Maybe.
  • How I did:  They di’int.
  • Final grade:  A

Overall, not one of my better efforts.  How did things turn out for you?

39 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Victory lap

Ordinarily, I’d chalk this up to his ego…

… but since it’s in the service of a noble cause, I’ll let it slide.

18 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, SEC Football

SEC Power Poll, final edition

A very memorable season is in the books.  I’m not sure any further introduction to the PP is necessary.

  1. Georgia.  Damn, this feels good.
  2. Alabama.  Kirby told Nick this was one of the best coaching jobs of his career.  Considering what ‘Bama lost to the NFL, along with the injuries, I can see why he said that.
  3. Ole Miss.  All things considered, Junior did a helluva coaching job this year.  They weren’t as dominant offensively as a season ago, the defense was only moderately improved, but they still wound up winning ten games and playing in a NY6 bowl game.
  4. Kentucky.  Ditto for Stoops.  To milk ten wins out of that roster was doing some good work.
  5. Arkansas.  And let’s not forget the job Sam Pittman did this season.  I don’t think anyone in their right mind saw the Hogs as a nine-win team in the preseason.
  6. Texas A&M.  No, I don’t factor the recruiting rankings for the 2022 class into the Power Poll standings.
  7. Tennessee.  The greatest 7-6 season in Vol history.
  8. Mississippi State.  The Bulldogs beat a couple of teams they shouldn’t have and lost to a couple of teams they shouldn’t have.  Your typical Mike Leach season, in other words.
  9. LSU.  They played the bowl game with a shell of a roster, so it’s hard to count that against them, but there’s no excuse for a team with this much talent to have been so mediocre.
  10. South Carolina.  Shane Beamer coaxing seven wins out of this roster was an impressive coaching job, especially considering the ‘Cocks were outscored over the course of the season.
  11. Auburn.  Considering the source, I know it shouldn’t, but it blows my mind how much money the school blew making a coaching change to finish worse than it did.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, though.
  12. Florida.  I’m gonna miss the Portal Master™, by Gawd.
  13. Missouri.  No SEC team should lose to Army.
  14. Vanderbilt.  There’s nowhere to go but up.  I say that every year and more times than not Vandy proves me wrong.

38 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

Er’rybody’s talkin’

Adam Rittenberg ($$) chats up several SEC coaches who faced Alabama and Georgia this season with regard to the rematch.  A random selection of their comments:

  • “Georgia has the personnel, but they found themselves getting a four-man rush and not getting much pressure on the quarterback with what they brought, and they paid the price,” an SEC coordinator said. “The matchups are in [Georgia’s] favor. [Alabama’s] offensive line is good, but not as good as everybody believes it to be, because nobody wants to go at it. You go back and look at the tape, people who have gone at them have found ways to get pressure.”
  • “Is he Bryce Young? No. But the dude is good enough with his feet and he’s smart enough to extend plays when he plays within himself,” an SEC defensive coordinator said. “He can’t make that one boneheaded mistake. Check it down or throw it away. That’s how you beat Bama. Your defense is good enough to win it, and offensively, your weapons are better than their weapons.”
  • “Alabama’s got to take away Georgia’s running backs, and not just their being able to run the ball, but all those space plays, bubble screens and flares, short pass plays that are really just sweeps,” an SEC defensive coordinator said. “That’s the most important thing for Alabama’s defense because really at wideout, Georgia is pretty average.”
  • Alabama sacked Bennett three times in the SEC title game, while limiting the Bulldogs to 3.6 yards per rush. An SEC coordinator thinks Alabama will target Georgia interior offensive lineman Warren Ericson.  “You’re going to see Alabama try to force him to block one-on-one and take advantage of that matchup on passing downs and third-and-long, find ways to isolate him through formations and looks,” the coach said. “He’s the guy in that Georgia offensive line you want to go after a little bit.”
  • “Alabama is not as talented on offense as they have been,” an SEC coordinator said. “After we played Georgia, I’m like, ‘If there’s a better team in the country, I’d be shocked.’ And obviously Bama got ’em. But I’d be shocked if they get ’em twice.”

67 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Georgia Football, SEC Football

It just costs more.

Interesting catch from Kristi Dosh:

Imagine my surprise as I was reviewing conference distribution policies to write about the College Football Playoff payouts and stumbled across a new section about withdrawing from the conference complete with a new exit fee. According to the SEC’s 2021-22 Bylaws, the new language was adopted January 14, 2021.

The additions to Section 3 of the conference bylaws begin with a requirement to give at least two years’ notice:

*3.1.4 Withdrawal from Membership. A member may only withdraw from membership in the Conference after providing written notice to the President and the Commissioner of the date of its withdrawal at least two years prior to the date on which the withdrawal will be effective. The withdrawal notice must specify a withdrawal date of July 15 in the year in which the withdrawal will be effective. [Adopted: 1/14/21]

The biggest change of all though is the whopping $30-45 million exit fee the conference will now impose. Here is that section in full:

3.2 WITHDRAWAL FEE

*3.2.1 Obligation to Pay Withdrawal Fee. A member that provides notice of withdrawal from the Conference as required by Section 3.1.4 shall pay a withdrawal fee to the Conference of $30 million on or before the effective date of the withdrawal. [Adopted: 1/14/21]

*3.2.2 Additional Withdrawal Fee. A member that withdraws from the Conference without providing notice of withdrawal as required by Section 3.1.4 shall pay a withdrawal fee of $40 million to the Conference immediately upon providing notice of withdrawal (or if no notice is provided, as of the effective date of such withdrawal). [Adopted: 1/14/21]

*3.2.3 Withdrawal Fee—Member Deemed to Have Withdrawn. A member deemed to have withdrawn from the Conference shall pay a withdrawal fee of $45 million to the Conference immediately upon being informed that the Commissioner has determined that the member is deemed to have withdrawn. [Adopted: 1/14/21]

*3.2.4 Reduction of Distributions to Withdrawing Member. The Commissioner may, at any time (including prior to the effective date of any withdrawal or deemed withdrawal), reduce any distributions otherwise payable to a member that has provided notice of withdrawal or who has been deemed to have withdrawn, including but not limited to distributions otherwise provided for in Bylaw 31, and apply such distributions to the withdrawal fee payable by the member to the Conference. [Adopted: 1/14/21]

Did Greg Sankey suddenly develop a raging case of insecurity?  Or are they just making it harder for Texas and Oklahoma to jump ship (again)?

Nah.  They’re just protecting an investment.

… sources at two SEC schools suggested the changes were made as a result of supplemental distributions the conference made to help cover costs during the pandemic.

The SEC office confirmed the change was made due to the supplemental distributions.

“The adjustments made to SEC Bylaws in January 2021 were related to securing and distributing supplemental income to SEC members to help mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on SEC athletics programs as announced in May. SEC presidents and chancellors unanimously approved the bylaw change,” said Herb Vincent, the SEC Associate Commissioner for Communications.

Not that I think anybody was contemplating departure to pocket that sweet advance money…

16 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

TFW you try to be sarcastic, but your heart’s not really in it

Poor Danny.

It’s not gonna just be a rough day, Danny.  You’ve got ten days just to get to the game and another year with an SEC team as national champs.  Maybe you should stay on that beach until 2023.

25 Comments

Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football