Daily Archives: August 17, 2007

L’université, c’est moi.

I thought Steve Spurrier was coming on a bit too strong about admission standards a few days ago when he threatened to leave if he didn’t get his way, but compared to Clemmin’s Tommy Bowden, the Ol’ Ball Coach is positively restrained:

Spurrier nearly crossed the line when he challenged the USC administration. Bowden is out of bounds when he says all athletes eligible by NCAA standards should be admitted to Clemson.

“That’s what you’d like,” Bowden said. “They’re going to pay me all this money and put me in charge, then I’d like to make the decisions (about admissions).”

I bet he would.

In his mind, the school really shouldn’t have any say so in its own admissions standards because it ceded those away.

His claim is that a commission of university presidents several years ago established minimum NCAA guidelines for prospective athletes to be admitted to school. Thus, he says, schools should abide by those minimum standards.

“They took the presidents and they spent years and invested millions of dollars and said, OK, if he gets an 820 (SAT score) and 2.5 (GPA), for the most part, he can succeed in college,” Bowden said. “Now, who are we to say, wait a minute, no, no, not this school they can’t (be admitted and succeed). That’s where I have a problem.”

I never realized that setting minimum academic standards was so expensive. Tommy’s just trying to make sure everybody’s getting their money’s worth here – you pay him, you pay these other guys, the least you can do is use their positions to erode your own admission standards.

And it’s a good deal. The AD and the president thought they were spending all that money on Tommy’s salary to manage the football program. Little did they know that Tommy would offer a twofer for the money – he’ll run the admissions office, too. Sweet!

Actually, we may need to make that a threefer. It looks like Tommy’s also interested in doing a little lobbying work.

Near the end of his conversation with a couple of reporters Sunday, Bowden was told that the state of Mississippi has a court order that deals with special admissions for athletes. The order says that any prospective athlete eligible under NCAA standards must be admitted to a state supported school.

“I think that’s great legislation,” Bowden said, repeating for emphasis, “I think that’s great legislation.”

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Filed under Academics? Academics., ACC Football, Recruiting, Tommy Bowden: Male Model

Pundit speak with forked tongue.

Dennis Dodd, college football expert (just ask CFN!), has a column up today praising/sympathizing with Washington’s tough 2007 schedule. He could have stopped while he was ahead, but, nope, he’s got to get in the always popular cheap shot about SEC scheduling:

Congratulations on this front, Todd: Playing this schedule means you have more stones than your average SEC AD, most of whom are busy cutting non-conference guarantee checks to the Nicholls States of the world.

Except in the same damned article, he posts this chart ranking the conferences by strength of schedule:

Rating by Conferences
Conference Avg*
1. SEC 13.25
2. Big East 23.63
3. Pac-10 25.50
4. Big Ten 43.04
5. Big 12 49.75
6. ACC 63.79
7. Mountain West 67.55
8. WAC 74.66
9. Conference USA 91.91
10. MAC 106.23
11. Sun Belt 107.50
*Average strength of schedule rankings

In case that chart isn’t clear enough for us, Dodd goes on to write that the

… SEC has the toughest schedule strength as a conference largely because nine of its 12 teams went to bowls last season. The league has nine of the top 16 teams in this season’s rankings. All 12 teams are in the top 27. Defending champion Florida is 25th. [Emphasis added.]

That, my friends, is known as talking out of both sides of your arse.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

Head shots

One thing about the criminal justice system – it forces some folks to clean up their act.

Take the case of Arizona defensive lineman Louis Holmes. When last we saw Mr. Holmes, he was not only fighting criminal charges but also a lack of fashion sense.

But the story has a happy ending. Louis pled guilty to a criminal damage charge and will have to attend an anger management course (after which, the charge will be dropped). He also got a new ‘do.

Before -

and after -

(Photo courtesy Paul O’neill / East Valley Tribune)

Arizona coach Mike Stoops said Thursday that he will keep any disciplinary action “between us.”

“I’ve commented on that enough,” Stoops said. “I certainly understand what you guys are getting at. … It’s an isolated incident, I hope.”

It’s unclear whether Stoops was referring to the criminal charge or the hair. I hope he clears the air on that.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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Filed under Crime and Punishment

Fight the power.

I think it’s safe to say that Stewart Mandel’s recent incoherent ramblings about which schools are national powers and which aren’t have generated a pretty substantial reaction from the blogging world.

At one end of the analysis, you’ve got what I’d call the objective, look at what they’ve done on the field approach typified by what Michael Elkon and Kyle King have posted. At the other end, you’ve got Mandel’s… well, I’m not exactly sure how to characterize it, but we’ll call it the subjective, public perspective approach.

Over at Saurian Sagacity, Mergz has taken a look at the issue and come up with his own ranking system. His methodology differs from that of Elkon’s and King’s in that

Data I was looking for would include ideas such as winning records, school revenue from football, and recruiting. I was purposefully not going to include in my system any data that related to “national titles”, as the process is highly flawed and the very essence of bias (to say the least). I was also not going to include conference championships, because of the vast difference between conference talent and schedules (not to mention title games).

but he also differs from Mandel – at this point, who doesn’t – in that he tries to quantify his analysis against real world data, as opposed to those mythical fans from Montana:

1. 10 Year Winning Percentage – I choose 10 years as being currently relevant, but also a period long enough to reflect some real data points. I think a period of 10 years reflects pretty accurately success on a “national” basis, plus it gives reduced impact to teams no longer currently competitive (remember, Army was once a dominant team).

2. Average Home Game Attendance – I was looking here for a statistic that would reflect revenues generated by individual college programs through all means (donations, tickets and merchandise). However, no private colleges release this information, nor do several public schools (such as Penn State). For those that do release the information, I realized a high correlation between overall football revenues and average game attendance. For instance, the top 10 schools by average attendance, and their place in the REPORTED football revenue rankings, are –

1. Michigan (4th in revenue)
2. Penn St (does not report)
3. Tennessee (12th in revenue)
4. Ohio State (2nd in revenue)
5. Georgia (3rd in revenue)
6. LSU (8th in revenue)
7. Alabama (6th in revenue)
8. USC (does not report)
9. Florida (5th in revenue)
10. Texas (1st in revenue)

Obviously, the comparison is imperfect, but the only complete data set available is the average attendance.

3. Average recruiting class points for the last 4 years – Obviously, the ability to recruit well is as strong an indication as a “national power” as anything. Also obviously, it is a subjective exercise. However the bias isn’t mine. Plus, even though we use the rankings from Scout.com in this system, they are pretty close to the other ranking services.

You can read the rest of his post to see how he gets to his list of top tier schools (based on data from the last 10 years), which are Florida, Southern Cal, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana State and Ohio State. That’s hardly a list that most fans from places other than Montana would quibble over.

I appreciate factoring attendance into the equation, as what he’s trying to get to is some means of bringing revenues from football into the calculations. I think that’s right. Let’s face it – as a general principle, schools with more money are going to sport better facilities which in turn enhances their ability to recruit, which in turn over time should mean better student athletes and better results on the field. (It also gives a school the means by which to blow $3 or $4 million per year on a high profile coach.)

I just wonder if there’s a better way to account for that.

There are a couple of holes in simply counting fannies in the seats as a measure of national powerhood. One is that it ignores a couple of other sources of income, revenues from television and merchandise. It’s easy to see why Tennessee generates more money than, say, Georgia Tech when you just look at attendance figures. It’s harder to see that when you compare Tennessee to Texas if you limit it to the same measure.

The other is that attendance is a fine way to see how much local fan support there is for a program, but it doesn’t really show you much about whether a school has a larger following nationally. Even after its rise to prominence in the 80’s, Miami has never drawn much to that rat-hole of a stadium, but it’s certainly enjoyed a national following outsized to its attendance numbers.

That’s why I think there ought to be a place in the calculations for national (non-pay) television appearances. National TV means more money, more national exposure and a greater likelihood of success on the field, as it’s come down pretty much to the BCS games being the free TV games in the postseason, a couple of exceptions like the Cotton Bowl notwithstanding.

I’d be interested to hear if anyone has other suggestions about what else could be factored into the equation. Please add your comments.

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Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Stats Geek!

Today’s Steeleoid

Auburn has only allowed 30 or more points twice in its last 58 games.

Unfortunately, the Ti-Eagle-men did win one of those suckers…

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Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football

Van los Dawgs!

We like to brag that there are Georgia fans everywhere. Why should Cuba be any different?

Children cheer after singing “Happy Birthday” to Cuba’s leader Fidel Castro while standing around a birthday cake at the Pioneer’s Palace in Havana August 13, 2007.  (Photo courtesy REUTERS/Claudia Daut)

Take that, Stewart Mandel.

(h/t Saurian Sagacity)

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Filed under Georgia Football