Monthly Archives: January 2008

“It’s disappointing to hear that a judge would be doing something like that.”

Hey, University of Illinois, want to find a way to piss off your fanbase?

This looks pretty solid.

You know everything has to be on the up and up when a judge says this…

“I would never knowingly or purposely do anything to harm or compromise my professional or personal integrity, or that of the court where I have had the honor to serve the past 19-plus years,” Flannell wrote in an e-mail to the Tribune.

Mistakes were made, though.

“It was my error to list the street address of the courthouse when the account was set up,” Flannell said. “I have taken steps to change that.”

And the University’s level of concern is duly noted.

“Once we sold the tickets,” said U. of I. associate athletic director Shawn Wax, “what a person does with those tickets is entirely up to them.”

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UPDATE: The inevitable spin – he’s doing it for the kids.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

Random SEC stuff

  • Georgia love is turning up in unexpected places:  former UT QB (I still hate him for that ’92 game) and current Congressman Heath Shuler has much praise for the Dawgs’ chances in ’08.
  • Rivals‘ first six questions of the Top 25 questions for 2008 season are SEC related.
  • Former Georgia QB Mike Usry:  stupid or ruthless?  You decide.
  • From yesterday’s Be Our Defensive Coordinator For A Day sweepstakes, Ellis Johnson gets off the understatement of the week:

“He was disappointed, but Coach Petrino handled it with class,” Johnson said. “He’s been in this profession long enough to understand these things. He’s been through a tough, demanding change himself recently.”

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Filed under SEC Football

The sooner, the better

All I can say after reading the South Carolina message boards this morning is that should Tommy Bowden ever leave Clemmins, it sure would be fantastic if his successor were Brian VanGorder.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

SEC conventional wisdom, 2008 edition

I did this last year. It’s one brief last look back at the past season for the conference based on my personal perspective of what I heard and saw in the media and from fans.

SEC EAST

Florida

  • Preseason: Defending national champs rule! The young defense doesn’t matter.
  • Midseason: Tebow is Superman. The young defense doesn’t matter.
  • End of season: How ’bout that Heisman.

Georgia

  • Preseason: Can you win nine games in the SEC without an offensive line?
  • Midseason: Please, God, not again.
  • End of season: What got into these guys? And will it get into them again next year?

Kentucky

  • Preseason: This could be the year.
  • Midseason: Down goes LSU!
  • End of season: This wasn’t the year.

South Carolina

  • Preseason: Spurrier’s a genius.
  • Midseason: Spurrier’s a frickin’ genius.
  • End of season: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Tennessee

  • Preseason: They should contend for the SEC East title.
  • Midseason: Fulmer sends Richt a thank you box of doughnuts.
  • End of season: When you play in the SECCG despite giving up more points in the conference than you scored, it’s safe to say you’ve gotten a few breaks.

Vanderbilt

  • Preseason: A bowl game – maybe.
  • Midseason: Is there enough in the tank?
  • End of season: They’ll always have Columbia.

SEC WEST

Alabama

  • Preseason: There’s a new sheriff in town, brotha.
  • Midseason: 8-0, babee!
  • End of season: A lot of money for a one game improvement over Shula.

Arkansas

  • Preseason: MacFadden plus the second weakest schedule for any BCS conference school = 10 wins.
  • Midseason: No Marcus Monk = 8 wins.
  • End of season: Did you hear about the new coach?

Auburn

  • Preseason: Senior quarterbacks mean good things for Auburn.
  • Midseason: Gator chomp, my ass.
  • End of season: Doing the coordinator shuffle. Again.

LSU

  • Preseason: Absolutely loaded. Decent chance to go undefeated.
  • Midseason: You could see it coming.
  • End of season: With a couple of breaks, they get over the hump. When healthy, the nation’s best team.

Mississippi

  • Preseason: Coach O can recruit, but can he coach?
  • Midseason: Coach O can recruit, but can he coach?
  • End of season: No.

Mississippi State

  • Preseason: That’s one bad looking offense.
  • Midseason: Don’t turn the ball over to this team, or you’ll pay for it.
  • End of season: The man can coach a little.

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Filed under SEC Football

Bowl you over

If you’re looking for an exhaustive listing of viewership, attendance and trivia about the just concluded bowl season, brothers and sisters, look no farther than here.

Here are some noteworthy points:

First, the money continues to roll in for the schools.

With more than 1.7 million combined fans attending a bowl game and close to another combined 129 million households tuning in to watch the games on television, bowl payouts ran an estimated $225 million in 2007-08 and have totaled $1.6 billion over the last nine seasons. Over the next ten years, bowls are projected to pay $2.4 billion to the teams and conferences in the Football Bowl Subdivision who participate.

The regular season maintains its broadcast popularity.

Highlighted by its relationship with the SEC, CBS posted an average national household rating/share for the season of 3.5/8, up 13% from a 3.1/7 last year. The 2007 season marked CBS’ best year since a 3.7/10 rating/share in 1999. ESPN also posted impressive viewership with its third most-viewed season ever, averaging 2,013,687 households per game, and ESPN2 recorded its most-viewed season ever with 1,027,368 households per game. ESPN on ABC averaged 4,364,148 households per game with two games landing in the top 10 audiences ever: the Nov. 24 Missouri-Kansas game with 10,960,755 viewers (ranking 7th all-time) and the Dec. 1 Oklahoma-Missouri game with 10,841,849 (ranking 9th all-time). The Versus network saw a 50 percent increase in national household rankings and a 92 percent increase in total viewership.

Strangely enough, many of the minor bowls continue to prosper in terms of TV viewership.  Which, of course, means that ESPN is thrilled.

… Especially noteworthy, all of the pre-Christmas Bowl game ratings increased this year, and all the games continued to produce strong interest from the powerful demographic of 18-49 year-old males. For the bowl season, ESPN delivered an average of 2,866,410 households while ESPN2 delivered its most-viewed bowl season ever with 1,502,134 households and 1,950,490 viewers, posting an 11 percent increase with males 18-49 and a 17 percent increase with males 25-54.

Evidently not enough people got James Carville’s message about the Rose Bowl.  Viewership was up 2% from last year, as the Rose was watched by more people than any other bowl game except the BCS title game.

The least watched BCS game?  The Sugar Bowl.

You might also be interested to learn that the PapaJohns.com Bowl drew more Alabama viewers than did Saban’s inaugural ‘Bama bowl appearance at the Independence Bowl.  Maybe everyone in the Tide Nation was too busy making plans to attend spring practice to have time to watch.

Oh, and by the way, from that Birmingham News article, here’s something unearthed in a recent Nielsen survey:

In a telephone survey of 1,482 people by Nielsen, 73 percent indicated they planned to watch three or more bowl games, 20 percent said they would watch five to seven, and 14 percent said they would watch at least part of every game.

Forty-one percent indicated there are too many bowl games, and 51 percent said they believe college football needs a playoff system. [Emphasis added.]

Admittedly, if you’re George Bush, 51 percent is a mandate.  For the rest of us, it’s not quite so overwhelming.

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If I were Nelson Muntz, I know what I’d be doing right now.

Muntz, seen channeling his inner Urban Meyer.

“I’ve declared. I’m committed.”

This from a man who makes Bobby Petrino look like a rock of stability.

No word yet from Gamecock Nation about how this affects South Carolina’s anticipated eighth year in a row preseason MNC.

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UPDATE: Spurrier is hiring Ellis Johnson as his new defensive coordinator to replace the nomadic VanGorder. Johnson – at least until a few hours ago – was Bobby Petrino’s defensive coordinator at Arkansas.

Two thoughts on this. First, there are levels of karma here that I, as a mere mortal, can never hope to comprehend fully. VanGorder, after all, came into play for Spurrier to hire in the first place because Petrino bailed out on the Falcons… who then hired VanGorder back.

Second, can you imagine what the meeting between Johnson and Petrino must have been like? I mean, Johnson’s got to be sitting there thinking something along the lines of if this sumbitch says one word about loyalty I’m gonna laugh in his face. (Of course, it might have been easier to take Petrino’s departure announcement and just change the names of the locations where appropriate.)

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UPDATE #2:  Unsurprisingly, there are some interesting quotes from the OBC’s presser.

  1. The subtle dig.   You might say why didn’t you hire [Ellis Johnson] the first time. The answer is I should have.
  2. The strange timing.  Fortunately right now none of those coaches bought houses. In fact I don’t think any of them have signed contracts so it’s a clean move.
  3. Tooting his own horn.  I had a chance a year or so ago to get more money but that’s not my deal anymore. Money’s not my deal.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The Evil Genius

He needs some wheels.

As a Georgia fan, I have no dog (heh) in the Terrelle Pryor hunt, but judging from this, this and this, I’d say that if the kid chooses Ohio State or Michigan as his school, it stands a strong likelihood of adding fuel to an already strong fire.

It would be amusing if Pryor wound up at Oregon, though.

Don’t hate me ’cause I’m pretty, y’all.

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There’s a reason for that.

I’ve come across a new sin laid at the feet of the BCS.

Unfortunately, in the age of the BCS nonsense, a Sun Belt co-champion is not as highly regarded as a run-of-the-mill team from a so-called Major conference.

If “highly regarded” means “capable of selling more than 3,000 tickets to a mediocre bowl game”, well, yeah. Although what that has to do with the BCS escapes me.

And what’s with the “so-called Major conference” crack? The Sun Belt finished last season with a glittering 3-23 record against schools in BCS conferences. Not exactly the stuff by which legends are made.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

More on Moore

Gator KGB at Saurian Sagacity tells us why Bianchi’s story on Urban Meyer’s recruitment of stud WR Carl Moore – and Moore’s girlfriend – is a load of hooey.

Meanwhile, the Wizard of Odds has a piece up that suggests that Superman himself may have committed a (minor) recruiting violation in speaking to Moore during the process.   Of more interest to me is that Smith is starting to backtrack on her story.

But Smith was telling a different story on Wednesday. This account from the Miami Herald’s website:

” ‘[Meyer] never called me personally,’ Smith said. ‘Carl sometimes didn’t have his phone or his phone would get cut off. So, he had given Coach Meyer my number and [Moore told Meyer], “If you call my number and I don’t answer or it goes to voice mail, call Maranda because I’ll be with her more than likely,” and that’s how he got a hold of Carl.’ “

“Smith said on Wednesday that she ‘never talked to Coach Meyer about life or anything for more than two seconds.’ Smith said that Meyer would call her and then ask to speak with Moore.”

That’s certainly a convenient explanation.

I still think this is nothing more than a tempest in a teapot.  A sign that it’s becoming more serious:  if the media starts referring to this as “Moore-gate”.

You gotta watch out for those “gate” suffixes.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

Who said economics isn’t useful?

I posted about these folks last year. At their website, they’re promising to put up a list on January 25 of where they project the Rivals Top 250 for 2008 will sign. They expect to be accurate with a little over 70% of their picks.

The interesting part of this is what they find to be relevant to these kids when they decide where they want to go. It’s not entirely what you’d expect:

…There were a number of factors that we thought would significantly impact the decision of the high school athlete that didn’t. For example, factors like the school’s graduation rate, the number of Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl appearances, the current roster depth at the recruited player’s position, the number of players from a specific college drafted by the NFL, and even the number of national championships won by a particular program don’t systematically influence the decisions of high school athletes. Surprised? So were we. What, then, does matter? As it turns out the following factors DO significantly impact the decision of high school athletes:

  • Whether the athlete made an “official visit” to a specific college

  • Whether the school is in a BCS conference

  • The distance from the high school athlete’s hometown to a specific school

  • Whether the recruit is in the same state as a specific school

  • The final AP Ranking of a specific school in the previous year of competition

  • The number of conference titles a school has recorded in recent years

  • Whether the school is currently under a “bowl ban” for violating NCAA rules

  • The current number of scholarship reductions a school faces for violating NCAA rules

  • The size of the team’s stadium (measured in terms of seating capacity)

  • Whether the school has an on-campus stadium

  • The current age of the team’s stadium

So, in a nutshell, high school athletes prefer winning programs that are close to home, are in possession of good physical facilities, and are in good graces with the NCAA. Interestingly enough however, reduced scholarships increase the likelihood of choosing a particular school, holding all else constant. This is likely because reduced scholarships imply reduced competition for exposure and playing time in the future.

No mention of coeds, as a factor or not? Color me a bit surprised about that.

And I’m relieved to see that alcohol related incidents didn’t make the list.

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Filed under Recruiting