Despite all the chatter since the announcement of the SEC Network last week about the SEC increasing from eight conference games to a nine-game conference schedule in football, the change apparently won’t happen before 2016.
Tony Barnhart reports CBSSports.com has been told the scheduling formats for 2014 and 2015 will be presented later this month at the conference’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla., and both seasons call for sticking with the eight-game model.
Still, the nine-game schedule is starting to look inevitable.
Last week at the announcement of the SEC’s new partnership with ESPN, Commissioner Mike Slive took note of the the upcoming College Football Playoff and the strength of scheduling factor that its selection committee will take into account. “Obviously the playoff impacts how we think about scheduling,” Slive said. “Strength of scheduling will be a significant component in the committee’s analysis. As far as I am concerned, I am open-minded about how we should
There are a lot of stressed-out kids in Athens right now, as UGA is in the midst of final exams, so here’s wishing the best of luck to my daughter and all the other Bulldogs!
Meanwhile, let’s get to some of this week’s Junkyard Mail. …
Chris Pugh writes: Bill, I’m concerned that we Georgia fans and the media are setting ourselves up for a disappointment. I hear a lot of people yelling, “National champs this year, we’re gonna go all the way” and how this defense is gonna be better then last year’s. Look, I love my Dawgs but the last 2 years’ schedules have been pretty dang easy. And this year is no joke, we could easily lose four games, and it wouldn’t surprise me if we lose to Clemson with a young defense playing Clemson’s high-powered offense. What’s your thought on this?
This is the time of year when fan (and media) optimism runs high, but you’re right that Mark Richt’s Bulldogs face a much more daunting schedule this season. And the rebuilding defense remains a big question
ESPN’s SEC Blog is conducting a poll on who was the biggest star of the spring in the SEC, and as this is written Georgia’s Tray Matthews is leading the vote.
It’s no wonder. As ESPN’s Chris Low puts it, Matthews “is only a true freshman who enrolled early” but he “played well enough this spring (and handed out enough bone-crunching licks) that he enters preseason camp as one of the starters at safety.”
Starting a true freshman at safety might be worrisome in a lot of cases, but Mark Richt noted recently that Matthews arrived in Athens “ready to play” and focused on winning a starting position, and “It may be tough to knock him out of the box.”
The hard-hitting Matthews was definitely the talk of spring practice among Georgia’s coaches and players and seems the natural answer when I’m asked, as I have been several times recently, who I see as one
Let’s get straight to some Junkyard Mail. …
Brownie Lawson writes: I know a lot of the Bulldog Nation has been watching the NFL draft, but I can’t really work up much enthusiasm for it. I’m happy if former Dawgs get drafted, but it’s not really that important to me, especially those players that left school early. But I seem to be in the minority. Bill, tell me why I should care that Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree went in the first round.
I understand where you’re coming from, Brownie, especially when it comes to those who didn’t play out their eligibility in Athens, but as with so many other things in the college game these days, it all comes back to recruiting. Kids want to play in a program that they see as a pipeline to the pros. That’s what hurts triple-option programs like Georgia Tech, which play a brand of the game foreign to what’s seen on
ESPN did one of its SportsNation polls recently to determine who was the SEC’s most underappreciated football coach.
Georgia’s Mark Richt won, with 43 percent of more than 13,200 votes cast, beating out LSU’s Les Miles, who took 27 percent of the vote.
Third place went to Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen (12 percent), followed by Florida’s Will Muschamp (11 percent) and Missouri’s Gary Pinkel (7 percent).
Richt and Miles have each won two SEC championships, and Miles won a national title in 2007.
Two years ago Richt was on the hot seat after a 6-7 season, but he turned things around. After opening the 2011 season 0-2, his Dawgs have won 22 of their last 26 games. And, as ESPN noted, two of those losses came in the SEC championship game to teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country.
Still, there are still plenty of gripes from a noisy contingent of the Bulldog Nation about Richt not having won a
First, a bit of fan news you can use …
UGA is reaching out to alumni who would like to be part of the school’s next television promo to be aired nationwide during the 2013 football season (replacing the R.E.M. spot). The university says the new film involves photos and videos of memorable UGA moments creatively coming together, ending to form Georgia’s iconic Arch.
If you’d like to submit your favorite photographic memories of UGA for possible inclusion in the spot, simply visit the special Facebook page they’ve created for this purpose and share your photos. To be considered for inclusion in the spot, your photo must be submitted by Tuesday, April 30.
And here’s another way of showing your UGA pride: A new design featuring the “power G” has been unveiled for the UGA vehicle license tag available to Georgia drivers. The new tag features a red, black and silver-gray design encompassing the entire
There’s been a lot of speculation of late that the impending SEC Network being put together with ESPN eventually will force the conference’s schools to go against the majority of coaches’ wishes and implement a nine-game conference schedule.
Already last year, when the conference decided to stay at eight conference games, Commissioner Mike Slive noted that the SEC was “mindful that moving forward our strength of schedule will be a factor” as the new championship playoff takes effect. “This is something that we’re going to watch,” he added.
And, of course, Alabama’s Nick Saban is on record as favoring a nine-game schedule because of the cross-divisional scheduling problems. “Under the current system we have guys who will never play Georgia or Florida,” Saban said last summer. “That’s not right. If we have to play nine conference games to get that fixed then that is what we need
The thing about spring intrasquad games that match the first-string offense against the first-string defense is that no matter which side wins, it’s going to raise concerns.
If the starting offense runs up the score, you worry about the defense. If the defense prevails, you wonder if your offense is all it’s cracked up to be.
Going into spring practice, most Georgia fans probably were more worried about the rebuilding effort on the defense, particularly the defensive line, than with the offense, which returns all but one of last year’s starters from a record-setting unit.
But after the defense-led Black team won the G-Day game, a lot of questions have been raised about the subpar effort given by the starting offensive line that played for the Reds.
ESPN analyst and former offensive lineman Ed Cunningham has probably been the most negative, saying the Dogs’ starters “played horribly.”
The consensus seems to be that the Black team’s 23-17 win over the Red team in Saturday’s G-Day game in Athens was an “upset.”
After all, the Reds featured the Bulldogs’ star-studded first-string offense, which returns almost all its starters from last season’s record-setting unit, while the Blacks had the first-string defense, which is having to rebuild after losing most of its starters.
But while a case definitely can be made that the Red offense underperformed in Saturday’s intrasquad game before a record crowd of 45,113 on a beautiful spring day at Sanford Stadium, it’s only fair to note that they weren’t at full strength, with their top receivers not playing due to injury, quarterback Aaron Murray only playing about two quarters’ worth, and the “Gurshall” tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall barely in the game, with Gurley having only four
Like many of you, I’m headed over to Athens Saturday for the annual G-Day Game.
As was the case last year, we’ll see one team with the first-string offense and second-string defense and the other team with the first-string defense and second-string offense. At this writing, rosters hadn’t been announced, but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will coach one team and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will coach the other.
Admission to the 1 p.m. game at Sanford Stadium is free, though the UGA Athletic Association is teaming up again with the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia and is encouraging fans to donate a bag of canned food at the game. Fans are asked to drop their bags of donated canned goods into the receptacles upon entering Sanford Stadium. Bins will be located at the Main Gate and Gates 2, 4, 6 and 9.
The game will be preceded by the lettermen’s flag football game featuring