Category Archives: Blog
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.
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.
#1. You Can Still Laugh at Tennessee
I want to live in a world in which Tennessee isn’t much better than average. For the past decade or so we’ve been blessed with that world. And based on what we’ve seen so far (including Saturday), we still live there. Rankings and feel-good-Butch-Jones-Definitely-Doesn’t-Look-Like-He-Walked-Off-The-Set-Of-Beavis-And-Butt-Head opinions be damned, does anyone really think Tennessee is a Top-10 team? Because I don’t. Georgia’s not a good team and Tennessee needed a collapse by a whole unit and a lot of luck to get the win. Make no mistake about it, Tennessee is in the driver’s seat in the East*. But winning the East isn’t the long-term end game here. They’ll get run by Bama or whoever wins the West.
*Believe it or not, Tennessee hasn’t “locked up” the East quite to the extent that people believe right now. They have Texas A&M on the road this week and next week Alabama comes to Knoxville. You can’t quite assume both of those are losses but I think there’s a better chance that Tennessee goes 0-2 in those contests than 2-0. Georgia needs Tennessee to lose at least three to get back in the division race, but Florida just needs them to drop one. And even lowly threats like South Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri (not Vandy) could get scary for the Vols when you consider just how awful Tennessee is capable of being for prolonged periods.
Tennessee trailed App State for 60 minutes. Tennessee didn’t lead VA Tech for the first 25 minutes of play. With 11 minutes left to play, Tennessee was clinging to a 2-point lead against Ohio (University…not State). Florida led Tennessee by 21; Georgia led by 17. This is not a team with a penchant for playing complete games. So the collective “we got this” mentaility of Vol fans who haven’t been to an SEC Championship Game in 3,229 days and haven’t won one in 6,512 days (but who’s counting?) is a bit premature.
#2. Jacob Eason
He’s so much fun to watch. Like…transcendentally fun to watch in the fourth quarter.
#3. It Was Better
A loss is a loss but compare Georgia’s performance on Saturday (a game some would say the Dawgs should have won) with what the team did a week earlier in Oxford (a game some would say the Dawgs didn’t even play) and even lackluster performances against the likes Missouri and Nicholls State. This was better. I’m not sure how you could collectively say otherwise.
#4. Jacob Eason
He’s also not Greyson Lambert. Just wanted to circle back around and hit that one.
#5. Brian Herrien
I love this kid and at this point in the season I think we can safely say this isn’t a one-off success story. He’s good. He’s consistently good, too. Herrien has logged carried in four games this year, he’s averaged 4.9 YPC or better in each contest, run for at least 45 yards in each game and hit a run of 15+ yards in every outing. He’s good. He’s consistent. He’s 18 years old. Get a load of his game log:
- UNC: 7 carries, 59 yards, 8.4 YPC, 1 TD, Long of 19
- Nicholls: 8 carries, 47 yards, 5.9 YPC, Long of 23
- Ole Miss: 11 carries, 78 yards, 7.1 YPC, 2 TDs, Long of 16
- Tennessee: 15 carries, 74 yards, 4.9 YPC, Long of 15
#6. Natrez Patrick
A lack of QB pressure and questionable play in the secondary has taken some of the shine away from linebackers like Natrez Patrick this season. But the NatPat (TM) had himself a game on Saturday. 10 total tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack and another QB hit. Big game. The NatPat leads the team in tackles (both solo and total), is second to Trent Thompson in TFL, tied for first in sacks.
#7. Young Defensive Front
In addition to the NatPat, consider the other players in Georgia’s front seven who are making plays. Trenton Thompson is second on the team in tackles, first in TFLs and tite for first in sacks. Roquan Smith is doing big things. D’Andre Walker is starting to come into his own. Julian Rochester is becoming a force. It’s terrifying to think about what this unit might look like next year. Lorenzo Carter may be tempted to go pro early (though I’m not sure 5.5 career sacks in 31 career games get him there), but if he stays Georgia stands to return everything along the front line.
#8. Jacob Eason
I mean Tennessee DBs stopped running because they thought the kid couldn’t throw the ball that far. He flicked his wrist and that should have been the end of the game. Geez.
9. Kirby Smart
Oh, I’m going to go there. Whether or not he gets Georgia to where Georgia wants to be remains to be seen (and even if Georgia was 5-0, the same sentiment would ring true), but I love the direct, unambiguous language he uses after a loss. “Bottom line is we’ve got to do better’ we’ve got to do better than them,”
Smart is a results-driven dude in a results-driven scenario and I don’t have major beef with anything he’s done so far with the program. Could Georgia be in a better spot right now? Sure. I think we all think the Dawgs could/should be 4-1 and the gap between there and 3-2 seems insurmountable given Tennessee’s sequential wins against the only presumed challengers for the division (Florida and Georgia).
But put all of this in perspective. Georgia’s first loss was to Ole Miss, a team that was tabbed as the 11th or 12th best team in the preseason (by the AP and Coaches respectively). Georgia’s second loss came to Tennessee, a team that was favored in the game and that was ranked in the preseason Top 10 by both the AP and the Coaches. Georgia entered the year ranked 18th by the AP and 16th by the Coaches. Polls don’t matter that much and preseason polls are kind of a joke, but who saw a schedule featuring three top 25 teams in the first 5 weeks (UNC was also ranked by both major polls)—two of which were ranked ahead of Georgia—and said, “We have to be better than 3-2 in year one of a new coaching staff with a freshman QB?” I didn’t.
10. It’s South Carolina Week
We hate South Carolina, remember? Sure, we hate everyone. But right now we hate South Carolina. Night game on the road in Columbia…whew boy, I’m tired of Sandstorm already.
That’s all I got/
Georgia vs. Tennessee Preview: Football Genius Takes Dawgs Outright, Thoughts on Les Miles and a Weekly Preview
The latest episode of the DudeYouPodcast is now live and ready for action.
Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd on the Tweets) is joined by Andrew Hall (@dudeyoucrazy) for a recap of Georgia’s embarrassing loss to Ole Miss, a spirited discussion about the state of Georgia football under new head coach Kirby Smart, a reflection on Les Miles and general college football chatter.