In case you’ve had trouble keeping up on the week’s events, here is a brief recap:
• Georgia defeats Georgia Tech to finish 9-3.
• Greg McGarity declines to say Mark Richt’s job security is safe, or in trouble, but, yeah, especially safe.
• McGarity fires Richt.
• Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson says, “Hah! Outsmarted you again! THAT’S why I didn’t finish 9-3.”
• Mike Bobinski: “(Crickets).”
• McGarity says the next day he has retained the services of a search committee, suggesting this job search didn’t actually begin in October. Of 2013.
• McGarity pretends to drop his keys and phones Kirby Smart:”You’re not going to believe what I just told these clowns. Hey, are we still on for lunch?”
• Richt looks drained but relaxed, as if exhaling for the first time since a piano fell on him three years ago, and says, “I’m not sure if I want to coach again, but if I do coach again, I, you know, really want to coach quarterbacks and call plays again because it’s clear my team needs that.”
• Brian Schotteneheimer says, “Hey, I’m standing right here.”
• McGarity has security remove Schottenheimer from the room. He’s taken down the hall, where Jeremy Pruitt stuffs him into a locker.
• Richt meets with Miami officials, because nothing says, “I just want to coach and do nothing but coach,” like the football program at the University of Miami, unless you count the slime and the NCAA investigation and the out-of-control boosters and centerpiece alums like Warren Sapp and the half-empty home stadium that sits 45 minutes from campus.
• Smart takes the Georgia job.
• Richt takes the Miami job.
• Brian Schottenheimer, from the curb, next to a dumpster outside of Butts-Mehre: “Hey, I’m standing right here.”
• Bowl officials scramble to match Georgia against Miami, with Richt coaching Miami and Smart coaching Georgia and Jacob Eason flipping a coin to see who kicks off, and gets him, until he opens a Fed Ex envelope from a nearby low-security penitentiary with a set of car keys, jumps into a new Lamborghini and yells, “I’m a Cane!”
• Richt resigns. Then he’s hired by Smart as his offensive coordinator and Eason enrolls in Georgia, but it really doesn’t matter because after starting next season 7-0 the Bulldogs go to Jacksonville and lose to Florida 42-12.
(Some of the information above is still being vetted by McGarity’s search committee.)
Meanwhile, Alabama destroys the world this week. The Crimson Tide opened as a 12-point favorite over Florida in the SEC championship game. The line is up to 17½. You would have thought the Gators were just a mediocre team that was lucky enough to play in the SEC East and lost its last game 27-2. Oh, wait a minute.
Imagine the panic in the SEC offices if Florida pulls an upset and the conference fails to get a team in the college football playoffs. Not going to happen. I’m not sure if this one will be as one-sided as the spread suggests but it’ll make sense in the end. Bama wins but take Florida and 17½.
Nick Saban doesn’t want to hear your Kirby Smart questions
Between Mandatory Study Hall (Attendance Optional)
Clemson vs. North Carolina (ACC title): And in this corner, the title game that annually screams, “Look at me! Over here! Behind the potted palm!” The ACC needs Clemson to win this because if UNC pulls an upset, the ACC would need nations to fall to get a school into the playoffs. But: Tigers cover 5.
Georgia State at Georgia Southern: Trent Miles has won as many games in the last three weeks (3-0) as he did in his first 32 (3-29) with Panthers (5-6), who suddenly are one win from being bowl eligible. Georgia Tech: so jealous. Alas, the dream dies in Statesboro. Eagles win but take State and 21.
Down The Stretch They Come (Slowly)
Falcons at Tampa Bay: The Falcons’ Super Bowl odds have dropped from 40-1 to 100-1, which happens when your quarterback throws five interceptions in the last two weeks, you team has the third most turnovers in the league (21) and things are such a mess that your players hold a no-coaches meeting. Remember when the Falcons were 5-0 and dinosaurs roamed the earth? But, somehow: Falcons win, take the 1½.
Falcons’ playoff hopes
Panthers at Saints: The analytics website FiveThirtyEight wrote a story headlined, “The Panthers are the worst team ever start 11-0.” What a coincidence. FiveThirtyEight wrote the worst analysis I’ve ever read on an 11-0 team. Panthers cover 7.
Eagles at Patriots: The biggest difference between two know-it-alls, Chip Kelly and Bill Belichick, is only one of them is right. New England covers 10.
Some measured analysis of FiveThirtyEight analysis
Seahawks at Vikings: It could be worse, Atlanta. Seattle has lost running back Marshawn Lynch and tight end Jimmy Graham. But the good news is Russell Wilson has a hot one-name girlfriend (Ciara), who is kinda famous, I think. Men of Thor win a pick ’em.
Colts at Steelers: Indy is on a roll with 40-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and 42-year-old kicker Adam Vinatieri. But it’s cold in Pittsburgh and they’re overdue for a fall, or at least hardening of the arteries. Pittsburgh covers 7.
Bengals at Browns: Johnny Manziel, a first-round draft pick, has now lost his starting job to Austin Davis, an undrafted free agent out of Ringgold, Ga., and Southern Miss who has been cut three times. But Manziel remains rush chairman of his frat and the one guy you absolutely have to invite to your party. Cincy covers 10.
Lilly’s Pick of the Week
Alabama vs. Florida: She’s 9-4. The magic of the cheese. But methinks the mutt ate one too many bugs this week. Posted pictures of Nick Saban and Jim McElwain on the wall and Lilly went for the cheese on the right — to McElwain. So she’s calling an upset: Florida over Alabama for the SEC championship.
Last week: 10-5 straight up, 8-7 against the line.
Bottom line: 107-60 straight up; 85-89-2 against the line.
Sack Schultz 2015: Congrats to our grand prize winners: Matthew Webb of Lawrenceville, who won a package including the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl tickets, and Donna Stidger of Alabama, who won the $2,500 Apple Vacation. For a complete list of results, go to AJC.com/go/sackschultz2015.• Recent ramblings • Miami makes a great hire; did Richt make a great decision? • On Kirby Smart, coordinators, loud but effective strength coach (video) • Kirby Smart hire makes sense for Georgia, even if wow factor lacking • Richt will enjoy quiet for first time, may be done coaching • Greg McGarity’s career will be defined by first major hire • Falcons have a problem, and surprisingly it’s their quarterback • Richt’s firing confirms what many believed: It was time for a change • McGarity mum on Richt, and Georgia’s win doesn’t feel like a celebration • Short takes on Georgia’s win • Johnson, Bobinski confident about Tech’s future • Weekend Predictions: Dogs over Jackets in Bad Aura Bowl • A new tradition, in the spirit of Furman Bisher: Giving thanks (to those who deserve it) • Overreaction Monday: Richt’s status, Ryan’s fall, and does Tech have a chance? • Georgia Tech loses Justin Thomas, ball and all hope • Short takes: Jackets lose Thomas, fumble nine times (yes, nine) • Weekend Predictions: It’s marshmallow opponent week • Coppolella tired of being roasted, says, ‘We are not tanking’ • Roddy White has survived far worse things than reduced role in offense: tragedy • Why are those Freeman T-shirts included in Braves’ clearance sale? • Overreaction Monday: Richt’s ploy, Falcons’ bye, Braves’ salary dump • Jeremy Pruitt’s defense is salvaging Georgia’s season • Short takes on Georgia’s win over Auburn • Simmons gone, and Braves’ offseason already looking like last one • Weekend Predictions: It’s not a good time to invest in Georgia • Former Georgia player Faloughi at center of Missouri protests • Overreaction Monday: Kyle Shanahan, have you met Roddy White? • Latest Falcons’ embarrassment is on Dan Quinn • Short takes: This Falcons’ loss is on Dan Quinn • Weekend Predictions: Dogs in middle of Dysfunction Junction • Georgia’s finish, Eason status shouldn’t tilt Richt decision • Richt should take over Georgia’s struggling offense • Overreaction Monday: Loss-loss-loss means chaos all around • Mark Richt has failed too many big moments — it’s time for a change at Georgia • Falcons may be 6-2 but they don’t look the part • Short takes: Sloppy Falcons gift-wrap game for mediocre Bucs • Matt Ryan: ‘It comes down to me being better’