The Future IS Now

By: Mike Anthony

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic remain in place in relation to NCAA sports, college football teams are managing to remain as active as ever.

Players are working out on their own at their respective houses and online video meetings are allowing the various meetings for teams, players and position groups that normally fill the schedule preceding fall camp.

However, there is one aspect of the summer months that has had to change drastically. From the end of spring practice up through the long days of June and July, most college football coaches are racking up the mileage as they attend camps and start to make contacts with recruits they hope to sign at the end of the season.

Several members of the Georgia Southern coaching staff joined a Zoom meeting on where much of the discussion with media members was centered on how the team is continuing to recruit despite no visits allowed and few opportunities for athletes to showcase their skills.

“I’ve tried to embrace this as an opportunity,” Georgia Southern associate head coach and running backs coach Chris Foster said. “I think I’m a little more tech savvy than some others and things were leaning towards more technology even before (the virus). The teams who are going to succeed are the ones who are going to adapt.”

Coaches may not be able to see prospective recruits go up against live competitions, but the advancement of cheap video technology and the explosion of social media over the last decade allow many hopeful high-schoolers to provide colleges with expansive highlight reels.

That sort of accessibility allows coaches to evaluate film in their meetings and make informed decisions on who to pursue and what to focus on in their game.

There is also a silver lining for the coaches as meeting with a dozen recruits over the course of a few days is now as easy as setting up a streaming meeting instead of putting hundreds of miles on a vehicle and waking up in a different hotel every day.

Still, there are new issues as meetings have had to work around school and work schedules for athletes and their parents.

“Depending on when you can schedule a meeting, there have been some 14 and 15 hour days,” GS defensive coordinator Scot Sloan said. “We’re still doing all of our homework. We’re meeting with these kids and the high school coaches have been great about keeping us in touch and getting us in contact with teachers, counselors and anyone else who we might want to talk to about a guy.”

The recruiting game has certainly been turned on its’ head. If anything, it could become a net benefit for smaller schools like Georgia Southern.

No matter how good Georgia Southern coaches are at evaluating prep players or selling them on the Eagles, they don’t have the ability of larger schools with much larger budgets to employ dozens of people to scour every corner of the country.

And most schools certainly don’t have the luxury of putting a coach on a private jet straight into a player’s backyard on a moment’s notice in order to gain an edge in the recruiting battle.

The playing field has levelled in that regard, meaning that originality and innovation off of the base model of Twitter highlights and Zoom meetings is now something that can make a school stand out to a prized recruit.

It’s a whole new ballgame in the high-stakes world of football recruiting. Now it remains to be seen how the new methods of selling teams and schools will pan out.

The Beef

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The SEC is known as a Line of Scrimmage League and the strength up front won’t decrease much in 2020.

These players have demonstrated what it takes to effectively run-block, pass protect, and fight like hell in the trenches.

There’s nothing as satisfying as watching mammoth individuals opening holes, or being that stone wall that cannot be penetrated, or my personal favorite, pancaking a defender as big as they are.

Here are my top five offensive linemen in the SEC for 2020.

  1. Landon Dickerson, Center/Guard, Alabama: Dickerson was a graduate transfer from Florida State, who had a breakout season in 2019 with the Crimson Tide.

He started all 13 games, four at guard and nine at center. His versatility allows him to play every position on the offensive line effectively. The six-foot-six, 318 pounder will help set the tone for the boys up front this fall.

  1. Darin Kinnard, Tackle, Kentucky: Kinnard is an old school masher at right tackle for the Wildcats.

The six-foot-seven, 340 pounder will join senior teammates Drake Jackson, Landon Young and Luke Fortner as four of the top ten returning lineman in the SEC.

Kinnard’s running blocking is on an elite level; he must improve his pass protection and hand placement. Kentucky has one of the top offensive lines in the SEC in 2020.

  1. Deonte Brown, Guard, Alabama: Brown is an absolute beast at every bit six-foot four, 340 pounds.

He grew up in the Auburn game against Derrick Brown as a true testament to his strength.

Deonte Brown is a smooth athlete who gets to his spots on time. If he is to grow, he must improve his pass protection, especially against quicker pass rushers.

Expect another strong season from Brown as the Crimson Tide looks to regain the SEC West title.

  1. Trey Smith, Guard, Tennessee: Smith is one the most seasoned offensive linemen in the SEC, with 31 career starts.

He played tackle in his freshman season and earned Freshman All American and second team All SEC honors. Smith moved to Guard last season and earned first team All SEC while battling blood clot issues. I won’t be surprised if he is on the short list for the Outland Trophy in 2020.

  1. Alex Leatherwood, Tackle, Alabama: If you haven’t noticed, The Crimson Tide will have the best offensive line in the SEC and arguably all of College football in 2020.

Alex Leatherwood will be the heart and soul of the Tide’s offensive line. Bama returns four starters from a line that allowed the fewest number of sacks in the SEC last season.

They were also fourth in the SEC in rushing offense. The six-foot-six, 310-pound Leatherwood allowed only two sacks in the past two seasons.

Leatherwood was also first team All SEC and many experts predict he’ll follow in the footsteps of Jonah Williams, a first round draft pick.

Just outside the Top 5: Cade Mays, Tennessee; Drake Jackson, Kentucky; Trey Hill and Ben Cleveland, Georgia; Austin Deculus, LSU; Steward Reese, Florida; Dylan Wannam, South Carolina.

Chomping For 2020

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The Florida Gators are coming off of a very good 2019 season.

They were 11-2, won the Orange Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 6 in the AP Poll. Dan Mullen is entering his third year as the head coach in Gainesville.

It looks like the Gators have finally found their first good quarterback since Tim Tebow. They started the 2019 season with Feleipe Franks under center. He was known for making poor decisions and turning the football over. He got injured in the Kentucky game and Kyle Trask stepped in to come from behind and win the game.

I think he’s a significant upgrade over Franks and playing the entire season will make a big difference.

UF is ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll. They have not won the SEC East since 2016. That doesn’t seem like a long time, but it is for this program that’s used to competing for national championships.

Some of the key departures are defensive end Jon Greenard, corner back C.J. Henderson and running back La’mical Perine. Greenard had 52 tackles, 15.5 for loss and 9.5 sacks in his final season.

Henderson had 11 pass breakups, entered the draft a year early and was the ninth overall pick by Jacksonville.

Perine was the leading rusher in 2019 with 676 yards and 6 touchdowns.

The Gators have some good players returning. Tight end Kyle Pitts is 6’6, 239-pounds and one of the best in the nation. He had 54 catches for 649 yards and five touchdowns.

Wide receiver Trevon Grimes is entering his senior year and he’s going to be the No. 1 receiver. The Ohio State transfer had 33 receptions for 491 yards and 3 TD’s last year.

CB Marco Wilson had three interceptions and 36 tackles in 2019.

The schedule is very manageable.

Eastern Washington: They start the season with the college version of a preseason game against an FCS opponent. They’ll demolish the Eagles.

Kentucky: The Wildcats have lost talented players from last years team. This will be an easy win for Florida.

South Alabama: The Jaguars were 2-10 last year. We don’t expect e team from the Sun Belt to put up much of a fight under normal circumstances and this is a bad team. UF trounces them.

@ Tennessee: The first road game of the season. The Vols started poorly in 2019 but they won their final 6 games to finish 8-5. This is a rivalry game, so I expect it to be close, but I give the edge to the Gators.

South Carolina: Former Florida coach Will Muschamp has been the head coach at South Carolina since 2016. Last season they were 4-8 but they did have a huge upset at Georgia. They won’t be that lucky on this day.

LSU: We all know the Tigers were undefeated and won the national championship in 2019. Heisman Trophy winning QB Joe Burrow is gone and LSU will fall back to earth. Gators get the W.

@ Ole Miss: The Rebels are one of the worst teams in the conference, so this is a cakewalk.

Georgia: This is a Halloween day rivalry game. The Bulldogs have won the last three meetings. That streak will finally get snapped.

@ Vanderbilt: We know Vandy doesn’t stand a chance.

Mizzou: The Tigers are one of the worst teams in the division. Another lopsided win.

New Mexico State: The Aggies are traveling to Gainesville for a beat down.

@ Florida State: The Seminoles are struggling, and this is the final W of the season.

I expect Florida to finish the regular season undefeated.

QB U

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

In the 90’s it seemed like most top ranked quarterbacks wound up at any of the three major programs in Florida.

In the 2000’s USC got the lion’s share of who they wanted, with a few other programs sprinkled in.

This past decade it’s been programs like Ohio State and Clemson that have been able to basically pick and choose who they bring in under center.

As we begin the decade of the 2020’s, it looks like you can add another school to the list; Georgia.

When Kirby Smart was hired, I figured he and his staff would be able to successfully recruit top ranked defensive players and running backs. It’s how things were done at Alabama and if Smart was trying to implement a lot of the same strategies and philosophies from his former employer, it just made sense.

I had no idea he would be able to bring in the level of talent at the quarterback position he has up to this point.

On one hand I can understand the appeal; Georgia has received a lot of positive notoriety since Smart arrived, their facilities are some of the best in the country, and they play in the best conference in college football, so there’s an abundance of national exposure a quarterback can gain by playing there. Plus, I imagine the amount of talent surrounding the quarterback position has to be awfully enticing to a recruit.

On the other hand, it’s a bit perplexing how the program has been able to maintain this level of success on the recruiting trail since Smart’s arrival.

Even though Georgia’s name has become more prominent in national title talks, they still haven’t won one in almost forty years, their quarterbacks don’t have a great history (program or Kirby Smart) of NFL success, and they’re about to be on their third offensive coordinator in as many years; none of which built their reputations on developing quarterbacks.

Smart also seems to approach the quarterback position as if he’s running his own version of The Bachelor: Georgia Edition, bringing in as many players as he can to complete. (With the recent addition of JT Daniels, I believe Georgia is currently looking at having an entire basketball team full of quarterbacks on their 2021 roster.)

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with that approach whatsoever, but with the mindset of today’s recruit, the whole situation seems ripe to miss out on players because they’d rather be given the starting job as opposed to earning it.

Yet, in spite of circumstances that would give me pause before committing, it has not affected their ability to bring in the recruits they want. Of course, keeping those recruits is an entirely different story.

And look, I know these things are cyclical and not all the quarterbacks on Georgia’s roster were 5-star recruits. Still, that doesn’t change the fact Athens has become a premier destination for quarterbacks, more so than I can ever remember them being, in my lifetime.

If their luck on the qb front continues to stay in line with the rest of their recruiting there are two things I see happening:

1.Georgia will eventually end their national championship drought sooner, rather than later.

2.If Kirby Smart keeps hoarding quarterbacks like they’re Popeye’s gift certificates they are going to need a larger room to hold their quarterback meetings.

Bottom Line

By: TJ Hartnett

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Right now, we should be two months deep into the 2020 Major League Baseball season.

We should all be assessing which teams are overperforming or underperforming and talking about who’s deserving of an All-Star appearance.

Alas, it wasn’t to be. The MLB owners and the MLB Players Association are doing everything they can to ensure that baseball is started safely and reasonably, and as soon as possible. Or maybe they aren’t.

If you scour the internet for baseball news these days, instead of the aforementioned articles and arguments and debates about standings and stats, you’ll be treated to an ongoing back and forth between the billionaires that populate the fraternity of team owners and the millionaires that make up the MLBPA. It’s been contentious, to say the least.

The players agreed to take a pay cut when the season was originally suspended way back in March. Then the owners composed a proposal on how to get the season started and presented it to the players, which asked for a second pay cut. The players were apparently very unhappy about it.

Ever since then it’s been headline after headline about the players being upset about the owners’ various proposals and amendments. Some players, like Tampa Bay Rays pitchers Blake Snell, even going on the record and saying they’d refuse to play for a (further) reduced salary.

Snell’s rationale was that he and the rest of the players would be assuming all of the COVID-19-related risk. Which is, of course, true.

Regardless of how the logistics work, the players would be exposed to each other by necessity. That would come in the game, obviously, but also wherever they’d be holed up to live for however long the season lasts.

Assuming they’d want to see their families, ever, they’d also be adding risk to their wives and children too. The owners, by virtue of not having a role that requires them to attend the ballgames, ever, would not need to change a thing about their socially distanced status quo.

It’s a reasonable concern, and it’s true, the owners assume no risk to their health and the players basically throw what the CDC recommends to the wind.

But in a way it still feels like both parties are being greedy. The world desperately needs sports right now.

The amount of money that the already-very-wealthy make during the season isn’t going to lessen their risk of contracting COVID, so it feels like they’re just squabbling over riches.

For a game that falls further behind football every year in terms of national popularity, this is a bad look.

The last time players and owners had a spat like this was the players’ strike of 94-95, and the vocal members of the union, like the Braves’ own Tom Glavine, were voraciously booed when play finally resumed.

Fans, many of them working class, had no patience for millionaires pinching pennies.

In fact, it took Cal Ripken completing a journey he had started over a decade before as well as two over-juiced sluggers competing for a home run record to earn back the adoration of the fans.

It’s worse now because of the state of the world. We’re starved for something unifying, and MLB has the chance to be that unifier. Regardless of who’s right or wrong in the ongoing battle between owners and players, they’re blowing the chance.

I’m not saying there’s an easy solution, or that the players should just concede to whatever the owners demand. That’s ridiculous and the owners are just as seemingly greedy in this situation.

It’s disappointing, nonetheless, that the two groups of people can’t come together when it would be a huge feather in their cap to do so.

Atlanta Buzz?

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Geoff Collins enters his second year at Georgia Tech after coming up with the best recruiting class in years for the Jackets.

Change is in the air in Atlanta. Will the buzz return in 2020? Let’s take a look at the Georgia Tech 2020 schedule and my win/loss predictions.

*ACC games

Thursday, Sept. 3 – Clemson* (Bobby Dodd Stadium): Will the Jackets be ready for prime time on a Thursday night kickoff to open the season?

The answer is no. Trevor Lawrence and Clemson start another college football playoff run, and drill the Jackets 48-13. GT is 0-1 on the year.

Saturday, Sept. 12 – Gardner-Webb (Bobby Dodd Stadium): Just what the doctor ordered for Tech or you would hope so. GT wins 33-14 and goes to 1-1 on the season.

Saturday, Sept. 19 – UCF (Bobby Dodd Stadium): As I look down the rest of the schedule this looks like one of the best opportunities for a win at home against the Knights.

I feel generous today by picking a GT win over UCF 24-22. Jackets go to 2-1 on the season.

Saturday, Sept. 26 – at North Carolina* (Chapel Hill, N.C.): Mack Brown is going to get Carolina back on track. The Jackets can be competitive here, but will not know how to win a road game like this yet. Paul Johnson left this program in bad shape.

Carolina beats GT 28-16. Jackets drop to 2-2 on the year.

Saturday, Oct. 3 – at Virginia Tech* (Blacksburg, Va.): October and November look bleak for the Jackets. Teams trying to rebuild, don’t pencil in wins in Blacksburg. VT 35-17. Jackets drop to 2-3.

Saturday, Oct. 17 – Virginia* (Bobby Dodd Stadium): Virginia is one of the better teams in the ACC and GT is not quite there yet. Virginia went the Orange Bowl last season and Tech was starting fights with George Pickens. Virginia 41-21. Jackets fall to 2-4.

Saturday, Oct. 24 – at Pitt* (Pittsburgh, Pa.): Could Tech win this one? Maybe in Atlanta, but not in Pittsburgh. Pitt wins 27-23. Ramblin’ Wreck falls to 2-5.

Saturday, Oct. 31 – at Syracuse* (Syracuse, N.Y.): The Cuse will beat GT at home 27-20. Jackets fall to 2-6 on the season.

Saturday, Nov. 7 – Duke* (Bobby Dodd Stadium): The Jackets will have this one circled on the calendar because this will be a winnable game. The Yellow Jackets beat Duke 35-23 to go to 3-6 on the season.

Saturday, Nov. 14 – Notre Dame (Mayhem at MBS, Mercedes-Benz Stadium): Nope not happening. Notre Dame wins 34-13. Jackets drop to 3-7 on the season.

Saturday, Nov. 21 – Miami (Fla.)* (Bobby Dodd Stadium): I’m not sold on Miami being a good team in 2020.

Yeah, I know they are the U, but they got shut out by Louisiana Tech in a bowl game last season. GT upset Miami in 2019, and this will be the Georgia Tech upset special for 2020. Yellow Jackets beat Miami in Atlanta 31-28 to go to 4-7 on the season.

Saturday, Nov. 28 – at Georgia (Athens, Ga.): Georgia will maul Tech in Athens by the tune of 49-10 and it could be worse.

GT will finish the 2020 season with a record of 4-8.

Best case scenario for the Yellow Jackets would be 7-5 and a bowl game if they can get by North Carolina, Pitt and Syracuse, and worst case scenario could be 1-11 with the only win being over Gardner-Webb.

Another couple of recruiting cycles that focus on the Atlanta metro area will be needed to rebuild this roster.

Will the buzz return in 2020? Not quite yet, but I hear a buzzing sound on the horizon for say 2021 or 2022.

Top Tight Ends

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As I continue my position-by-position analysis toward the best returning players in the SEC, this week we look at the tight ends. They are the unsung heroes when it comes to pass catchers.

Tight ends have some of the most important responsibilities on offense. They have to effectively block and move the chains on key third downs. All the players on this list have displayed these traits, and they are looking to deliver in the clutch in 2020.

  1. Tre’ McKitty, Georgia: With Eli Wolf and Charlie Woerner departed, it was necessary for Kirby Smart to go out and find an available veteran to work with an otherwise young and inexperienced group of tight ends.

McKitty, a former three-star tight end, has spent the last three seasons at Florida State. McKitty’s stats at Florida State were 50 receptions for 520 yards. Georgia landed the number two high school tight end in 2020 in Darnell Washington.

They will likely be involved in one of the more explosive 1,2 punches at the tight end position in the SEC.

  1. Jamal Pettigrew, LSU: Jamal Pettigrew is a redshirt senior that missed all the 2018 season with a torn ACL. With limited playing time in 2019, Pettigrew caught only 2 passes for 17 yards.

LSU secured the number one tight end in the 2020 recruiting class. Arik Gilbert, a 6-foot 6 253 pound athlete from Marietta, Georgia.

LSU is in a similar boat as Georgia, as Pettigrew will be the experienced player mentoring the athletic freshman.

  1. Kenny Yeboah, Ole Miss: Yeboah is a graduate transfer from Temple. The 6 foot 5, 240 pound Yeboah comes to Ole Miss after catching 47 passes for 538 yards and 6 touchdowns during his time at Temple.

He shows impressive bursts from the tight end position by averaging 12.3 yards per catch, including his longest of 53 yards.

Head Coach Lane Kiffin’s system fit Yeboah’s skill set. Kiffin’s tight end last season at Florida Atlantic won the Mackey Award for the nation’s top tight end after leading D1 Football with 65 catches.

  1. Jalen Wydermeyer, Texas A&M: Wydermeyer made a name for himself in the SEC and led the Aggies in touchdown receptions as a true freshman.

He was Freshman All American, SEC All Freshman and second team All SEC after catching 32 passes for 447 yards and 6 touchdowns.

A strong bond developed between Wydermeyer and quarterback Kellen Mond over the course of the 2019 season.

The 6 foot 5, 260 pounder looks to take advantage of size and frame in 2020. Jimbo Fisher has a long track record of utilizing the tight end in the passing game.

  1. Kyle Pitts, Florida: Pitts is the most athletic and dangerous tight end in the SEC, hands down. He has tremendous size standing 6 foot 6, 240 pounds and he uses his frame to his advantage.

Pitts had at least five or more receptions in four different games in 2019.

After an impressive breakout year in 2019, Pitts is ready to take his talent to the next level.

He recorded 54 receptions for 649 yards and 5 touchdowns and earned first team ALL SEC. With the departure of four starting wide receivers, Pitts should earn more targets from Kyle Trask.

He is too fast for linebackers and too big for safeties in 1-on-1 coverage. Pitts could improve his blocking, but remains an exploitable mismatch in the passing game.

Just outside the top five: Major Tennison, Alabama; Austin Pope, Tennessee; Hudson Henry Arkansas; Break out player John Samuel Shenker, Auburn.

Down Here

By: Kenneth Harrison

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Free agency and the NFL Draft have already taken place so we have an idea of what each roster will look like.

The NFC South has received a lot of attention with the arrival of Tom Brady to Tampa. Let’s take a look around the division and make some predictions.

Tampa Bay: The Buccaneers made the biggest splash in free agency by signing Tom Brady. They also traded for his former retired tight end Rob Gronkowski.

They drafted Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs in the first round. Wirfs played 10 games at right tackle and three at left tackle last season. He was named an All-American and he should be able to help protect Brady.

Tampa Bay ranked 25th in total defense and they probably will struggle again in 2020.

The Bucs have received a lot of hype this off season. I don’t think they can live up to it. Brady will turn 43 in August and he’s going in to his 20th season.

Think back to Peyton Manning’s final season when his play drastically deteriorated. I think age and attrition will hamper Brady. The Bucs will win 8-9 games, but they will not be legitimate contenders.

Carolina: The Panthers got rid of their franchise quarterback Cam Newton and signed Teddy Bridgewater.

They are led by All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey. He’s really the only weapon on offense and they lack a talented wide receiver.

Carolina used all seven draft picks on defensive players. They did struggle defensively in 2019, ranking 31st in total defense. They gave up 28.8 points per game.

The best-case scenario would be for three or four of the players they drafted to step in and contribute immediately. That would mean they have young players making mistakes but gaining experience. The Panthers will win 4-5 games.

Atlanta: They were a tough team to figure out last season. The Falcons were bad, but they beat New Orleans and San Francisco, two of the best teams in the NFC.

They drafted two offensive linemen in the first round of the 2019 draft but they both dealt with injuries. Protecting Matt Ryan has been a recurring issue. If that can get solved, they might have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL. They still were fifth in total offense.

The running game struggled last year, and it was addressed by signing running back Todd Gurley. Gurley has dealt with a knee injury that has decreased his play significantly.

They ranked 20th in total defense. Dan Quinn’s job is on the line and I think he will be fired. Atlanta should win 7-8 games.

New Orleans: The Saints were 13-3 in 2019. They were one of the best teams in the league and they return many players from that team.

Future Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees sustained a torn ligament to his right thumb that caused him to miss five weeks. He’s also 41 years old so his window to win another Super Bowl is closing.

The offense has playmakers like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas that defenses have to plan for. They ranked ninth in total offense and 15th in total defense.

They will win 10-11 games. New Orleans has to hope they don’t play the Vikings in the playoffs and they will have a chance to get to the Super Bowl.

Shake It Up

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

“The Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles where there are no lakes. The Oilers moved to Tennessee where there is no oil. The Jazz moved to Salt Lake City where they don’t allow music”.

Even though those statements from the movie BASEketball are referencing teams moving to larger cities for profit, it also pertains to college conferences and the schools they’re affiliated with. (Missouri isn’t really in the South or the East.)

If you were to rearrange the conferences so the SEC was based on teams only from this region (NC, SC, Georgia, and Florida) instead of money, how would that look, and would it be more advantageous for all those involved?

Currently, the ACC and SEC are home to eleven teams from the area- UNC, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest, Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Miami- so they would automatically be included.

You could stop there, but due to their recent success in the football field, and the fact I like conferences to have an even number of teams, I’m going to throw Appalachian State in as well.

Now that we have the conference teams set, it’s a matter of how would this new lineup compare to the real ones. And even in the land of make believe, you start and end with football.

If you’re looking at the current overall picture, it would be a downgrade for the three teams presently in the SEC since they would be replacing programs like Alabama, LSU, and Auburn for basically Clemson and a cast of not ready for primetime players.

Of course, if I’m Georgia or Florida I’m not too upset because my path to the playoffs just became that much easier. However, that might not always be the case.

The thing that intrigues me about this lineup, and was essentially the basis for this article, is how potentially dominant this hypothetical conference could be.

I think just about everyone expects Clemson, Georgia, and Florida soon enough, to become some of the best programs in the country. Florida State and Miami may never get back to the level of dominance we saw from them during their heyday, but becoming perennial top 25 teams isn’t out of the realm of reality.

The remainder of the league would be comparable to the rest of the current SEC, if not a tad bit better, in a majority of the comparisons.

I haven’t referenced the ACC teams’ point of view because I’d like to think it’s pretty obvious, they would benefit from this configuration compared to their current one.

Much like this would be an improvement for the ACC teams in football, the same can be said for the SEC teams with basketball.

Although it may not be the most fortuitous move for those teams already playing in arguably the best basketball conference in the country, there would definitely be more exposure for Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina.

I’m sure nothing like this particular alignment will ever come to fruition because as much as the NCAA loves to spout about how much they care for the student athletes, it’s all about the money.

So, instead of making the moves that would actually benefit the students and regions these schools represent, conference alignment will continue to look like it was decided by the creators of South Park and The Naked Gun movies, and the outrageous humor that goes with it.

A New-Man Day

By: Kipp Branch

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Every UGA fan I know is trying to find out what they can about UGA quarterback Jamie Newman, who many expect to be the starting quarterback for the University of Georgia this fall.

Newman attended Graham High School in Graham, North Carolina. He was a four-year starter at quarterback in high school. He committed to Wake Forest University to play college football. He was rated a three-star prospect coming out of high school.

Newman redshirted his first year at Wake Forest in 2016. As a backup to John Wolford in 2017, he completed two of four passes for eight yards and an interception.

Newman entered 2018 as a backup to Sam Hartman, but started the final four games after Hartman was hurt.

He was named the 2018 Birmingham Bowl MVP after throwing for 328 yards and a touchdown.

For the season, he completed 84 of 141 passes for 1,083 yards, 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Newman beat out Hartman for the starting job entering 2019.

He enjoyed a breakout season as a redshirt junior in Wake Forest’s high-scoring offense, accounting for 32 total touchdowns, 2,868 passing yards and 574 rushing yards in 2019.

On January 10, 2020, Newman announced that he would transfer to the University of Georgia for his final year of eligibility.

He had a 10-6 record as a starter the last two seasons.

Newman will be counted on to replace Jake Fromm, while leading Georgia back to the SEC championship game for the fourth straight season. He brings a skill set to the position that UGA fans have not seen since the days of DJ Shockley and Aaron Murray; that is a QB who is true dual threat.

Newman at 6’4 and 225 pounds can run the football, and it’s on new offensive coordinator Todd Monken to make that work.

Head Coach Kirby Smart is saying all the right things about the QB position during the most unusual offseason any football coach has dealt with during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Newman is going into the fall without the benefit of a spring practice, and some are saying that he doesn’t have the reps to pick up the new offense in time for the fall. He comes to Athens with a degree from Wake Forest University so I wouldn’t worry about him not picking up the system in time.

The Question that many are asking: Will Jamie Newman be a drop off from Jake Fromm?

Many will say yes to this question, but I’m going to say it will be an upgrade and that is because Newman brings two things to UGA that Jake struggled with and that is throwing the deep ball, and being a threat with his legs.

Newman plugs into one of the most talented rosters in the country and his strengths will make the UGA offense dangerous. Georgia has talented skill people; vastly more talented that what Newman had at his disposal at Wake Forest.

Quick stats for you from 2019, Jamie Newman was ranked second behind Joe Burrow last season in throwing into tight windows and on 20 yard or more throws Newman ranked second nationally in 2019.

Newman was breakout player in 2019 and the likes of Oklahoma and Oregon wanted to plug Newman into their program badly.

Kirby Smart pulled out a huge recruiting win in landing Jamie Newman. UGA may have the best defense in the country in 2020, and now they have a true dual threat QB to run the offense. And let’s face, it’s an offense that needs major tweaks.

If Jamie Newman does what I think he can do this fall he could be a legend in the Classic City.

He has a better skill set than any other QB in the SEC East and would start for any of those teams.

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