Daily Archives: July 8, 2009

Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the Mountain West Conference acknowledged that it would sign the BCS/ESPN contract.  That was after its good friends in the WAC bailed on it.

The first round of the Mountain West Conference’s fight with the BCS is over.

The conference announced Wednesday evening that it would sign the contract between the BCS and ESPN, ending a six-month campaign to change the BCS and the way it chooses its national champion.

The Mountain West was the only conference that hadn’t officially signed the agreement, which runs through the end of the 2013 season.

Earlier in the day, the Western Athletic Conference, which was having reservations about signing, voted unanimously to sign the agreement.

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UPDATE: The Wiz backhands BSU prez Bob Kustra.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

The nerve of some people

I can’t believe Evil Richt would grant his first interview to a South Carolina blogger.  What are we Georgia guys, chopped liver?

1 Comment

Filed under The Blogosphere

A little win total talk

If you want to have some fun this morning, Jerry Hinnen has linked to this post at an FSU blog which lists a bunch of over/under numbers for regular season win totals this year that’s worth a peek.

There are eight SEC schools listed (I tried to find the rest, but was unable to), along with where Vegas breaks the wins:

  • Alabama, 9.5
  • Auburn, 7.5
  • Florida, 11
  • Georgia, 8.5
  • LSU, 8.5
  • Mississippi, 9
  • South Carolina, 7
  • Tennessee, 7

First of all, looking at that, if Chizik winds up winning more games than Junior this year, there are going to be a lot of people laughing their asses off at season’s end.

Anyway, the fun part is handicapping the handicappers.  Jerry gives it his very good shot here.  It’s a fun read and makes you focus on the schedule to see where those wins are going to be squeezed from.  Of course, you still have to factor the impact of injuries and historical trends into the mix.

So what do I think?  I think Jerry’s right about that South Carolina bet.  I don’t think that as much will go right on offense as the ‘Cocks hope and that schedule is rough.  I’m a little more hesitant about the ‘Bama bet, simply because Saban’s never coached back to back seasons with double digit wins before.  If the Tide doesn’t beat Virginia Tech, I don’t see it happening this time around.  Jerry’s probably right about Ole Miss, but I remember that the exact same things were being predicted for the Nuttster’s last team at Arky, and all it took was one Marcus Monk injury to blow that up.

As for Georgia, the Dawgs haven’t won as few as eight games since Richt’s first season and assuming the injury issues that plagued the team last season are truly a thing of the past, I don’t see it happening this year.  The game at Arkansas is most likely the dividing line.  I’ve seen a lot of pundits point to that game as a likely upset, but unless the Hogs improve dramatically on defense and special teams this year (and when has a Petrino-coached team been that good on defense?), I’m not seeing it.

What do y’all think?

7 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, The Blogosphere

Let a thousand offenses bloom.

In case you haven’t been a faithful reader here at this blog for very long, you should know that I love Smart Football.  Chris Brown constantly posts thoughtful, detailed (okay, maybe occasionally wonkish) nuts and bolts stuff about the college game that’s rare to find anywhere else.

So if you’re like me in that one big reason you’re turned off by the NFL as opposed to college football is how boring pro offenses are, then this post will be right up your alley.

The best point he makes is that the problem is essentially institutionalized on the pro level, mainly because the playing field from a talent standpoint is so even.

… But what incentive does an NFL team have to just say “screw it, I’m going to do something weird.” Very little. Even the moribund Detroit Lions don’t really have this need; the Miami Dolphins went from worst-to-playoffs, though with a little help by being different. Different helps but we’re not talking about extremes.

In college or high school, however, you have teams that are completely downtrodden, as in winless in years downtrodden. There is no reason in these scenarios not to experiment. Of course, everyone knows that Rich Rodriguez’s “zone read” offense was born at Glenville State where he said his entire goal was “just to get a first down.” There are a lot of really bad Division I programs, but even more bad or obscure small colleges, and thousands more high schools. Indeed, for all the talk of the “Wildcat” as a “college thing,” it really was a high school thing. Gus Malzahn ran some similar stuff while a high school coach, and insofar as Houston Nutt and others had their input the shotgun jet-sweep offense which the Wildcat is but one strand of is something that has exploded at high school level but hasn’t really made its way to major college football. NFL coaches would do well to keep their eye on the lower levels to see what broad, new, general ideas spring forth. (A final X factor is the issue of practice time: Major D-1 colleges have just about the least practice time at any level, and high schools of course have to spend so much time teaching fundamentals that strategy is secondary. As a result there is what I call variation by hedgehog, meaning that you get variety by having a bunch of teams focus on one or two things they do really well, compared with the NFL where teams try to do a bit of everything.

Great, great stuff.  Read it all.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

“But the six (BCS) conferences will have to believe they are equal to or better off than they are now.”

The header is a quote from Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman at yesterday’s less than momentous Senate hearings on the BCS.  File that under “Moment of ‘Duh'”.

I’m not going to waste your time with the utter predictability of what was said (you can read Year2’s recap for that, if you’d like), because you really don’t need to know any more about what went on than this:

The hearing
Of the 10 senators on this committee, 2 were present. Chairman Herb Kohl left after opening the hearing, leaving one.

Maybe they were all out getting their hair done.  Or maybe they didn’t find Hatch’s vanity project worth wasting any time on.

Young: “I appreciate those comments very much and I do appreciate the tremendous football team Nebraska fields and wish they would be willing to play us.”

Hatch: “There you have a challenge. You tell (AD Tom) Osborne I want a university of Utah game.”

Jeezus.

Where do things go from here?  Well, expect Hatch and Shurtleff to continue publicly nagging the Justice Department to open an inquiry, requests/demands which I’m sure will be given all due consideration – or at least all of the consideration due two politicians who have given the Obama administration so much support on so many other issues.

Expect more whining and temper tantrums from the Mountain West.  Like this act of short term self-immolation (h/t The Wiz of Odds):

Boise State would not be eligible for the lucrative Bowl Championship Series after the 2010 regular season if WAC and Mountain West presidents decide not to sign a new deal by Thursday afternoon.

The 18 presidents must decide whether to join all Division I-A football leagues in the powerful postseason bowl coalition, or risk millions and more in hopes of changing the system to improve access and payouts for their schools.

As they say in the Guinness commercial, brilliant.  These guys are living the dream – the pipe dream.

“It’s not in the best interest of the non-automatic qualifying conferences,” Boise State president Bob Kustra said of the potential deal, which would extend the current qualifying standards for teams to play in BCS bowl games. “… There’s considerable pressure to sign it. But it could be that Hatch’s call will influence the majority of presidents to not sign it.”

Notice he doesn’t say where the pressure is coming from.  It’s sure not coming from the Big 6, the bowls or ESPN.

Maybe it’s coming from the kids.

… But none of those undefeated teams was ever named a national champion.  [University of Utah President, Michael K.] Young says college students are watching an injustice.

”We are preaching one thing in the classroom and doing something else,” Young said.  “Kids get the hypocrisy of that in 30 seconds.”

They get short-sighted stupidity fairly quickly, too.

“There are really two choices: not signing it at all or signing it with a statement saying we’re signing it under duress,” Kustra said.

Not signing the agreement would be a considerable risk, not only because the leagues would lose their share of millions of BCS and ESPN dollars, but because their teams would be shut out of the biggest bowls – an outcome that would have trickle down effects into recruiting, coach retention, athletic budgets and overall prestige.

The expression “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face” comes to mind here.  How these guys are going to turn a voluntary decision not to participate into an antitrust violation should be fascinating to watch.  I’m kidding, of course; there’s no duress here, just adolescent petulance over not getting their way.  And these guys have no clue if there’s even a valid payoff for their defiance.

WAC presidents have been made aware of the ramifications of not signing it, Kustra said.

But, he said, “it may be a risk worth taking” for the WAC and Mountain West.

The thinking is that with 18 universities – spread from Louisiana to Hawaii and from Idaho to Texas – taking a stand on the issue of access, Congress or the Justice Department would be forced to act.

Or it might even prompt the BCS to do something.

Not if the government declines to get involved.  Otherwise, if these guys believe they can appeal to Jim Delany’s sense of shame, they’re even dumber than I already give them credit for being.

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UPDATE: Berry Tramel’s column on this is a must read, if only for two things.

First, this little tale of buyer’s remorse.

True story from a BCS insider: Last December, all 11 leagues in Division I-A voted for the new BCS/ESPN contract that goes into effect for the 2010 season. BCS and ESPN officials then huddled for four days to iron out details of the already-accepted agreement.

But when the completed contract was ready to sign, the Mountain West balked. What happened in those four days?

Utah upset Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and completed a perfect season.

Second, from the department of go-ahead-and-make-my-day, this:

BCS spokesman Bill Hancock said ESPN has informed the conferences that its payout won’t change, regardless of whether the Mountain West is involved.

Now that’s market share we can believe in.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery