College football season definitely is not getting further away, which means the news is coming faster. Let’s catch up on what’s going on in Bulldog Nation.
On3Sports and 247 have each confirmed that beginning in 2022 recruits will be able to receive tickets to the Georgia/Florida game in Jacksonville. It’s major news because it removes Kirby Smart’s main stated reason for not wanting the game to stay in Duval County, and thus probably clears up any doubts about the game’s long term future on the banks of the beautiful St. John’s River. Personally I don’t think there was ever any serious doubt that the powers that be would do what it takes to keep the Cocktail Party in town. But as a South Georgia Bulldog fan in a fast-changing college football world, with fond memories surrounding this game in this place, it’s nice to think that this at least isn’t changing.
Matt Hinton over at Saturday Down South has a ranking of the top 25 quarterbacks in college football and slots Stetson Bennett at #19. I might put the Mailman a bit higher for some of the reasons Hinton cites: he had the highest QBR (176.6) in UGA history in 2021, was 3rd in the country in passing efficiency, etc. But Matt’s bottom-line assessment of Bennett is pretty dead-on. You can say he lacks all the prototype measurable s, but you cannot say he hasn’t produced, especially in big games.
I also think that JT Daniels at #23 is pretty fair in light of what we know now, though Daniels also strikes me as the guy most likely to move way up this list of things click into place in Morgantown. Spencer Rattler at #4 for South Carolina however seems like either a fever dream or a typo. It makes less sense than the plot of Vanilla Sky, a pretty high bar for incomprehensibility. Matt points to Rattler’s stats from 2020 at Oklahoma, but may have forgotten that Theo Wease will not be catching Rattler’s passes in Columbia. But I guess these differences of opinion are why they play the game.
Elsewhere in the broader college football universe the L.A. Times reports on Student Body Right, the new fan collective that is looking to support Southern Cal football. The group wants to provide what amounts to a base wage for every Trojan who stays academically eligible and meets certain community service obligations. It sounds like a good thing, right? But the article does a good job of explaining why universities are so concerned about these groups that are springing up outside of the purview of athletic departments.
Schools still want to maintain as much control as possible over the NIL landscape, even though that is decidedly not the drift the good ship college football is following. They’re still worried about NCAA compliance issues because, well, that’s what compliance departments do (for now). But at a certain point, genuine constitutional issues appear likely to arise when public universities (of which USC is admittedly not one) try to stymie transactions between a party legally empowered to provide compensation and another party legally empowered to accept it. This is but one of the battlegrounds upon which the future of college football will be decided.
Everybody have a great Thursday. Until later . . .