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Ex-Browns OC, Southern Miss HC Todd Monken reportedly hired at Georgia

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Kirby Smart has heard Georgia football fans’ complaints about the team’s offense and appears to be making moves to fix the issues on that side of the ball in Athens.

According to multiple reports on Friday, the program is set to hire recent Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator Todd Monken for a role on the offensive staff. While it’s not known if that will include some sort of co-offensive coordinator title, UGASports.com says that he will assume play-calling from current Bulldogs OC James Coley.

Monken has extensive experience in both the NFL and college football, having left as head coach of Southern Miss to serve as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator in 2016. He’s highly regarded for his development of wide receivers over the years and also has stints at LSU, Oklahoma State and Louisiana Tech among other stops.

Bringing in Monken should help juice a Georgia team that was 49th in FBS last season in scoring offense. It also forms a nice one-two pairing in recent days between him and Wake Forest transfer quarterback Jamie Newman both joining the team. While we don’t know how much the latter knew about the former before his decision, it nevertheless has resulted in quite the overhaul on the offensive side of the ball this month.

The combo of Newman, Monken and a host of four- and five-star skill players is still no guarantee of success after a very interesting offseason in Athens but it’s hard to deny that the reigning SEC East champs didn’t address some of their big structural issues going into 2020 in the past week. Whether that still makes them the division pick this summer over a surging Florida team remains to be seen but it definitely amps up competition in a league where there is no shortage of it on or off the field.

Either way, it should make for an even more intriguing opener against Virginia on Labor Day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

College football title odds have Clemson as way-too-early 2020 favorite

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You say the corpse of the 2019 college football season isn’t even cold yet, and we’re already looking ahead to 2020 when it comes to title odds?  We say of course we are.  Because that’s how we roll.  Or something.

Monday night, in New Orleans appropriately enough, LSU landed its magic carpet ride of a 2019 season in seemingly the only way possible, overwhelming Clemson with waves of offensive talent to claim the College Football Playoff championship.  The video game that was Joe Burrow, wobbly early on, righted itself in the romp, with the Heisman Trophy winner setting the single-season record for touchdown passes en route to the ever-elusive ring.

The reality that will set in a day or two from now?  Burrow has played his last down in a Tigers uniform, with the senior expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.  Burrow’s counterpart on the night, Trevor Lawrence, will return to Clemson for one more season before he’s expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

As such, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook has installed Clemson as a way-too-early 9/4 favorite to win the 2020 national championship.  LSU, meanwhile, sits at 8/1.

A year ago at this time?  Clemson, the reigning national champions, was at 7/2, behind Alabama at 3/2.  And LSU?  They were at 50/1 on Jan. 8, 2019.

This year, between Clemson and LSU, Ohio State comes in at an initial 3/1 and Alabama, which will be replacing Tua Tagovailoa, at 6/1.  Georgia’s odds are at 8/1 as well.

Of those five teams, just two — Clemson (Lawrence) and Ohio State (Justin Fields) — will return their starting quarterback.

At 14/1, Florida is the only other team in that neighborhood.  Six others start off at 30/1 — Auburn, Oklahoma, Oregon, Notre Dame, Penn State and Texas A&M.

And as for the Group of Five? At 1,000/1, Houston has the highest odds.

Jim Brown named by ESPN as the greatest player in college football history

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Jim Brown, greatest college football player ever?

College football is rapidly nearing the end of celebrating the 150th anniversary of the sport, with the 2020 College Football Playoff championship game serving as the capper of its sesquicentennial season.  So, why not kick off the next 150 years of the sport by doing what we as fans do best — argue about lists.

During halftime of the Clemson-LSU title game — the SEC Tigers came storming back in the second quarter, by the way — ESPN unveiled their Top 150 college football players of all-time in celebration.  The entire list can be viewed HERE.

Also during halftime, the Top 11 players on the Worldwide Leader’s list were feted on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium field.  Coming in at No. 1?  Jim Brown, according to ESPN, is the greatest college football player in the first 150 years of the sport.

The Top 11 are as follows:

  1. Jim Brown (RB, Syracuse, 1954-56)
  2. Herschel Walker (RB, Georgia, 1980-82)
  3. Bo Jackson (RB, Auburn, 1982-85)
  4. Archie Griffin (RB, Ohio State, 1972-75)
  5. Jim Thorpe (RB, Carlisle, 1907-12)
  6. Red Grange (RB, Illinois, 1923-25)
  7. Earl Campbell (RB, Texas, 1974-77)
  8. Dick Butkus (LB, Illinois, 1962-64)
  9. Barry Sanders (RB, Oklahoma State, 1986-88)
  10. Gale Sayers (RB, Kansas, 1962-64)
  11. Roger Staubach (QB, Navy, 1962-64)

I have but two comments on that top-tier group.  One, Barry Sanders is laughably, criminally low.  Two, Herschel Walker was the only college football player in my lifetime who was better than Sanders.

Seriously, Sanders being ninth offends me.

Other than that, fire away…

Florida State TE Tre’ McKitty tweets transfer to Georgia

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After weeks of attrition, the Georgia Bulldogs football program is finally on the receiving end of some positive personnel news.  Again.

Late last week, Florida State tight end Tre’ McKitty confirmed on Twitter that he would be entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.  On the same social media service Monday, McKitty announced that, “after careful consideration and many prayers,” he will be transferring into the Georgia Bulldogs football team.

McKitty will be coming to Athens as a graduate transfer.  The 2020 season will be his final year of eligibility.

A three-star member of the Seminoles’ 2017 recruiting class, McKitty was rated as the No. 15 tight end in the country.

This past season, The 6-5, 245-pound McKitty caught 23 passes for 241 yards. The year before, he set career-highs in catches (26), yards (256) and receiving touchdowns (two).

McKitty started 20 games the past two seasons, 10 each in 2018 and 2019.

McKitty’s move continues what’s been a wild month or so on the personnel front.

In addition to the infamous Sugar Bowl attrition, the Georgia Bulldogs football program has seen its leading rusherstarting quarterback and three starting offensive linemen bail early for the NFL draft. A fourth starting offensive lineman has entered the portal, as has a four-star 2018 defensive back.  Oh, and there’s the whole five-star 2020 running back imbroglio as well.

At the opposite end of that spectrum was Wake Forest quarterback Jamie Newman officially transferring to UGA.  Additionally, linebacker Robert Beal pulled his name from the portal.

Report: A ‘Jamie Newman’ is now listed in the University of Georgia student directory

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More and more, it’s looking as if Georgia will be the landing spot for Jamie Newman, one of the most sought-after quarterback transfers.

New Year’s Eve afternoon, Newman stunned most observers by announcing that he is entering the NCAA transfer database.  Not long after, it was reported that there was “mutual interest” between the erstwhile Wake Forest quarterback and Oregon.  Not only that, the Ducks were, at the time, the favorites to land the signal-caller.

A week later, however, there was a shift.  A significant one, in fact, as Georgia emerged Thursday as the likely landing spot.  A day later, it’s being reported that a “Jamie Newman” is now listed in the University of Georgia’s online directory.

An official announcement from Newman and/or UGA could come as early as this weekend.

If Jamie Newman were to move on to Georgia, he’d be the early favorite to replace three-year starter Jake Fromm, who announced this week that he is entering the 2020 NFL Draft.

Newman started 16 games at Wake, going 10-6 in those starts.  This season, Newman completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 2,868 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  He set a school record in 2019 by throwing a touchdown pass in 12 straight games.

The redshirt junior also ran for 574 yards and six touchdowns.

The 2020 campaign will be Newman’s final season of eligibility, so he will be a one-year rental for whichever FBS school lands him.