It’s everything you might expect… and more.
Mickey is clearly warning its broadcast partners that the times, they are a-changin’. Think they’re paying attention?
Is it just me, or does Matt Hayes seem particularly fixated on Mark Richt’s latest raise?
When it comes to football, nobody is more obsessed with sweating the small stuff than Alabama’s head coach. So, I’m fascinated with the attention he’s paid to Junior’s decision to speed up the Tide’s offense last season and the rather broad hints Saban’s making that some of that may have played into the defense’s collapse at the end of the year.
“If we’re going to be a no-huddle team like we were last year, I think we have to manage the season better with our team,” Saban said, “because I think at the end of the season last year, we ran out of gas a little bit.”
Now understand, while the pace may have been breakneck by Saban’s standards, it was middle of the pack by FBS ones – Alabama ranked 72nd nationally last season in plays run per game. But that’s enough for Saban to draw his own conclusions.
“Which is like a couple, three more games,” Saban said. “And our players showed it. So we’re going to have to do a better job of keeping our team where they need to be so that we can finish strong.”
What’s really interesting about this, when you parse his remarks, is that he’s more concerned about muddying his team’s identity than the energy level. Read this and see what you think:
“It’s interesting that we set records last year on offense, passing, our total offense, points,” Saban said. “I’m talking about records all time. But yet, there was something that we lost in doing that. Before we would just line up and physically dominate the line of scrimmage and the other team knew what we were going to do. It really wasn’t a secret but they couldn’t stop us.
“So, even though we had much more balance, much more diversity, I think we lost a little bit of that. And I think it’s important that we sort of gain that back so that we are a physical, relentless, competitive-type team that nobody wants to play. But we play with that kind of toughness because that’s been the trademark. That’s help us have the sort of success that we’ve had. So I’m a little apprehensive about giving up that quality and not having that identity as a team, especially in a league that is sort of built on those kind of intangibles.”
The irony here, at least for me, is you can make a valid argument Georgia’s 2014 offense had the identity that Saban believes last year’s Alabama’s squad lacked. Despite running more than five fewer plays per game than did ‘Bama, Georgia managed the best average yards per offensive play in the conference, and led the conference in scoring. Even though it played one less game, Georgia outrushed Alabama by about 450 total yards, and almost by a yard per carry.
The big question now is what Saban does to counter what he perceives as the flaws in Alabama’s game last season. Does he instruct Kiffin to rein it in? Does he stick with Alabama’s version of the no-huddle and try to adapt better on defense? You know he’s going to chew on it until he comes up with something.
In any event, it could be a story line to keep an eye on in the weeks leading up to October 3rd.
Interesting report in the Omaha World-Herald that claims back in 2010, when Texas was jerking the Big 12 around with its (then) Pac-10 flirtation, five teams from that conference (Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Kansas and Iowa State) approached the Big Ten as a group about coming on board.
The stumbling block? I’m sure you can guess it had something to do with money.
The feedback from Big Ten school officials was positive, both sources said. The sticking point was devising a revenue-sharing plan to satisfy all. It would have taken at least three to four years for that many incoming schools to hit the financial payoffs sought for moving.
Considering the level of anti-Texas motivation on one side and Delany’s ego on the other, you have to figure it must have been a lot of jack.
Just another reason to wonder what the long-term health of the Big 12 is going to be.
Field Street Forum links to a Vol site’s analysis of this year’s matchup. Here’s the conclusion:
Georgia’s won five straight in this one, but ever since the 41-14 waxing in 2010, every game in this series since has been decided by one score, with a couple games coming down to the very final seconds.
The Bulldogs clearly have the upper hand right now, but aren’t at the point of owning this series yet.
I don’t know what the author’s definition of ownage may be, but five in a row is pretty damned dominant, regardless of point spread.
And with regard to that, even there, you can find a little back story. Yes, every one of the last four games came down to a one-score margin.
- 2014: 35-32
- 2013: 34-31
- 2012: 51-44
- 2011: 20-12 (Note: UT scored with 2:45 left on the clock in the fourth quarter.)
But you know what else every one of those four games sported? A big (at least two scores) Georgia lead.
- 2014: 21-10
- 2013: 17-3
- 2012: 27-10
- 2011: 20-6
This team has recently had a bad habit of relaxing against Tennessee. Maybe it’s time to take the Vols seriously for a full sixty minutes. Try hanging on to that big lead, guys, or stay focused by struggling for the game’s entirety.
Chase Stuart goes through a little exercise each preseason that I find useful in terms of evaluating opening betting lines. He takes the Golden Nugget point spreads and runs them though his Simple Rating System (SRS) to rank the teams by the results.
The 2015 preseason SRS rankings are here. And you can see Vegas ain’t buying the “SEC is dead” talk. Five of the top ten teams, seven of the top fourteen, eight of the top eighteen and ten of the top twenty five are from the SEC.
There are seventy teams that had enough lines published to make the rankings. Georgia plays nine of those, five being in the top twenty.
Don’t read too much into this. As he notes, “The methodology may be somewhat complicated, but all these ratings are intended to do is quantify public perception.” It matters as much as you think the Golden Nugget knows what it’s doing.
Besides, it’s still July.