Category Archives: SEC Football

2018 SEC Football Media Days Schedule

They’re in Atlanta this year, so I guess we’ll see how well the Saban fanatics travel.  Here’s the order of appearance:

MONDAY, July 16
Kentucky – Mark Stoops
LSU – Ed Orgeron
Texas A&M – Jimbo Fisher

TUESDAY, July 17
Arkansas – Chad Morris
Florida – Dan Mullen
Georgia – Kirby Smart
Ole Miss – Matt Luke

Alabama – Nick Saban
Mississippi State – Joe Moorhead
Missouri – Barry Odom
Tennessee – Jeremy Pruitt

Auburn – Gus Malzahn
South Carolina – Will Muschamp
Vanderbilt – Derek Mason

Kirby follows Mullen.  Maybe we’ll get another sharp crack that day.



Filed under SEC Football

Studs er’rewhere

Let’s face it:  it’s basically impossible to write a best-of-recruiting piece about the 2018 class without having Georgia’s footprint all over it.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Gap yapping

The five-year average of the 247Sports Composite team rankings has Georgia sitting third nationally in terms of signing talent.  Now, as the article points out, that’s not the same metric as how much talent will be suiting up in the fall.  (“They don’t take player attrition, player development, transfers or other factors into consideration…”)

Aside from that, there’s another factor to consider — the number of kids from the 2014 classes who will be actual contributors in 2018, when they’re redshirt seniors.  Here’s Georgia’s 2014 list, for example.  By my count, there are two of the twenty signees, Gaillard and Baker, who are still around.  It’s a guess on my part, but I doubt that ratio is an outlier, particularly at major programs where there are various forms of regular attrition.

So, I wonder what those averages would look like for SEC schools if you lopped off their 2014 classes.  Math is hard, but here goes.  Teams are listed in their five-year averages order, with the five-year average in parenthesis.  (The chart only listed the top 25 schools.)

  • Alabama:  2.5 (2.2)
  • Georgia:  4.25 (5.0)
  • LSU:  7.5 (6.4)
  • Auburn:  9.75 (9.0)
  • Tennessee: 13.75 (12.4)
  • Texas A&M:  14.75 (12.8)
  • Florida:  14.50 (13.4)
  • Ole Miss:  21.0 (19.8)
  • South Carolina:  21.25 (20.2)
  • Mississippi State:  25.00 (27.0)

That’s ten out of fourteen conference schools listed in the top 25, which isn’t a bad batting average.

What’s really of interest, though, is that while there was little shifting of the overall order after lopping off 2014, every program but two —  Georgia and Mississippi State — saw its average decline.  Now I doubt anybody’s crying for Tuscaloosa, but some of those drops are pretty significant in a conference where almost every program recruits well.  It will be interesting to see which coaches can reverse those trends over the next couple of seasons, but, again, the signs are there for Georgia to have an edge in talent over everyone but you-know-who during that time period.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Making ends meet, a translation

If you frequent UGA message boards, or have done so over the years, you’ve probably seen data compiled by the prolific AirForceDawg at some point.  I mention this because he’s put me on the scent of some recent financial data that you might find of interest.

The source for the information is the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Data Analysis (EADA) website.  Visit there, and you can find the relevant financial data, i.e., revenues and expenses, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, for America’s collegiate athletic departments.  As the site itself explains,

This database consists of athletics data that are submitted annually as required by the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA), via a Web-based data collection, by all co-educational postsecondary institutions that receive Title IV funding (i.e., those that participate in federal student aid programs) and that have an intercollegiate athletics program.

For example, here’s a snapshot of UGA athletics expenses:

And here’s one for revenues:

If you can’t make the numbers out, allow me to do the simple math for you.

  • Revenues:  $157,852,479
  • Expenses:  $110,084,458
  • Net:  $47,768,021

In case you’re wondering, football’s net during that period was $56,947,313.  Not exactly what you’d call hard times.  At least if you’re not Greg McGarity.

As far as context goes in the SEC, I’m going to outsource that to AFD, who’s already done the clickwork:

FY2017 (i.e., 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017) Athletics Department Revenue:

1. Alabama: $174,305,613
2. Georgia: $157,852,479
3. Auburn: $147,413,201
4. Louisiana State: $146,934,487
5. Florida: $142,545,938
6. Tennessee: $139,659,550
7. South Carolina: $136,032,845
8. Arkansas: $132,172,997
9. Texas A&M: $130,442,544
10. Kentucky: $122,307,014
11. Ole Miss: $101,857,663
12. Missouri: $90,034,258
13. Mississippi State: $89,696,829
14. Vanderbilt: $80,335,651

FY2017 (i.e., 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017) Athletics Department Expenses:

1. Alabama: $143,634,940
2. Florida: $137,818,468
3. South Carolina: $135,499,095
4. Louisiana State: $131,722,243
5. Tennessee: $128,944,788
6. Auburn: $125,832,608
7. Texas A&M: $122,615,852
8. Kentucky: $121,688,546
9. Arkansas: $116,112,803
10. Georgia: $110,084,458
11. Ole Miss: $92,908,665
12. Missouri: $90,034,258
13. Mississippi State: $77,773,532
13. Vanderbilt: $69,803,910

FY2017 (i.e., 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017) Athletics Department Profit:

1. Georgia: $47,768,021
2. Alabama: $30,670,673
3. Auburn: $21,580,593
4. Arkansas: $16,060,194
5. Louisiana State: $15,212,244
6. Mississippi State: $11,923,297
7. Vanderbilt: $10,531,741
8. Tennessee: $10,714,762
9. Ole Miss: $8,948,998
10. Texas A&M: $7,826,692
11. Florida: $4,727,470
12. South Carolina: $533,750
13. Kentucky: $618,468
14. Missouri: $0

First in net (or profit, if you’d prefer the term) — and by a wide margin.  That was accomplished by finishing second in revenue and tenth in expenses.

Butts-Mehre has no business pleading poverty these days, but I suspect you knew that already.  My question is, since McGarity loves to trumpet his fiscal responsibility, why hasn’t he been shouting these numbers to the skies?  Could it be that he might have to explain why the athletic department doesn’t seem to prioritize spending as a path to excellence the way nine others of his peers do?

And for those of you who have been critical of me or anyone daring to question Butts-Mehre’s financial tactics, tell me, are you really okay with an ostensibly non-profit organization operating like this?


Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

Moar gap

Good news for Georgia and bad news for the SEC:

Georgia’s national team recruiting title was the 10th in a row for an SEC school, but for the second year in a row, the SEC’s share of the 100 best players dropped.

Georgia became the fourth SEC school to win a recruiting title in the past decade; LSU wore the crown in 2009, Florida in 2010 and Alabama every year from 2011-17. But the SEC saw a precipitous drop in the number of top-100 players it signed, mostly because of a resurgence by Texas on the recruiting trail. The league’s percentage of five-star prospects dropped for the second year in a row, as well.

In the team rankings, the SEC had just two schools in the top 10 this year, Georgia and No. 7 Alabama. Consider that in each of the past five years, the league had two teams in the top four; in four of those years, it had two schools in the top three and twice the SEC had teams finish 1-2.

My favorite part of that is Texas’ role in the overall decline, because Smart still wound up getting a four-star receiver out of that state.

Like I’ve said, in the short run, conference life is looking pretty good for Kirby Smart and his program.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football

Shooting match

Greg Sankey isn’t happy, people.

Greg Sankey made the SEC’s official position on a potential new Mississippi gun law very clear on Wednesday.

According to a letter Sankey wrote to the leadership of Mississippi State and Ole Miss on Wednesday, league opponents likely “will decline opportunities” to play at each school  if proposed gun legislation turns into law for the state of Mississippi.

More specifically,

Given the intense atmosphere surrounding athletic events, adding weapons increases meaningful safety concerns and is expected to negatively impact the intercollegiate athletics programs at your universities in several ways. If HB 1083 is adopted to permit weapons in college sports venues, it is likely that competitors will decline opportunities to play in Oxford and Starkville, game officials will decline assignments, personal safety concerns will be used against Mississippi’s universities during the recruiting process and fan attendance will be negatively impacted. When similar laws have been introduced in the past, the SEC office has received clear statements of concern from our member universities due to safety concerns associated with the passage of such laws intended to allow weapons at our athletic events and sports venues.

You may think that means the SEC is anti-Second Amendment.  You’d be wrong.  Sankey’s not making a political statement.  Sankey’s anti-liability.  He’s making the only kind of statement college sports administrators make seriously.  He doesn’t want his league getting sued by a shooting victim.

Arkansas backed down in the face of similar pressure.  It’ll be interesting to see if the Mississippi legislature does, too.  It’ll be even more interesting if they don’t.


Filed under Political Wankery, SEC Football

The new recruiting sheriff’s in town, part two

I’m certainly no recruiting guru, just a blogger who tries to makes sense of bigger picture stuff and trends on some occasions.  That being said, it pleases me when I find some validation out there from folks who do follow recruiting more thoroughly than I do.

For me, the most important take away from the 2018 recruiting classes in the short term is that Georgia has seriously impacted the balance of power in the SEC East.  As Alex Kirshner noted, this is actually a continuation of a trend that began with Smart’s arrival…

This time a year ago, Georgia was emerging as the far-and-away best recruiter in the lesser of the SEC’s two divisions. The Dawgs had the country’s No. 6 class in 2016, an incredible finish for a team that had just changed coaches (from Mark Richt to Kirby Smart) two months before National Signing Day. In 2017, they jumped up to No. 3, signing almost as many blue-chip recruits as the rest of the East combined.

… and has only accelerated with each succeeding class.

Then the 2018 recruiting cycle happened.

Georgia finished Signing Day with the second-highest-rated class in the history of recruiting rankings.

The Dawgs were No. 2 behind Ohio State heading into the day, but they went ahead and nabbed five-star cornerback Tyson Campbell and four-star receiver Tommy Bush. They flipped the country’s No. 2 outside linebacker, Quay Walker, from Alabama (via an amusing ceremonial fake-out) and another four-star backer, Otis Reese, from Michigan.

It’s the first time in eight years a non-Alabama team has taken the country’s No. 1 perch.

Kirby didn’t have much competition in the SEC on the recruiting front before the coaching changes at Florida and Tennessee and while those two schools had decent transitional classes with Mullen and Pruitt, neither had as good a showing as Smart’s first class.  (Granted, some of that disparity came as a result of Richt leaving a much firmer foundation for Smart to build on than what either Mullen or Pruitt had to start with, but, still.)

Bud Elliott describes the gap.

2. Imagine being a fan of Florida or Tennessee right now.

New coaching hires are supposed to come with a large dose of optimism.

Florida signed the No. 14 class, with 12 four-star players, Tennessee signed the No. 20 class, with eight four-stars.

And I won’t say that the honeymoon period is over in Gainesville or Knoxville, but a heavy dose of patience is going to be needed because the talent gap between Georgia and its two biggest division rivals is as big as it has been in 40 years.

  • Georgia has signed more four- and five-star recruits in the last two years (42) than Florida and Tennessee combined (36).
  • Georgia has signed more four- and five-star recruits in the last two classes (42) than Florida (37) or Tennessee (39) on their own has in the last four years.
  • Georgia’s roster is several years of recruiting ahead of the Gators and Vols.

The vast majority of elite players signed in the new Early Signing Period. That means that teams that made coaching changes got hosed. And it came at the perfect time for Georgia.

Florida’s class will be better in 2019, as will Tennessee’s thanks to not having to adjust to a coaching change. But Florida needs to hit home runs in 2019 and 2020 to close the gap with Georgia, and Tennessee is probably an additional year behind.

Dan Mullen and Jeremy Pruitt have a lot of work to do.

Bud’s right; Kirby Smart has been the recipient of some very fortuitous timing.  It’s to his credit, though, that he was fully prepared to take advantage.  Luck is the residue of design, and all that.

It’s worth noting that Smart’s also screwed with the perception of recruiting success in the division.  As Elliott put it, describing Mullen’s first class (which is actually pretty good, considering), “It feels weird talking about a top-15 class as something other than a success, but Georgia has simply raised the bar.”

Pruitt’s already gone on record immediately after this year’s signing day to proclaim that Tennessee’s next signing class will be very highly ranked (lucky for him, there’s a bumper crop of in state high school talent in the 2019 class).  To some extent, raised expectations kind of forced his hand there.  Smart’s made that a tougher row to hoe.  What kind of reaction should we expect from the Vol and Gator fan bases if their teams don’t sign top five classes nest year?  Or from Phil Fulmer?

Now, again, all I’m looking at here is the near horizon.  Things can and do change over the longer haul.  Pruitt does have a reputation as a great recruiter, but is handicapped in most years by a relatively slimmer in state talent base to draw from than Smart does.  Dan Mullen remembers what it was like in the day when it was Florida raking in the monster recruiting classes year after year.  It’s not unreasonable to expect a Gator bounce back.

But even that won’t be overnight.  Over the next two or three seasons, it’s hard to see how, barring epic misfortune, Georgia won’t enjoy a sizable talent advantage over its SEC East neighbors.  And if there’s one thing the Process has taught us, it’s that depth rules in this conference.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football