Shorter David Brooks: if the right ran colleges and college athletics, the players still wouldn’t get paid, but at least everyone would be happy about it.
Daily Archives: September 23, 2011
In response to all the “academics do so matter when we’re considering conference expansion” blather being tossed about, here’s what LSU’s president has to say:
“Once an athletic conference is expanded by the addition of athletically effective institutions with strong television markets, then the members talk about the relative wonderfulness of their members’ academic profiles.”
Or, to put it more directly, as Jon Wilner has,
The Pac-12 CEOs were also leery of adding the Oklahoma schools on academic grounds — neither is a member of the Association of American Universities. But as noted previously on the Hotline, that’s a convenient excuse: The league had no problem adding OU and OSU last year when it needed expansion money.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a villain in all this, the WWL says, hey, don’t look at us!
The driving force on realignment lies with the conferences and universities. The Big 12 determined in 2010 to grant each of its schools the ability to create their own networks. As a result, the Big 12 stayed together and the University of Texas made the decision to launch its network. ESPN subsequently won a competitive bid to become its media partner. We have since seen Kansas State and Missouri create opportunities while Oklahoma is exploring its media options. The concept of LHN remains the same as it was 15 months ago.
I’m sure the Disney folks tell themselves that every night before they go to bed. It seems to be about all they can contribute to the story right now.
Reaction III: What I find most interesting is that throughout this massive news story — the potential realignment of collegiate athletics as we know it — the WWL has been relatively quite. It has done very little original reporting and broken very, very few stories. (It did, however, shamelessly fail to credit the New York Times for first reporting the Pitt/Syracuse/ACC story last weekend, instead presenting the news as original to ESPN during the Saturday morning crawl.)
Reaction IV: ESPN does a lot of things very well, and it has a lot of very good reporters (one of the best anywhere is right here). But because of its business relationships with the very conferences involved in realignment, it has been a secondary player in a news story of the first order.
A statistical look at Ole Miss’ season to date shows a defense which starts out strong but fades over the course of the game…
•In the first halves, Ole Miss’ opponents have rushed for 224 yards on 59 carries (3.8 yards). In the second halves? On the same amount of carries, 371 yards (6.29). Take that a step further, and isolate just the first quarter – 30 carries for 58 yards (1.93).
… and a struggling offense.
•In the first halves of the first three games, Ole Miss has completed a combined 14 of 30 passes, for 146 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
•On third downs, Ole Miss has run the ball 15 times, for negative-34 yards.
•The average starting position for the opposition after a turnover is the Ole Miss 40.5-yard line.
On paper, this looks like a game in which Georgia simply needs to be patient on offense, avoid mistakes and grind the Rebel Black Bears down. Let’s hope that’s not easier said than done.
Dan Wetzel’s next column will establish the premise that a college football playoff will cure cancer.
The standard warning about correlation not be the same thing as causation notwithstanding, this is pretty striking data from Bill Connelly:
Last year in the SEC, teams with big-time No. 1 targets (defined here as receivers averaging at least 10.0 yards per target) went a combined 27-10 in conference; teams with No. 1′s averaging fewer than 10 yards per target went just 21-35 (15-33 if you remove LSU’s trend-bucking Tigers).
A.J. Green was one of those targets.
I don’t have target data for Georgia’s receivers for this season, but if you compare receiving stats for this season against last year’s, you’ll see that overall yards per catch numbers are lower, by almost two ypc. The only receiver in 2011 who might meet Connelly’s definition is Orson Charles.
The passing stats show that the Dawgs are throwing the ball more this year, but have shortened the passing attack. Given the struggles with pass blocking, that’s probably wise. But you wonder how much they’re going to miss the deep game they had with A.J.