SDS Mailbag: Georgia’s QB situation, SEC home-field advantages and how the 2020 Heisman should be handled
Our first FBS action of the season took place last night! And, guess what? There are 6 more FBS games Saturday!
And, to top off Labor Day weekend, BYU and Navy play in Annapolis on Monday night. I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about a BYU-Navy game. In fact, I went back and checked, and I actually haven’t been alive for a BYU-Navy game, as they’ve played only twice (1978 and 1989, splitting the games).
Either way, I can’t wait!
Now, to tide us over until this weekend’s action, let’s dive into your questions for this week’s Mailbag:
Does JT Daniels still have issues with his ACL and will he be cleared in time for Arkansas? If not, who is the starter for Georgia?
I must say, I think this is the first question I’ve ever been asked by a cat. But I’ll answer it, since this is the biggest topic of the week in the SEC.
Georgia’s is moving to a backup plan after Wake Forest graduate transfer QB Jamie Newman decided to opt out of the 2020 season over COVID-19 concerns. However, according to coach Kirby Smart after Saturday’s scrimmage, Daniels — a USC transfer — still hasn’t been cleared for contact after suffering an ACL tear last year.
I have no inside knowledge of Daniels’ situation, but I’d bet he is able to start in Week 1. Don’t expect Smart to go too in-depth on any player’s health, especially a quarterback. In terms of gamesmanship, not naming a starter was going to force Arkansas to prepare for both Newman and Daniels. Now, by not naming a starter, Arkansas will have to prepare for Daniels, D’Wan Mathis and Carson Beck.
If I were a betting man (which I am), I’d bet Daniels starts Week 1. However, if he doesn’t, give me Mathis for a couple of weeks until Daniels is healthy. I think Beck is going to be a solid quarterback, but a road game at Arkansas and a home game against Auburn isn’t a great position to put a true freshman in out of the gates.
With significantly reduced attendance this year, how much will home-field advantage matter compared to normal years?
My SDS colleague Neil Blackmon just ranked how he thinks each team’s home-field advantage stacks up against the rest of the conference heading into 2020. Naturally, I’m infuriated that he has Mizzou at No. 14 and briefly considered blocking him on Twitter.
I totally understand the logic Blackmon used in his rankings, but I’d take things a different way if I had to make my own list. With COVID-19 related travel restrictions and precautions being taken by visiting teams, I think it will be the teams on the outer reaches of SEC country that have the best advantages.
Mizzou, for example, has to travel to Florida and South Carolina this year. Those are super-long trips for the Tigers. Auburn to Georgia? Auburn to Alabama? Those are easy bus rides. Mizzou to Florida? That’s a decent plane trip. The SEC has already announced limited travel parties for teams this year, too. I’m also assuming that road teams won’t prolong their stays in cities.
For example, if a team plays a late game on the road, it might not arrive into town until the night before or the morning of the game. If a team has a noon kickoff on the road, it will probably head back home after the game.
The toll that kind of travel takes on road teams will be interesting to follow. That’s why I’d say teams like South Carolina, Florida, Texas A&M and Mizzou have the most intriguing home-field situations this year.
With the likelihood that there will be fall and spring seasons of college football, how would you handle the Heisman Trophy this year if you were in charge of the sport?
Interesting question. My immediate reaction is that if your league is playing in the spring, too bad. The Heisman Trophy is presented in December, and if I were in charge, I’d keep it that way.
Yes, that sucks for guys like Ohio State QB Justin Fields (assuming he doesn’t transfer) and USC QB Kedon Slovis, but that’s just the way it would have to be, in my opinion. There are enough talented players taking the field this fall, and with a spring season no guarantee either, you have to present the trophy in December again.
It might be a virtual ceremony this year instead of gathering everyone together in New York, but there are still going to be plenty of deserving candidates from the SEC, ACC, Big 12, AAC, Conference-USA and Sun Belt.
I’d look into a potential “Spring Heisman” of sorts if the other 4 FBS conferences play in the spring, but even then, I’m not sure I’d associate that award with the regular Heisman Trophy.
I saw a question going around Twitter the other day (via @MetaphorMessiah) about whether you could beat your 20-year-old self in a fight. So … could you?
Probably not right at this exact moment, because I’m dealing with some back pain, but if I were 100% right now, I’d like to think I could kick 20-year-old Adam’s butt. I’m 30 now, so it’s not like I’m an old man (back pain aside).
Plus, I didn’t take up running seriously until after college and I’ve been much more diligent with my workouts over the past 5 years. I’d say I’m in better shape now than I was then.
I think I’d win that fight against 20-year-old Adam. Then, I’d tell him to stretch his back and his hamstrings more often.
Have a question for next week’s Mailbag? Tweet at us using #SDSMailbag or email me at ASpencer@SaturdayDownSouth.com.