Monthly Archives: April 2008

Sports bloggers are the Debbil.

I’ve already posted about what a whiny douche bag Bob Costas turned out to be on the subject of sports blogging.

So what do you think you get when you have Costas host a show with Deadspin’s Will Leitch and the incredibly full of himself sports journalist Buzz Bissinger?

Well, what you get is some of the stupidest nonsense ever broadcast. [Note: Some of the commentary is definitely NSFW. Be warned.] It’s simply amazing to listen to someone so oblivious to a generational gap. You get the impression that if Bissinger ever took in something like The Daily Show he’d bitch about why people don’t watch The CBS Evening News like they should.

Tone deaf doesn’t even begin to describe the guy. Not that Costas was much better.

Leitch’s restraint was pretty admirable. You can read more of his thoughts about the show here.

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Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

BCS commissioners: ain’t broke, ain’t fixin’ it.

It sounds like the conference commissioners are going to wait until the big TV money gets negotiated before doing anything about the D-1 football postseason:

“We had an excellent and thorough conversation about the plan but at the time it was decided that we would move forward with the current system,” Swofford said. “When you look at the last 10 years of the BCS its clear that college football has never been healthier.”

Slive, who had been talking about a new model since Auburn was left out of the BCS championship game four years ago, said that he was glad that the conversation took place even though his idea didn’t prevail.

“What we understand is that this model is not a panacea,” Slive said. “It would have helped in 2004 but last season Georgia would have been left out at No. 5. So it doesn’t solve all of our problems. What we have to do now is look ahead to the next cycle of the BCS, watch it closely, and keep our options open.”

It seems to me that all playoff proponents need to do to affect a change is to quit watching the BCS for the next few years.  That shouldn’t be too hard, right?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Win some, lose some.

Isn’t this the textbook definition of football mediocrity?

Through nine years… Bowden hasn’t had a losing season at Clemson, but he hasn’t posted a top-10 finish or an ACC title, either.

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Filed under Tommy Bowden: Male Model

Wait ’til next year.

This is why I love the Internet. Brace yourselves. You’re about to learn something regarding Georgia’s 2007 season you never knew before.

Georgia’s kicking luck sucked last season.

Exactly what in the hell, you ask, is “kicking luck”? Well, according to Statistically Speaking’s Matt Melton, it’s the difference between how many points a school’s opponents scored in field goals versus the national average.

… multiply the average field goal percentage by the number of field goals a teams’ opponents attempted. Subtract this number from the field goals their opponents made and multiply by 3 (the point value of a field goal attempt). This resulting number is the number of points the team allowed above or below the national average.

In Georgia’s case, the Dawgs’ opponents connected on a remarkable 20 of 22 field goal attempts, almost a 91% clip. As the national average was 71.7%, that meant that over the entirety of the season the Dawgs allowed almost 13 more points than the national average accounted for. Thirteen points!

Just so you know, the only teams that whiffed on FG attempts against Georgia last year were Kentucky and Georgia Tech.

Here’s what the national average will get you when things are going your way. Just sayin’.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

This, too, shall pass.

The sooner the BCS folks end their meeting, the sooner I can quit talking about the damned thing.

In the meantime…

Remember Mr. Macho, who’s ready to tell the Pac-10, Big Ten and Rose Bowl to take a hike?

I dare the Pac-10 and Big Ten presidents, chancellors, athletic directors and commissioners to keep up this obstructionist attitude by withdrawing and keeping their hallowed tie to one another.

It would go against the desires of their fans — all to stubbornly appease the folks in the funny-colored coats and their sponsors.

Do it.

Let’s then see what happens to a college football championship.

We’d likely learn just how fast the Pac-10/Big Ten could experience a bout of humility and beg to be allowed back.

Now that’s what we had with the Bowl Alliance, the predecessor to the BCS. And it wasn’t the three crumbling under the pressure of the fans that brought the separation to an end.

But there’s been one big change since that era that ought to be factored in before giving the three the bum’s rush.

… The Rose Bowl’s inclusion in the BCS helped assure there would be a No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup but it has lost more schools to the cause than it imagined.

Dorger said he was told, based on precedent, he could expect to lose an anchor school once every four years to the BCS title game.

What he didn’t envision was USC’s hiring Pete Carroll, unemployed at the time, and Ohio State’s taking a chance on a coach from Youngstown State named Jim Tressel — and those two coaches, almost immediately, taking their schools to the top of the BCS.

Since 2001, the Rose Bowl has five times lost either USC or Ohio State to the championship game. [Emphasis added.]

In other words, please don’t throw me in the briar patch, Br’er Fox! Wouldn’t it be ironic if both sides went their separate ways and in the first year after that happened Southern Cal and Ohio State finished one and two at the end of the regular season?

And then there’s Rep. Neil Abercrombie, who’s still taking his case to the public, this time with an opinion piece in the AJ-C. Aside from equating his recently introduced BCS-buster bill with matters such as “… war and peace, international relations and domestic economics to cracking down on corporate fraud and government corruption…” and his mistaken belief that there’s enough money in college football to balance the budgets of athletic departments across America, he does wax eloquent about the glories of March Madness, which he cites as a “model” for college football.

But I might have an easier time believing in his concern that “… Congress should act in the interest of all colleges and universities, athletes, coaches, staff and supporters to guarantee financial opportunity, parity and true competition…” if he hadn’t shown up at his press conference to promote his bill clutching a U-H football.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, General Idiocy, Political Wankery

Envy and jealousy: NFL draft edition

Today’s literary hero is the Augusta Chronicle’s Scott Michaux who shares this insight from the recently conducted NFL draft with us:

14 – Players drafted after Cory Boyd prevented South Carolina from getting shut out in the draft for the first time since 2001. Taken 238th overall, Boyd was so close to being Mr. Irrelevant — which given the school’s football history would be a title befitting a Gamecock.

Befitting indeed.

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Filed under Envy and Jealousy

More random, tasty bits

Just a few things that popped into my head in the last day:

  • Tech loses yet another player, the ethically impaired Trey Dunmon. Now that’s not a big surprise in the sense that there’s a sea change in offensive philosophy going on at Tech and it’s inevitable that some kids aren’t going to buy into the new system, but I don’t think people realize how thin the Jackets are going to be in 2008, especially as the rigors of the season take their toll. One popular reason pundits like to give for the demise of the option running attack in college football is the increased emphasis on speed in the defenses, but another equally significant factor is team depth. The wishbone was an ideal offense to run in the days when Texas and Alabama had over 100 kids on scholarship – Bear’s fourth string tailback was better than the first string tailback on the majority of his opponents’ teams – but these days it’s much harder to overwhelm the schools you play with wave after wave of players. Should Georgia Tech take a few hits in key personnel areas, Johnson will remember what it’s like to play BCS conference schools with non-BCS conference talent. This isn’t to say that I don’t think he can succeed with what he’s doing (as a matter of fact, I believe he will), but the difference between what he did at Georgia Southern and Navy and what he’s being asked to do now is that he’s going to face BCS conference teams on a far more consistent basis. Without depth, that’s a tough row to hoe.
  • Normally I’m not a big fan of scheduling 1-AA teams, but I have to admit that this was neatly done. Georgia’s 2009 OOC schedule prior to picking up Tennessee Tech consisted of Oklahoma State (road), Arizona State (home) and Georgia Tech (road), so I don’t think anyone will begrudge Damon Evans much for adding the Golden Eagles. And the move has the twin benefits of preserving the open date before the WLOCP – the Gators play at Mississippi State the week before, by the way – and giving the Dawgs something of a breather between Florida and Auburn. That’s hard to knock.
  • Speaking of Auburn, say what you will about Tuberville, but you have to appreciate the level of success he’s achieved there. What’s interesting is that he’s gone about it in ways that are the polar opposite of Richt’s. Richt emphasizes staff continuity; Tuberville goes through coordinators like they were Kleenex. Richt realized coming in what an advantage his program should have in recruiting by being the premier program in a talent rich state and has capitalized on that position. Tuberville has never had that luxury, at least not on a consistent basis, and has had to scramble on a more regional basis to bring in the talent.
  • Speaking in turn of Tubby’s coordinators, this t-shirt spotted at Arkansas’ spring game gave me a chuckle:

Sure, sweetheart, but for how long?

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, SEC Football

Beating that dead horse one more time.

It’s a recurring theme here at Get The Picture: mission creep.

Mission creep. Most proponents of a playoff talk about a small scale proposal – usually, anywhere from four to eight teams. The virtues of this approach are that it does the least amount of harm to the results of the regular season, minimizes extra travel and keeps the extension of the season to as short a period as possible. What nobody talks about is how things would stay compressed. I like to point to the history of NCAA men’s basketball as an illustration of what occurs over time. When the NCAA started the tourney in 1939, there were only eight participants. Today, the field is over eight times that size. Because of that, the regular season has been reduced dramatically in its meaningfulness. How do you propose to prevent that from happening in football?

That’s what Tony Barnhart looks at today.

On the surface a four-team playoff looks like a no-brainer: Pick four teams instead of the current two. Let 1 play 4 and 2 play 3 in the semifinals. A week or so later you have a national championship game. Use the current bowl structure and the current calendar. Nobody gets hurt. Everybody makes money. The fans get something new.

So what’s the problem?

Based on private conversations I’ve had with some commissioners, here is the one big problem that concerns them. If you could guarantee that a four-team playoff would never grow into eight or 16 teams, then you could probably get a consensus among the commissioners to go for it. The Big Ten and Pac-10 wouldn’t like it, but you could probably get them on board.

But you can’t make that guarantee. The playoff would grow. [Emphasis added.] Remember that the NCAA men’s basketball tournament began with eight teams. Now it’s 65.

And if the playoff grows, then it becomes the focal point of college football and the regular season, which is the best of any sport, runs the risk of being diminished.

If the guys making the decisions can’t make that guarantee, what does that tell you? At least they’re honest enough to admit they’re concerned that an extended D-1 football playoff would change the unique nature of the sport.

… One commissioner pointed out to me that college basketball has basically become a three-week sport. It’s all about the NCAA Tournament. They see interest in the regular season literally dying on the vine. He pointed out that there is really only one marquee regular season game that is national Must-See TV game: Duke-North Carolina.

Football, however, is full of “premium” regular-season games that draw huge audiences: Ohio State-Michigan, Alabama-Auburn, Georgia-Florida, Texas-Oklahoma.

Again, I know that there are a lot of college football fans who don’t have a problem with that tradeoff (although many playoff advocates don’t want to admit that such a tradeoff exists). But Barnhart points out that for the movers and shakers it’s not simply a matter of preserving the regular season’s drama for drama’s sake. Thar’s gold in them thar regular season hills, too.

… In college football EVERY regular season game matters. The commissioners do not want to lose that drama because, frankly, it is worth a lot of money.

And there is not going to be a multi-level playoff in college football without cutting back on the regular season. The presidents won’t allow it. People say we can just do away with the 12th regular season game. Tell that to the athletics directors who need the money just to break even on their budgets.

Conference championship games certainly aren’t going away. The SEC championship game not only provides a $1 million to each of the league’s 12 schools, it is a great celebration at the end of the regular season.

Yes, there is a lot of money to be made in the post-season but no one wants to put the regular season at risk. A lot more schools are invested in the regular season than in the post-season.

In other words, the fear is that once you go down the playoff road – more specifically, once you go down the extended playoff road – sooner or later you hit a tipping point where the regular season rights become devalued. And the only way to make that up is to keep enlarging the postseason. At which point you’ve got something very different that what attracts your fan base in the first place. Given that, why, the presidents and commissioners ask, should we go down that road?

In the end, dear Brutus, the fault lies not in the conference commissioners, but in ourselves. As long as we fans continue to be as absorbed in college football the way we are, there isn’t much of an incentive to upset the apple cart. As Barnhart puts it,

… Here is what the powers that be in college football won’t tell you. Listening to the wants and needs of the fans—many of whom want a playoff—is important. But at the end of the day fans are not the only constituency in college football who must be heard and who must be taken into consideration. Fans will complain about the lack of a playoff, which they have been doing for a long time. But they are still going to fill the stadiums and they are still going to watch. The 2007 season proved that.

*****************************************************************

UPDATE: Groo has some thoughts in response to Barnhart. Specifically, he thinks Barnhart overstates his case in one area.

… Barnhart repeats a line that most college football fans dogmatically accept: In college football EVERY regular season game matters.

That statement has never made sense to me. Without getting too semantic over what “matters” means, it seems to me that relatively few games matter in the context of a national championship. You can’t tell me that the regular season is its own glorious playoff winnowing the field of contenders weekly while at the same time insisting that the South Carolina – Clemson game matters in any way outside of the Palmetto State.

Certainly in a sense I see his point. There are rivalry games that will always matter to the local fans, playoffs or not. And Notre Dame will likely continue to have a national following regardless of how the postseason is shaped.

Buuuuut… Barnhart is right in that if you’re a school in the national title hunt, every game does matter. Michigan found its 2007 national title hopes destroyed by 1-AA Appy State in the first game of the season. Does anyone really want to argue that the West Virginia-Pitt game – an intense local rivalry, by the way – last year would have been as important nationally if we had, say, a sixteen school playoff?

There are also the regular season rivalries that have developed not historically nor because of geographics, but because of what’s at stake in conference play. The example I point to there is the battle between Georgia, Florida and Tennessee for the SEC East. Those games matter because getting to the SECCG is so important. If you extend the national postseason to a level where a conference championship game becomes nothing more than a stepping stone to a higher seed in a national tourney (or an automatic berth for a mediocre team, a la March Madness), what then becomes the big deal about beating the Vols in October?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

Not in vain

When the going gets tough, Larry Munson invokes the Deity.

He makes it a double in this one.

Here, too.

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Filed under Georgia Football

The natives are getting restless.

There is little or no story this week at the BCS meetings in Florida due to a lack of consensus for change amongst the presidents and conference commissioners. There is, however, lots of national sports media on the scene. And that’s pretty much the standard recipe for reporting angst.

So it’s no surprise that these guys want something – anything – to happen. Even if they know it really won’t satisfy those who have their knickers twisted over the BCS:

… As much as the public clamors for an NFL-style playoff, there isn’t going to be one. Opponents say it would diminish college football’s regular season.

Even plus-one is flawed, though, and it would amount only to a cookie thrown to satiate an angry beast.

As Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany pointed out before dashing off to Monday’s first marathon meeting, plus-one would have solved nothing last year.

It would have pitted No. 1 Ohio State versus No. 4 Oklahoma in one semifinal and No. 2 Louisiana State versus No. 3 Virginia Tech in a rematch of a regular-season game.

Plus-one would have left out schools many thought were the two best at season’s end: No. 5 Georgia and No. 7 USC.

But hey, there’s always the attractive option of challenging the manhood of the villains of the story (Pac-10, Big Ten and Rose Bowl).

I dare the Pac-10 and Big Ten presidents, chancellors, athletic directors and commissioners to keep up this obstructionist attitude by withdrawing and keeping their hallowed tie to one another.

Yeah! That’ll shame ‘em! Wait a minute… isn’t that what we had before the BCS? Um… well… sort of… OK, yes.

… And as much as I’d like the rest of college football to go on without the Big Ten and Pac-10, as it did in the old Bowl Alliance days, it’s impossible to have a championship game that leaves out Southern California and a Big Ten champion for the SEC to beat up on.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles