Daily Archives: December 27, 2006

Cheap shot of the month award…

goes to Gregg Doyal at CBS.Sportsline for his take on the UAB hire of Coach Callaway.

He doesn’t really break any new ground, but he does like to slap folks around to sharpen a story:

… The UAB football program just made the most dreadful hire of the offseason, hiring someone with questionable experience and character. His name is Neil Callaway, the offensive coordinator at Georgia, which you might have noticed was horrible this season on offense. The last thing Callaway did of note was plead guilty to DUI charges in 2003.

Ignorant, yet bitchy. Good combination.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, Whoa, oh, Alabama

The year in pictures – Georgia 2006

There’s a nice feature on the 2006 season in photographs at the Georgia Scout.com site worth your attention.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Godzilla versus Mothra

Er… I meant bowls versus playoffs. The Wizard of Odds links to this article at IndyStar.com, which, while not providing any answers, does ask some good questions.

The article is interesting in that it does highlight one key item:

… Two years ago at a Knight Commission meeting, former UCLA and Florida president Charles Young, a playoff proponent, described what he saw as the power struggle in postseason football.

 “This has really been a battle about control between the conference commissioners and the NCAA,” Young said. [Emphasis added.]

Which brings me to this editorial in the NCAA News that is referenced in the IndyStar piece. The editorial is chock full of high minded and wishful thinking presented as unsupported facts, all of which is meant to portray the NCAA and the college presidents as knights in shining armor ready to protect the college football post season from itself.

If the alarm bells aren’t going off yet, they should be after you read it.

The power play is coming. The NCAA is going to wring its hands and decry the creeping professionalism it perceives in the current bowl arrangement. And then, it’ll sit in front of Congress and ask the lawmakers to ignore the tax exempt question (kinda like asking someone to not think about elephants; once you say it, it’s all you can think of).

You don’t see where the NCAA wants this going? Here’s the roadmap:

 

… The present bowl system also is questionable under antitrust law, which applies to intercollegiate sports and weighs pro-competitive benefits against anti-competitive effects when looking at monopolistic practices. Currently, there is token access for deserving teams from smaller conferences to a BCS slot, but the vast amount of revenue from the bowls as a whole goes to the six major conferences and ultimately the institutions within them (as well as the University of Notre Dame). If challenged in court by a class of perceived Division I Football Bowl Subdivision outsiders, as was threatened a few years ago, the question would become whether the anti-competitive effects of the BCS system within the subdivision, given its relative exclusivity, outweigh the pro-competitive impacts. Legislation could have the same impact of applying the antitrust laws to the bowl system. Again, is the present bowl system — a workaround, really, that is not even particularly favored by fans — worth the risk?

The open structure that a 16-, 24-, or even 32-team football playoff could afford would, like the basketball tournament, be more immune to antitrust challenge. It could include an automatic bid for each conference and several at-large bids with selection and seeding by a committee. Where would be the anti-competitive effects of an open system? The playoff could be modeled on both the successful and longstanding Division I Football Championship Subdivision and Divisions II and III playoffs, and the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, where direct corporate sponsorship is more muted and thus less likely to draw scrutiny for its tax-exempt status — although still lucrative through selling official sponsorships…

“Open structure” means lesser teams – it’s Cinderella time! – which of course means the dilution of the impact of the regular season. And gosh, who could be against “more muted” corporate sponsorship? The idea that a playoff is somehow less commercial because corporate logos would be replaced with the NCAA’s is laughable. But look for Myles Brand and Company to try to sell that.

There’s more:

… But last year, the presidents, through the NCAA, allowed programs to add a 12th regular-season game to enhance revenues — hardly a move in the direction of reform. The additional game does not even please fans, who must endure another uninspiring, usually lopsided “guarantee” game with a smaller program visiting a larger one solely to collect a check.

Umm, no. At least at Georgia, the AD has taken the opportunity to add some real meat to the schedule, with opponents like Oklahoma State, Arizona State, Colorado and UCLA. The PAC-10 added another conference game to its members’ schedules. Again, this is so much bullshit.

Then we get the banner of “reform” raised here:

… An automatic playoff bid for smaller conferences and perhaps even a weekend of play-in games to begin the tournament could replace the revenue and exposure from the guarantee games. Their participation in the tournament also could be used as leverage in addressing another issue requiring the attention of those interested in reform. Now regular weeknight and Sunday evening games suggest the more commercial attributes of college football more than its legitimacy within higher-education institutions. These games disrupt the workday on campus (practically inviting students to sleep through their classes the following day), force those who participate on the field to miss additional days of class time and inconvenience many spectators.

Basically, this is nothing more than substituting one set of preferences for another.

And so we come to the payoff:

… It is safe to assume that a playoff would be popular with fans, approaching the basketball tournament, if not exceeding it. The roughly $450 million in annual rights fees paid to the NCAA for the men’s basketball tournament is more than double the gross yearly revenue from the BCS, according to Knight Foundation data. The guarantee games represent intercollegiate athletics at its most crassly commercial. What are these about if not the money? They can be reduced or even eliminated with the revenue from a playoff — resources now needlessly left on the table. The same is true of the weeknight television games. Presidents can trade a playoff for increased rationality and thus decreased commercialism in college football.

We do at least get a number tossed into the mix. But it’s comparing apples (five BCS games) with oranges (a 64 team tournament over multiple rounds). And, again, we see a series of unsubstantiated assumptions about how this will benefit everyone:

… So, what if presidents framed the debate differently, arguing that a playoff could rationalize and thus diminish some of the commercial and professional tendencies in college football? They would satisfy reformers, including their interested faculty; maintain the advantages as well as the ideals of amateurism; and even please college football fans.

Everyone’s a winner! Woo hoo!

The idea that college presidents are some uniquely qualified group of wise men perfectly suited to fix this “problem” is wishful thinking at best and potentially disastrous for those of us who distrust what a playoff system would do to college football at worst.

For some reason, I am reminded of the old Vietnam War catch phrase, “we had to destroy the village in order to save it”.

I don’t like where this seems to be headed.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

As large in death as in life

For once in my life, I find myself in agreement with the Reverend Al Sharpton:

“It would almost be unthinkable for a man who lived such a sensational life to go away quietly,” Sharpton said in an interview from Georgia, where he was making funeral arrangements with Brown’s children.

Sharpton said Brown always knew his place in history.

“He used to tell me, `There are two American originals, Elvis and me,’” Sharpton said. “‘Elvis is gone, and I’ve got to carry on.’”

Amen, brother.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Stats, stats and more stats

Well, I took a brief look at some of the statistics that I thought might have some bearing on the CFA Bowl match-up between Georgia and Virginia Tech here and here.

You’ll find I’m a piker compared with the detailed presentation posted last night at Dawg Sports. And he’s just getting warmed up.

Also, I’ve been remiss in neglecting to mention the impressive job that Sunday Morning Quarterback continues to do with his analysis of the correlation of statistics and results on the field (here’s his post on the ACC as an example). Highly recommended – although I wish he’d get to his SEC piece already!

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Filed under ACC Football, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Baby needs a new pair of shoes.

It sure sounds like ‘Bama players are consumed by the fact that they don’t have a new head coach.

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Filed under Whoa, oh, Alabama

Tough call

My favorite sports book remains Jim Bouton’s baseball tell-all Ball Four. One memorable part of the book is the stretch where he gets sent to the minors and spends a week on the road playing the Hawaii Islanders.

It’s a fabulous week for Bouton – he saves every game in sight, spends his days on the beach drinking and getting sunburned and even discovers that the Hawaii ballpark serves great concession foods. After reflecting on this, he and a bullpen mate conclude one night that if a player was on the Islander roster and got called up to the major leagues, it would be a damned tough choice.

So I have an idea of how Colt Brennan feels these days.

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Filed under College Football