I am not making light of Hurricane Matthew, and am not (intentionally) showing my bias.
As has been discussed throughout SEC country this week, Florida and LSU failed to play a football game last weekend. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley mandated that the Georgia/South Carolina game not happen on Saturday, and it was played on a beautiful Sunday. Notre Dame/N.C. State and Virginia Tech/UNC were played in torrential downpours. And every model had the games right in the Carolinas by Saturday.
So why didn’t the Florida/LSU game happen, and what happens if it (likely doesn’t) happen later?
It is abundantly clear that LSU was down to play this game. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they moved a game from Baton Rouge to Tempe. The Tigers had a game with Tennessee move to a Monday to avoid another storm. Oh, and just last year, they agreed with South Carolina to play a game in Baton Rouge and donate all proceeds to flooding relief victims. Suffice it to say, they’ve been down this road before.
Florida, too, has been in this situation, as lightning caused their 2014 showdown with Idaho to be delayed, delayed, and finally cancelled. That’s fine, LSU cancelled a game with McNeese State for similar reasons last year.
BUT LSU MADE EVERY EFFORT TO PLAY THIS GAME.
Tigers AD Joe Alleva came out on the offensive in the wake of Thursday’s cancellation, stating that overtures had been made to play the game in Gainesville earlier or later in the day or week. No dice. In Baton Rouge? No, Florida found that unfair. In Mobile? Birmingham? Nashville? New Orleans? No, no, no, and no.
Even from an outside (and again, unbiased) perspective, Jeremy Foley stonewalled until arrangements to play this game wouldn’t happen.
Ironically, safety was the issue. I say ‘ironically’, because his solution kept his players in Gainesville, and because his ‘solution’ is to have LSU play three straight road games in 12 days at the end of the season.
Oh, and in the process take away the home game revenue of LSU’s last home game, Nov. 19, against South Alabama. You may recall that Baton Rouge had some flooding this summer, and their economy is in need of a home game. From Steven Godfrey’s article on the matter:
“I’d say for restaurants like ours in the community, it’s upwards of a $100,000 loss in sales compared to a normal Friday through Sunday,” said Ruffin Rodrigue, a former LSU player and owner of Ruffino’s restaurant in Baton Rouge.
“Of that number, a lot of that is money going directly to our employees, most of whom are coming off the flood. We’re trying to catch up right now. This is the last home game of the season. It’s senior night. That means it’s a homecoming for a lot of fans and families.”
His Ruffino’s location took on no water in the flood, but the Lafayette location did. A 9 p.m. post-flood curfew killed business across the city for almost a month.
“We were open for those three weeks, but no one could get here. The streets were flooded. Our sales went down 80 percent. But hey, still gotta pay your taxes and insurance, except there’s no cash coming in. So, everyone got really, really hurt. We need these home games to make good,” Rodrigue said.
“These home games are critical to getting our head above water, so to speak.”
So, we’re all in agreement that Florida has the egg on its face here, right?
Well, so does the SEC.
Mike Slive was critical in getting the aforementioned games to happen, as the SEC rules state that the commissioner can act as a facilitator to make agreeable concessions in incidents such as this. Greg Sankey? 0 for 1. By not taking a hard stance with Foley on LSU’s reasonable compromises, a failure in leadership up top throws the whole SEC season’s validity into question, because…
What could this impact?
The. Whole. Damn. SEC. Race.
As currently constituted, Florida and LSU will finish with 7 SEC games each. At 2-1, Florida’s remaining path includes Mizzou, Georgia, Arkansas and South Carolina. Logically played out, Florida should finish that schedule at 6-1, with a lone loss to Tennessee.
Tennessee, you ask? Oh, they play Bama this week. They finish with an easier schedule than that, but one can assume they finish 6-2.
Your SEC East champion based on the SEC’s rules? The Florida Gators.
You could run a similar hypothetical in the West, but its hard to see LSU going through Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas A&M, and Arkansas unscathed. (Although, COACH O!)
With its most daunting challenge ahead, and its starting quarterback out, Florida made zero effort to make this game happen. Until it was cancelled. Then, they leaned on Sankey to make something happen. These things included:
- Asking Georgia to move the Cocktail Party up a week so they could host LSU on Oct. 29. Jacksonville declined.
- Asking Texas A&M to move their Thanksgiving tilt with LSU to Thanksgiving Saturday, thus giving LSU a week’s rest between three tough road games. Both A&M and LSU declined.
- All of this, too, assuming that LSU would sacrifice its Senior Day game, pay off South Alabama (guarantee: $1.5 million), and come to Gainesville on Nov. 21. Florida’s guarantee for Presbyterian, by the way? $500,000.
To Foley’s credit, he is going out with a bang. He has yet to make one concession that would risk the Florida Gators football team, which I guess is his job. In so doing, though, he has undermined the SEC offices and pissed off every member institution in the conference.
Goddamnit, I hate Florida.
Sunday college football should be a thing.
First off, major MAJOR props to the South Carolina Governor in helping facilitate this game by taking a hard line on state support for the crowd in Columbia. By stating that there would be no emergency personnel available, she immediately took Saturday off the table, and allowed Greg McGarity and Ray Tanner to quickly narrow their options. The other game of note moved to a time not yet known? Another post for later today.
Anyway, the fallout was positive for yours truly. I got to watch this game in wedding recovery mode, after a painful four-hour drive from Atlanta. Playstation Vue, which I needed due to a lackadasical TV plan that does not include the SEC Network, worked like a charm for you hesitant cord-cutters out there.
Okay, two grafs in and nothing about the football game. Let’s go.
South Carolina is a TRASH football team. This was a game that I was nervous about due to all the outside circumstances, but between the sidelines was a game Georgia was supposed to win. The defense was extremely opportunistic, as they knew the Cocks weren’t going to push the ball down the field much. When you don’t have to account for a vertical passing attack, you can play a little more instinctively, and the Georgia defense played downhill for the entire time the game was really in doubt.
In the first quarter, Georgia held South Carolina to an 11% success rate (where a successful play is one which keeps an offense ahead of the chains) while Georgia was at a whopping 63%, thanks to Nick Chubb’s reminder that he’s awesome. The game was basically a Will Muschamp battle of attrition from there, with teams exchanging body blows and punts (it warrants mentioning: Georgia was good on Special Teams on Sunday!)
There’s no sugarcoating how bad Jacob Eason was in this one. He had two overthrows back-to-back on the second possession, missed an open Jayson Stanley touchdown in the second, and sailed a few more guys in the second half. If Georgia had lost, we could talk about Greyson Lambert coming back to salvage something from this season…butttttttt… THE GROUND GAME WAS SPECTACULAR!
- Chubb 21/133, 6.33
- Michel 16/121, 7.56
- Herrien 9/82, 9.11
You’re not going to lose many games when you damn near have THREE 1oo-yard backs. All three rushed for at least 5 yards on over half of their runs, so a BIG hats off is due to the offensive line. They manhandled South Carolina’s defense, which is not a huge accomplishment, but is no less notable.
Lorenzo Carter is showing signs of life. He had a drive-killing sack in the second quarter, and was in the backfield throughout the day. He overran some plays, as an athletic freak is wont to do, but to see him constantly appearing and forcing plays out of their design is a welcome sign. One that will likely see him get paid this offseason, unfortunately, but one that bodes well for the Dawgs going forward.
The season comes down to Georgia winning some games where something isn’t working– Eason is awful, the running game steps up in this case. Against Vanderbilt, the run D may show some signs of weakness, but the ‘Dores won’t be able to pass. Hopefully that is the case for Florida, too.
Taking an early lead and holding an opponent at arm’s length is a new development for Georgia, and in their most ‘complete’ game of the season, they did exactly that.
We don’t know if these games will happen, we won’t know when these kick times (or locations) are accurate, and I’m missing them all for a wedding anyway!
This has happened since I pulled up the ole WordPress to post this:
BREAKING: #LSU‘s game against Florida has been canceled, a source tells The Advocate.
It will not be rescheduled. #Gators
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) October 6, 2016
CONFIRMED: Georgia and South Carolina will play at the @GeorgiaDome Saturday. Coverage at 8:30. Kick at 8:41. Ticket email forthcoming.
— UGA Special Teams (@UGASpecialTeams) October 6, 2016
Word to the wise: don’t believe any scheduling tweets til Brett McMurphy or someone posts them, although UGA Special Teams has never let us down before…
What should you be watching for this weekend?
Definitely Watch This
- Texas vs. #20 Oklahoma, noon, FS1: BRING BACK THE GOLDEN HAT! This should be a 55-45 game, so naturally it’ll be a low-scoring and weird affair at the Texas Fairgrounds.
LSU at #18 Florida, noon, ESPN: COACH O……nope.(see above)
- #9 Tennessee at #8 Texas A&M, 3:30, CBS: Step 1: listen to the DudeYouPodcast. Step 2: build up the Tennessee hate. Step 3: GIGEM
- #25 Virginia Tech at #17 UNC, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2: Va Tech is still very sneaky good, UNC has Mitch Trubisky and no defense, and this game will be played in a monsoon (as of now).
- #5 Washington at Oregon, 7:30, FOX: Oregon has won 11 straight in the series, and has a chance to end the Pac-12’s CFP hopes before the weather gets consistently below 80 degrees. And, Washington is good.
- #23 Florida State at #10 Miami, 8, ABC: Big game Mark Richt. We’ll see. This is your appointment watch of the day– either as a self-hating Georgia fan or a curious Georgia fan.
Maybe Keep an Eye On It
- #3 Clemson at Boston College (Friday), 7:30, ESPN: If Deshaun Watson keeps turning it over, this could get…weird?
- Indiana at #2 Ohio State, 3:30, ESPN: Indiana, as #teamchaos, beat Michigan State on a “leaping” penalty last week. They had a reasonable shot at both OSU and Michigan last year. Ohio State hasn’t been challenged. Just sayin’, keep an eye on it.
- #1 Alabama at #16 Arkansas, 7, ESPN: Am I the only one who thinks Arkansas is WAY overrated? Here’s hoping not!
- Georgia at South Carolina, 7:30, SECN: May or may not be played as of the time of this posting, but a monsoon bowl guarantees a 7-2 win on a botched shotgun snap for somebody.
Other things of note
#21 Colorado visits USC in a weird game of “is Colorado legit/is USC shit”–played on the impossible-to-get Pac-12 network.
Purdue and Illinois both lost to Western Michigan (do NOT watch this), and Vanderbilt and Kentucky play the SEC’s version of that exact game at 4 on SECN (do NOT watch this either).
#6 Houston has a tough task at Navy if you get CBSSN.
Your late-night #PACtion special? A good one, as Washington State travels to #15 Stanford in a game of COMPLETELY 180-degree contrasting styles.
Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd on the Tweets) is joined by Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy) to sadly remember Georgia’s last-second loss to the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday. Along the way they talk about the trajectory of this Georgia football team and wonder how good Tennessee really is. They wrap up by taking a look at the SEC and the national playoff picture.
Next man up. That’s what Georgia football is all about, folks.
Todd Gurley’s career as a viable option at running back may now officially be over (Gurley has run for just 220 yards on 83 carries in nine total games dating back to last year’s regular season finale and including this year’s preseason), but next man up. And Georgia is Running Back U. So shout out to another famed Bulldog, Isaiah Crowell, for assuming the mantle as the most dynamic offensive player in professional football.
Crow leads the NFL in several rushing categories:
- Rushing Yards By a Player With Fewer than 94 Attempts.
- Rushing Yards By a Player With At Least 25 Carries
- Rushing Yards By a Player With No Fumbles
- Rushing Touchdowns By a Player With No Fumbles And At Least Three 20+ yard Runs
He also leads the NFL in a few areas of total offense.
- Total Yards By a Running Back With Fewer Than 1 Fumbles And Fewer Yards Than Le’Veon Bell
- Total Yards By Non-QB Former Georgia Players Not Known By Initials
Next. Man. Up.
Feed the Crow.
No but seriously, Crow is eating this year. Since going undrafted back in 2014 he’s been a consistent contributor for the Browns, but he’s having a breakout year. Consider his first two campaigns:
- 2014: 148 carries, 607 yards (4.1 YPC), 8 TDs, 3 Fumbles
- 2015: 185 carries, 706 yards (3.8 YPC), 4 TDs, 0 Fumbles
To-date he’s logged 60 carries, 386 yards (6.4 YPC), 3 TDs and 0 Fumbles. He’s on pace for more than 1,500 yards and 12 scores on the ground. And he’s doing this with great consistency. He’s averaging 15 attempts per game (18, 15, 12 and 15 in each contest) and has yet to account for fewer than 5.2 YPC in a single contest. He’s running hard in the first half (6.5 YPC) and hard in the second (6.2 YPC) on almost identical work loads.