Last Friday the Golden Nugget released their annual “Games of the Year” odds. As you might expect, several feature the Dawgs and, frankly, the odds paint an interesting picture (full list available here via ESPN). They cover every conference game on the schedule minus Vandy, Kentucky, and (wait for it) Auburn.
Here are the odds:
South Carolina at Georgia -11
Alabama at Georgia Pickem’
Georgia at Tennessee Pickem’
Mizzou at Georgia -8.5
Florida vs. Georgia -12
Georgia -1 at Georgia Tech
Some initial thoughts:
1. It’s really early. Like REALLLYY early. So don’t get too excited. Most of these will change. But still, you are reading this correctly in that Vegas basically has UGA at mostly even money to have a helluva season.
2. The Bama game as a pickem’ is the biggest surprise on this list. You could read that one of two ways: On the one hand, you could say that some Vegas oddsmakers don’t think UGA will have a problem at QB or at least that it won’t keep them from having a shot in games like the Bama game. On the other hand, you could read this as continuing mistrust of a Bama team that does seem to have lost a step (albeit just one single baby step) on the Saban monstrosities of yore. Either way, with Brice Ramsey about to play the biggest game of his life I’m really surprised Bama isn’t a -1 pick here.
3. Vegas is obviously really high on Tennessee as they should be. Tennessee could very easily live up to the hype and run away with the East this season. Going to Neyland the week after the Bama game sets the stage for a trap game to end all trap games. It might surprise you, however, to learn that the oddsmakers favor Alabama by 10 over Tennessee. Granted, the Vols do travel to Bama.
4. Second prize in the “best surprise” category probably goes to South Carolina line. The oddsmakers have UGA favored by 11 which I can only assume means they’ve never watched a UGA-South Carolina game in their entire lives. Either the ole ball coach has a real turd of a team on his hands or UGA is getting a lot of love when the line should probably be more economical.
5. Only favored by one at Tech because reasons.
6. Just in case you were wondering, UGA is 25/1 to win the National Championship and is +450 (within the top ten odds-wise ) to reach the College Football. Playoff
All in all, no one is saying “crown em” just yet. But you could say dumber things than “UGA might be a real dark horse for the playoff”
Tight end Garrett Walston has committed to UGA over my other school, the University of North Carolina. While most sites apparently only rank him as a three-star recruit, I have a couple of different insights to add here.
— Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd) June 30, 2015
1) Being a member of the Inside Carolina message board, it was readily apparent that he was the top TE on the Heels’ list. With Eric Ebron just 13 months removed from being the tenth overall pick in the NFL Draft, Carolina has a legitimate claim as a good school for receiving tight ends.
2) Being a native of the 910 area code, of which Walston’s hometown of Wilmington, N.C. is, scouts don’t often get to the sparsely-populated area. Without doing research, the last 4-5* recruit from the large Southeastern Coastal Plain of N.C. was Xavier Nixon, a 5 star OT from Fayetteville.
What I’m saying is that Walston is probably underrated by the recruiting services. I’d be surprised if he didn’t end up a 4-star.
3) I made a rare post defending Georgia’s commitment to throwing to the TE on IC.
4) Todd Gurley. Keith Marshall. JEBBLAZE. Garrett Walston. Georgia is planting some strong ‘crootin boots in North Cack.
It has long been established that Phil Steele is the best in the college football preview magazine business. Two chock-full pages on every team in the country, predictions, advanced statistics, predictive models…it’s glorious.
Well, with 352 pages of content and a limited amount of time for fact-checking, I guess even ole Phil can get one wrong every now and then.
Georgia longsnapper Trent Frix (who, interestingly enough also had a brother and father serve in the same role) is listed on GeorgiaDogs.com at 6’0, 211.
***CONTEXT ALERT: I am well aware that he was once the starting longsnapper, but was replaced after the Vanderbilt game in 2013. We’re not doing this here.***
Steele’s magazine has him at a significantly higher weight.
If he can still snap weighing 1209 lbs., sign me up for some #fatmanfootball.
The best compliment for a special teamer is that you don’t know his name. If Frix hits the field at over half a ton, I’m afraid he will be anonymous no more.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to get some previews on other conferences so I have something to cite in evaluating how wrong I was as the season goes along. First on the docket: the Big XII. Why start with the XII? A few reasons:
– I’m penalizing them for being the lone Power 5 conference for not having a playoff team last year.
– I plan on doing the rest of these division-by-division, and I don’t have the heart to start with the B1G West. That’d be EASILY top 5 in “ways to lose readership”. Since the XII lacks divisions, this should also should ostensibly make this the longest one.
– There’s so much shade within this conference (more on that later).
Let’s do it!
What Happened Last Year?
The Big XII, famously of 10 teams (although that number could be back at 12 by the end of this season) cost itself two potential playoff bids by its stupid “One True Champion” moniker last year. Baylor and TCU tied for the championship, and though Baylor won head-to-head 61-58 at home, the conference refused to name a champion. Oops.
10-8: Teams that won’t win it and thus I refuse to rank: Kansas, Iowa State, Texas Tech. I know two things about Kansas football: one, Charlie Weis is no longer there. Two, their starting quarterback tore his ACL in the Spring Game in a non-contact jersey. Kansas football, folks! Iowa State? Nothing, except the once-every-few-years random upset (hey, 2011 Oklahoma State!) Texas Tech? Kliff Kingsbury is an objectively attractive male.
7-4: Bowl teams, but not contenders:
7) Oklahoma State: He’s still a man, he’s older than 40, but Mike Gundy may be coaching for his job this year. If they were at home against Texas, I may have them higher. Hell, two of their conference road games are against doormats Texas Tech and Iowa State! But home games against Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma? Ouch. Those would tough to win if T. Boone Pickens controlled gravitational pull in Stillwater.
6) Texas: I can’t shake that shellacking by Arkansas, man. Like, they got bludgeoned. 59 total yards? Visits to Notre Dame, TCU, and Baylor? Still no QB? Maybe a year or two away from being Texas again.
5) West Virginia: I was tempted to put them higher. They played respectably against teams I have some insight on last year (lost by 10 to Bama, 12 to Oklahoma, beat Baylor, and lost by 1 to TCU). Their 3-3-5 defense proved somewhat competent at stopping the league’s spread offenses last year. Holgo may be fighting for his job in his own right. I think I just talked myself into West BY GOD Virginia.
4) Kansas State: No real insight here, I just don’t bet against Zombie Bill Snyder. Do so at your own risk. Their regular season losses (and at-the-time rankings of said opponents) last year: #5 Auburn, #6 TCU, #5 Baylor. They return…well, not much, but at least their whole offensive line.
3-1: OOH LAWDY THE XII IS KINDA FUN
I like all of the teams ranked 4 through 7. Like, if everything bounces right for one of them, they could make things interesting. But they’re a gigantic step below the following:
3) TCU: Yeah, they’ll probably rank at least this high or higher in most national polls, but I have long stubbornly tried to not buy into post-bowl (a 42-3 shellacking of Ole Miss) hysteria, and am sticking to my guns (insert Texas guns joke here). They benefited from some close wins last year, namely by 4 against friggin’ Kansas. I’m calling slight letdown.
2) Oklahoma: One of those squads that exclusively over or underachieves, depending on where the expectations are. They finished 8-5 (5-4) last year, got SMOKED by Clemson in their bowl game…but return a good chunk of their D, brought in Air Raid OC Lincoln Riley from East Carolina, and shouldn’t play a ranked opponent until at least October 17 at Kansas State. If not then, then November 14 at….
1) Baylor: I think the Bears are a cut above. Seth Russell is the ‘system but legit Heisman contender’ new starter at QB, K.D. Cannon went over 1000 yards (18 per catch!) as a freshman, and Phil Steele ranks both lines #1 in the conference. That is a recipe for success. The only downside: they get ALL of their easy conference games out of the way in October and finish at Kansas State, Oklahoma, at Oklahoma State, at TCU, Texas. I think they’re up for it.
Top Five Games
Obviously, are going to be related to the picks above.
1) Baylor at TCU, Nov. 27: Fitting that two potential top 5 teams are going to get the national spotlight the day after Thanksgiving. Yes please.
2) TCU at Oklahoma, Nov. 21: More intriguing than #3 because if TCU wins, it sets up for the game above on a short week.
3) Oklahoma at Baylor, Nov. 14: See the pattern yet? The league is definitely trying to maintain its profile in November. Because that never fails.
4) Texas at TCU, Oct. 3: I mentioned shade above. This game is why. TCU scheduled homecoming against Texas! Fan-tastic.
5) Texas vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 10: If Mack Brown’s departure from Texas means no more ridiculous Oklahoma blowouts in the Red River Shootout (yeah we’re not taking your PC ‘Rivalry’ crap on this site. See also: World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party), then that’s kinda sad. Except competitive noon games in classic rivalries are something everybody should be happy to embrace.
Ten Players to Watch:
See, this is where it starts to get tiresome with the longer preview. Oh well, here goes.
– Trevone Boykin, TCU: If I’m wrong about their finish, perhaps a Heisman frontrunner.
– Samaje Perine and Eric Striker, Oklahoma: Perine broke poor Melvin Gordon’s single game rushing record like, two weeks after it was set. As a true freshman. I’m interested to see if he can remain productive in the Air Raid. Striker has a perfect name for a linebacker, first of all. 9 sacks and 5 quarterback hurries last year make him an intriguing NFL 3-4 linebacker prospect.
– Seth Russell, K.D. Cannon, Corey Coleman, Baylor: All of the passing stats. Over/under on 70+ yard touchdowns for these three is set, conservatively, at 12.5.
– Malik Jefferson and Tyrone Swoopes, Texas: Jefferson was the nation’s top defensive recruit, has been called unblockable, and should start either at weakside end or Will LB for the Horns from day 1. Swoopes has been an abject disappointment to Longhorns fans, and is probably the most subject-to-scrutiny player in the league.
– Skyler Howard, West Virginia: Only played in the last four games last year, but had a nice 8/0 TD/Int ratio, and…remember this: THIS IS THE OFFENSE THAT MADE GENO SMITH A VIABLE QB TO THE NFL (or the Jets).
– Emmanuel Ogbah, Oklahoma State: Big ole (6-5, 270) junior defensive end. 11 sacks last year. And, again, great name.
So, that’s what I’ve got for the XII. Feel free to suggest other things (from numbers, to absurdities, to whatever else) you want to see in future previews. I’m going to try to get through the B1G next before moving on to the Pac-12 (fun) and the ACC (localish).
On Friday, I posed a question to our loyal, patient (I got my Phil Steele magazine today, production officially ramps up tonight), and intelligent readers: Is Mark Richt too lenient on outgoing transfers?
The results are in, and…by God, we actually agree that CMR is doing it right!
In the large majority of cases, guys are going to transfer from Georgia for one of two reasons:
– They got in trouble with the law/university. (Tray Matthews, Nick Marshall, Jonathan Taylor, et al)
– They’re not going to contribute in a meaningful way. (Jacob Park, Blake Tibbs)
Under those circumstances, it’s perfectly understandable as to why Richt would allow guys to carve out their paths as they so choose. Under the legal/school category, you have unfortunate Jonathan Taylor situations, and you have the ones like a Tray Matthews or Nick Marshall that could bite you on the field, but establish a little bit more credibility with parents. Given that, a little roster attrition (probably 20-30% per recruiting class) should be expected, and allows fans who follow recruiting to get all lathered up when the Dawgs line up another top 5 recruiting class.
Anyway, I’m proud of y’all for agreeing with me and the rest of the DudeYouCrazy team, and I want to thank the solitary jokester/crazy person who expects the rest of the league to fall in line with Georgia.