Daily Archives: February 17, 2010

Wednesday afternoon delight

Feel free to indulge:

  • Care to guess the number of teams in BCS conferences who scheduled more than half of their out-of-conference games against other BCS-level foes in the past five years?  That’d be ten.
  • Here’s part of what Mike Hugenin has to say about the resurrected (at least for the SEC) Cam Newton’s game:  “He’s a punishing runner, with surprisingly good speed. He has a strong arm but still is relatively raw as a passer.” Hmmm… sounds like a bigger version of Kodi Burns to me.
  • They may be whining over the new recruiting rule about head coaches in waiting at Texas, but it doesn’t sound like Mack Brown’s having too much trouble getting early commitments.
  • If  Paul Dee, chairman of the NCAA Committee on Infractions, is accurate when he says his organization tries to be consistent, then here’s a likely road map as to what’s ahead for Southern Cal.
  • The Mark Richt-on-a-hot-seat meme hits a bump in the road.  And it’s all our fault.
  • Bitter?  Nah, not too much.
  • One amusing thing about Junior’s world view is that he tries to present himself as the innocent bystander who just happened to receive the Southern Cal offer out of the blue, and, well… what could he do?  Anybody who thinks he wasn’t lobbying his ass off for the job after Carroll told him he was leaving for Seattle is delusional.
  • More proof that Tommy Bowden got less from more than any coach in the ACC over the last five years.
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Filed under ACC Football, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, College Football, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting, Stats Geek!, The NCAA

Conference expansion: maybe there ought to be a law.

I haven’t joined in the rampant speculation about conference expansion that’s engulfed college football blogdom since the Big Ten’s announcement that it would analyze the possibility of adding another school (Texas!Texas!Texas!) to the conference, mainly because nobody speculating has much of a clue about where things might be headed.

What is striking about what’s been posted for the most part, though, is the focus on the business end of what may drive the changes.

Money is the driving force behind decades of incremental change in college sports. Conferences have been changing from the time college men first put on sweaters and kicked around a pig bladder. The evolution has accelerated in the age of television, leading us to a perfect storm of economic factors that could bring about massive realignment across the landscape. It has been foretold for decades, and laid out as manifest destiny as soon as Georgia and Oklahoma won television independence for college sports via the Supreme Court in 1984.

Why is that striking?  Because it’s what gets ignored or brushed over in the push for a football playoff.

Here’s the truth, or at least the closest approximation to it:

If the power conferences – and more importantly, the TV networks — saw value in any teams not currently in the BCS conference power structure, those teams would already be in it. The truth of the matter is that there are no teams outside the current BCS conferences who can add to the money pot. Any realignment scenarios that mention any non-BCS team as a likely candidate are grounded in wishful thinking but not much reality. Oh, perhaps a couple might get in simply to balance divisions or fill a particular regional gap in TV markets, depending on how the dominoes fall. That’s you, Utah and perhaps BYU. That’s you, TCU. That’s probably not you, Boise State. Only if you get lucky with the way things break, UCF. Everybody else? Better just focus on the mirror instead of that pie in the sky…

I’m going to confess that this doesn’t sadden me in the slightest.  In fact, it’s kind of exciting.  If what we wind up with is a concentration of power in a grouping of superconferences, it seems to me that it becomes much easier to design a postseason that makes a majority of college football fans much happier than they are now.

Who says there will even BE a BCS when this reaches its conclusion? Or if there is, it won’t radically change things. Superconferences based on mega television deals only ENHANCE the value of the regular season. Rather than spur playoff push — which could happen certainly, — it might actually strengthen the BCS with fewer conferences requiring automatic bids. The regular-season and conference championship games become even bigger.

It also makes it easier to design a playoff comprised of conference champs only, if the powers that be are so inclined.  Schwing!

The question at that point will be how happy the Orrin Hatches of the world will be watching the Boise States and Utahs get swept into the Dipshit Division with the remnants of the Big East and the Big XII, which look to be the most vulnerable to the (potential) expansion tsunami.  Well, maybe two questions:  could they move fast enough to stop it?

The only thing stopping the inevitable cartel cannibalism has been the fact that college presidents didn’t have the courage to make the moves – to go all in. Oh, and the money. It hasn’t been quite the right time, and the dollars not quite right. But the day may soon arrive when the dollars cannot be ignored, and even the politicians cannot stand in the way. Perhaps the presidents will again explore the options and take the conservative approach of past expansionist periods. A move here, a move there, and we’re done for a while, until the next ripple. Maybe. History says that will be the case. But if they conclude otherwise — and they are certainly going to hear otherwise from the networks and their conference commissioners – then America will be stunned at how quickly the dawn of the superconferences arrives.

My guess is not.

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UPDATE: Michael Elkon riffs off my post.  I don’t disagree with what he has to say, except that I think he’s reading my “truth” comment a bit overbroadly.  I doubt any power conference taking on schools will be kicking any out.  That’s why the debate is focused on superconferences comprised of 14 and 16 schools.  The “truth” my post refers to is that the conferences adding on won’t be looking at what Boise State brings to the table from a competition standpoint.  (If they cared about that, you would see Washington State depart the Pac-10.)   It’ll be driven totally by the dollars.  And that’s where the WAC schools and most of the MWC schools fall woefully short.

What the Orrin Hatch-types refuse to accept is that the same mentality drives the decision making behind the D-1 college football postseason.

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UPDATE #2: I swear, I wince every time I read one of Andy “Trustbuster” Staples’ attempts to pontificate on economic/legal issues affecting the game.

Today, he advises the BCS schools that they can have it all by following these three simple steps:  (1) create four sixteen-team superconferences; (2) leave the NCAA and form a new governing body; and (3) relinquish their tax-exempted status as non-profits.  This is dumb and it gets even dumber when you read some of his specific comments.

Like,

… if you’re in charge of an athletic department that brings in more than $40 million a year in revenue, you don’t appreciate the NCAA’s pesky habit of distributing money you played a larger role earning to programs straining to keep their noses above the poverty line.

Um, the NCAA doesn’t touch D-1 football money, Andy.

And, my favorite part:

Since the CASH would pay taxes, the president couldn’t threaten its tax-exempt status. Since it would produce the same product as the more-established NCAA, it wouldn’t be a monopoly, either. Instead, it would be the NCAA’s direct competitor. If consumers chose to spend more money on the CASH’s product, so be it…

First off, there’s a much bigger stick than tax exemption which the government could wield if it wanted to threaten the schools, and that’s financial aid to universities, which runs in the multi-billions.  Yielding tax exemption doesn’t get these guys home free and it costs them major bucks (which undercuts the point to this exercise, doesn’t it?).  So what’s the use of giving it up?

Second, the “product” isn’t owned by the NCAA.  It’s owned by the conferences.  And any other conference can go out and compete with them right now in a BCS world in exactly the same way that Staples is suggesting for his new paradigm.  So if his example gets the BCS schools out of antitrust jail, why does he believe that they deserve to be locked up in there in the first place?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness

Somehow, you knew this was coming.

Anybody out there really believe Tommy Tuberville when he said at the time of his hire at Texas Tech that he was going to leave the Mike Leach offense in place?  Anybody?  Bueller?

“We’ll put a lot of speed on the field,” as well as a more aggressive defense, adding the team’s quarterbacks met with him soon after his arrival and asked Tech to run the ball a bit more to help protect them. “We’re going to be a little more balanced on offense.”

Yeah, that’s it – the quarterbacks made him do it.  Because if there’s one thing that’s totally logical in this crazy world, it’s that quarterbacks recruited to a program with a pass-happy offense are going to go to the coach and ask that he not throw the ball so much.

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Filed under Tommy Tuberville - Mythical National Champ

An early look at SEC schedules

Hey, if I crapped on CFN for doing a weak job in one spot, it’s only fair to give them a nod when they post a fun read like their look at the 2010 SEC schedules.  How sad is that first week of games when there are arguably six less compelling games than ULaLa at Georgia?

But on to the meat of it:   check out what CFN has to say about Georgia’s schedule in particular.

Georgia won’t be the best team in the SEC, but it has the schedule to look that way. Any SEC East team worth its salt would take this slate in a heartbeat. There’s no Alabama or LSU to deal with, Florida, as always, is at a neutral site, Tennessee is a home game, and the road games are at South Caorlina, Mississippi State, Kentucky, and Auburn. Throw in a home date against Vanderbilt and anything less than a New Year’s Day bowl appearance will be a mega-disappointment. Even the non-conference schedule works out well with the Georgia Tech game at home and the one tough road trip at Colorado. On the negative side, the game against the Buffs is coming off a road trip to Mississippi State for the only back-to-back road games of the year, and the week off doesn’t come until late November.

There’s a lot there that’s hard to argue with.  And they show Georgia’s likely finish at 10-2, the same as Florida’s and Alabama’s.  Be still, my heart.

Looking at the schedules in the West, there’s a pretty good-sized disparity in the non-conference slates of Arkansas, Auburn and Ole Miss versus those of Alabama and LSU.  (Although I’ll be interested to see if there are more Tide fans who attend the Duke game than the home folks.)

In the East, Tennessee’s schedule is front-loaded in terms of difficulty.  If Dooley can get to the ‘Bama game at 3-3, he’ll be doing well, but the back end has the potential to generate some momentum for the Vols.  Kentucky’s non-conference opponents are a weak bunch;  Joker’s got a good chance to extend the ‘Cats bowl run for another year.  It’ll be interesting to see how much attention the Southern Miss game is able to draw away from Spurrier’s summer preparation towards the Georgia meeting.  And Florida having to play LSU and Alabama from the West means that there’s a shot that the game in Jacksonville is going to mean something big in the division race.

Vanderbilt?  At least Vandy’s got itself a bye week this season.

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Filed under SEC Football

Gators on Sunday: blink and you might miss them.

That noise you hear as you read this is the sound of printers in recruiting offices across the Southeast running copies of it to hand out to every five-star recruit being charmed by Corch Meyers Steve Addazio somebody in Gainesville.

And if you listen real carefully, you can probably hear Junior’s machine cranking away as well.

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UPDATE: Year2 has another list of five-star Gators to look at. Day-um.

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Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting