Category Archives: Vanderbilt
Divisions in Power 5 conferences are stupid. There, I said it.
At a time where revenues are such that all away games, with few exceptions, call for chartered flights, I don’t buy the monetary concern. When preserving the ‘sanctity’ of a Georgia/Kentucky or Mississippi State/LSU rivalry, I don’t care. And following another season similar to the last few, where:
- The SEC East is a complete dumpster fire, where 5 West teams could have easily won it.
- Clemson and Florida State carry the crown for the ACC and play in the same division.
- Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State (and Michigan State, until 2016) play in the same division because of geography, and THAT’S A BETTER SYSTEM THAN THE ONE THEY HAD IN PLACE!
I’m adapting from a model Bill Connelly posited on SBNation this summer, because its a fascinating thought exercise, and it makes too much sense. In it:
- The Pac-12, with divisions and a 9-game schedule, is fine for now.
- The Big XII, jumbled mess as it is, has a round-robin (and a conference championship game starting next year, because SPORTS).
For the three fourteen-team conferences, division play doesn’t work. Unless you look forward to Georgia’s FIRST trip to conference rival Texas A&M during the end of Trump’s second term. Or your next trip to the Grove in 2029.
I’m not down for that. I’m not down for watching the Missouris and Floridas of the world get PASTED in the SEC Championship. I (Bill C first) want the following: keep an eight-game schedule, with three annual rivals and a rotation through the other 10 teams on a semiannual basis. Meaning, instead of going Mark Richt’s whole tenure before playing an SEC West opponent twice, you play a home-and-home with everyone every four years.
I’ll workshop this for all 42 teams involved below, but an example of what this would look like for Georgia:
Primary rivals: Auburn, Florida, South Carolina
Year 1: Alabama, at Kentucky, Ole Miss, at Missouri, Vanderbilt
Year 2: at Arkansas, LSU, at Mississippi State, Tennessee, at Texas A&M
Done in four-year cycles, one could even adapt years 3 and 4 from the first two to account for random shifts in competitive balance. Perhaps pair off each team for their non-rivals, so Kentucky doesn’t draw Alabama and Auburn, Mizzou doesn’t draw Georgia and Florida, etc.
This is the best I could come up with from a “PRESERVE OUR RIVALRIES!” perspective (and this may match Connelly verbatim, but I’m not checking):
|LSU||Texas A&M||Miss State||Arkansas|
|Mississippi State||Ole Miss||LSU||Auburn|
Some thoughts: South Carolina and Kentucky were SUPER hard to place. Kentucky gets, from a historical perspective, the easiest three games of anyone. Off the top of my head, there are no major rivalries that go unprotected, with the exception of Alabama/LSU (a more recent one, anyway).
The biggest misses? Tennessee/Kentucky, as Kentucky gets screwed out of the one game they get really worked up about. Bama/LSU, obviously.
I’d give myself a 10/10 for this. A&M, Arkansas, Mizzou, and LSU all preserve their regional rivalries. South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida all keep many of theirs. Vanderbilt/Ole Miss in the Khaki Bowl is still an annual event. Bama maintains history with Tennessee and Ole Miss, in addition to (obviously) Auburn.
If you don’t care about the ACC, you can stop reading now. Tried to draw it up there as well, but it is MUCH harder with the four North Carolina schools and the ‘old vs. new’ mentality that persists behind the scenes:
|Clemson||Georgia Tech||N.C. State||BC|
|Duke||North Carolina||Wake Forest||Louisville|
|Florida State||Miami||Wake Forest||N.C. State|
|Miami||Florida St.||Georgia Tech||Syracuse|
|North Carolina||Duke||N.C. State||Virginia|
|N.C. State||North Carolina||Clemson||Florida State|
|Virginia||Virginia Tech||North Carolina||Georgia Tech|
|Virginia Tech||Virginia||Louisville||Wake Forest|
|Wake Forest||Duke||Florida State||Virginia Tech|
This was friggin’ impossible. So many games that don’t make sense, especially for the Florida schools and the Northern schools, who would indubitably want games in the fertile Florida recruiting grounds.
Competitive balance, as it stands now, is a problem. N.C. State gets hosed, while UNC, Virginia Tech, and Pitt get relatively easy runs. I thought I’d be able to place Miami with more than one old Big East rival, but no dice.
For the B1G, I quit because I don’t care. But they need it worse than anyone else.
What do you think? Should we do away with divisions in order to make the conference feel like a conference again? Did I blow it on any rivalries?
Let’s go into a time capsule. The 2018 SEC regular season has just wrapped up, the current cycle of ‘new’ head coaches in the league have either established themselves or failed miserably, and there’ll be one name on the market that exceeds all others: 44-year old FAU head coach Lane Kiffin.
Kiffin, in southern Florida head coaching purgatory, has led the Owls to…something better than their 3-9 records of 2014-16, and has overachieved in recruiting even while going against Butch Davis, Charlie Strong, and Scott Frost for third-tier Florida recruits. Having spent three years in the Nick Saban school for coaches who can’t coach good and want to learn to do other stuff good too, he’s got the stink of failed stints in Oakland, Knoxville, and Los Angeles pretty much worn off, and will be sold to an SEC fanbase with a write-up stating something like the following:
Kiffin, 44, has matured from early failed coaching opportunities, as he rehabilitated his image leading Alabama’s offense to heights unseen under Nick Saban. At FAU, he has gone 15-11 with a Bahamas Bowl victory and an average recruiting class ranking in the 60’s, unheard of for the Owls.
This is a home run hire for (insert SEC team) no doubt, as he is young, experienced, a dynamic recruiter, and an offensive genius. Expect (insert SEC team) to see immediate results in recruiting and become a more compelling team on the field from day 1.
The fun part of this thought exercise? Its feasible that he could end up at literally ANY SEC program. Hires of Will Muschamp (twice), Jim McIlwain, and Kirby Smart are obvious indications that ANY ties to Alabama are worth their weight in Nick Saban-bronze statues to SEC AD’s.
Auburn (4:1): Leading off with the most obnoxious little brother-syndrome fanbase seems an obvious pick, and this timeline works perfectly. Gus Malzahn bought himself another year with a resurgent two months in 2016– but has no quarterbacks in the pipeline, so patience should be running pretty thin by this time next year. A slow start in 2018 and he’s toast.
In Kiffin, Auburn is tangentially, but not directly, tied to Saban after Kiffin’s departure. The hype around his ability to find a QB and playmakers will resonate on the plains, and Prince Lane returns to Alabama to restore the glory of the Auburn Tigers.
Ole Miss (5:1): Hugh Freeze may not survive this offseason, and that’s the only justification I have for putting the odds that low. Shea Patterson is on a three-year plan to leave Oxford (not gonna happen) and Kiffin will be seen as the savior who can right Patterson’s career. And the NCAA mess Freeze will inevitably leave behind.
LSU (8:1): Coach O has a low buyout, no quarterback, and no success as a full-time head coach.
I’d say his leash is about two years.
Kiffin fulfills his destiny, after being rumored to be O’s choice for OC this offseason.
Florida (10:1): Bolstered, no doubt, by his presence in the state, Kiffin will steal one under-the-radar recruit from the Gators and make him his offensive bellcow– putting up 90 catches for 1,400 yards in 2018 while Florida’s offense continues to be among the worst in the country.
Even on the heels of back-to-back SEC East titles, McIlwain has done nothing to show he’s a long-term fit in Gainesville. He was linked to the Oregon job this offseason, and seems savvy enough to pull the “I’m gonna be fired in a year, so let me get a new contract now” move of Houston Nutt and others before him.
McIlwain was an offensive hire, but the Gators have maintained their strong defenses from the Muschamp era…and the offense is still broken.
Kiffin with Florida talent! Unbelievable hire!
Arkansas (13:1): My thought is that, after two years of success at FAU, this won’t be sexy enough for Lane. If he peels back the curtains for a minute though, he’ll see that there is no sexier job in CFB. His two predecessors:
- Bobby Petrino, motorcycle accident with a young staffer. (8/10 sexy rating)
- Bret Bieliema, of “borderline erotic” fame. (8/10 sexy rating)
Bieliema has low-key sucked at Arkansas, overall, and his window to break through is probably the best fit for this timeline.
Alabama (15:1): Someday sooner than we realize, Nick Saban will retire or move on. Why not after his fourth-straight national championship? Steve Sarkisian will still have too many alcohol-related red flags to make the jump. Jeremy Pruitt is too unstable a human.
Why not keep Saban’s coordinators in place and rehire his right-hand man?
Georgia (25:1): (*note: this won’t happen with Greg McGarity at AD, and they likely won’t fire a “Georgia man” after three years, but say Kirby Smart is .500 after three years and Mark Richt has at least one ACC Coastal title*)
Yeah, it doesn’t sound so bad anymore, does it?
Georgia has the pro-style personnel in place to take immediate strides, and Smart’s recruiting will lend itself to an immediate turnaround to eke out another 2-3 wins based on talent and decent coaching alone.
RIP, “Kirby Dumb” memes.
South Carolina (30:1): A retread hire at South Carolina? Surely you jest. Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier, and Will Muschamp have all found varying degrees of success doing just this, and I’m hedging on Coach Boom riding Jake Bentley and the young Cocks to two excellent seasons before he takes a better job (not gonna happen, but 30:1 seems safe).
Or, Boom flames out, or has a heart attack on the field, or something.
Off the board, but let’s try it:
Tennessee: Please god, yes.
Vanderbilt: For the complete opposite reason of above, please.
Mississippi State: Arkansas’ lack of sexy combined with an even less sexy history and Starkville.
Kentucky/Missouri: probably should’ve attached odds to both, but honestly forgot about these programs. Not a high enough ceiling for Lane, anyway.
Texas A&M: Tom Herman year 1 hysteria forces Kevin Sumlin out after 2017, Kiffin campaigns but does not get it.
Editor’s note: Had to divide into two posts because 40 bowl games is about 15 too many.
Bowls were announced on Sunday! Here’s something amazing: the 13 bowls before Christmas involve exactly ZERO P5’s. I had to come back and write this blurb, because I noted myself getting carried away with optimism about matchups such as BYU/Wyoming and Memphis/Western Kentucky. As it stands now, Houston/SDSU is the most noteworthy game, and the only two SEC teams involved before December 28 are 5-7 Mississippi State and amazingly 6-6 Vanderbilt.
If you only read this for Georgia content (whoops, this season was too aggravating to write about), here’s my quick look at TCU. Otherwise, VIVA LOS BOWLS!
Saturday, December 17
Bowl season kicks off on a day where you still have a visceral urge to watch football, because Army/Navy was probably disappointing, and you’re reading this website.
New Mexico Bowl: UTSA vs. New Mexico, 2pm: And bowl season starts with a whimper. New Mexico gets a home game, and…ok, whatever. CRUNK RATING: 3/10, because its the first bowl!
Las Vegas Bowl: Houston vs. San Diego State, 3:30: Donnell Pumphrey is currently #2 in all time rushing yards in FBS, needing only 109 to pass Ron Dayne for the record. He’ll face a Houston team that, while losing Tom Herman, beat Louisville and Oklahoma, sacked Lamar Jackson 11 times, and will probably hire Lane Kiffin– meaning Lane Kiffin at a bowl game that he doesn’t REALLY care about (google search Lane Kiffin black eye if you need to know why this excites me). There are probably 2-3 G5 teams, tops, better than either of these two. CRUNK RATING: A delicious 8/10.
Cure Bowl: UCF vs. Arkansas State, 5:30: Doesn’t really matter, because you don’t get CBS Sports Network. If you’re a masochist, you’ll risk computer viruses to stream two fast-paced offenses surging right past the over/under. CRUNK RATING: 2/10 because of aforementioned issues.
Camellia Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo, 5:30: Makes me wish the Cure Bowl was on an ESPN affiliate. CRUNK RATING: 2/10, because everything about this (read: Montgomery, AL) is gross.
New Orleans Bowl: Southern Miss vs. UL-Lafayette, 9: Two six-win teams from middling conferences doesn’t get you hyped? Well, switch to brown liquor and enjoy A LOT OF POINTS. Cheer for Lafayette to make Georgia’s opponents look better. Did you know they used to play this game at 10am local time? In New Orleans? Some things about this sport (read: most things) don’t make much sense. CRUNK RATING: 4/10.
Monday, December 19
Miami Beach Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Tulsa, 2:30: This is where you either show your dedication to bad college football, or your dedication to your job. Do people actually work the week before Christmas? This bowl is famous for the brawl in its inaugural game, and I will attach video for posterity:
Something about CMU/Tulsa makes me think it’ll be more docile this time around, but we may get clips of the brawl. CRUNK RATING: 2/10.
Tuesday, December 20
Boca Raton Bowl: Memphis vs. Western Kentucky, 7:30pm: HEY! One of the teams from the Miami Beach Brawl, somewhat local adversaries, and ridiculously fun offenses. Jeff Brohm took the Purdue job yesterday, and quickly devolved from ‘offensive genius’ to ‘idiot’ in my brain. This should still be fun. CRUNK RATING: 6/10.
Wednesday, December 21
Poinsettia Bowl: BYU vs. Wyoming, 9 pm: And just like that, we get the other Miami Brawl team…and, unlike Memphis, they’re still known as the dirtiest in football. Craig Bohl has engineered a crazy turnaround for Wyoming, who is certifiably fun to watch. And…weird mountain folk in sunny Southern California. Sign me up. CRUNK RATING: 7/10
Thursday, December 22
Idaho Potato Bowl: Colorado State vs. Idaho, 7 pm: Idaho is the first team to get relegated from FBS BACK to FCS, which makes this bowl appearance downright amazing. And hey look! Mike Bobo, Georgia’s coach in 2019! CRUNK RATING: 3/10, but probably the most exciting bowl to date for Georgia fans, because some of our fanbase is sad.
Friday, December 23
Bahamas Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion, 1pm: Still sponsored by Popeyes? Check. Two teams who haven’t played a bowl game in my lifetime (EMU last did so in 1987)? Check. Points? Probably. CRUNK RATING: 4/10
Armed Forces Bowl: Louisiana Tech vs. Navy, 4:30pm: Two bad defenses, two hella fun offenses (I actually watched the CUSA championship between La Tech and WKU, it was delightful). Navy is what Georgia Tech wishes they were. CRUNK RATING: 6/10
Dollar General Bowl: Troy vs. Ohio, 8pm: Troy famously almost beat Clemson, and coach Neal Brown will be coming to a middling SEC program near you in the next two years (hey, Mississippi schools). MAC teams have no appeal to me, though, so… CRUNK RATING: 1/10
Saturday, December 24
Hawai’i Bowl: Hawai’i vs. Middle Tennessee, 8pm: By my count, this is the third bowl game that gets a ‘home’ team, joining New Mexico and Idaho. Those exotic Mountain West destination bowls, man. Speaking of destination bowls, Middle Tennessee fans got Bahamas last year and Hawai’i this year. That’s good living. You’ll be eggnog and bourbon drunk for this one, which automatically boosts the CRUNK RATING to like, a generous 6/10?
Monday, December 26
HEY, A COUPLE OF P5 TEAMS!
(Sees BC/Maryland matchup)
St. Pete Bowl: Miami (OH) vs. Mississippi State, 11am: Worth noting only because Mississippi State was the 5-7 academic stalwart who got to go bowling this year. Read that again. CRUNK RATING: 3/10
QuickLane Bowl: Maryland vs. Boston College, 2:30pm: KILL IT WITH FIRE! Unless you want to appreciate Vine legend Steve Addazio, which you want to do. All of the dudes.
(Steve Addazio is the new mascot for this website.) CRUNK RATING: 4/10
Independence Bowl: N.C. State vs. Vanderbilt, 5:30pm: Oh, Shreveport. Your casinos are better than one would expect. CRUNK RATING: 5/10, because this is always a weird game.
Tuesday, December 27
Dallas Bowl: Army vs. North Texas, noon: Hands-down, the worst bowl on this list. Athlon agrees with me. You need a good excuse to watch this one. CRUNK RATING: 0.5/10, unless you were in the army.
Military Bowl: #24 Temple vs. Wake Forest, 3:30pm: The Clawfense vs. a very good Temple team? Yeah, Temple is going to roll. CRUNK RATING: 3/10 as a nod to our first ranked bowl participant.
Holiday Bowl: Minnesota vs. Washington State, 7pm: I’m here for Mike Leach stylin’ on a B1G team. CRUNK RATING: 6/10.
Cactus Bowl: Boise State vs. Baylor, 10:15pm: I’m here for Baylor losing their 7th straight game, because they went from really fun national contender to rape cover-uppers in about 9 months. And they still want Art Briles back as coach. Over/under at 3.5 coaches for Baylor, a la Georgia’s bowl game last year. CRUNK RATING: 7/10 because both teams are fun without any aforementioned context.
Summary, part 1:
This is why people say there are too many bowls. 20 games, 1 ranked team, 9 P5 teams. Yuck.
Definitely watch games: Vegas Bowl (San Diego State vs. Houston)
Maybe watch games: Anything above you have a morbid interest in viewing, or family holiday escapes.
Don’t watch games: most of them.
Dude Emeritus here, back from the dead to grow some whiskers.
The crew from my day job is doing a contest, and I really don’t want to lose to a bunch of Big 10 and Pac-12 amateurs in my office. So show me some love by donating to the cause (not to me…just to my fundraiser). In exchange, I promise daily updates on my facial hair non-progress.
And as you can tell by this video, I’ve been really working over-time on that beard.
Thanks for your consideration.
And, because Chad is horrible at deadlines, we should mention he is running a similar campaign in via his real estate business.
Essentially, the idea is this: call him with a ready-to-go client referral, and he donates in your name. $100 in the Charlotte, NC area, $25 literally ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD.
No contests here, but he wants to at least beat the last two years’ combined total of just over $500.
Donate your own money here, or contact Chad at email@example.com to connect him with someone in need of help buying, selling, or investing in property.
His selfie game is not nearly as strong, but his beard game is electric. Watch out for this one, folks.
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.