Monthly Archives: December 2015
Georgia returns to Jacksonville, the scene of many untold horrors, for the TaxSlayer Bowl against Penn State on Saturday. It is widely joked about as the most boring bowl game imaginable, and on the surface…that’s no real joke. Penn State has disgraced-former-mock-draft-legend QB Christian Hackenberg, and an offensive line made of balsa wood. Georgia has the incurable stench of Brian Schottenheimer still stuck in the air vents, as an offense that averaged 17.2 regulation points in its final five wins looks to show out on film for Kirby Smart and staff.
So that’s one theme. Not the only one, mind you, but all of them add up to bowl season’s second-lowest Vegas over-under of 43.5 points. Obviously, Georgia’s failure to find a quarterback and offensive anemia post-Nick Chubb cost Mark Richt and his staff their jobs. But for those of us (should be all of us) who don’t follow the B1G, James Franklin let his OC John Donovan go immediately following the season. Given the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ nature of both offenses, this game is a difficult one to nail down. Which staff goes conservative? Which goes #CFI mode?
Get to know Penn State
There was nothing at all overwhelming about Penn State this season. Good defense, at times laughable offense. James Franklin is still the coach, and he likely still lives and breathes to brag about beating Georgia that one time.
State’s best win was…Jesus. San Diego State ended up winning the Mountain West and their bowl game. Indiana finished 6-7 but played Michigan and tOSU close. They haven’t beaten a team of Georgia’s ilk, and come in riding a 3-game losing streak.
I saw way too much of Penn State’s loss to Michigan on November 21. My breakdown of their offense would be: in good positions, they threw desperate heaves down the sideline hoping for a big play or pass interference. If they were behind the sticks or backed up deep, their playcalling was akin to a turtle facing a hammer. Here’s hoping that continues.
When Georgia has the ball
Penn State’s defense is legitimately pretty good, so the ‘throw <insert RB here> into brick wall 45x’ offense that Schotty made famous is doomed to fail. Given the lack of a coaching staff, I would love to see them throw Brice Ramsey in and just chuck and duck.
PSU is led up front by DE Carl Nassib, who had 19.5 TFL and 15,5 (!!!) sacks on the year. That, my friends, will be a problem. Overall, PSU gave up 21.7 points per game (17th in the nation) and ranked 19th in overall defensive S&P.
A good gameplan for Georgia (or anyone in an SEC vs. B1G matchup) is to get the ball to athletes in space. Isaiah McKenzie, Terry Godwin, Malcolm Mitchell, and Sony Michel fit the bill. As I said above, please don’t limit what they can do by sticking to 1985 NFL principles and reap the benefits.
When Penn State has the ball
This is the game where Christian Hackenberg’s application for health insurance officially gets denied for ALL of the preexisting post-traumatic medical conditions. Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins are playing for draft position, and the defense should be extremely motivated to get one more good impression on film for the new staff. Hackenberg’s sack rate (per dropback) of 9.9% is staggering. If I were him, I’d seriously explore graduating early and finding a place with a pro-style offense and a line.
Holy shit, Christian Hackenberg would be PERFECT for 2016 Georgia.
The guy who most strikes fear into me on the PSU side is freshman RB Sequon Barkley, who averaged over 6 YPC and looked like a star in the making in flashes against some of the Nittany’s best competition. Let’s go back to that 6 YPC for a second though– Penn State played an offense (by necessity and ineptitude) that kept the ball within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage. For Barkley to hit that number is quite good by any objective measure, let alone on this team.
If PSU is going to exploit Georgia’s depleted secondary, they must first stop the pass rush. But sophomores Chris Godwin and DaeSean Hamilton are decent threats if they get their hands on the ball– and Hackenberg will target them at an alarming rate. Godwin was thrown to 106 times, Hamilton 81…the next highest player 30.
What to expect
With all of the intangibles that are impossible to account for, including motivation, coaching staff (or lack thereof), and disappointing seasons for both programs, this is the type of game that can range from low-scoring Georgia win to Penn State blowout.
I have seen lame duck coaching staffs’ efforts in bowl games before. I love Bryan McLendon and crew, and hope some of the guys stick around for 2016. But its hard to get a team up for an exhibition in this spot.
In a game that has absolutely ZERO impact on the future of the Georgia program, give me Penn State 20, Georgia 13 in a desperate slog that we can’t wait to forget about. .
Christmas is tomorrow, so if you’re like me you’ve given up on shopping. But if you’re not like me and you are looking for the perfect politically-charged gift to give that special sports fan in your life…you’ve come to the right place. I’ve ranked the sports-related swag of every major candidate.
Here’s how this works: I scoured the official websites of 49 GOP candidates and three Democratic candidates to find the absolute best/worst sports-themed items available in their campaign shops. Many (including front runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton) didn’t have qualifying apparel, so they were excluded.
After finding the relevant items, I came up with three categories for commentary and scoring:
- Appearance: How does this thing look?
- Originality: Is this something unique to the candidate or otherwise unprecedented?
- Bang for the Buck: Is this a good value.
I graded each item on a 1-10 scale and recorded the tallies. So here we go, starting with the worst:
Marco Rubio Team Football Shirt [Link]
Oh wow. Ever try too hard, Rubio? Geez.
Appearance: 2 – This is an unmitigated disaster. Obviously, they wanted to do a lot with this ringer tee and I guess I applaud that effort? But the apostrophe in front of 16 on the back of a faux-jersey is inexcusable. I mean think about it…you use that so that people will know you are referring to a year. With no context, 16 might not seem like 2016. But “2016” is actually on the front of this shirt already. And nobody is mistaking “16” for a jersey number. This is bad. All bad. Faded font? Why? That football looks like it’s about to give birth too. Also, even the use of “Team Marco Rubio” is repetitive on a shirt that is clearly designed to look like a team-issued shirt. You don’t have to explain yourself, Marco.
Originality: 1 – Nothing original here. The faded-fond ringer tee has been a staple of American Eagle and American elections since the beginning of time.
Bang for Your Buck: 3 – There are better (and worse) deals out there. But this certainly isn’t a bargain. Even if you collect ugly t-shirts.
Total Score: 6
Bernie Sanders Baseball Shirt [Link]
Man, Bernie Sanders just gets young people. No doubt about it. This shirt screams voter turnout.
Appearance: 4 – You can’t mess up this t-shirt design. It is what it is. Print this thing absolutely blank and it’s a five. What I didn’t love was all the verbiage on the back. Nothing kills the trite, dependable, 3/4-sleeve baseball shirt quite like the words, “Join the Political Revolution Today.” There’s a time and a shirt for that slogan, but it ain’t here.
Originality: 1 – You have to give the guy something here. After all, I just complained about how he wasn’t true to form on the back of this shirt. So one point.
Bang for Your Buck: 5 – I’ve never bought one of these shirts, but I would assume they’d be slighlty more expensive than a t-shirt. So I’m thinking this is a completely reasonable price.
Total Score: 10
Autographed Rand Paul Baseball Jersey [Link]
I’ve got to say, Rand Paul’s swag shop kind of blew me a way. Absolutely insane collection of goods. He’s got everything from this attrocious Rand-branded mock turtleneck to Rand on a Stick. The only candidate that can give him a run for his money in terms of overall presentation, variety and uniqueness of the entire line of stuff is Hillary Clinton. I did not see that coming.
Appearance: 6 – Paul gets major credit for the fact this this jersey looks like a baseball jersey, but this has to be discounted to reflect the fact that…well…this is an actual baseball jersey. So Paul and his staff didn’t create this. Someone from the Quad City River Bandits (A single-A Astros affiliate) designed this. I’m also docking him points for the locale of his signature. Who doesn’t sign on the jersey number? Also, the fact that his name and number were screen-printed but the team logo is stitched raises some red flags. Further, I don’t love that he spelled the team name as “Riverbandits” on the site description and the team actually uses the two-word “River Bandit” branding. I’ve got to dock him for that so I did so here.
Originality: 9 – Look, there’s nothing original about a baseball jersey, but a baseball jersey as an item in a campaign store? That’s kind of unique—especially since this isn’t the generic colored-sleeve crap like Bernie uses. Paul also gets credit for advertising this as “worn by Rand Paul on August 1, 2015 at batting practice.” No other presidential candidate is selling game-worn items.
Bang for Your Buck: 1 – This is obviously a money-grab, but what’s hilarious is that no one here is grabbing. As the description says, “This is the one and only jersey he wore for the Riverbandits [sic] baseball batting practice where he knocked the ball out of the park.” Wait. He hit a homer un? I need that in the video. If this was a good value it would be gone already. Alas, it’s still sitting there with a hefty price tag of $1,000.
Total Score: 16
Jeb Bush Fight Club T-shirt [Link]
This is a stretch to include, but it had to be included. After all, one could argue that insane defenses of one’s father is the first sport any little boy ever even plays. Now, most boys abandon the “My dad is taller than your dad” shtick before running for President of the United States, but Jeb(!) is still ready to fight for this and fighting is a sport.
Appearance: 3 – This shirt looks like it was designed an a Pinterest board. Too many fonts, awkward spacing. No part of the aesthetic begs, “Who’s ready to get their ass kicked?”
Originality: 7 – At first glance, this seemed like an incredibly original idea. I mean who else is running for President on the platform of a family member. But then again, if elected Jeb would be the third Bush POTUS in the last five presidencies. Hillary would be the second Clinton in the past four presidencies. So then this seemed entirely un-unique. But then I swung the other way because of the name on this. No one else would, could or ever will market a “My Dad Tee” during a presidential campaign.
Bang for Your Buck: 5 – This is a tshirt. Based on the picture, it’s been packaged for a little too long and it’s going to be wrinkled. $25 is perfectly reasonable as a price.
Total Score: 15
Ben Carson Scrub Top [Link]
This is fantastic. Given Dr. B’s experience as a neurosurgeon and the upcoming release of Concussion, Carson is clearly in-touch with his sports-related branding and messaging.
Appearance: 8 – Does anybody really look great in scrubs? Probably not. But this definitely looks the way its intended to look. Only critique I really have is that I wish it said, “Dr. President.” Let’s see some confidence.
Originality: 10 – You. Can’t. Knock. This.
Bang for Your Buck: 8 – I have no clue what a scrub top would cost, but I thought this thing would be $50+. At $35 it’s super practical.
Total Score: 26
Ted Cruz Football Jersey [Link]
There are football jerseys and then there are football jerseys, and this is a football jersey.
Appearance: 9 – Would I personally wear this jersey? No. I can’t stand Ted Cruz and it looks like a clearly fake football jersey designed to support a fictitious Team USA. But still. Given what he had to work with, this is insanely sharp. Throw a Nike emblem on instead of the Eagle seal, and I could see a team wearing this for military appreciation week or something. This is impressive.
Originality: 9 – Again, we’ve seen football jerseys before. Marco Rubio showed us how not to do them. This level of craftsmanship and commitment, however, we have not seen. Fantastic.
Bang for Your Buck – 10 – I actually purchase football jerseys. They cost at least $100 a pop, and that’s with the scale of Nike/whoever makes the jersey. For this thing to be a complete custom job, $87 seems like a great deal.
Total Score: 28
So there you have it. Ted Cruz is your presidential sports swag champion. That is…until the Donald J. Trump Collection releases its presidential stock car racing suit.
That’s all I got/
Alas my week-long suspension has come and gone and none of you even missed me. I’m back now, but just to let you all do the talking.
The UGA Vault is running a “12 Days of Christmas” series right now and for day 10 (today) they ranked the 10 greatest Bulldogs of all time.
10. Aaron Murray
9. David Greene
8. Jake Scott
7. Champ Bailey
6. Kevin Butler
5. Fran Tarkenton
4. David Pollack
3. Charlie Trippi
2. Frank Sinkwich
1. Herschel Walker
So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Love it? Hate it?
That’s all I got/
As if his Pretty Little Liars tweets weren’t enough, he’s now officially pushed the envelope too far for readers.
I’ve been on a slight hiatus since Georgia’s
season program went to shit and work got crazy prior to the holidays. I came back to realize I have lost control of the program.
Clearly, there are still people out there that don’t realize Andrew Hall is an asshole. He is an asshole. But damnit, he’s OUR asshole. So he has been suspended for bowl week. What bowl week, you ask? That’s up to him. Or you. He has adhered to it thus far in bowl season, so technically, he is probably already reinstated.
Remember, readers: What doesn’t give you a stroke only makes you stronger.
You may notice there was no week one preview for bowls. I have ZERO context for Georgia State/San Jose State in something called the Cure Bowl, Arkansas State/La Tech in the probably-fun-New Orleans Bowl, or the others that have transpired.
BUT IN CASE YOU MISSED THEM:
- New Mexico Bowl: Arizona 45, New Mexico 37
- RAYCOM MEDIA (of the old ACC Network days) Camellia Bowl: App State 31, Ohio 29
- Las Vegas Bowl: Utah 35, BYU 28. Yes, a buncha Mormons played in Vegas. Yes, hilarity ensued as Utah went up 35-0 in the first quarter off FIVE BYU turnovers. And yes, BYU almost came back.
- CURE Bowl: San Jose St. 27, Georgia St. 16. Damnit, Panthers, who KILLED Georgia on aggregate versus Georgia Southern, the two schools’ common opponent.
- New Orleans Bowl: Louisiana Tech 47, Arkansas State 28. JEFF DRISKEL WON A BOWL GAME AND IS AGAIN CONSIDERED AN NFL PROSPECT.
- Miami Beach Bowl: Western Kentucky 45, South Florida 35. I watched most of this one, because I work from home and it was on at 2:30pm on a Monday. Georgia would be in the CFP with Brandon Doughty, the WKU QB. I think I’m serious.
So that’s the chaos that has ensued (and we’ve all largely missed) thus far. What about this week? I’ll take you to Christmas today and get back to you on the flip side:
- Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (on as I type): Akron vs. Utah State. Akron is up 7-0 in the first quarter, and Chuckie Keeton, who used to be the most fun random player to watch in college football, is kinda sad to watch at this point.
- Boca Raton Bowl (tonight at 7): Temple vs. Toledo. This bowl game is sponsored by Marmot, the jacket company whose website states that “to become a marmot you must climb a glaciated peak with another member of the marmot club.” And this game is played in Boca Raton, FL, where the closest you’re coming to a glaciated peak is a Scarface-style mountain of cocaine.
But seriously, this should be an okay game.
- Poinsettia Bowl (Wednesday, 4:30): Boise State vs. Northern Illinois. Two teams who, either due to injury or graduation, do not have a quarterback. The San Diego County Credit Union is now officially one of the longest-running bowl sponsors currently hosting, and they paid $400,000 for the privilege this year. I promise to write more consistently if y’all will help us sponsor a bowl game in 2016.
- GoDaddy Bowl (Wednesday, 8): Georgia Southern vs. Bowling Green. Two coachless teams. A first-time bowler versus the MAC Champ. The alma mater of many of our readers versus…a place in northern Kentucky. Bowl Season. The Drama. ESPN.
- Bahamas Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. Western Michigan (Thursday, noon). I am embarrassed already about how much of this game I plan to watch. Why, you ask?
- This game is sponsored by Popeye’s and played in the Bahamas. Atlantis, no less.
- There could be 100 combined points.
- Its Christmas Eve (granted, noon on that day) but you’re already sick of family.
- Hawai’i Bowl: San Diego State vs. Cincinnati (Thursday 8pm). Let’s call Christmas Eve “Destination Bowl Day.” This is your post-church slightly-drunk background television.