Daily Archives: February 7, 2012

So this is what conference expansion nets you.

Jerry Hinnen notes that in return for a fairly modest bump ($1-2 million/year per school) in its TV deal, the ACC had to pay a steep price on its end even for that:

… In exchange for the boost to the contract, ESPN is also expected to exact a not-insignificant price: a three-year extension of what was already a 12-year deal, meaning the ACC won’t be able to enter a full contract negotiation until 2026. (If the Big Ten and Pac-12 networks continue at their expected rates of growth, how wide will the gap be between those conferences and the ACC 14 years from now?)

Such a deal.  Of course, nothing’s stopping them from going to 16 and renegotiating again, right?

Mike Slive had better hope that’s not an indication of where the national broadcast market is right now.

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14 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, It's Just Bidness

Richt vs. Bobo in context

Michael Elkon makes a very good point about Patrick Garbin’s statistical comparison of Georgia’s offense under its two coordinators of the Richt era:

Kudos to Patrick Garbin for taking a numbers-based approach to comparing Mark Richt and Mike Bobo as offensive coordinators in Athens (HT: Blutarsky), but there is a fairly big hole in his reasoning.  The period in which Richt was an offensive coordinator (2001-2006) was a defensive era in the SEC, whereas Bobo’s period has taken place during an offensive explosion.  Thus, we should not be simply comparing raw numbers.

My only quibble with that would be in citing 2011 – the season in which only two SEC teams finished in the top twenty in scoring offense and five finished in the top ten in total defense – as a time of “offensive explosion”.  But that’s minor.  It’s his conclusion that’s spot on:

The dominant impression that I took from the numbers (and this will surprise absolutely no one, given that I like the college-specific offenses [the spread-to-run and the Airraid] over the pro-style attack) is that Georgia’s offensive numbers in the Richt era are underwhelming.

Having a high-scoring offense has never been a key for Richt.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to win; it’s just that’s not the way he feels he can best go about his business.  Which, again, is why I don’t think replacing Bobo would make much of a difference.

92 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Tuesday morning buffet

What the hell… it beats a bran muffin, right?

6 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football

The train between Athens and Milledgeville runs both ways.

After the fallout from last week’s dismissal, Georgia Military College may both giveth and taketh away.  In the short run, given the roster numbers, the former matters more:

Meanwhile, GMC is also home to a player that Georgia is thinking of offering a scholarship, possibly as soon as this year. Mario Alford, a running back who could play defensive back, spent the past year at GMC and could transfer immediately to a Division I school and have three years of eligibility, much like Mark Beard, the offensive lineman who enrolled at Georgia last month.

The Bulldogs are now in desperate need for depth at defensive backs, thanks to the dismissals of Marshall and Sanders. Williams said Monday that Georgia has not offered a scholarship to Alford yet.

“But they know about him,” Williams said.

If he can help, it’s pretty much a no-brainer.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

This (h/t Matt Hinton) shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

… The college game headlined the political agendas for several lawmakers, particularly those determined to promote a head-to-head playoff system designed to replace the current Bowl Championship Series.

Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the ringleaders of this movement, in December created the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus to examine a playoff. Barton had previously sponsored a bill written to prevent the BCS from deeming its title game a college football championship game unless a playoff system precedes it.

Meanwhile, former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-Conn.), now a lobbyist running Washington, D.C.-based firm The Moffett Group, in December spearheaded We Want a Playoff Now, a campaign aimed at rallying lawmakers and the public against the BCS. And Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have also been outspoken on the matter, arguing the BCS is prejudiced against schools in their states.

“Americans care about sports, and they care about fairness,” Cohen said, explaining why he considers the college football postseason a congressional concern. “If something like this isn’t fair, it is the prerogative of Congress, and its job, to address it and fashion remedies.”

This might explain why the BCS in 2011 spent $350,000 on federal lobbying efforts defending itself.

Prior to 2003, the BCS didn’t lobby the government, and it had never spent more than $120,000 doing so until 2009, records show.  [Emphasis added.]  It now counts former college football great Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) among its hired guns.

It’s only natural.

“We go to Washington because Washington is interested in this, and we’re achieving our goal of helping educate people on the benefits of the BCS system,” Bill Hancock, the BCS’s executive director, said, citing revenue distribution.

There are all kinds of ways to fill a vacuum, though.  Which is why I wonder if the BCS is getting the same quality advice from Ari Fleischer that the Susan G. Komen Center for the Cure’s been getting.

60 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Political Wankery

The Super Bowl is Not an Argument Against (Some) Playoffs.

I really don’t have to spend any time on why college football doesn’t need the equivalent of a seven-loss Super Bowl champ, do I?

Instead, spend a little time reading Year2’s thoughts and concerns on the matter.  Money graf:

I think ultimately though, this all boils down to a fairly fundamental argument. Is college football its own sport that should only be concerned about its own competitively purity, or is it a fundraiser that subsidizes nearly every other sport that schools sponsor? While in practice it is both, I fear that more and more, the powers that be see it solely as the latter.

I know that many of us like to romanticize the whole “settle it on the field” as justification for an expanded playoff, but that’s not why playoffs expand.  They expand for one inevitable reason – the stewards of the sport sense an opportunity to wring more money out of the marketplace.

And that’s why I find it easy to dismiss many of the factors Year2 cites as sort of natural brakes on the expansion process.  Sure, the NFL playoffs are oversized.  Obviously, nobody wants to see a team with a winning percentage on the short side of 60% grab a national title.  No doubt there’s a noticeable dropoff in quality once you get down to college football’s eighth and ninth ranked teams.

To all of that I say, “so what?”  College athletics’ grand poobahs have already traveled down that road and taken comfort in the journey.  These are the people who looked hard at a 96-team basketball tourney and ultimately pulled up only because they couldn’t find a broadcast partner ready to stroke a check of sufficient size.  Closer to home, as many of you like to remind me, there’s a college football playoff out there already.  They’ve even named the division after it!

And the FCS tourney has grown to twenty teams with an eye towards expanding to 24.  So don’t tell me it can’t happen.  If they think the money’s there, it will.

Therein lies the rub.  The big boys have it going their way right now.  What’s holding things in right now is control of the football revenue spigot.  Regular season money isn’t shared and dwarfs the postseason money that is shared.  What they’re trying to do – what they’re always trying to do – is make sure that whatever steps they take don’t upset that apple cart.

It’s not about playoffs.  It’s about how the revenue pie is cut.  That’s why Jim Delany’s cautious toe in the water approach to the plus-one is really the proverbial canary in the coal mine.  The issue isn’t whether there’s going to be a plus-one playoff of some sort (the panic over the recent ratings and attendance drops has made that a virtual lock).  It’s where things go after the plus-one is put in place.

And that’s why the real development to watch isn’t the Big Ten’s playoff discussion, as much attention as that will get.  It’s what NCAA president Mark Emmert is up to with his twin proposals to pay a $2000 player stipend and to allow student-athletes to receive multi-year scholarships.  If both pass, they’ll be the death knell to D-1 football as we know it today.  The have-nots simply won’t be able to keep up with the haves anymore.  The end result will be a split of the division.  And once that happens, Jim Delany won’t have to share with Karl Benson anymore.

It’ll be off to the races from there, playoff-wise.  The only limit we’ll see as to expanded playoffs will be the regular season money.  Delany, Slive and Scott will walk the number of postseason rounds right up to the edge as to where it would affect the value of their conferences’ broadcast rights and calibrate that back just so.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will turn out that our desire to see things settled on the field and their desire to settle their bank accounts will line up in agreement when it comes down to a final format.  But it will be nothing more than a happy coincidence if that happens.

33 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs