Daily Archives: February 27, 2012

Some things are beyond changing.

In case you were wondering, the BCS negotiations aren’t inspiring the usual suspects to join hands and sing Kumbaya around the campfire.

It’s unusual for properties like the BCS to hire multiple consultants to handle media rights negotiations, although it’s not unprecedented. The NCAA used two consultants to negotiate its deal with Turner and CBS — Gerber and former Turner Sports executive Kevin O’Malley. IMG’s Barry Frank worked on the current BCS contract, while O’Malley has consulted with the BCS in the past.

But industry sources indicated that the BCS could not agree on Gerber or Jordan individually. Gerber is close to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive; Jordan has strong ties with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. Slive and Delany generally are considered the power brokers among major conference commissioners, and it’s not surprising that they each pressed for their own man to be involved, sources said.

No, it’s not surprising at all.

Slive and Delany.  They’ll always have each other.

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Filed under Big Ten Football, SEC Football

In for a penny, in for a pound.

North Carolina’s AD favors a 128-team basketball tournament.  It’s all about the math… and judiciously trimming the regular season.

… Until 1985, when the field was expanded from 48 to 64 teams, an NCAA bid was ridiculously difficult to land mathematically.

From 1953 through 1974, the field was limited to 22 qualifiers at a time when about 225 teams were eligible. That’s 9.7 percent.

During most of those years, MLB had 16 teams and only the National and American League champs played on after the final regular season games. That still comes out 12.5 percent.

The popular theory is that an expansion to 128 teams would wipe out postseason conference tournaments. Cunningham doesn’t entirely agree.

“There are lot of models that would have to be considered,” he said.

One possibility would be to eliminate one of two regular-season games from the early schedule, then start and conference regular-season schedules earlier.

Whichever makes the most money wins.  Same as it ever was.

Good thing the people making decisions about this aren’t the same people entrusted with college football’s postsea… uh, never mind.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

One difference between Spurrier and SOD

… is that the Evil Genius doesn’t try to blow smoke up anybody’s ass about oversigning being good for the kids:

What did you think about Alabama asking two longtime commitments to take grayshirts a few weeks before signing day? “That happened to us last year [in February 2011], and we caught a little grief for it. We had two players that had not qualified yet. We were waiting on Jadeveon Clowney [who announced more than a week after signing day]. Of course, we weren’t going to call Clowney and say ‘By the way, we’ve got a player down in central Florida. He hasn’t qualified yet and it doesn’t look like he’s going to but we have to save a spot for him. So we’re not going to recruit you anymore, Clowney.’ Now would that have made sense? Of course not. So we called the player down there who had not qualified and told him ‘We’re still going to take you. But if you qualify, you’re going to have to wait to come in January. So he didn’t qualify, as well as another player didn’t qualify. But we did have to tell them that. We picked actually two young men that were the furthest from qualifying – that’s how we handled it. Because of all of sudden, you get a top player like Jadeveon Clowney, and sometimes you have to take bad press on that. That’s what happened with Alabama. I read the story about the kid who had the knee operation or something. Alabama thought he wouldn’t be ready to play next year, so they asked him to come in January. But he didn’t want to do that, I guess. What would you do? You’ve got a great player coming, and then you’ve got a player injured or may not qualify. That’s a tough call right there.”

I also find it interesting that Spurrier isn’t having a cow over the new 25-player limit rule the conference imposed, unlike a certain urnge pants-wearing fellow I could mention.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Recruiting, The Evil Genius

One-time, special offer (handling and shipping charges may apply)

It turns out there is some shit Nick Saban does have time for – playing head games with recruits.

“Coach Saban was describing my highlight film and talking about he hadn’t seen a cornerback with cover skills like mine in a long time,” Wiggins told the AJC on Sunday night.

“It was a great conversation, and right at the end he said ‘I’ll offer you a scholarship to Alabama if you commit … today.’ Then he paused, waiting for a response. He took me by surprise by saying all of that.”

Surprisingly, the ShamWow (order today!) approach didn’t work.  Carvell thinks Saban did this so he could claim he didn’t make an offer to Wiggins if the kid didn’t commit.  Does Saban even care about that?

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

Something’s gotta give.

This SEC spring preview prompts me to ask you all a question that’s been on my mind for a while:  how well are the new Big 12-style offenses of Missouri and Texas A&M going to translate into the SEC?

Last season, those two schools finished in the top twelve in the country in total offense (the best showing for any SEC school was Arkansas, at #29).  They didn’t do so well in total defense, though, as Texas A&M wound up 59th and Missouri ranked 61st.  Only two SEC schools ranked lower (Auburn and Mississippi) – and both of those schools have new defensive coordinators this season.

So how will the whole immovable force and irresistable object debate play out?  In the for what it’s worth due to small sample size category, remember that TAMU and Arkansas faced off last season.  The result was an 80-point, 1209-yard shoot out.  It was Arkansas’ worst defensive showing in 2011.  But it was also one of the Hogs’ most productive offensive games of the year.  (Tyler Wilson had the fifth-highest passing yardage total in SEC history.)  And on the other side, things came out about the same way.

Now Arkansas didn’t rank among the conference elite in defense (47th nationally; 8th in the SEC), so, again, take that with a grain of salt.  But, still, there’s little question that the typical Big 12 offense was more successful last year than was the typical SEC offense.  How much of that can you attribute to crappy Big 12 defenses?

One area to look at for an answer might be Texas, which had, statistically speaking, a competent defense, and, in Manny Diaz, a former SEC defensive coordinator running the show.  TAMU was slowed down by the ‘Horns defense.  Missouri was, too.

So where do you think things stand after all my number shuffling?

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Filed under Big 12 Football, SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Stumbling through the dark: the fine art of SEC scheduling

I never expected everyone to get my concern about the SEC’s staggering around with conference scheduling.  Year2 starts out in a different direction in this post, but midway through notes this:

… I agree with the Senator that the real story here is not the absence of the Orange and Blue versus the Orange and White on CBS, but rather the indication that expansion is going to muck around with a number of conference customs. I too am concerned about it, but I keep reminding myself that the 2012 slate is just a one-time thing. They’re going to take some more time over the coming year to try to get things right.

I wish I could believe that, but after reading this David Paschall article from yesterday, I’m not convinced.  At all.

… Auburn and Georgia have been playing since 1892 in the Deep South’s oldest rivalry, and the Tigers lead 54-53-8 after 115 series meetings. Alabama and Tennessee began playing annually before the SEC’s creation in 1933, and the 13 conference titles won by the Volunteers are topped only by the 22 by the Crimson Tide.

Tennessee coach Derek Dooley expressed his concern last September that conference realignment was “tampering with something that has made college football so special.” In October, two days before his Tide hosted the Vols, Alabama coach Nick Saban said, “It’s the biggest game all year to me when we play Tennessee.”

The other permanent cross-divisional matchups — Florida-LSU, Arkansas-South Carolina, Vanderbilt-Ole Miss, Kentucky-Mississippi State and the new one, Missouri-Texas A&M — are not nearly as treasured from a traditional standpoint. So the athletic directors at those 10 schools may not want their cross-divisional games saved at the expense of an extremely infrequent rotation.

“At some point, does the conference make a statement preserving the historical pieces?” said McGarity, who spent 18 years in Florida’s athletic department before becoming Georgia’s AD in 2010. “I hope that there will be a level of concern and compassion for those two rivalry games. The Florida-LSU rivalry is not a big deal, so the worry there is that it would be a 10-4 vote.”

Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin hasn’t exactly been flooded with calls from fans demanding his Bulldogs continue to play Kentucky. Stricklin would like to preserve the Auburn-Georgia and Alabama-Tennessee games, but he also believes the league does not have nearly enough of a rotation.

So will he vote for the 6-2 model over a 6-1-1?

“I hope there are some other options I like more,” Stricklin said.

Gosh, Scott, we do too.

These aren’t people with a plan.  They’re people flailing around, looking for a way out of a mess of their own creation.  Unfortunately for them, self-deportation isn’t an option.  And if they’re hoping that TV is going to bail them out by forcing the issue, it sounds like they’re mistaken about that, as well.

Television has been a driving factor in the changing landscape of college athletics — ESPN’s creation of a “Longhorn Network” is a major reason Texas and Texas A&M are no longer playing — but CBS Sports executive vice president of programming Mike Aresco insists his network has stayed away from realignment.

And the scheduling chore that comes with it.

“That’s up to the SEC,” Aresco said. “Alabama-Tennessee and Auburn-Georgia are great rivalries, and you appreciate those, but we have a great relationship with the conference and realize they have to make those decisions. The league will have some hard decisions to make, and whatever they do, we will absolutely be fine with it.”

In other words, say the networks, tell us what you’re going to do and we’ll tell you what we’ll pay for it.

Which is how you get to a point where you’ve got an SEC athletic director wondering out loud if an NFL approach to scheduling might be a workable alternative and you’ve got two schools which haven’t played a single conference game being allowed to decide the fate of SEC rivalries that are decades old.  (At least TAMU and Missouri have recent experience terminating longstanding rivalries, right?)

What I find infuriating about this is how petty the initial motivation looks.  It’s not as if the SEC is pleading poverty.  In fact, it turns out that the current TV contract helped fuel a better payout in 2010-11 than the conference anticipated.

SEC members averaged $19.5 million from their conference payout in 2010-11, an increase of $1.2 million from the previous year, according to the league’s non-profit IRS filing.

The amount is also more than the $18.3 million average payout the SEC estimated last June from all revenues. Before new television deals with ESPN and CBS kicked in, the SEC’s average payout was $13 million in 2008-09.

These jokers have never had it so good.  Except -

The Pac-12 and Big Ten each distribute close to $21 million per school a year…

And that’s not acceptable.  As Jerry Hinnen put it, “The SEC is richer than it’s ever been–but is it rich enough?”

I think we all know the answer to that one.  Don’t forget, also, the pie is being sliced fourteen ways going forward, so it’s going to have to be bigger just to keep each piece from shrinking.  Which is why as you read all these nifty little suggestions about what to do with the conference football schedules after this season (actually, I could live with Bill’s; it’s just that the conference would have to hire somebody as smart as Bill to compile the schedule each year), the question you need to be asking yourself is which one results in CBS and ESPN writing the biggest checks.  Because I guarantee you that’s the one the McGaritys and Stricklins will be asking.

And there are two things I know about that answer:  (1) if it winds up pleasing the fans, it’ll be nothing but sheer dumb luck; and (2) once the next conference negotiates a new TV deal, it won’t be enough.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football