Daily Archives: July 15, 2008

The three faces of punditry

First, the good – ESPN.com’s Bruce Feldman over at CFN’s Experts Roundtable has this to say about his best interview…

Bruce Feldman: (Coach) Ed Orgeron. I flew down to see Ole Miss on the eve of Signing Day in 2006 for a magazine feature we were planning on running a year later. The initial idea was for me to visit four or five times over the course of the year and do a 3000-word story on being inside an SEC program throughout the course of the recruiting process. Instead, I came back to our New York office and told my editors I’ll have more stuff than we could ever run. I said I could do a book being around this guy and his staff and my editors agreed. I was blown away by what he let me see (recruiting boards, film, lists, profiles) in the first 30 minutes I was in their war room. The best part was he wasn’t afraid to say anything in front of a tape recorder or notepad. He was incredibly candid. Many times I didn’t quite understanding what he was saying, but he was such a rush to cover. The guy is on blast from 5 am till 10 pm every day.

… and his worst one:

Bruce Feldman: Tom Lemming. I’ve known Tom for a while and always got along with him. A few years back, I was working on a feature for ESPN Magazine about the chaos recruits have to deal with from not only recruiters but in some cases the people who work in the recruiting business. I’d interviewed a bunch of coaches and players who had made some strong allegations against Tom for the way he handled things, often putting down certain schools and elevating other programs when he met with the recruits. We needed to get his side of things. It was strange in that he denied doing some of those things, yet he couched it by saying he was just telling it like it is. Then he proceeded to throw everyone under the bus.

Somehow, I find myself surprised by neither set of observations.

Next, the bad.  Also from CFN’s Experts Roundtable, in response to this question The Next Really Big Superpower Will Be …, we get this perceptive contribution from Stewart Mandel:

Stewart Mandel: Florida.

That’s it – no details, no explanation about where Florida went to after winning an MNC two seasons ago, nada.  Maybe he’s waiting for someone from Montana to shed some light on the matter.

But compared with number three – the ugly – Mandel’s remarkably insightful.  Our third pundit is the always entertaining Tom Dienhart, who tells us today in a lengthy piece that everything we know about college football is wrong.

Offense sells tickets. Defense wins championships.

Right?

Wrong.

And what’s his proof?  In the BCS era, offensive-minded coaches (whatever the hell that means to him) have won more national titles than their defensive counterparts.  He’s even got a nifty chart that breaks it all down for you.

I hate to get in the way of a good narrative, but if you go back and look at the offensive and defensive rankings of the BCS title game winners from 2000 forward (that’s all the stats you can find on the NCAA website), here’s what you get:

  • 2007 (LSU):  26th in total offense; 3rd in total defense
  • 2006 (Florida):  19th in total offense; 6th in total defense
  • 2005 (Texas):  3rd in total offense; 10th in total defense
  • 2004 (USC):  12th in total offense; 6th in total defense
  • 2003 (LSU):  31st in total offense; 1st in total defense
  • 2002 (Ohio State):  70th in total offense; 23rd in total defense
  • 2001 (Miami):  8th in total offense; 6th in total defense
  • 2000 (Oklahoma):  18 in total offense; 8th in total defense

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s defense 7, offense 1.  Mindedness is a terrible thing to waste…

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Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Check ‘em out.

A few odds and ends worth your attention today:

  • Sadly, this time it’s for real:  David Ching is no longer covering Georgia football and his terrific run at Georgia Bulldog Blog has come to an end.  All the usual best wishes and thoughts about big shoes to fill go out from here, of course.
  • The Quad looks at Central Michigan:  at #45, it’s pretty consistent with what others have had to say, that is, good offense, bad defense.  How bad?  As The Quad tells us, CMU … was outscored by non-conference opponents, 285-152. Central Michigan beat Army, 47-23, but lost to Kansas by 52-7, North Dakota State by 44-14, Clemson by 70-14 and to Purdue twice, 45-22, in the regular season and by 51-48 in the Motor City Bowl… In other words, really bad.
  • As for another Georgia opponent in ’08, Sunday Morning Quarterback provides us with his analysis of Arizona State.  The YouTube clip of the ASU-Southern Cal game is not for the faint of heart.  I’m surprised Rudy Carpenter was able to get out of bed the next day.  SMQ’s most interesting point, though, concerns the Sun Devil defense.  Check out the stat splits in ASU’s wins and losses last year.  Basically, ASU feasted on mediocre to crappy offenses, but couldn’t handle any team that could move the ball.
  • And Westerdawg links to this somewhat questionable, but nonetheless entertaining, smorgasborg of stories regarding Urban Meyer, balls out recruiter.  The Jevon Snead story, which I’ve heard before, is a classic.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Recruiting, The Blogosphere

One for all and all for one.

If you’re looking for the canary in the coal mine as to whether the oft-rumored SEC TV network will ever make it off the ground, well, there may be 100 million of them.

The University of Florida and Fox‘s Sun Sports have signed a media rights deal that is not only one of the most lucrative in the country, but also could end the likelihood of an SEC channel being created any time soon.

The deal will pay Florida’s marketing arm, the University Athletic Association, roughly $10 million a year for the next 10 years. Florida, one of the Southeastern Conference’s most marketable schools, was one of the few major colleges that handled many of its marketing and media rights in-house.

The deal also could be a sign that an SEC channel — modeled after the Big Ten Network — is not in the offing, industry analysts speculated. While the deal itself would not preclude the SEC from creating a channel, its timing, just weeks before the conference picks its new TV partners, suggests that such a channel is unlikely.

Needless to say, that’s a lot of money for a local program.  And it’s not the kind of deal you’re gonna see, say, Mississippi State strike any time soon.  But that doesn’t mean the conference will step in to level the playing field.

The deal between Florida and Sun Sports “could be an indicator that an SEC network is no longer in play,” said one TV analyst, who asked not to be identified. “The timing certainly is interesting, isn’t it?”

The SEC has the ultimate authority over the local rights of the schools, so it could conceivably commandeer those rights if it decided to launch a network. But the schools that already enjoy significant revenue from their local TV arrangements — Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and LSU — might be hard-pressed to see the value in a conference network.

Those local TV packages typically include tape-delayed or pay-per-view football games, as well as less-attractive nonconference basketball games.

Some TV analysts believe that schools with their own local TV packages should resist the creation of a network that would take over ownership of those rights.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., It's Just Bidness, SEC Football