Category Archives: College Football

Saturday brunch buffet

Slide up and load a plate.

  • Fans get to vote on where the Goodyear Blimp shows up opening weekend.  Georgia vs. Clemson is one option.
  • Groo has some thoughts about the Star position.
  • Phil Steele, the New York Times and conference predictions.
  • Paul Myerberg has Auburn at #9 on his preseason preview list.  (He thinks Kansas State is more likely to beat the Tigers than Georgia.)
  • It sounds like Ramik Wilson’s coaches are trying to send him a message.
  • John Sununu thinks it’s time to tax college athletics.
  • It’s a sign of what people think of the NCAA that some thought Oklahoma’s request for a waiver for Dorial Green-Beckham to play this season might be approved.  It wasn’t.
  • Think there’s much of a talent gap in the ACC?  One conference coach does: “According to one ACC coach, FSU is so stocked with talent across its depth chart that he believes about half the league’s teams do not have one player who would start for Florida State this year based on what he’s seen on film.”
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Filed under ACC Football, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, Political Wankery, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

If you build it, will they come?

So now athletic directors across the country are worried that they’re losing the next generation of wallets… er, fans.

At Michigan, student sales were off so significantly this spring (an estimated 5,000 season tickets according to MLive.com) that the school made some of that allotment available to the general public. Iowa has been so desperate to draw students, it recently offered entry into a tuition giveaway drawing in exchange for buying a season ticket. Even Alabama has had issues filling its student section, prompting complaints from head coach Nick Saban last year.

“It’s a very real concern,” Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione said. “It certainly gives reason for pause because right now the demand for tickets may still be high overall in the marketplace, but within that segment the demand isn’t as strong. It’s an ongoing issue the last couple years and we’re trying a lot of different things to attract students to create a stronger connection.”

Though not every program is experiencing a student malaise – Minnesota, for instance, experienced an increase of 10,000 students across its seven home games last year in correlation with a surprising 8-5 season – the data suggests athletic departments are finding it harder to draw students into the stadium and keep them there.

What to do, what to do…

Well, there’s always beer sales.  (I’m only being semi-facetious.)

More seriously, there’s a certain you’ve made your bed, now lie in it aspect to this problem.  Wave to the cameras, fellas!

In some ways, schools have done this to themselves. College football is now owned by television and increasingly available on streaming video. The Pac-12, Big Ten and now SEC have their own networks, guaranteeing that practically every game is televised. Even some of the smaller leagues like the Mountain West and American Athletic Conference have deals to live stream a large portion of their content that isn’t picked up by national television.

The last round of television contracts (and subsequent conference realignment) set the bar at $20 million per power conference school per year, give or take a couple million from league to league. In exchange, schools were essentially left to compete against themselves.

“I don’t think it’s a targeted demographic problem; I think it’s more of a (high-definition) TV, living room, leather couch problem and we have to give the people a reason to come to our live product,” Washington athletics director Scott Woodward said. “It is something we’re going to have to address and deal with.”

But you guys have no clue.  In-stadium wi-fi ain’t gonna save you.

At the very least, forging a stronger connection between football programs and the next generation of ticket buyers is going to take some work and creativity.

Pitt heavily promotes student tailgates and markets discounted club level tickets to graduate students because it believes that group is prime to be targeted as potential donors. Last season, Memphis offered two free season tickets to every 2012-13 graduate and got an attendance pop of more than 4,000 per game. Florida has come up with several incentives, including discounted tickets for recent graduates and the opportunity to win a “VIP” experience going behind the scenes on game day or to be part of the pre-game tunnel.

Student tailgate promotion isn’t a bad idea, but does anyone see Athens taking a course like that?  Actually, the key word in that paragraph is “discount”.  Expect a steadily larger dose of that in the coming years.  If you’re an AD, half a ticket revenue loaf is better than none.  And maybe you can make it up in the next TV contract.

Or you can give in.

“I hear concern from various (athletics directors) that their season ticket base is aging,” ACC commissioner John Swofford said. “You need to step back and take a look at the reasons and really understand what (younger people) want from that game day experience.

“And if I’m an athletic director now and I’m building a stadium or a basketball arena, I’d be very careful about the size of it. For years, people always felt bigger was better and I don’t think that’s true anymore, nor do I think it will be true going forward.”​

You can do that at Georgia Tech, for sure.

One last cynical note:  anybody notice the key word missing from the entire article?  That would be “scheduling”.

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Filed under College Football

Thursday morning buffet

Dig in, dig in.

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Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, College Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics, The NCAA

Saturday morning buffet

It’s time to eat.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, Whoa, oh, Alabama

Money to burn

Now this is thought-provoking:

… I’ll just say very loudly:  college sports operates in a not-for-profit accounting world!  In these environments, expenditures rise to match revenues.  Reported surpluses are not a guide to profitability because their is no incentive to grow surpluses so owners can extract these surpluses as profits.  In not-for-profit settings, revenues and revenue growth are the real guide.

What about empty seats at some games, even for big time producers?  Again, the crazy world of college sports has invented this problem largely through setting up games with lower tier teams that generate much less interest.  In pro sports, these are pre-season games, not mid-season games.

So, if at some point student-athletes received a serious share of athletics revenue, would that force schools to improve scheduling to keep asses in the seats/eyeballs on the tube?

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Yeah, that’s a good one.

Hey, did you hear the one about about ESPN’s survey of all 65 power-conference football coaches (including Brian Kelly) in which a bunch of ‘em claimed they’d prefer to have only power conference opponents on the schedule?

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Filed under College Football

“The playoff’s not going to change scheduling much.”

Once you get over the amusement of Tommy Tuberville complaining that power conference schools are still scheduling cupcake games – yes, that Tommy Tuberville – you will be shocked, shocked to learn that the advent of the new CFB playoff hasn’t changed things too much on the scheduling front.

Since presidents officially approved the four-team playoff on June 27, 2012, about 73 percent of the games scheduled by the Power 5 conferences (plus Notre Dame and BYU) are outside the power conference structure — games against schools from the American, Mountain West, C-USA, MAC, Sun Belt conferences or FCS.

Combing through scheduling announcements from the last 25 months showed that 45 of the 300-plus games involving those power schools were to play FCS opponents, with another 78 for C-USA (40) or Sun Belt (38) teams.

That total of 123 games comprises about 40 percent of the games found, while dwarfing the 83 or so games scheduled between two power-conference schools.

Big schools scheduled 35 American matchups, 31 apiece with the Mountain West and MAC, and three with Army /Navy.

Why should anyone be surprised by that?  Until a school or a conference gets smacked in the face by a real world consequence to scheduling weak sister games, why would there be any motivation to change what’s worked so well for so long?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football