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Basketball Tip Off & The College Football Playoff Picture

We kick off this week's podcast with a discussion on Georgia's dominant win over Tennessee and the game's corresponding fandom stories.

Professor Lewis then segues to college basketball - most notably discussing the lack of buzz surrounding this season and identifying potential contributing factors. The episode concludes with early takeaways from the NBA season... and a few observations on Kirk Cousins' sudden Burrow-esque swagger.

Watch/listen to the full episode here:


Mike Lewis 0:08

Welcome, everyone. Welcome to the Fanalytics Podcast, Mike Lewis and Doug Battle brought to you by the Emory marketing analytics center. Doug, it was the biggest college football game of the year. Yeah, probably probably easily right. I think you sent me a number 13 million folks watch that game, which beat out the World Series in general, that that kind of number of 13 beats, NBA championships World Series games, really second, it's only going to come behind a number like that. It's only going to it's going to beat out the Grammys, right? It's only going to come behind the Academy Awards. It's only going to come behind maybe the NFL playoffs and the Super Bowl. So you've got you know, we talk a lot about fandom, you are immersed in Georgia fandom, but you are also and we won't go into it. But you know, you are also a southern kid. Born and raised, you've got massive exposure to Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia fandom. So what are your thoughts on and we've been talking about Tennessee fandom all year. Right? The glory of them? Well, boy, so we'll just put a pin in them. So Doug, what's your thoughts on Tennessee's visit to Athens?

Doug Battle 1:25

Man, first off just subjectively, I enjoyed the heck out of it. What a fun day for the Georgia fan base to be called out by a former Tennessee quarterback saying that it's a weak sauce crowd not a hostile environment and to set records. As far as decibel levels are concerned. I think it was a historic day for the Georgia program. A lot of fun. And I can't say we didn't call it that. I have a clip from me a couple of weeks back saying it's all fun for Tennessee right now. It's a blast to watch. But I don't see this ending well the way that they're handling success. And you know, I said maybe a rematch with Alabama maybe in Georgia. It turned out it was Georgia. I will say this if I'm a Tennessee fan. playoffs are still very much alive. I would say probable. I think there there mike there. Mike's not going to face their odds of making the playoff went up on Saturday because because of the Clemson and Alabama losses

Mike Lewis 2:29

Yeah. No, I'm with you. I mean look. The funny thing is we can now as talk as the week's go on and talk radio heats up on all this. We know what the debates are going to be at Tennessee beat Alabama they destroyed LSU. And like they had to play in a way game and Athens with that weak, relatively weak crap that was wet weather. Right? You know, it's gonna be sad.

Doug Battle 2:57

Yeah. And I find that funny that going into the game. It was basically a neutral site game because Georgia's crowd so weak, but now that Tennessee's lost its will tennis. Georgia's got this hostile environment who could ever win there. So that argument kind of collapsed on itself on Saturday, which was fine, but I really do think that I think Tennessee is going to slide I think Georgia, this is a weird thing about it. I think Georgia might have just gifted Tennessee a bye week in the sense that they're not going to have to play an SEC championship game. One more week of being healthy, of preparation for a potential rematch. I don't love that as a Georgia guy. I don't love it. And that's what happened with Alabama years back, they lost the Auburn. They didn't make the SEC championship still made the playoff ended up winning the whole thing. So I'm a Tennessee fan. I'm still very optimistic thinking we'll get another shot. You know, this time, the crowd will be a little more even. We're not going to miss those deep balls. But as a Georgia guy, you got to just enjoy being on top for a moment and defending the home turf. And I think that's how Georgia fans feel right now. And we'll see what happens but I you know, I feel like if Georgia stays healthy, they certainly have a great shot. I think Ohio State Michigan we're gonna have to see who wins that one but the winner that's in the mix, too.

Mike Lewis 4:10

We got plenty to talk about what's college football playoff. So let's let's focus on the two fan bases. Right. So Tennessee has awakened this year. Yeah. goalposts in the river security guy dancing, you know this. And just the relentlessness of the silly the vault, what do you like called the overall stock ball valve? So they have a word for fine? Well, here's an overall

Doug Battle 4:35

I don't know, I'm no connoisseur of Chartered overalls,

Mike Lewis 4:39

checkered stadium. But you know, Game Day was in Athens to this relatively weak crowd this relatively, you know, it's funny how quickly, Georgia fans became like Dallas Cowboy fans or something right like rise, sort of Country Club fans kind of roll him in a little bit late. I was expecting to win

Doug Battle 4:59

it Well, that's the that's the perception. I just respect

Mike Lewis 5:03

that the ESPN panel of all of the permanent members, I think the three permanent members chose selected Tennessee. They will pick Tennessee, only the country singer that chose Georgia. placid you know, Georgia fan base tailgate. Yeah.

Doug Battle 5:22

Yeah. And speaking of Luke Bryan, I would love to see videos from his concert on Saturday night in Tampa, because he was absolutely hammered that College Game Day, you know, at nine in the morning, and piano, he had a concert in Georgia played a great game. I'm sure he watched it. I'm sure you had a good time. And then he had to perform that night, you know, 9pm. I would love to see how that performance went. I can't imagine it was anything special. He apologized beforehand. I'm College Game Day, which was beautiful. But yeah, the Georgia fan base. That's a bunch that, you know, a couple years back, back when I was in school 2017. They were in the same position. We were in the same position as Tennessee right now where it was like we were the sleeping giant that awoke that year.

Mike Lewis 6:06

But let me just call a timeout here. Just real quick. Sure. And I'm asking you this as an S as someone born and raised in the heart of SEC country. It seems like Tennessee and LSU fans are a little bit different. They are we've Yeah, almost a little bit like off. Is that fair?

Doug Battle 6:28

And I think that's where the criticism toward Georgia fans comps, it's like, Oh, these are these aren't people from the mountains that are filling out Neyland. You know, these are people from Atlanta. These are people that play golf on the weekends, and, you know, the people that work for big business firms. I think that's the perception where it's a Tennessee it's like an LSU it's like all the swamp people, you know, where these people come from. And Tennessee, it's always mountain men with big beards into the dye checkers into their beard, like, where did these people come from? So I think there's like, it's weird, but there's like in football fandom, there's more of a respect toward the super crazies, then like the regular guy fan bases. That's where I think you're getting like the Dallas Cowboy fans association with Georgia. And I think that it's more of a Buffalo Bills vibe. And LSU or Tennessee.

Mike Lewis 7:18

All right, but don't just think it's it's it's way beyond I mean, like, like the Bills fans are. They almost seem like they're play acting throwing each other. Compared to like, like the Tennessee fans, you feel like it's real.

Doug Battle 7:31

This is just who they are. Yeah, yeah. And, and I think there was a time when Alabama had that perception. I remember I used to say that I really wanted to see Alabama play a game because Alabama tickets got so expensive, that you can't go to the game unless you're a country club guy, you know, so they do have the stadium full of kind of upper middle class Alabama folks, which is great. But the stereotypical Alabama fan you know, people make jokes about marrying your cousin and all that stuff. That's the stereotype. I've always said like, I would love to see Alabama play a game. And Talladega like the the raceway, just put a football field out there and pack it out with however many. I mean, that place has so many people so much more than a football stadium, sell tickets for like 10 bucks and just pack it out with a NASCAR crowd. I think that's the that's when Alabama's fan base and start getting some respect from the kind of people that admire Tennessee. But Tennessee did that they had a they had a raceway football game a few years back, so they beat into the

Mike Lewis 8:34

I mean people that they get out there. I

Doug Battle 8:37

you know, I could be wrong, but I feel like this thing's hosts like 200,000 People like it's something insane. I mean, they're enormous, right? Yeah, it's insane. And of course, no one can see the game field to watch on their phones or on some. There's no There's a jumbotron hanging up over the field. Like you're in a basketball stadium.

Mike Lewis 8:55

No, you're not wrong. I mean, that we you know, especially Alabama doing that.

Doug Battle 8:59

When see, it's so good. You know, being a Tennessee game. And in a NASCAR I mean, come on.

Mike Lewis 9:06

It's it's kind of the equivalent of the Field of Dreams game or, you know, whenever they play a hockey game outside, right. Yeah. Yeah, let's get some imagination Alabama and Auburn.

Doug Battle 9:17

Right. Right. Right. But all that to say, I think Tennessee has more of that NASCAR. As far as the perception, and George's George's fans made a point to to show that they also are capable of being loud and creating a great environment. And I think that I think that it did you know, I think it benefited Georgia to the point where Tennessee fans are saying, you know, we would have won if it had been in Neyland or if it had been a neutral site like you really hear in that stuff, watching the game. It's hard to believe. But as a fan, I get it. Like I remember. I mentioned 2017 earlier, Georgia was number one in the country late in the season goes on the road to Auburn. And that place was rocking. I remember I think that's the loudest stadium I've ever been in. I I remember being like, Man, I wish we could get this lab for a game. Place was rockin Georgia had no chance it was just like they they walked in to hell and they had no way out without taking an L. And so you know, and then three weeks later they played on the neutral side it was totally different football game so I get it, you know, from a fan bases perspective feeling like, yeah, we we, you know, we might have a shot in a different environment. What I don't get though Mike, is this. We had him right where we wanted him before it started raining is 2024 to six before the rain, but you'll see it all over Twitter that as well. If it hadn't rained, Tennessee was going to win that game. They were going to come back like I that's a I was a little out there was a little it takes the levels of self deception that some fans have is phenomenal. And I think the Tennessee fan base is elite when it comes to that

Mike Lewis 10:53

in like we may as well let's sort of slide into the college football playoff. Because like I think these fan bases love it. I mean, a true fan has actually never seen their team honestly defeat it. Right.

Doug Battle 11:10

I mean, it's the refs, it's the injuries, injuries, the weather, weather environment,

Mike Lewis 11:17

there's never been a true defeat or, you know, I mean, the advanced level of well, they cheated to get their play, you know, it's just what is I kind of hate to say into Tennessee, but I think that the game was much in and I don't know the the way the college football playoff committee functions. That was a dominating performance by Georgia, that was more like one of these games where Georgia probably took their foot off the gas a little bit when they got up big. Tennessee got handled, it basically

Doug Battle 11:49

went into victory formation for the last two quarters of the football game. I think a lot of Georgia fans, from what I've seen and heard, I It's weird, but I think Georgia fans are just as hungry for a rematch as Tennessee fans are because they want to beat them by 50. Because they feel like if it hadn't rained, we would have kept flowing bombs, we would have kept catching bombs, we would have kept scoring running up the score and Tennessee people wouldn't even be talking about them with the kind of respect that they are because it you know, to the Tennessee fan, you can spin this as hey, we only lost by 14 on the road and a game where we missed all our deep balls in a hostile environment. We shouldn't drop very much.

Mike Lewis 12:28

Okay, you know, and this is where I'm gonna sound like the Georgia Homer and you know, in this,

Doug Battle 12:35

I'll try to stop you.

Mike Lewis 12:38

That game to me look like Tennessee found out what it was like to play with a team that had a guy on the opposite side that could run it every position. Right? That was probably the same or more elite level of talent on all 11 positions. And so Tennessee, like I thought Tennessee got a little bit exposed. I think that was a really damaging loss for them. You know, you know they're sort of had this momentum going and like I'm an analytics guy, but let's face it momentum and emotion. These matter in sports. It's just nothing that we can quantify. I don't know where an A C goes from here. You know, the college football we're taping on Tuesday afternoon College Football Playoff Paul come out later today. Does Tennessee. I know there's some discussion that the you know, kind of the So Georgia is clear. Number one I think I think they leapfrog Ohio State to get to number one to most dominating performances of the year against Oregon.

Doug Battle 13:40

Teams. Yeah.

Mike Lewis 13:44

Who's number four? Doug. Tennessee's gotta fight. They want that number four. But if TCU can't be number four undefeated. Then why are they playing?

Doug Battle 13:55

Yeah, and I've seen you know I've got CBS pulled up right now and they actually have Tennessee at number three, they haven't dropped him from one to three. Ohio State to Michigan at four TCU five Oregon six. A lots gonna happen in the coming weeks. Of course, Ohio State Michigan will play each other Georgia and LSU will play each other. Oregon, USC and UCLA. Somebody's going to emerge out of that group. And then we forget about because Clemson got waxed by Notre Dame. UNC and Clemson are both one loss ACC schools. One of them's going to win the ACC you can have a one last ACC score in the mix as well. ACC is out UNC who struggled who barely pulled off the win against AP state early in the season. ACC is out all right. So ACC is out. But yeah, I you know with Tennessee. I think it just comes down to how valuable that Alabama win is. And it's something that was interesting. Well it gets worse every time you watch Alabama play A team that with the same breaks with the same breaks, they would you know, if Texas has caught the same breaks if Texas a&m caught the same breaks, Alabama loses both of those teams. So I mean, they could very easily be a four loss team. And that's what's interesting to me about Tennessee is the perception of Tennessee to this point, there's still a lot of people the view them as elite. I'm not saying they're not I'm not saying they're not second best team in the country. There's there are a lot of people that view them as elite. It's because they beat Alabama and a very close game at home in a crazy environment. That probably wouldn't happen on a neutral site or in Tuscaloosa. But they beat Alabama, and then they beat LSU. And how do we know LSU is good? Because LSU beat Alabama so also at home also in a raucous environment.

Mike Lewis 15:46

Was it you that sent me the the Twitter the tweet of a couple of LSU guys

Doug Battle 15:52

trolling Alabama? It was it was the long snappers. Okay, it was the long snappers.

Mike Lewis 16:00

Is that is that trolling? Or is that? You know, does Alabama like living literally everyone's had, except maybe like they half live in Georgia has had, but the rest of the column? It's like the uniform is worth seven points or 10 points is

Doug Battle 16:16

exactly that's why I'm saying where it's like it's worse Alabama team and a decade at least probably 15 years. As far as what I'm not saying talent wise, I'm saying what as a team, how they perform, and beating them is worth more than anything. It's worth more. I mean, it's crazy. But going into the Georgia Tennessee game, I was told by a lot of people that if Tennessee loses, they're likely still in the playoff because they beat Alabama. If Georgia loses they're done with Georgia Pete, I work in by for tuck five, six, I don't have seven touchdowns I lost count. That's a top 10 team. You know, that's a one loss team. And their only loss is to Georgia. And so but beating Alabama it just comes down to like, what if Alabama is just not that good? And like what if Ole Miss beats Alabama this week? And you know, do they do they jump in the playoff mix because there are one last team and they're gonna be they're not going to make the SEC championship unless LSU loses one but they could you know, they could be that that SEC team that Carl's in there. And that scenario, and I don't think Ole Miss is a very good football team. But it's like, who knows the way IBM has been playing? It seems like anything's possible. But all that to say is just like LSU is all of a sudden perceived who was a joke at the beginning of the season, by the way, they're now perceived as borderline elite. Tennessee's been perceived as elite for those wins over Alabama. It goes back to the preseason rankings, like so much weight is put into those. And it biases everything in my opinion.

Mike Lewis 17:54

And so much of those preseason rankings are based on the historical brand equity of these teams. Right, right. I mean, was Notre Dame top five or top six? You know, what was it? Ohio State Texas a&m,

Doug Battle 18:07

it wasn't the top 10 Yeah, basketball you'll get Kentucky you know, the every team. There's, there's blue bloods, they lose all their guys in the NBA and they have a new set of players. And it'll be preseason number 1234, Kentucky, Kansas, UNC Duke and there are years where one of those teams ends up in the NIT but they were preseason number two, and that's how it feels with Alabama football this year. But beating them is still like It's like beating a national champion.

Mike Lewis 18:38

Okay, little bit of a fun look ahead. Right. So Tennessee thinks they belong in the playoff Yeah. When LSU beats Georgia in the SEC championship

Doug Battle 18:49

game, there we go.

Mike Lewis 18:51

I think Georgia is still going to the playoff right out there. They're number one going into that game LSU squeaks it out. LSU is beating Georgia and Alabama.

Doug Battle 19:01

They're in one the SEC there and sending them home. Now they're in there. It's the same situation.

Mike Lewis 19:09

You're taking a to La Well, it's the preview that way this bowl this BS conversations gonna go. You're taking the team over an undefeated TCU team Doug.

Doug Battle 19:18

I'm doing it I you know, they're in the same position that Auburn was in in 2017. Auburn for those just to refresh everyone's memory. They lost lost the game at LSU. They will I'm trying to think I don't know they had it. They had a rough beginning of the season. Two losses early, turn it around. And they end up beating Georgia at home number one Georgia. And then they play Alabama at home they beat them. They make it to the SEC championship game. And had they won that game which was it was closer than the score indicated particularly if you consider injuries. Had they won that game. Auburn would have been in the play off, they might have been the number one team in the country with two losses because their resume was so strong. I don't think LSU resume would be that strong but I do think I don't know how you send them home with a SEC championship a win over Georgia whenever Alabama. That is if Alabama doesn't lose to Ole Miss or any more football games.

Mike Lewis 20:20

Oh dog, you're playing this role perfectly as this is guy born and bred in SEC country. We're going to have we're going to have LSU, Georgia and Tennessee in the football playoff. And so all these other you know, it's kind of love this time of year.

Doug Battle 20:35

I see. I think they would box Tennessee out of the playoffs in that situation. I think it would just be two SEC teams. I think Tennessee gets left out. And I think if I'm if I'm Georgia, if I'm Kirby smart there would be part of me, just because I don't want to rematch and it's my divisional rival and we recruit against them. I don't want them in the playoff be part of me wants to just forfeit the SEC championship against LSU let them make the playoff and in box out Tennessee. I've had that discussion. I don't know how much Greg Sankey, the SEC commissioner would appreciate that. But I certainly would.

Mike Lewis 21:09

Yeah, I mean, it's because otherwise

Doug Battle 21:11

you're given Tennessee, by way by beating them down in Athens last week.

Mike Lewis 21:17

Like I said, the NFL always wins in the SEC always wins. Yeah, it really is. So literally in SEC country. We're going to debate how we're going to get between we're getting at least one team, we deserve two teams, and there's an outside chance we're getting three teams to the playoffs. And every other conference in America is trying to get one like the Pac 12 is trying to desperately figure out how to justify you know, Oregon or USC getting into this

Doug Battle 21:44

Oregon should not have scheduled Georgia the beginning of season. That's the bottom line. They should have backed out of that game because because Oregon's an undefeated number two team in the country right now if it's not for that.

Mike Lewis 21:55

I like I know, that's not what you meant. But I like the idea of like, we're just not gonna play. We're gonna work.

Doug Battle 22:01

For real if it is let's just say they forfeit that game. There are one loss team but who knows how much they lost phi and then a mix. So

Mike Lewis 22:10

make up you know, selling a cool prom with the airplane. They just can't show.

Doug Battle 22:14

Right, right COVID whole team got COVID That's the kind of thing that yeah, that's the kind of thing that that could have been advantageous for them. But Ohio State and Michigan Yeah, they're gonna play each other but also that's like, what are they number two? Number three, potentially this week or number two and number four

Mike Lewis 22:35

gotta be two and three when it comes out I know

Doug Battle 22:37

that the big 10 fans are not happy about the prospects of you know, Tennessee can lose to Georgia and they both make it but Michigan can lose to Ohio State or vice versa. And one of them gets cut but when I was I have a body that's a Ohio State guy I was talking to him I was like who what are the rank twins are like what are the what are the big wins Ohio State's had and same with Michigan? It was like Penn State I don't know who else so it's tough. It's like I'm not saying they're not as good as Tennessee. But Tennessee like even that Alabama when maybe Alabama is no better than Illinois, Mike. I don't know. Actually, I do know that. I'm going to pretend that I don't know. Maybe I'll name is not better than Illinois. But there's still the prestige that comes with beating Florida and LSU and Alabama, whereas Penn State's good that who else gets respect and the big 10 Who else what other resume builders do you have? It's tough.

Mike Lewis 23:36

You know when you talk about big 10 fans I almost and I maybe I'm alone on this one. I almost want to separate that league into there's big 10 East fans and big 10 West fans. Yeah, and Big 10 Big 10 West fans. We may all be rooting against Michigan and Ohio State right because we never get we weren't

Doug Battle 23:55

no big 10 teams in the playoffs bringing everyone down we hate those guys right see that's how I am as a people are always like oh you got to pull for you got to pull for the SEC you know if you went to an SEC school, you got to even if your teams eliminate you got to pull for the SEC. I'm not pulling for Tennessee, I'm not pulling for Alabama, or Auburn we recruit against those schools I want them to I want them to fail miserably. I want them to be embarrassed. I'm not going to pull for my rivals to succeed. I've never understood that.

Mike Lewis 24:23

Yeah, but I mean, in luck, I guess. Look, I'm 100% You know, I don't I mean I think about the teams that I dislike across sports. Michigan football is way up there Kansas basketball and I do I want them to lose every game but you know the reality is you also do want them to come on Tennessee coming in ranked number one to to Athens. That was a beautiful thing. I mean, yeah. It's almost like we as fans, we gotta hope for a little more success for our rivals than we really, you know, our heads got a little more success than Our hearts

Doug Battle 25:00

I've been you know how I've kind of been on the Tennessee hype train all year. I'm like, This is great. Every year we're gonna have a huge game like this, it'd be a lot of fun, you know if we lose or have a reason to, to be vengeful the next season if we win, it will feel like a championship. But I do know some Georgia fans who they won't say it. They were a little bit disappointed that Tennessee wasn't as good as they're supposed to be on Saturday. I think some people wanted to see Georgia challenge like in a real back and forth kind of way. And Georgia fans, and it's kind of disappointing. It's like, oh, man, this was our one game that was supposed to be a real game and we're up by three touchdowns at halftime. And now we're going in victory formation for the last two quarters. Basically. There's there is something about having a rival that is equal. It's the the old Batman and Joker it's like they can't live without each other. Auburn, Alabama, they kind of need Auburn to be good. Like they as much as they will hate it when Auburn if Auburn ever turns it around. In the coming years. It's good for Alabama. And the same goes with Tennessee and Georgia, Florida. Those rival schools, they need each other to be good.

Mike Lewis 26:11

And it's a you know, this is one of these endless topics of like the importance of rivalries. And you know, this makes me and we You got anything else on college football, can we move?

Doug Battle 26:22

Oh, I got one more thing on rivalries. Like another example, Georgia, Georgia Tech. Like I've always been like, I want to see Georgia Tech become at least a top 15 football program again, like it's just not fun anymore. There's not they don't even have fans in their own stadium. Like for the for the Georgia game for their biggest game because everybody knows the deal. It's not a fair fight. And it's not really a rivalry when it's not a fair fight or anywhere close. So it's like there's there's kind of this need. And we saw it like for Georgia fans. That was the most fun Tennessee game in years. Because they're good. Now they're there on the mat.

Mike Lewis 26:56

And it's a it's a great point. Now. I mean, I think Georgia is a little bit of a different level at this point in terms of the importance of those rivalries. But you know, you go back 15 years ago when or 20 years ago when like the SEC East was really being dominated by, you know, Tennessee and Florida at that point, right. Yeah. And I'll see your Georgia Tech Georgia rivalry, probably would have paid dividends for both of those teams. Right. It's in so you know, I think rivalry is a good way to segue to college, college basketball, where you see the importance of some of these rivalries in luck. My line I actually last night, Doug, I watched college basketball rather than Monday Night Football. Just sort of had a, you know, it was

Doug Battle 27:41

something, you're a college basketball guy that's kind of

Mike Lewis 27:44

for right, it's like, you know, a knee. It's been so long. Now. I can't remember a time when college basketball had less hype going into the season. I think if you ask a sports fan, to name the All American team, and this used to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. I don't think anyone could come up with the average the average fan is going to come up with zero guys on that team.

Doug Battle 28:10

Yeah, and I mean, I, I'll be honest, I've had to look up like when does college basketball like these are Google searches I've made when does college basketball start? I haven't heard a peep and it's already starting.

Mike Lewis 28:23

I think the entire top 25 played last night. And as you were talking about rivalries, one of the things that I always think one of the biggest mistakes that ever happened. And this is not a small thing, right. I mean, you know, part of the beauty of like, part of the reason why Georgia is so good in football, and why Florida has always had a parade, you know, the Florida teams have done so well in Texas has done so well is the amount of talent in those areas. Right. And if you look at the like the Chicagoland and the Illinois area that was always a historical hotbed for basketball talent. And so you have to ask the question of why did they never break through, you know, you had and again, this is this is going beyond your effective lifetime, Doug, like you know, DePaul was really a powerhouse in like the 70s and the 80s, Illinois had a great run in the 80s some, you know, problems with some run ins with the NCAA and Bruce per all, you know, Auburn, the yuck. Fandom but, you know, one of the things that Illinois and DePaul never did was they never were willing to play each other. Right? No one wanted to lose to the other one, particularly in the Chicagoland area because they didn't want to lose out on recruits. And then you look at what, you know, other programs, let's say Kentucky and Louisville, or Indiana and Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke having those rivalries that creates so much excitement. It's worth it to lose some of the time. It's the ultimate sort of short sighted short sightedness to not embrace those rivalries. So yeah, I mean, we as a Georgia football fan, in some ways, I'm kind of a basketball star. A football fan. I'm almost envious of you know you got Auburn is a huge rival Georgia and hates Auburn. You got this game against Florida and the world's largest cocktail party that I think they're they've crossed that name off the list. Great rivalries up and down you know across the season I think about Illinois rivalries and they're always like these fake things of well haven't played Northwestern for the Lincoln trophy and made up stuff.

Doug Battle 30:28

Yeah, yeah it's a rivalries are I think they're huge for building fandom. I think having a team that everyone can you Nana, you Nana smoke blow words usually. I don't know I gotta be that everyone can hate. The same fanbase is it brings people together in a weird way. But there's there's been years like if Georgia is not in the mix, and Auburn's potentially looking at a national champion, National Championship, the fan base will kind of rally around just watching Auburn every week and hoping that they lose employment for whatever teams playing them. So or Florida, they're in that situation or Tennessee, although it hasn't been that way for Tennessee this year. I feel like everyone's Tennessee has kind of been everyone's they've been the media darling. And everyone's kind of appreciated their run up until this point. But they, though, and I like I said, I think there'll be back but called basketball. I haven't heard too much about it. I know UNC returns just about everyone from a team that shouldn't want it all last year. Talk pretty much all Blue Bloods.

Mike Lewis 31:48

Again, we've got all sorts of arguments about that, like I pulled up the AP. So North Carolina were one. Right, you know, easy. I mean, easy from a brand perspective. Number two, though, if we're looking at the same poll, and we could have this argument is Gonzaga blueblood hasn't happened yet. Have they? Have they want a championship? I'm gonna argue no, but they're always up there now.

Doug Battle 32:11

I mean, their perennial top five team for the last 10 years, but I don't know blueblood.

Mike Lewis 32:16

Okay. You tell me I'm wrong. I mean, it's what's the Western Conference, Doug?

Doug Battle 32:26

Gonzaga conference.

Mike Lewis 32:29

Houston, a number three. And then we get to Kentucky. Baylor is another one. I think you could argue that Baylor and Gonzaga are two of the top five college basketball programs. It seems like over the last five years, maybe over the last decade. I don't know if that gets to blue blood status or not.

Doug Battle 32:46

Scott has done a remarkable job of prior to his tenure. Is it Baylor? Baylor was not a

Mike Lewis 32:53

I almost asked the question. Is it now an era where it's impossible to become a blueblood? right that there just isn't the opportunity to

Doug Battle 33:01

I think Baylor Gonzaga could if they you got to win not championship but championships you know, you got to win a bunch and Baylor got one. And they've had chances to follow up on that or I guess a chance but haven't haven't had success yet. But they're, you know, they're gonna be in the mix. And so we'll Gonzaga in it. Maybe it's a matter of time, maybe not maybe the UNCF and dukes and Kansas so the world go back to you know, they tend to win those and they stay the team. I think you've got to have almost like a UCLA John Wooden run if you're Baylor or Gonzaga to really be a historically great basketball program.

Mike Lewis 33:40

You think that's possible? No, I mean, I'm watching. I'm watching Illinois play Eastern Illinois last night. And you know, Illinois got a decent team and their preseason, I think top looks like top 23. There's very few guys on that team. From last year's team. Yeah, in between graduation. And, you know, transfers. I think three out of the three out of the five guys starting where, you know, I think it was one freshmen two transfers coming in. And I don't think it's Illinois. I think it's literally everyone is now at this point. And I think it's I think it's terrible for the game. I think it's terrible for the sport. You know, there's no you know, there's not this excitement of like, Oh, we're gonna see this, you know, we're gonna see this guy progress for four years. It's like this guy's either gonna play play well, and move on to the NBA, or he's not gonna play as well as he thinks he should be playing. And he's gonna move on to some other team. Yeah, by myself not even excited about recruits anymore in college basketball, because what percentage I'm just going to finish and I think that's a fascinating stat because I think it's

Doug Battle 34:58

pretty Yeah, we should do Do a measure on turnover rate in college basketball as far as because Georgia like Georgia? Yeah, well, I mean, they lose like 10 Guys every year and it's not to the draft. But so but if you have a great like, if you have any Anthony Edwards, he's going to the draft. And so it's it's very hard to build. And we were talking earlier about, you know, can Baylor Gonzaga have a John Wooden run. Even if you have a monopoly on the talent like pre transfer portal, pre G League, John Calipari can tell he kind of had a monopoly for about five years where he was getting the top five prospects every single year. And they might have won. I think they won two championships. And like Anthony Davis won one I'm trying to remember, but it's not like they won every championship. And same with Duke and Coach K like they had a run after COACH CALIPARI where they they had the top guys whether it was Zion Williamson or Brandon Ingram or TYUS JONES, like they every year, they've got these guys. And they won like maybe one championship and that stretch. So to go on a run where you're winning 10 championships or you have five to 10 championships, it just seems impossible at this point in time, particularly with the transfer portal, the G League, the NBA Draft. In foreign leagues, there's players, you know, there were players that go and play overseas, rather than going to college. And so there's there's less talent to start with. And I think the talent spirit is less because of that, like if you're a Duke, or if Zion Williamson is going to the G League, you know, your best players, not 10 times better than the best player on Clemson steam or one of your other ACC rivals. So it's a lot more competitive. But it's less spectacular. My eyes. Well,

Mike Lewis 36:39

let me let me ask you a question. And I, you know, I just typed in, I just typed in something on Google. And I'm not even sure how to interpret the results I got was Midnight Madness. A big thing when you were an undergrad. Now, there was a time when college Midnight Madness was. That was a huge sports story.

Doug Battle 37:02

Well, I didn't go to basketball school to I mean, if I go to UNC it would have been.

Mike Lewis 37:07

And I don't I don't even think I guess I don't think I even hear about that anymore. And you know, so So college basketball really started I guess November 7, is the you know, everyone played me college basketball now is so you're gonna play the cupcake or Dick Vitale cupcakes. And then you're gonna get to a holiday tournament at Thanksgiving tournament, and there'll be a few games. But it doesn't feel like this really has any momentum or any traction until we start to get into the conference schedules in late December and January.

Doug Battle 37:40

Yeah, like I think the casual basketball fans aren't into it till March Madness because it's like you and see what are they gonna be the one seat or the two seats, they play 40 games or 30 games, whatever, however many games to determine whether they're the one seat or the two seat doesn't really matter that much. And once you get to march, every game matters. So I think the casual fans really don't tune in. And that's probably why we're not hearing about it too much at this point. But I'll say one more observation on college basketball. I remember growing up, I I liked the NBA a lot as a kid and I grew up in a place where nobody likes the NBA. Everybody likes college sports and professional sports or I don't know, it's like for sellouts or something. And people would tell me, you don't want to you don't want to watch the NBA. Why? You know, Vince Carter is my favorite player. That's it. Well, he'll get traded. He'll get traded, you know, they'll trade the team. The players don't stay together. They don't play good team ball in college, they played team fundamental basketball. These guys have chemistry. Basketball is such a sport of continuity in terms of chemistry, in terms of teamwork. It's such a team sport. And that was the appeal of college basketball. And I remember watching you becoming a UNC fan as a kid and watching Tyler Hansbrough and Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington for several years compete, you know, lose championship games come back win championship games, like get better over time, have that magical chemistry, but at this point, as a basketball fan, you know, you can criticize the NBA for training players or whatever. I think there's more continuity and the NBA. As far as like the Milwaukee Bucks, they're not that different of a team than the team that won a championship a couple years ago, the spurs you know, their championship dynasty, they really had about more or less the same team for 10 years, give or take a couple players, but like college, St. UNC, they've had a different star player every year for the last 10 years. It's like, it's like here's, yeah.

Mike Lewis 39:37

Kevin and I L deal, have a clause and at the you have to stay with the team. I would love that. You know, if we're gonna sign you to come play basketball at the University of Georgia, for Caine's chicken. You've got to be here for four years before the stock options master. I mean, it's

Doug Battle 39:56

I would love that. I think that was great. But I think it would be great for college basketball, they want to be great for the NBA. It'd be great for college basketball. It might be good for the NBA because developmental projects,

Mike Lewis 40:09

I'm saying you give them a clause to leave to the NBA, but no transfer. Right.

Doug Battle 40:14

Okay. Well, their grants deal is void. Yeah. I mean, I don't know. We'll see if that stuff happens. I am curious about the whole transfer. Like, let's say, for example, Jermaine Burton, signs a big NFL deal, Georgia gets a free car and transfers to Alabama, does he have to go back to the dealership and then go to a different? I don't know how all that works? Like,

Mike Lewis 40:37

I'm sure it's a complete cluster at this point, right? Because, yeah, there have been no rules. And it's everything's been kind of made up on the go, right.

Doug Battle 40:44

Yeah. Yeah. So I don't know. But I think it'd be great for college basketball, I think college basketball would have kind of a mainstream comeback. If you had players whose individual brands developed over multiple years rather than right, by the time you start to know who guys are, they're gone. Yeah, that's how it is now.

Mike Lewis 41:01

Yeah. And I think it's devastating from the fan perspective, too, right. It's where you just don't, like I said, I tuned into Illinois, and it really does feel very mercenary at this point. Oh, you know, here's this year's group of mercenaries and like, I like I love that kid, Andrei. Curbelo. For Illinois. I thought it was like a future. I know, like watching a globetrotter. He now plays for St. John's. I was watching some St. John's highlights. You know, he had a couple of years at Illinois. And I'm still following his career. I'm more invested in Curbelo than anyone currently on that Illinois roster. Now, it'll, it'll switch over, right? Because again, you know, Seinfeld said we root for the close. By right. But it takes a while. And my fear is always that, you know, every year year in year out, it gets a little harder to root for this new group. And it's but it's interesting, right? Because we have not seen anything like that in college football, right? We know,

Doug Battle 42:01

football fans complain about it because of the transfer portal. They complain about it and it doesn't feel it feels like oh, they're gonna ruin college football. The end of the day like Georgia fans been following Stetson Bennett for like seven years. In his story. It's like he's part of the family. Bryce young, he's only played for two years at Alabama. But he was backup a year before that Bama fans were claiming for him to play when they were up 49 Every game by Mack Jones and then they followed him in high school. And so there's, there's still that four year, four years of knowing a player and when you have a new player, it's like a new toy. Like it's exciting when there's a new player to come up because I remember last year for Georgia fans Brock Bowers comes out of nowhere, and it's like we're gonna get three years of this guy we're gonna get to watch this guy play for three years he's gonna other team Auburn is gonna have to try to defend him for three years. And so you don't have that in basketball. It's like Anthony Edwards comes to Georgia. It's like wow, I'll get to see him play in person probably one time maybe they'll make the tournament and win a game maybe not Tournament didn't happen that year because a COVID. And then I'll I guess I'll root for him for the Timberwolves whenever they're on TV, which they're not and

Mike Lewis 43:15

you know, playing for five or six Timberwolves and having to apologize for things he does on Twitter, right.

Doug Battle 43:23

Yeah, and

Mike Lewis 43:25

short time in wearing you know, the the Georgia clothes.

Doug Battle 43:29

And like watching the NFL, like as a Georgia guy. Watching the NFL feels like a Georgia retirement League. It feels like it's not a minor league, like it is the biggest league. But it feels like these guys will always be Georgia players. And this is kind of their stop. It's like Tom Brady for the bucks. You know, it's like he's a patriot, but he plays for the bucks right now. That's how it feels with like every Georgia player in the NFL, Anthony Edwards for the Timberwolves or, you know, whoever in the NBA, it's like Georgia feels like a little another AAU team that he played on like he probably played on like eight AAU teams in his life and Georgia is one of them. And that's not a huge part of his story or a huge, that's not where he became a man or getting developed into the player that he is it's just a place he had to go for a year, pretend to go to class, you know, try to pass classes and showcase his skills for a year for going it's a different it feels so different. It feels so different.

Mike Lewis 44:25

Okay, so we're segwaying a little bit into basketball. We're going to talk a lot more about basketball. As you know, as we move into December we got to college bat sort of professional basketball brand equity analysis, ready to go we're just waiting for the season to start really kind of hitting its stride. You know that and again, you know, like, like college basketball. You know, and we follow maybe fall basketball has just it's something that's kind of dying, right? Because the NBA will hit you know, Christmas Day. There'll be a marquee matchup, and that's when the excitement I'm just gonna start, but we're, we're 10 1011 games into the season. Doug. You got any initial observations about the NBA? I mean, the Lakers are probably the big story at what are they two and eight at the moment? Yeah, seems like it was their panic out there.

Doug Battle 45:18

Well, I mean, I think Lakers fans because the they lost a couple games before they want any so that people kind of wrote them off for the season started and ESPN loves the Lakers. Everyone loves talking about the Lakers. I think that it's just there's so many games in the season like the Warriors are four and seven right now. The first game I watched him play, they looked exactly like the team that won the championship last year is like they're gonna run it back. And they've lost a bunch of games since then. Are Warriors fans panicking? I don't think so. I don't think anyone's saying you know, I, I would imagine in Vegas at four and seven, the warriors are the odds on favorite to win the NBA Finals right now. So there's some weird anomalies kind of early in the season, but it seems like there will be a regression to the mean, as the season goes on. The Jazz being first in the in the Western Conference After trading away Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Go Bears supposed to be a tankier from them, and they're right now they're not they'd be the number one seed trailblazers who traded CJ McCollum are number three in the West. And then on the other side, it's like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the two seed right now. And teams like the nets and the Sixers who wouldn't be in the playoffs? I just feel like it's too. It's kind of like like, you know, we were talking about your NFL quarterback data and a couple of weeks into the season where like it's too early to really make judgments as to whether or not you were right, because it's not enough data. I feel like with the NBA right now, we're at that point in the season where people will overreact because that's their job on ESPN. You know, I think the Warriors will write the ship, I think the Lakers probably do have some legitimate problems. And we knew that going into the season. Some of these teams that are having a nice little storyline right now will probably go on a losing streak and drop out of the playoff ranks and things will kind of end up exactly how you'd expect them to. So we'll keep an eye on it. But it seems too early to make huge judgments on the NBA.

Mike Lewis 47:09

Yeah, but and I'm sure you're right, the only caveat I put a put on that as again, are we finally you know, has the Lakers window closed? And I think that's that's a definite possibility, the way this is the way this is going. And, you know, some of these guys are really old, right? I mean, not really all but they're really old and basketball. And like, maybe that's something that we've seen and you know, age doesn't age is undefeated, right? Sometimes they can sort of, you know, prolong things but you know, maybe we are in the tail split, you know, we're coming up to the final you know, the the ending the epilogue or the you know, the conclusion of the LeBron James story. The you know, Tom Brady story The Aaron who's the Packers quarterbacks last name Aaron Rodgers story, you know, ages ages what ends all sports Correct?

Doug Battle 48:12

Yeah, I'll say this about the Lakers though. LeBron if you watch him play. Yeah, I don't really fallen off very much. He's still make the argument the best player, one of the best players in the NBA at this point. Yeah, he's phenomenal for 39 year old and you start to wonder, le GM you know, LeBron making all these moves. You look at some of the players that were traded away for LeBron to kind of have his way in LA and get his buddies together to end up on a team with guys like Westbrook and Anthony Davis. If LeBron right now we're playing with Brandon Ingram and Lonzo ball and Julius Randle some of these guys they traded away in that era. The Lakers might be a championship favorite or contender that the way that he's playing but he's surrounded by guys that you know where's LeBron? Is has kind of been a Tom Brady where he's defied the odds as far as age is concerned. You surrounded him expecting a whole team of guys to do that is maybe not the best strategy. And where you know, it's like if you put I mean, I guess the Tom Brady's on a team with Julio Jones but it's like if they really were counting on Julio Jones to be the number one receiver and Tampa and you know, maybe made a trade for AJ green and brought on Antonio Brown back into the league and

Mike Lewis 49:29

all those guys always do that though. When old guys get to be the GM they always choose their friends, right?

Doug Battle 49:35

Yeah, I think my criticism of LeBron in recent years it's just been like, GM skills DMing Yeah, man he's he's planned out a really phenomenal I mean, I would I'm I've been critical LeBron a lot. I think there's no question statistically for his age. There's never been a never been a better 39 year old basketball player in the NBA are more productive 39 year old basketball player in the NBA. But no Then people is the LeBron Stan's will say, Yeah, but he just doesn't have you know, he just doesn't have a good supporting cast like, well, he chose it. He picked he hand picked it. So that's, you know, that's a criticism of him right there.

Mike Lewis 50:11

Here's our wrap up and all of this. And again, it's kind of the perfect reflection of American sports. In our final word for this week, perfect reflection on where American sports are. The Astros won the World Series in six games. And they drew an average rating of 12.5 5 million fans. The number for Georgia versus Tennessee was what

Doug Battle 50:37

3013 30

Mike Lewis 50:39

million. So America's World Series final game loses to a regular seat lag. I'm not I'm not belittling it at all, but to a regular season. We were sort of regional in our game in college football. And I think it's actually I think that number is even, you know, I suspect if you dug into it, or you're able I don't have access to this data, but if you're able to really dig into the data, I bet you that number is incredibly fascinating, right? Because how many people live in Athens, Georgia, how many people live in Tennessee, you know, these are relatively small places. This was between the Houston Astros metro area of probably about 7 million people. Philadelphia, Philly Philly, the Phillies in a metro area of 6 million plus people. If you got half of those markets, watching

Doug Battle 51:35

the local audience alone should have performed.

Mike Lewis 51:39

But if you got a local audience of let's say, 4 million people watching in those two cities, then you come up with a number that there's 8 million people watching across the other 320 million people in this country. That's an astonishing way. That's an astonishing number for baseball's, you know, national pastime.

Doug Battle 52:03

Yeah, that's that. That's brutal en with Knoxville and Athens, Georgia being incredibly small markets relative to that. Looks like the National viewership of let's have a regional football game was significantly stronger. At 330 in the afternoon, right? Yeah, at 330 on a Saturday. Well, it depends where you live could be, but it's not a night game. It's not prime. You know, it's not primetime and television since so. Yeah, pretty phenomenal. Baseball is done. Basketball is back. We had that brief overlap. I guess not with college basketball, but with NBA MLB. NFL on season and college football, of course and NHL as well. So sports or sports are in full swing right now. You know, we'll be keeping an eye on the NBA. NFL. My only takeaway this week was that Kirk Cousins has a lot more swagger than I would have ever imagined. Yeah, up front runner this year.

Mike Lewis 53:09

Throw that up. You know, and sort of the video pieces from this week's podcast? I've got no comment. I don't know what to say Kirk Cousins has, in some ways Kirk Cousins has won the week with whatever that was. The jewelry the dancing. Well done. And look, you know, Kirk, I think you're probably right. I think the Vikings are seven and one at this point. It's obviously one of the things I got a little bit wrong with picking the Packers in that division of Kirk Cousins. Well done spectacular. But you know what Ken was wondering. And we got to wrap this up in a second. Do you think Joe burrow has inspired some of these older guys to get a little more out there? They're like,

Doug Battle 53:50

we can be cool. We can be cool now. Kirk Cousins certainly like that kind of behavior. That is exactly what you expect from Joe burrow Kirk Cousins is it was shocking to me. It was shocking and I love to see it but it was shocking.

Mike Lewis 54:07

Yeah, he's okay. So Kirk Cousins is our I don't know who our fan of the week is. It's the kid drinkin. It's the kid drinking mustard out of the bottle. And our Player of the Week is Kirk Cousins. All say

Doug Battle 54:21

my fan of the week is still the Tennessee fan base because the coordination to get Stetson Bennett phone number leak it out to the entire student body. I have everyone in the student body call and text him at midnight the night before the game. Phenomenal coordination by them. Stetson Bennett did the seli celebration on his first touchdown pointed at the at the Tennessee student section just beautiful man that's See that's why that's why the rivalry is like I'm not mad that Tennessee's back we got a rivalry is this fun stuff. I think that's and had some fun with it. And that's some great fandom right there. We're here for it.

Mike Lewis 54:56

Awesome stuff. As always more content at WW Yo Till next time


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