Category Archives: SEC

Georgia Lands Another N.C. Skill Player

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.

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.

Poll: Has Mark Richt Lost Control Over Georgia’s Outgoing Transfer Process?

The act of blocking transfers, which is done largely for competitive reasons, has become yet another black eye on ‘amateur’ sports. Essentially, when a player becomes disgruntled and feels its in his best interests that he move on, a coach will grant his release with the exception of schools X, Y, and Z, almost always ones on future schedules or in the conference. In certain situations (can’t find a link to a recent story on a basketball player this happened to) coaches go overboard and block as many as 50 schools.

From a competitive standpoint, this makes perfect sense. Every case is probably evaluated individually, and a coach may be more lenient on a guy who he doesn’t feel will make an impact against his school in future matchups.

Mark Richt doesn’t adhere to any of these restrictive policies, and I can’t decide whether its a good thing or not. On one hand, Georgia may be made more attractive to prospects who are on the fence and realize they will have opportunity elsewhere if it doesn’t work out in Athens.

On the other? Well, Georgia could get burned. First off, there have been an awful lot of Dawgs transferring within the SEC, haven’t there? An oft-cited reason for restrictive transfer policies in the first place is coaches’ fear of tampering. Players develop relationships with coaches from other schools during their recruitments, and it would shock nobody to learn that certain Auburn, Florida, South Carolina, et al assistants may ‘check in’ on their happiness from time to time (pure speculation, no facts or unique insight).

Notwithstanding the losses of Nick Marshall (MAJOR impact) and Jonathan Taylor (no impact), the Dawgs have had a higher-than-usual attrition rate to future opponents.

It’s being widely reported that former QB Jacob Park is looking to transfer to Alabama. The Tide have no known quantities at the quarterback position right now, so it is reasonable to posit that he may have the talent to become the guy in Tuscaloosa in the next 2-3 years. Additionally, former UGA RB J.J. Green transferred to Georgia Tech just ten days after the Yellow Jackets’ first win at Georgia in a minor eternity.

The Dawgs will have to deal with Green in 2016 and 2017, no doubt. He qualifies as the most highly-regarded (per 247sports) recruit Tech has brought in to play B-back in Paul Johnson’s system. Just for levity’s sake, were Green transferring within the ACC, he would be required to sit out two years.

So, I’ll leave it to you, the reader: do you think Georgia’s policy on outgoing transfers is too lenient, or are the best interests of the players in question the most important thing? I want hot takes.


How the East Will Be Won: Crossover Inequality

When eight games is the sample size used to determine who will represent each division in the SEC Championship game on December 5th, it becomes important to look outside the commonalities in the schedule and see who has the inside track based on different isolated factors.

Today’s factor? Luck of the draw, as the SEC is now in year three of its 6+1+1 model (six versus division opponents, one permanent crossover, one rotating rival among the other six). Whether this is the best way to schedule is a debate for another day, but what is not debatable is that some crossover combinations are stronger than others.

Missouri, for an obvious example, is 4-0 in the regular season the past two years against the West. With those opponents’ combined record at 30-20, the only impressive win was in 2013 at home against Johnny Manziel’s Texas A&M squad. For comparison’s sake, Georgia draws Auburn every year, and the past two years have seen an Auburn team lose in the national championship and one rank in the top 10 all season until a November 15 loss to…Georgia.

Any follower of Georgia football knows why this is worthy discussion, and why I bring it up. Georgia draws two top-5 opponents from the SEC West this year. On a more macro scale, it’s interesting to see the traditional flag-bearers for the East’s crossover opponents. Florida with LSU. Tennessee with “Bama. Georgia with Auburn. With LSU, Alabama, and Auburn on varying degrees of historic runs, it’s no wonder the (perceived, therefore actual) strength of the conference lies in the West.

Who’s got the easiest road to hoe outside of the East this year?

1) Missouri: Mississippi State, at Arkansas: WELL LOOKY THERE! For the third straight year, Mizzou dodges Bama/Auburn/LSU, as well as a very scary Ole Miss team. Could Arkansas be dangerous? Totally. But assuming another offseason suddenly makes Brandon Allen a good quarterback is a tough way to sell me on Arkansas as a contender.

Just warning y’all now, Missouri could pretty easily do it again.

2) *disclaimer: none of the rest of these are what one would consider ‘easy’* Kentucky: Auburn, at Mississippi State: I still think Miss. State is the leader to be in the cellar of the SEC West. Kentucky gets them on the road, and has at least a chance against Auburn. Maybe.

3) South Carolina: LSU, at Texas A&M: With Anthony Jennings possibly sidelined, LSU’s lack of QB play makes beating the Tigers at home possible for the ‘Cocks. And yes, I saw what aTm and Kenny Trill (remember him?) did at SC to open the year last year, but they’re at best middle-of-the-pack in the West.

4) Vanderbilt: at Ole Miss, Texas A&M: Notice a trend? The bottom four in the SEC Championship odds have the four easiest crossover schedules. I ALLUDED TO THIS ABOVE TOO!

Oh, and Vandy won’t win either of these games.

5) Tennessee: Arkansas, at Alabama: You figure they’ve at least got a shot against Arky at home. The third Saturday in October will be a ‘Roll Tide’ weekend for Georgia fans, as Tennessee is the second-most talented team in the East. Still think Missouri is the biggest challenger, though.

6) Florida: Ole Miss, at LSU: Not to spoil anything for our upcoming previews, but I think Ole Miss is a serious contender not only for the West, but for a playoff berth. And Death Valley is Death Valley.

7) Georgia: Alabama, at Auburn: Obviously, the impetus for this post. If you told me Georgia was going to split at worst, I’d buy a ticket to the SEC Championship game today. But…many publications are picking BOTH of these teams for the CFP. That’s rough sailing for a team breaking in a new QB.



More Evidence Football Is Coming: VEGAS ODDS!

Yesyesyesyesyesyesyes. It’s the time of year where every fan, media outlet, and radio host (HEEEYYYYYY PAWWWWWWWLLLLL) starts breaking down why they think the idiots in Vegas are wrong (the idiots in Vegas are more often than not totally NOT wrong). Today, CG Technology posted its odds for each Power 5 team winning conference championships, which is a lot more fun to delve into than national championship odds. For example, Vanderbilt and Kentucky are on the board, though still not at numbers that would pay off my student loans!

Here’s the list for the SEC:

Alabama 5-2
Auburn 15-4
Georgia 5-1
LSU 8-1
Ole Miss 8-1
Tennessee 8-1
Arkansas 10-1
Missouri 12-1
Mississippi State 12-1
Texas A&M 15-1
Florida 18-1
South Carolina 25-1
Kentucky 75-1
Vanderbilt 100-1

There are a few things that jumped off the page at me here. Georgia going off at 5:1 is not one of them, as they again have no excuse not to win the East. The bottom four teams in the conference all hail from Eastern Standard Time, and Tennessee at 8:1 is…well, more on that later.

It speaks to the overall health of the West that Texas A&M, with three years of top-5 recruiting classes, sits at the bottom of the division in terms of odds. They return a top-flight QB and passing game, added John Chavis from LSU to bolster a defense that has a TON of young talent…I’d say I could be missing something here, but the fact is that the division is THAT good. For what it’s worth, I’d take them over Mississippi State in a heartbeat.

Longshots with a shot: Hate to admit it, but a team as defensively sound as Florida at 18-1 is mighty appealing. Assuming that the offense really was THAT bad due to Muschampin’, their offense could get back to ‘remotely competent’ and take the Gators to Atlanta in December. Mizzou at 12:1? Yeah, I’m not saying that’s impossible anymore. Watch Maty Mauk turn into the first Heisman contender since Eric Crouch to hover around 50% completions. aTm at 15:1, as previously mentioned, could be a decent roll of the dice.

OH-VER-RAY-TED: Tennessee at 8:1? Really? On a tic-tac-toe board there is a full spot for a big, orange ‘T’? I doubt it. Same goes for LSU, who will not have the quarterback play or the defense (!!!) to contend in the West.

Now to briefly run through the rankings, ‘Bama/Auburn/Georgia at 1-3 was to be expected, and…damn. Georgia has to play both ‘Bama and Auburn. Given the weakness of the East, however, there is no reason the Dawgs shouldn’t run the table in-division and earn a rematch with one of the schools feeding off UAB’s corpse.

On the next tier: Even though I said LSU was overvalued at 8:1, when I lump them in with Ole Miss and Tennessee, they are not the one that clearly does not belong. Tennessee would be the worst in the West with a bullet. Let’s call it yet another case of bowl bias, bolstered by the fact that they helped Iowa fans run EverBank Field dry of brown liquor. A healthy Ole Miss with a mentally stable QB could be interesting, as well.

Arkansas deserves their own tier at 10:1. Mostly because they’re Arkansas and Bret Bieliema, but also because they’re the biggest wildcard in the league. Andrew and I were big on their breakthrough potential last year, and they broke through, marking the first prognostication in history to be correct. They could legitimately go anywhere from 11-1 to 6-6 this year and not surprise me.

Mizzou and MSU at 12:1 is just getting the boring bets out of the way. I don’t know why I possess an irrational hatred towards the other Bulldogs, but I want them to crash HARD.

We’ve already discussed aTm at 15:1 and Florida at 18:1, but yo: South Carolina falling from grace all the way to 25:1?!?! I get it, because their offense returns nothing and their defense was awful, but…damn.

The last two teams in the league are, respectively, the best and worst value picks on the board. Kentucky going off at 75:1 is at least conceivable* (hear me out: hold serve at home vs. Florida and Mizzou and win at SC and you’re 3-0 coming out of September, you get Auburn at home, and Georgia is the only road game where you’ll be a heavy underdog…then just win the SEC Championship game!)

*Conceivable was a strong word, but put on some royal blue glasses there and tell me that 6-2 with that schedule isn’t possible.

On the flip side, you have Vandy. 100:1 does not do this dumpster fire justice. There’s no logic to betting on Vandy.

#DawgsintheNFL: What Would A Roster Currently Look Like?

The big news over the weekend (this is still dead season) is that Alabama got its whole OFFENSE from one particular play in 2012 into the NFL. I’m sure the same could be done with a Saban era defensive package at some point, but this is just insane.

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It got me thinking: what would Georgia’s current NFL roster look like? Could it compete for the playoffs?

Probably not, but maybe. Let’s have a debate in the comments.


QB: Matt Stafford, Lions. Starting with a top-1o QB is always promising. With Aaron Murray as what I’d consider a competent backup, and Hutson Mason holding clipboards, we’re off to a good start.

RB: Todd Gurley, Rams. Without a snap under his belt in the league, Gurley’s stock may never be higher than it is now behind a porous OL and a punchless passing game. The depth chart here gets tricky without Isaiah Crowell as the backup, and with Nick Chubb/Sony Michel/Keith Marshall etc. still in college, and Garrison Hearst/Terrell Davis/numerous others long retired. Not great, but maybe we just spread it out.

WR: A.J. Green, Bengals; Kris Durham, Lions; Marlon Brown, Ravens; Chris Conley, Chiefs. Hell, this is at least as good 1 through 4 as what Stafford has in Detroit. A.J. more or less replicates Megatron and Kris Durham = Kris Durham.

TE: Ben Watson and Orson Charles, Saints. They’re being called on to replace Jimmy Graham (they won’t replace Jimmy Graham). Give me Jeb Blaze in three years and we’re cooking.

OL: Cordy Glenn, LT, Bills; Clint Boling, LG, Bengals, Ben Jones, C, Texans; to be named later: the right side: Alright, we found a major flaw. Glenn is a good-to-potentially-elite anchor, Bossman Andrews could very well be perfect for the Patriots…but we’re missing some pieces here.

Stafford/Gurley/Green is a hellacious combo at the skill positions. Some depth at RB and some competent line play outside of Glenn and Jones and you could put together a competent NFL offense. I’m willing to bet Georgia is MUCH closer than most schools in this regard. One would have to grade it out as an incomplete by default, but a couple 300-pound stiffs and you have a line better than what TG3 will be running behind in 2015.


DL: Geno Atkins, Bengals; Charles Johnson, Panthers; Jarius Wynn, Bills; and a whole lot of depth of run-stuffing. Atkins is an All-Pro, Johnson and Wynn are excellent DE’s, and the depth would be the envy of any NFL team– DeAngelo Tyson and Abry Jones have both been solid rotation players in their careers, John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers would serve as the three-technique rotation on a decent 4-3 lines with the names in bold, and guys like DeMarcus Dobbs, Garrison Smith, and Cornelius Washington are as decent of depth fillers as you can have in a salary cap-less hypothetical.

LB: Justin Houston, Chiefs; Thomas Davis, Panthers; Dannell Ellerbe, Saints; Alec Ogletree, Rams. In this hypothetical 4-3, Houston is probably not the NFL sack leader. In the middle, either Ellerbe should bounce back or Tree continues to do Tree things, and Davis has been a great WILL for the Panthers when healthy. If switched to a 3-4, Houston goes nuts but you lose some of Atkins’ effectiveness. Depth is not an issue here– Akeem Dent has hung around for a while, Jarvis Jones could still break out with the retirement of Jason Worilds in Pittsburgh, and ‘Marlo and ‘Mik are solid depth/special teams.

CB: Tim Jennings, Bears; Brandon Boykin, Eagles. The NFL is a passing league, and you have two #1 corners to start, so that’s good. Depth, however, is a major concern: Sanders Commings and Damian Swann, and that’s about it.

S: Bacarri Rambo, Bills; Shawn Williams, Bengals. The Grantham Gang is back together, and I love that. However, neither has been able to crack an NFL starting lineup to this point (Rambo will have a chance with Da’Norris Searcy’s departure). There is literally zero depth behind them, so Swann will be pulling double duty.

The defense, like the offense, has some ridiculous talent. Give me Atkins, Houston, Johnson, Tree, Davis, Jennings, and Boykin, and I have the makings of a crazy-good D. However, like the O-line, the secondary is the fatal flaw (although there are at least bodies this time!)

Special Teams

K: Blair Walsh, Vikings. Another top-10 NFL talent. Nice.

P: Drew Butler, Cardinals. And again!

Ret: Boykin. Have you seen him returning picks for the Eagles lately? Good problem to have.


Georgia cannot make the claim that it put 11 NFL players on the field on any one play in the recent past. But when one runs quickly (as I just have) through the list of adequate NFL QB’s, Stafford is the only one who one could conceivably put a decent team around. A.J. McCarron ain’t getting it done.

On the defensive side of the ball, Atkins and Houston are elite (think 90+ Madden rating) talents, Davis, Ogletree, Johnson, Jennings, and Boykin are all above-average, and the depth is enviable on the front seven.

I hate to sound like a homer, but with a competent offensive line this is, at worst, a slightly below average NFL team.


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