He’s not saying that’s the case. He’s just saying.

Tennessee sports writer hears “rumors” about one of the candidates for the open UT AD gig and decides to disseminate them in an column.

Anytime I asked someone, “What’s wrong with Blackburn?” I got rave reviews on what a great hire he would be. But I also heard rumors.

“I heard he has a drinking problem,” someone who doesn’t know Blackburn told me.

“I think he has health issues,” someone else who didn’t know Blackburn told me.

Then, someone who does know Blackburn said, “I think he has diabetes.”

“Some people think he’s too nice a guy to make tough decisions,” said someone else.

Gosh, I wonder who would try to start a whisper campaign like that.  It’s not like Phil Fulmer would stoop to that kind of thing to win a job, is it?

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, The Glass is Half Fulmer

SEC officiating — NEW! IMPROVED!

Steve Shaw takes a victory lap.

The SEC improved officiating accuracy by nearly 8 percent in 2016 thanks to having more eyes on the replays, SEC officiating coordinator Steve Shaw told CBS Sports.

Eight per cent!  That’s awesome.  And just how did Shaw come up with the math for that?

Last season was the first in which the NCAA let conferences use people other than the stadium replay official to assist on reviews. The SEC had three replay officials at a command center in Birmingham, Alabama, to help the stadium replay official for all reviews. Shaw said he determined that collaboration helped 18 of the 226 reviews produce a correct outcome. The SEC declined to specify Shaw’s methodology for how he evaluated that a correct outcome was due to collaboration.

Greg Sankey could tell you, but then he’d have to kill you.

Mockery aside, if collaboration is really that great from an accuracy standpoint, shouldn’t somebody be insisting on a nationwide application?  I mean, who could be against getting more calls correct?

The Pac-12 experimented with a command center in 2016 to monitor replays only for Oregon and California conference games. No decision has been made yet on whether the Pac-12 will use collaborative replay full-time in 2017, league officiating coordinator David Coleman said.

“It was a good experience for us,” Coleman said. “It gave us an opportunity to advise and consult and make sure our replay staff in those two locations was considering everything they needed to get a call right. We see the possibility of it growing in the future. Obviously, there are costs involved. That has to be considered.”

Yeah, we all know that times are tight in P5 conferences.

There are other reasons why centralizing reviews makes sense:  consistency and a reduction in bias, as the Big Ten’s officiating coordinator explains.

But Carollo expressed concerns that command centers located in conference offices create conflicts of interest.

“I don’t like the structure of a collaborative center down the hallway from the commissioner because the conference may have something to gain if a certain team wins or loses – money-wise, playoff-wise, bowl-wise,” Carollo said. “Of course the conference wants certain teams to win. Conferences don’t make calls, but there is some pressure. That’s why we separate our officials away from the conference office. I want neutrality. That’s what the coaches want.”

“Of course the conference wants certain teams to win.”?  I bet that gets a memo from Jim Delany.  Carollo may be the most honest person in college football.  A somewhat low bar, I know.  But he’s right, and the best way to remove that pressure is to take reviewing out of the hands of conference officials entirely.  It would also save money.  Man, you’d think that’s about as win-win as things get for CFB.

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Filed under College Football, SEC Football

“I think a lot of people think of him as this buffoon figure.”

And, so, friends, it’s come to this:  Mitch Mustain is asked to explain Lane Kiffin.

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Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Mustained

Today, in career advice

ESPN writer tells Booch one key to getting off the hot seat is “…to lighten up or let go of some of the clichés he’s thrown around in recent months like ‘champions of life’ or ‘five-star hearts.'”

What would be the fun in that?  Besides, you know a man by the clichés he keeps.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Kirby gets a break.

This is good news.

I’ll be interested in seeing the details on how they dodged the bullet on one of the stranger brain farts of 2016.

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Filed under Georgia Football

What never was and what could be

David Wunderlich offers a tale about Georgia’s in-state recruiting since the 2002 season that provides an interesting contrast between Richt’s final years and Smart’s first two.

We’ve all lamented the disintegration of the 2013 class, but David notes that the class was a disaster not just because of who came and went, but also because of who never made it in the first place.

It didn’t have the lowest percentage on the chart, but the 2013 cycle was the nadir for Richt and in-state recruiting.

The top seven prospects in Georgia went out of state. Robert Nkemdiche, the nation’s top recruit, went to Ole Miss; to be fair, his brother already being in Oxford played a role there. Richt lost out on a pair of defensive linemen after that in Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams, guys who anchored Auburn’s defensive renaissance in 2016.

Fourth was Vonn Bell, who went on to star at Ohio State. Fifth and sixth were Alvin Kamara and Tyren Jones, a couple of guys who went to Alabama but didn’t stay long. Kamara eventually ended up a big contributor for Tennessee. Seventh was Demarcus Robinson, who became one of Florida’s top receivers in 2014 and 2015.

Georgia took a quarterback in 2013 with Brice Ramsey. He ended up a better punter than signal caller. Ramsey’s inability to fulfill his 4-star rating is why Georgia got the Greyson Lambert experience after Hutson Mason graduated. Another quarterback from Georgia who came out of high school that year was Alpharetta’s Joshua Dobbs. If 247 Sports has it right, UGA didn’t even offer Dobbs a scholarship.

Further down the list, UGA offered but couldn’t land Loganville’s 4-star running back Wayne Gallman. He and the next year’s 4-star Georgia product Deshaun Watson were obviously a huge part of Clemson’s amazing run the past couple of years.

That’s a lot of whiffing for one class.  Granted, the lack of success at running back can be partially attributed to Georgia’s giant haul in 2012 with Gurley and Marshall, but given their history with injuries and suspension, a top-flight back in the 2013 class sure would have been a big help.

Meanwhile, check out Smart’s trend line.

uga-ga-bc-pct

It’s not at Richt’s peak, but it’s certainly headed in the right direction.

That being said, it’s worth pointing out that, as the overall talent pool in this state has grown significantly over the last decade, it’s going to be nearly impossible for Smart to match Richt’s highest percentage levels, as they’re aren’t any more scholarships to offer.  What’s going to matter more, anyway, is if Smart can eliminate the dramatic swings that you can see beginning with the 2005 class.

Plateaus can be beautiful things.  Especially when they represent two gifts in one.

Even so, UGA secured 11 of the top 16 players within its home territory. Even better, the Bulldogs boxed out a lot of their direct competitors. Rival Auburn had signed 14 combined Peach State blue chips in the previous three cycles, but it only got one this time around. Florida nabbed two blue chips in 2016 but was shut out in 2017. Tennessee had signed at least one Georgia blue chip every year since Lane Kiffin arrived in Knoxville in 2009, but the Vols too came up empty.

Can Smart keep up that level of production?  That’s what we’ll have to wait and see.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Throwing away the throwaway year narrative

Judging from these pieces in SI.com and CBSSports.com, I don’t think the national media is jumping on board the Jeff Dantzler train.  If that kind of thinking gets picked up by the talking heads at ESPN this summer and fall, that’s gonna make for some tough sledding trying to defend another subpar season without at least a divisional title.

By the way, for those of you who want to argue that Job One for this staff is something other than cobbling together a functional, competent offensive line, there’s this analytic bit to ponder:

… Georgia’s offensive line (it ranked 101st and 113th, respectively, in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards and Power Success Rate statistics in 2016)…

Pretty, that’s not.  Time for Mr. Pittman to work his magic.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles