For the 200th time, the disclaimer that this is NOT a recruiting site applies.
However, Georgia’s recruiting class for 2017, its first full one under Kirby Smart, is awesome. I broke down the offensive line recruits’ immense talent last month, and there is more to cover on this group– 7 of the top 50 commits (according to 247) is insane.
Today, Georgia looks to add some finishing touches to its class. Below are the guys considering Georgia’s approximate announcement times today:
9:30am: Jaymest Williams, 4-star CB, S.C.: OV’ed to Georgia last week despite being a South Carolina commit for months. Probably low odds in swinging him.
10am: Aubrey Solomon, 5-star DT, GA: This is the guy who decommitted from Michigan after being thanked for attending an event…he didn’t attend. The Wolverines are still considered the favorite on 247, with Alabama and Georgia on the radar.
10:45am: Aaron Sterling, 3-star DE, GA: As a 3-star, he’d actually qualify as one of the WORST guys in the class, according to pundits.
11am: Markaviest Bryant, 4-star DE, GA: Georgia is the favorite!
2pm: Nico Collins, 4-star WR, AL: Apparently a Michigan/Georgia/Alabama battle, Georgia…still needs star receivers.
Unknown: Leonard Warner, 4-star ILB: He’ll be joining a top-5 class, just a question of whether its Florida State, Stanford, or Georgia.
Atlanta is a better sports town than Boston. Period. And I don’t even like having sentences that simply read, “Period.” But to open this article with anything less definitive, less concise or less accurate would be a disservice to the loyal readers of this online watering hole.
“But Boston has more titles than Atlanta,” the Massholes will surely contend. I’ll yield that point, but not before posing a question. When did sports become all about numbers? People who waste time counting things rather than enjoying the moments are precisely what’s wrong with the sports world. Advanced analytics, PERs, DVOAs and BYOBs have diluted every bit of the art that once defined sports. Just ask Meryl Streep. There’s actually some underlying truth to her observation that football is not “art.” It’s not. At least not according to the Bean Counters in Beantown counting championships. Football—and every other sport for that matter—is math in Boston. I hate math. Real sports fans hate math.
In Atlanta, football is art. Atlanta fans don’t love the Falcons for the number of championships they’ve won or for the PSI figures representing deflation of balls or for the number of hours between the time their QB found out his GF was pregnant and the time he dipped out or for the number of people their former tight ends killed. No, Atlanta fans love the Falcons because they passionately enjoy the art of sport. Advantage: ATL.
And that theme—the edge for Atlanta—isn’t just a football thing. It’s across all sports.
Nerds will point to the Red Sox and their 93-69 regular season mark in professional baseball last season as proof of Boston’s “superiority.” If you’re an analytics guru that probably does seem like more than Atlanta’s 68 wins. But Braves fans value things other than wins. Atlanta fans value…well…value. With a payroll of $166,770,400 a year ago, the stuck-up, private school punks from Boston cashed in on their daddy’s credit card in a major way as the Red Sox paid $1,793,230.11 per victory. The humble, grinding, hard-nosed, never-given-anything Braves only paid $1,195,424 per W. Sports aren’t just about the money in Atlanta.
Take Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan as an example. Matt Ryan loves football. He loved it so much that he agreed to play the sport for free for several years in Boston. How’s that for passion? Unless you’ve played football at the collegiate level, you can’t comprehend the sacrifice Ryan made just to toss his beloved pigskin. But after four, arduous, miserable years in the sports-unfriendly town of Boston he just couldn’t take it any more. He took a job playing football in Atlanta. Sure, he’s making money but this was never about money for Matt Ryan. He would have kept playing for free if Boston wasn’t such a crappy town, probably. And even though he is getting paid, he’s working for a discount compared to Tom Brady. Brady took home nearly $29 million in cash this season. Ryan, a lover of sport, made less than $16 million.
How’s that for money ball, Billy Beane? Oh that’s right! Billy Beane wisely turned down overtures from the Red Sox back in 2002 so he could stay in a real sports town (Oakland). How about that? Now that’s real foresight by Mr. Beane. After all, most of Boston’s sports heroes get out of town as quickly as possible. Beane skipped that part of the process by avoiding Beantown altogether.
Think about it. Larry Bird retired at the age of 35 (from the Boston Celtics) just so he could come back out of retirement with a less flashy job back in Indiana. How insane is that? He left the spotlight in an alleged sports town so that he could take on a behind-the-scenes role in the midwest. That would be like Ryan Gosling capitalizing on whatever the hell La La Land is, retiring, leaving Hollywood and resurfacing in Nebraska as a guy who works lighting on local car dealership commercials. That would never happen because L.A. is actually a viable contender as a “good town for celebrities and movie stars.” Boston, however, is not a good town for sports. Just ask Larry Legend.
Larry wasn’t alone. Hell, the entire Boston Braves baseball organization eventually found its way to a real sports town (by way of Milwaukee) before making their way to an even realer sports county (well, that part might not be true).
And mass-exoduses aren’t just a thing for athletes and teams from Boston. It happens to sportswriters too. Bill Simmons is literally nicknamed “The Sports Guy,” and he left Boston as soon as he could. Even media personalities who criticized Simmons for leaving eventually came to their senses and left Boston for New York City.
But what about all those SPORTS in Boston? These teams are great at everything!
I bet the 17,565 people who attended Bruins games (on average) during the 2010-2011 season sure appreciated that Stanely Cup run. It’s wild that one out of every 38 Boston residents checked out those games. Oh, but I shouldn’t poke fun of hockey game attendance, should I? After all, Atlanta lost the Thrashers because attendance was so poor. Yeah, Atlanta (a real Sports Town) did dump the Thrashers after the team averaged just 13,469 fans per contest during the 2010-2011 season (the same year as the Bruins’ title). When that happened, the Thrashers were still pulling one out of every 33 Atlanta residents to home games. Atlanta was putting more butts in seats per capita than the Bruins but that wasn’t up to Atlanta’s standards, so GTFO.
But Boston fans really “get” sports. Boston is great at everything. Just look at the Celtics. Right now the Celts are sitting on a 27-18 record, well ahead of the Hawks’ 27-19 mark. Further, the Celtics are absolutely owning the Hawks in head-to-head play this year, boasting a 1-0 record thanks to a 103-101 win. Can’t compete with that success.
I mean it’s clear why teams from Atlanta are so incredibly intimidated by Boston sports teams.
It’s just hard for us Atlanta fans to not be daunted by Boston’s sports prowess. After all, Boston hosts all kinds of major events. Oh, wait. I’m thinking of Atlanta.
- Olympics: In Atlanta in 1996 // Never in Boston
- Super Bowl: In Atlanta in 1994, 2000 and upcoming in 2019 // Never in Boston
- NCAA Football Playoff Championship: In Atlanta next year // Never in Boston
- NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four: In Atlanta in 1977, 2002, 2007, 2013 and upcoming in 2020 // Never in Boston
- NBA All-Star Game: Last in Atlanta in 2003 // Last in Boston in 1964
But I’m sure all these events are in Atlanta because it’s such a crappy sports town. I’m sure they’re not in Boston because the selection committees just don’t want to make things too much nicer for such a great sports town.
But on to the game at hand.
First things first: This “dynasty” we hear about from New England? I find such chatter to rank somewhere between hilarious and incomprehensible. You do realize that the Patriots are one loss to the Falcons away from having 1-3 record in the Super Bowl over the past 12 seasons, right? Do you get that Bostonians? And the Falcons are simultaneously one win over the Pats from matching Belichick’s total number of titles over the past dozen years and quadrupling his winning percentage in Super Bowls over the same time period. Will the Falcons have a Dynasty if they win? Apparently anyone with a Super Bowl title over the past 12 years can claim a dynasty. So in that regard, I personally am one Lombardi Trophy shy of having a dynasty. Calling the Patriots a “dynasty” is like saying American Idol is the most popular show on television. I’d listen back in 2005. But I was also in high school then.
But who am I kidding. The Falcons don’t really have a chance against the Patriots.
Oh, those dominant Patriots! You know, the ones who have been outscored 300-249 in 13 all-time match-ups with the Falcons.
No one could ever match Boston’s football prowess—not this year! No one except the mighty Seattle Seahawks (who lost to the Falcons 36-20 just a few short weeks ago) and the mighty Buffalo Bills (who canned their coaching staff). Oh, who could every beat those 2016 New England Patriots?
May the best Sports Town win.
Prediction: Falcons 38, Patriots 33
Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd on Twitter) and Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy) get together to discuss the week’s big headlines – Oregon’s coaching staff imploding, the NCAA’s money grab with early March Madness rankings, etc. Then, they take a closer look (at the request of a commenter) at the new King of College Football, the Big Ten Conference.
UPDATE: There seems to have been a recording issue, stay tuned if you want more than 5 minutes. TheUnit2K16 got his wish and we did a B1G podcast…and we are working to get the rest of it there. Leave a 5-star review and we may talk about your subject of choice.
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PODCAST: Is Auburn the Georgia Tech of the SEC? How Lazy are Oregon’s Football Players? Will Georgia Win Any Football Games Next Year?
Chad Floyd (@Chad_Floyd on the Twitter Machine) is joined by Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy) for a spirited discussion about all things football. The two great minds discuss the Atlanta Falcons and their final game in the Georgia Dome, Georgia’s 2017 schedule and how wimpy Oregon’s football players are.
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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?