Adventures in cord-cutting, part one

Apologies for the lack of posting this weekend, but between power outages on Saturday and Sunday and retooling our home Internet service then, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for me to sit down at the computer and blog.

Anyway, I thought I’d share my initial thoughts on dumping my satellite TV provider and my first baby steps cutting the cord.  Technically speaking, I should probably say I’ve quasi-cord cut, as I’ve switched my Internet service to Comcast as part of a package that includes basic cable, as in local channels only.  I’ve supplemented that with Sling TV’s Orange package, which provides three ESPN channels.

Here’s what I’ve noticed in the first two days:

  • Cost.  I was spending $175/month on Dish and Earthlink.  I’ve cut that by $60/month, even with ESPN still on the roster.  Hard to see that as anything other than a plus.
  • Available product.  From Comcast, I have access to all the local stations, plus HBO.  From Sling, I’ve got ESPN, as I mentioned, plus about another 20 channels, several of which I watch.  Biggest loss on the Orange package is Fox, which means I’ve no longer can watch Fargo.  I’m not sure that’s the end of the world — although I would no doubt have a very different opinion if Justified were still on the air — but I’ll wait to see how much that matters.  What’s nice is that since Comcast tossed HBO into the package, I have access to HBO’s HBO Go streaming service.  Between that and Netflix, which we already had, there are plenty of entertainment options.  Much of what I’ve lost from giving up Dish is stuff I never watched anyway.  Overall, it’s a positive.
  • Flexibility.  This is perhaps the best part.  Netflix and Sling can be cancelled at any time.  More relevant is that I can add Sling’s sports package, which includes a couple more ESPN channels as well as the SEC Network, whenever I want for an additional $5/month.  I’ll add it in August and cancel it after the college football season ends in January.  Sweet!
  • Performance.  I went from a rated download speed of 1.5 Mbps with Earthlink to 300 Mbps on the new set up.  And while you never seem to get the full allotment of anything rated when it comes to computers (anyone ever notice that with hard drive memory?), it’s obvious I’m enjoying a huge uptick in speed.  In between the power outages, I streamed a decent amount of television and never suffered a single bout of buffering, even while my wife was on the family computer.  That’s a vast improvement.

After two days, then, I’m feeling good about this.  The only potential downside I can see from here is that the process of game surfing during commercials — if you’re a couch potato, it’s what couch potatoes do — is going to be a bit kludgier because in going from local channels on Comcast, like CBS, to streaming channels on Sling, like the SEC Network, I’ll have to jump from one input to another.  How much of a pain in the ass that’ll be I can’t say for sure, but I doubt it will make me regret the move.

One thing I would suggest from what I’ve experienced so far is that if you decide to go this route, don’t scrimp on the delivery speed.  Get the fastest service you can afford and make sure you have a Cable modem/Wifi router that can keep up.

I’ll update my progress come the start of the football season, after I’ve added the Sling sports package and possibly bought a big screen TV for my downstairs viewing (man cave!).  I have to say that 55″ LG OLED set I eyeballed last time I was in Costco was impressive, but kind of pricey.  Still, it be tempting…

If you have any questions or suggestions, lay them on me in the comments.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

Getting it over with

The light bulb goes off in Kevin Sumlin’s head.

Sumlin was like several of his peers and sounded like a restaurant maitre d’. Florida’s Jim McElwain and South Carolina’s Will Muschamp both likened commitments who are verbally committed but don’t sign in the early period as someone making dinner plans.

“If a guy doesn’t sign in December, he’s not committed,” Sumlin said. “He has a reservation.”

The SEC was not in favor of the early signing period which will start Dec. 20. The usual February signing period will start on the first Wednesday of that month.

Sumlin supports the rule change that allows the early signing period but he also made it clear that high schoolers who have verbally committed to the Aggies will be expected to sign in December.

“I think it’s got the potential to help everybody,” Sumlin said. “It’s a cost-cutting measure. By that time, our guys are usually committed, not down to the wire. So we (previously) spent January spending money going to see a guy every week.

“If he doesn’t sign then, it clears the picture up. He’s not really committed to you. Maybe non-Power 5s could keep recruiting guys, but I don’t know. Recruiting is still going to be the same way.”

Gosh, teenagers who aren’t sure about what they’re doing.  What a revelation.

Had Sumlin been a little more honest, he might have conceded that the process cuts both ways.  A coach who isn’t willing to sign a recruit with an offer in December is sending his own kind of message about commitment.

Then again, he may have been too worried about player evaluation to admit that.

But for coaching staffs, the early signing period ramps up the recruiting calendar. If prospects are expected to sign their letters of intent in December, then schools need to zero in on recruits earlier.

And as many coaches mentioned on the SEC call, there will be less time for recruiters to establish relationships and get to know the players they wish to sign.

“I’m concerned with the (recruiting) calendar changing,” Sumlin said. “I don’t get to get in guys’ homes in May. How do we get to know these guys a little bit better as we sign them early? To know what we’re getting, and to know each other.”

I dunno about you, but when I see that Lane Kiffin just offered a 13-year old, it’s hard for me to get very worked up about his concern.

Actually, what I wonder about is whether December is early enough for coaches and players to put their respective cards on the table.  It’s revealing that Sumlin expects all of his recruits who have verbally committed by December to utilize the early signing date, but he’s also realistic enough to acknowledge that there will be some uncertainty in the process.  Is two months enough time for everyone to put their Plan Bs into effect if they don’t get their first choice?  Maybe it will turn out to be so, but until we see how it plays out in real time, it’s hard to say from here.

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Filed under Recruiting

Showing up means more than just showing up.

Jason Butt’s analysis of Georgia’s outside linebackers position post-spring made me think, not about that group per se, but about something suggested in the header: “Carter, Bellamy ready for one final run”.  Namely, if you’re part of that group of seniors who decided to pass on the NFL for another season in Athens, how exactly is that mindset going to translate into on-the-field results?

Last December’s buy-in was a huge shot in the arm in terms of player confidence in Kirby Smart, and as the linked piece shows (re Robert Beal:  “He walks into a great situation by being able to learn under Carter and Bellamy for a season while growing into his own as a college football player.”), it’s tremendous for team depth and player development.  But I’m asking about something more specific.  How will coming back affect the way Carter and Bellamy perform in their last season?  And, assuming that’s positive for the two, will that rub off on their teammates?

What I’m getting at here is based on a reflection of last season’s start.  The Dawgs came out in the opener and put a decent North Carolina team to bed.  Whatever momentum they garnered from the win was quickly spent in the game two struggle with Nicholls, though, where it was apparent that the team had mentally checked out before the opening kickoff.  They never really seemed to get their mojo back, either, as the season progressed.

Does having this core group of returning seniors — all starters, all respected — bring some extra focus to 2017?  Unlike last season, the early marquee game isn’t the opener, but you still have to be concerned about the mindset of the staff and players in the first few games.  Take Appy State for granted by looking forward too far towards Notre Dame could be disastrous.  Even if Georgia starts out 2-0, how do the players handle early success going from there?

It seems to me that, for all our talk about scheduling, team depth and in game coaching decisions, there’s something mental/emotional about the program that has to change for the better if Georgia football is going to take a step to the next plateau.  Is this the year the mindset changes in a positive way, and does it last?

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Filed under Georgia Football

He who laughs last… laughs last.

Ed Aschoff claims Boochmentum is a real thing.  Really.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

At least it’s not a waterfall.

I’m just gonna put this one out there for public consumption…

Although I would have enjoyed seeing the look on McGarity’s face when this was presented as a budget item.  (“There aren’t any condoms with that, are there?”)

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Filed under Georgia Football

Vegas looks at the SEC East and scratches its head.

You can bet eight wins for Georgia and Florida, 7.5 for Tennessee.

My first reaction is “oh, bullshit”… but on reflection, I kind of get where they’re coming from.  Fandom aside, which school of those three do you want to go out on a limb with today?

Speaking of which, it will be interesting to see how these totals change as the season approaches.

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Filed under SEC Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

It’s go time for Kirby.

Roll over Beethoven and tell Jeff Dantzler the news:  this ain’t no throwaway year.

Smart said Wednesday on “The Paul Finebaum Show” from the Regions Tradition Pro-Am in Hoover, Alabama that he thinks it’s best to embrace such outlooks.

“At the University of Georgia, that is the expectation. We should be a team that is favored to win the East each year. We should recruit the best players in our state, which is a very productive state, and develop those guys into really good players.”

“We’re still a young team in my mind,” Smart said. “Because over half of our roster will be freshmen or sophomores. But we’ve got some good football players coming back and I’m excited about our team. So I know the expectations are there; that comes with being the head coach at the University of Georgia.”

All I can say in response is hells to the yeah.  Coach without fear, coach with confidence, coach however you want to describe it… just accept what they brought you here to do, and do it.  That’s what I want out of the head coach.

If only we could hold everyone else associated with Georgia athletics to the same standard and have them hold themselves accountable to us for that.

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