Monthly Archives: April 2012

The art of the (negative) sale

You know, it’s not hard to grasp how most negative recruiting gets presented.  It’s not too tough to figure out how to go after Mark Richt’s hot seat (although I guess SOD owns that now).  I get how to throw the sins of roster management in Nick Saban’s direction.  Explaining how Paul Johnson’s offense would be the death of any high school quarterback’s NFL dreams would be a breeze.

But here’s one I have a hard time trying to figure out.

… What we have seen in the past year is the power players now have that comes from the pressure put upon schools and coaches who block transfer options. Thanks to the Twitterverse, it didn’t take all that long for PR messes to entangle Maryland’s Randy Edsall, Tennessee’s Derek Dooley or Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan, and eventually, after being called out, each school backed off and allowed their former players more options.

Coaches are realizing or at least they should how thorny these situations can become. You can bet other coaches are using these situations against them in recruiting too.

Now I don’t doubt that other coaches want to throw this kind of stuff out there on the recruiting trail.  But exactly how do they go about doing it?  I mean, I don’t think a coach wants to look a recruit in the eye and say “if it doesn’t work out with us, rest assured we won’t behave like Coach X”.   Who wants to admit to the possibility of an unhappy ending?  And barring some issue like family health, what recruit is going to say to a coach that if he comes, it’ll be with the intent to keep one foot out the door?

Any ideas on how this gets pitched?  Or, does a coach settle for a simple “Yeah, Randy Edsall is a dick” and hope the recruit and his family can fill in the blanks?

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Filed under Recruiting

If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.

This is a brave thing for a South Carolina writer to say:

A coincidence that Spurrier had his first run-in with the NCAA law just as South Carolina was rising to SEC-elite status?

Outside garnet-colored households, the answer is “no.”

Inside the friendly confines, Gamecock Nation emotion managers better be careful.

I expect somebody will try to make the same point at SEC Media Days.  I’ll be curious to hear if we get the cocky Spurrier in response.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Evil Genius

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…

This is great – not only is Jim Delany having to battle it out with his peers over how the new football postseason will be shaped, but it turns out he doesn’t even have his own constituency on board with what he’s negotiating.

Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman and Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon have been vehemently and publicly anti-playoff. Brandon told there’s no fair way to select four teams. Perlman told last month he sees no benefits to a playoff, but he also told in December that officials could “convince” him otherwise.

This could be merely a “wheels within wheels” negotiating ploy, admittedly (“Guys, I’d love to abandon semi-final games on campus, but I don’t have the votes back home for that.”), but I have a hard time believing that Delany likes having a public perception that he’s not totally in control.

Needless to say, there’s a lot of work left to do between now and June 20, when the conference commissioners meet again to hammer things out.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football

The NCAA rules on Hotelgate.

Citing “the university’s cooperation in the investigation, which went beyond standard expectations”, the NCAA accepts the Gamecocks’ self-imposed penalties and slaps a “failure to monitor” label on the program.  No post-season ban, though.

This is the part I found interesting:

The committee noted the trend of an increased importance placed on unofficial visits, particularly for football and men’s basketball. Rather than utilizing school-funded official visits, unofficial visits can be utilized to circumvent certain requirements for recruits to provide academic transcripts or test scores before they visit. These expanded recruiting opportunities are often funded by a third party other than the student-athlete’s family and provide coaches with important early access to prospects.

Sounds like the OBC was pushing the envelope and got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  Chalk it up as one more thing he did differently from his days as a Gator.


UPDATE:  In case you’re wondering, here’s how the scholarship numbers break down…

Grayshirting just got tougher.


Filed under Recruiting, The Evil Genius, The NCAA

Morris Claiborne channels his inner Nick Saban.

This is awesome.  Talking about his poor showing on the Wonderlic, the former LSU defensive back had this to say:

“They say it’s an IQ test. I came to the combine for football. I looked at the test, and wasn’t any questions about football. I didn’t see no point in the test. I’m not in school anymore. I didn’t complete it. I only finished 15 or 18 questions.”

The only thing that would make that quote better is if he looked some GM in the eye during a pre-draft interview and said the same thing in response to an awkward question.


Filed under Academics? Academics.


It’s probably not fair, but I can’t help it:  every time I hear Mark Richt discuss having a balanced offense, I keep thinking about what Mike Leach says about balance.

…  People get overly impressed by that artificial balance, where it’s half run, half pass, but with only a couple of players touching the ball.  You can run the ball every snap, but if you’re in the wishbone, and everybody touches the ball, that’s real balance.  Or you can throw the ball every snap, and if everyone touches the ball, that’s real balance.

I don’t think Georgia’s approach was as extreme as that, but its three top receivers last season accounted for 53% of all receptions and the top three running backs plus Aaron Murray tallied almost three-quarters of the running plays (if you take Murray out of the mix, the percentage declines to a shade under 70%).  I expect the rushes to be spread out more this season (barring suspensions and injuries, of course), given the talent at hand, but I’m not at all sure what to expect as far as receiving.  Murray’s going to be throwing to a very different mix, given the departures of Charles and White and the limited time Mitchell is going to spend on offense, at least early on.

How balanced do you think the Dawgs will be on offense in 2012?  And does it matter?


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

No AQ for you

As I mentioned yesterday, there really wasn’t that much of substance reached at the latest round of BCS haggling.  But one thing which was agreed upon probably deserves more attention than it’s gotten so far.

Another development was the agreement by FBS commissioners and other officials to eliminate the practice of designating conferences as “AQ” and “non-AQ” leagues.

Under current BCS rules, champions of the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC automatically receive a spot in one of the five BCS bowl games — Fiesta, Orange, Rose, Sugar and the Allstate BCS National Championship Game. Champions of Conference USA and the Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt and Western Athletic conferences have to meet other criteria to qualify for a BCS bowl game.

My first thought after reading that?  Sayonara, Big East.  The only thing holding that conference of misfit schools together was the promise of the AQ berth.  If that’s gone, what does Boise State need the Big East for, anyway?  Wouldn’t the Broncos be better off going back to the Mountain West, continuing to dominate it and landing a spot in the top four of the BCS standings now and then?  (Makes you wonder what Gary Patterson is thinking this morning.)

My second thought after reading that?  I wonder how long it’ll be before a school that’s a mid-level power in a major conference, like a South Carolina, looks around, sees the Boise State model for postseason success and wonders if life might not be better in the Sun Belt.  At present, the numbers for that make no sense – college football’s big bucks still come out of the regular season – but if down the road an extended playoff flips that, why not?  A school like that has a passionate fan base which will always make it attractive to bowls and if it flips to a mid-major conference it can dominate, it’ll likely be consistently ranked highly.

Sure, it’s an unlikely scenario.  But had you asked me a year ago if we’d see Steve Spurrier lobbying for a divisional record-based qualification for the SECCG, I’d have said that was unlikely, too.  If there’s one lesson we should take from college football over the past couple of years, it’s never say never.


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

You’re welcome, Mr. Blank.

Maybe it’s the libertarian in me.  Maybe it’s the reaction I had yesterday listening to a mom who works in my office complain that the public high school her son will be attending next year requires payment of a thousand dollars for him to participate in the band while the state legislature continues to whack the hell out of the education budget…

The recession and a sluggish economic recovery, meanwhile, crunched Georgia’s state budget and forced deep cuts into areas like education. The state owes local school districts more than $5 billion collectively — Atlanta-area school districts are millions of dollars short. In 2011, the state cut $403 million from its education budget after taking cuts of $300 million and $275 million in the previous two years.

… but the idea that the state is going to hand over $300 million dollars in tax revenue so the Falcons can enjoy a new, more profitable home offends the crap out of me.  Jeff Schultz is right – it’s not that Arthur Blank is a villain or merely even a lousy owner – the Georgia Dome works just fine.  If the Falcons want to make more money, Blank should do it the old-fashioned way.

Of course, who am I kidding here?  Not myself, certainly.  Blank is doing it the old-fashioned way.  It’s just another reflection of our out-sized vision of the role of organized sports in our society and our government as enabler of same.  It’s how you get college football coaches who are routinely among the highest paid state employees across the country.  We may not get the priorities we deserve, but we do tend to get the ones we like.

Just remember to take some pride in it when the first SECCG rolls into town at the new facility (which will boast less seating than the Dome, by the way).  After all, in one form or fashion, you will have helped pay for it.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Today’s dumb idea

… comes from Matt Hayes, who thinks college football is in need of a commissioner.  I think Matt Hayes needs to polish his sales pitch.

You may not like Roger Goodell. You may not agree with David Stern. You may not understand Bud Selig. But you respect them all—and more important, hear their decisions and move on.

Yeah, when I think of Bud Selig, I think college football sure could use a former car salesman like him.

Not that this has the proverbial snowball’s chance of ever seeing the light of day (“I don’t think one man can stand there and wave a magic wand and make everything work,” said Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany), but if it ever does come to fruition, I’d like to throw my hat in the ring for the job.  Although I’d prefer it be called college football’s ‘God-King’ instead of ‘Commissioner’.  My qualifications?  In a world where Mark Emmert calls the shots at the NCAA, could I really do any worse?


Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

‘Roid rage is a bitch, man.

First off, let me say that players who share last names with body organs can generate some fabulous headers.

Second, smoking weed doesn’t make one a thug.  Going off like this does, though:

… According to an incident report from campus police, Kidney entered the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house and ripped a “T” from a wall of the house. After being told to leave the house, Kidney shoved a fraternity member into a wall. When another student intervened, Kidney “began swinging on both men,” according to the report’s narrative, opening a cut above the eye of one student and a cut on the nose of the other. Both students declined to press charges against Kidney, but he could face sanctions for violating the student conduct code.

According to Sugiura, Kidney is competing for a starting job on Tech’s offensive line.  Why do I have a feeling he’s got a cheap shot video clip that’ll be making the rounds in his future?


Filed under Georgia Tech Football