Daily Archives: October 3, 2007

Lloyd Carr’s tilting at windmills.

Lloyd Carr is on a crusade, baby… a personal quest to reduce the number of plays in a college game, because I suppose that the rest of us enjoying the game are having too much damned fun:

“We just did a study Sunday over the number of plays the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions have run offensively and defensively in their first four games,” Carr said on today’s Big Ten teleconference. “They’re averaging 130 snaps a game. We are averaging 147 plays. I just think it’s an issue that (NCAA president) Dr. (Myles) Brand, the NCAA, the doctors, the conference commissioners, the athletic directors (should examine.) In the NFL they’re doing things to protect their players because of the length of the games, they’ve done a good job there.

“We’re simply playing too many plays. If we average 147 snaps per game for 12 games, we would play the equivalent of 13 ½ NFL games. We’re playing with younger players and I think it’s too much and I don’t think it’s in the welfare and the safety of our players. Somewhere somebody needs to take hold of this issue and do some things to make it a better game for the players.”

Now, if I were a bit snippier, I’d make some comment about how a coaching staff that didn’t have the time to implement a competent game plan against a D1-AA opponent (which subsequently lost to another D1-AA team) suddenly has the time to conduct a study of teams it will never play, but let’s skip past that and take a look at Carr’s big point here.  As you can probably guess, Carr’s analysis is a bit questionable.

Carr says that the Bears and the Lions are averaging 130 plays a game.  But he leaves out an important distinction between the NFL and college:  the pro teams play a sixteen game season, while Michigan’s 147 plays a game apply to a thirteen game season (we’re giving Carr the benefit of the doubt and presuming that the Wolverines make a bowl game and his two cherry picked NFL teams don’t have a postseason).

If we do the math, here’s what we get:

  • 130 plays per game x 16 games = 2,080 total plays
  • 147 plays per game x 13 games = 1,911 total plays

So over the course of a complete season, Carr’s kids are involved in fewer plays than their NFL counterparts.

But things are even more lopsided than that.  After all, NFL rosters are limited to 46 players.  Depending on whether Michigan plays at home or on the road, Carr is suiting up somewhere between 70-100 players for a game.  So fewer plays over a college season are being spread between more players.

Of course, if all Carr is really worried about here is the safety and welfare of his players, maybe he should start by lobbying his conference to reinstate the bye week in Big Ten scheduling.   Of course, that might mean interfering with someone’s Thanksgiving holiday.  Carr and his staff probably have a Lions’ game to analyze then.

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Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

Jinx!

I know I shouldn’t mention this, but Phil Steele, in his current projections, has Georgia winning out in the conference and taking the East by two games over South Carolina.

Here’s what it looks like, per the man and his computer (losses in italics):

EAST
Georgia (7-1): S Carolina, at Alabama, Mississippi, at Tennessee, at Vanderbilt, n Florida, Auburn, Kentucky
South Carolina (5-3): at Georgia, at LSU, Miss St, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, at Tennessee, at Arkansas, Florida
Kentucky (4-4): at Arkansas, at S Carolina, LSU, Florida, Miss St, at Vanderbilt, at Georgia, Tennessee
Tennessee (4-4): at Florida, Georgia, at Miss St, at Alabama, S Carolina, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, at Kentucky
Florida (4-4): Tennessee, at Mississippi, Auburn, at LSU, at Kentucky, n Georgia, Vanderbilt, at S Carolina
Vanderbilt (1-7): Alabama, Mississippi, at Auburn, Georgia, at S Carolina, at Florida, Kentucky, at Tennessee

Needless to say, I’ll take it.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football

How rocky is Rocky Top, anyway?

A few more random thoughts and observations leading to a Saturday afternoon game in Knoxville:

  • It’s noteworthy to see the open speculation about Fulmer’s job security in articles like this one. On the UT message boards (granted, not always the most representative venues for general fan opinion), what’s striking is that there’s not so much anger as there is almost a calculating tone in discussing what’s going to happen with Fulmer and his staff in the wake of this season. Has Fulmer ever gone into a game facing this much pressure? Does it make him a better coach?
  • It sounds like UT is just now settling on a rotation in its secondary. If anything, there’s less experience with UT’s starters there than with Georgia’s. Granted, it’s likely that Georgia will focus on running the ball, given the Vols’ difficulties stopping the ground game this season, but will Stafford and his receivers be able to exploit Tennessee’s greener pass defense?
  • Speaking of the UT defense, here’s a factoid of note: Tennessee has yet to start the same 11 players on defense in any game this season. Evidently, injuries have played some, but not too much, of a part in that.
  • As usual, it wouldn’t be a regular week for Tennessee football without a little extra-curricular activity, in response to which Fulmer trots out his best Sergeant Schultz impression. This stuff isn’t even a distraction any more for them.

On the home front, as always, make sure you’re keeping up with David Ching’s blog posts to see what Georgia is up to as we approach game day.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Glass is Half Fulmer

This just in: unemployed coach seeks job.

It’s another Dienhart Coachapalooza!  Yes, we get to take another ride on the merry-go-round of unattributed speculation about coaches and coaching jobs that are out there, at least in the mind of Dienhart.

This comment is one of his best ever, pure comedy gold:

I hear Gary Barnett is ready and willing to coach again.

I bet he is.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles

Loss in Space

CBS’ Spencer Tillman is back with his promised solution for the problem of the exploited college athlete and I must say I’m underwhelmed by the whole thing.

Much of the article is spent discussing the almost “unimaginable wealth” generated by college football – TV contracts (although what the Super Bowl has to do with college football revenue escapes me) and coaching salaries getting the usual finger pointing you see in articles like this.  There’s even a nice touch from Tillman letting us know he’s an insider on stuff like this, so that you’ll think his opinion is tinged with a little more gravitas than your average pundit:

…sports programming is unique in holding the viewers’ attention, and that is what we call in the trade a “lost leader.”

And, of course, college athletes don’t share in the wealth, at least not directly.

From there, Tillman gives us a rather pointless appraisal from some Houston-based executive who’s hired student athletes after they’ve graduated and finds that some succeed and other don’t. Oh yeah, a lot of them seem to lack maturity. Real insightful stuff.

Anyway, to solve the problem, Tillman somewhat surprisingly doesn’t propose paying student athletes – maybe he recognizes that the math for that is rather daunting – but instead offers two incentives: a “college enterprise fund” that would establish financial support for players to get their degrees once their eligibility expired and a “legacy guarantee” that would obligate the school to admit the children of its student athletes.

The first is admirable, although the devil is in the details, as even Tillman acknowledges. The second is just plain weird. I’m not even sure it would pass a legal challenge. But how many 17-18 year olds would be motivated by a promise like that to choose a particular school? For places like Duke, Vandy or Stanford, it might be a compelling sales tool, but I can think of more than a few schools where it might be little more than the punch line to a bad joke. (Assuming a kid even cares to think that far ahead…)

In the end, there’s just not much there, although I guess he deserves a pat on the back for trying.

By the way, Spencer, the expression is “loss leader”, not “lost leader”. The former is what you have when Kroger sells a gallon of milk for a buck; the latter is Lloyd Carr after the Appy State game. I tell you what – between this article and Stewart Mandel’s embarrassing stab at English in a recent Mailbag, I’m beginning to wonder if the big media sites are outsourcing their editing to India or China.

And while we’re on the compensation topic, you might want to read what this blogger has to say on the subject, if only because the idea of Mike Gundy directing his rant at the Okie State brass instead is so detached from reality. Had Gundy actually tried something like that, he’d be out of a job faster than T. Boone Pickens could say, “are you sure you have enough coverage?”.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere