Category Archives: Pac-12 Football

Friday morning buffet

Nourishment to wrap up the working week:

  • Less than eight months into his job, the NCAA enforcement director has decided he’s had enough.
  • Bruce Feldman lists his ten schools with the easiest 2012 nonconference schedules.  Yep, Georgia makes an appearance.
  • The best thing I can say about the composition of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee is that Michael Adams doesn’t serve on it.
  • For all that have complained about the Pac-12′s strength of schedule numbers, Bill Connelly’s got his breakdown of the conference for you right here.
  • Some great double talk from Grant Teaff“This isn’t something that we have happily done,” said Teaff, referring to the poll being part of the BCS formula the previous 14 years. “We’ve done it because the commissioners wanted us to and the coaches wanted to be part of the selection process and that’s the only reason we’ve done it. There’s no other reason.”   So they’ve wanted it, but they’re not happy about it?  They can’t kill the Coaches Poll fast enough.
  • Expect to hear more of this talk as the new postseason regime settles in.
  • Bryan McClendon on this year’s group of running backs:  “Probably as far as pure talent-base, probably the most talented that I’ve had in my room ever.”
  • Randy Edsall defending himself is everything you’d expect it to be.
  • “Jeff Sagarin won’t care,” said Jerry Palm, BCS analyst. “He doesn’t need the BCS, the BCS needs him.”
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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Georgia Football, Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World, Pac-12 Football, Randy Edsall Is A Dick, Stats Geek!, The NCAA

One big happy

This has to be a little strange.

Bob Bowlsby has 14 days left as Stanford athletic director, and despite that, there didn’t seem to be a tinge of awkwardness at the Pac-12′s annual summer meetings as conference leaders shuffled past the next Big 12 commissioner in a low-key hotel ballroom on Saturday.

“I’ve got a lot of investment in the Pac-12, so it wasn’t awkward at all. They didn’t even make me go out in the hallway for some of the discussions,” Bowlsby said with a chuckle. “I don’t really know that we were going to talk about anything that I didn’t already know. I don’t know if I spoke up much except when I was called upon.”

Yeah, sure.  In about two weeks you go from being a member of a conference on record wanting a conference champs-only playoff format and a special place in the postseason structure for the Rose Bowl to running a rival conference which is diametrically opposed to the first and unconcerned about the second.  Other than that, it’s no big deal, right?

Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re in complete lockstep with the SEC, either.  That conference’s decision to stick with an eight-game schedule made this inevitable:

“The [Pac-12's] preference is to have conference championships, or at least divisional championships, built into it,” Bowlsby said. “I think all of us agree that some component on strength of schedule is really important. The regular season is so special, but having said that, the early regular season is not as good as it needs to be. We need to encourage people to play games like LSU and Oregon played last year without the risk of taking themselves out of the national championship hunt.

“I think there will be a component of strength of schedule that will be a part of the playoff. I’m quite comfortable in saying that. How we land beyond that will be a topic of debate and discussion.”

That ought to be fun.  Especially if long-time Pac-12 observer Jon Wilner’s depiction of the kind of people calling the shots is correct.

But I believe the SEC/Big 12 announcement created — or, perhaps more accurately, exacerbated — the differences in opinion between the longtime partners (Pac-12 and B1G) and the new couple on the block (SEC and Big 12).

The Pac-12 and B1G are more than Rose Bowl partners. The Pac-12 presidents and chancellors have always viewed the B1G as their peer group and vice-versa, not only on the field but in the halls of academia, with the multi-sport scheduling partnership is further evidence of their connection.

They have always, to put it bluntly, considered themselves to possess more high-minded interests than the Big 12 and SEC latter. (Whether that’s actually the case is not for this discussion.)

There’s no way Scott would mention reprising the Plus-One model if he thought it was off the table for his presidents/chancellors and those in the B1G.

Instead … and this is just my reading, based on Scott’s comment and conversations with league officials over time … I believe the Pac-12 CEOs favor of incremental change to the postseason — change that has minimal impact on the Rose Bowl. In their view, that’s best delivered by the Plus-One.

All of which makes you wonder if Bowlsby had any input at all into the new bowl alliance between the SEC and Big 12.  And who’s gaming who here.

Also, getting back to an earlier point, what about this?

Pac-12 officials have to be think that the playoff model — especially one with the best four teams qualifying (the SEC plan) — further tilts the national championship scales to the southeast, and away from the west coast.

How reasonable a path to the playoff would USC have when it’s playing nine league games and Notre Dame and a quality B1G opponent as part of the scheduling partnership?

Meanwhile, the best SEC teams are playing eight league games and three non-conference cupcakes, if not four?

Gee, can’t we all get along here?

Now Bowlsby, wearing his Big 12 hat, says that the plus-one isn’t a compromise for the two sides to consider.  But if they’re all serious about coming to a resolution before the end of this month, it may be all they have left after three meetings’ worth of sneering and posturing at each other.  One thing’s for sure.  They’re not going to walk away from that extra paycheck a new title game will bring.  Other than that, who knows?  I doubt these guys do.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, Big Ten Football, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

“The Pac-12 is the real story here.”

USA Today hired a college sports rights-valuation firm to evaluate what the conference broadcast rights numbers are shaping up to look like, and as the header indicates, the firm argues that the Pac-12 comes out on top in the money game.  Well, sort of.

The estimate, premised on the SEC continuing without a conference-owned network and again having 15-year deals, would give the SEC more guaranteed TV revenue than any college athletics conference: nearly $25 million a school per year over the full contract term ($5.2 billion total).

However, the Pac-12′s full ownership of national and regional networks that have lined up substantial distribution before their scheduled launch in August, indicates that the conference is on track to generate at least $30 million a school per year over the 12-year term of agreements with ESPN and Fox that begin later this year ($4.3 billion total). Only the money from ESPN and Fox — about $21 million a school per year — is guaranteed, though. And because of the networks’ start-up costs the actual per-school revenue the first few years is likely to be well below the projected annual average.

So, the SEC deals generate about 20% more guaranteed revenue per school than the Pac-12 is expected to get – and that’s spread over two more schools, remember – and the Pac-12′s projection is on the high side because it doesn’t factor in that conference’s ownership costs.  But the Pac-12 is somehow seen as the big winner.  Interesting.

The SEC is getting a $2.2 billion bump with no infrastructure expense much beyond unfurling a couple of new flags in the home office.  That sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Note also that’s there’s still a sizeable spread between the Big 12′s and SEC’s numbers.  It’ll be worth watching to see if a couple of ACC additions to the Big 12 are enough to cut that down.  And whether that’s any motivation for the SEC to do more fishing itself.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Friday morning buffet

You’re about to survive another working week, so dig in.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Pac-12 Football, Recruiting, The Blogosphere, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

A (non-Dawg) signing day buffet

Just a few tidbits outside Athens that caught my eye:


Filed under ACC Football, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Big Ten Football, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Georgia Tech Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Nick Saban Rules, Pac-12 Football, Recruiting

Saturday morning buffet

The first of the offseason… sigh.

  • Hot Cougar Action… I bet Mike Leach is gonna hear that phrase more than he wants.
  • Nice presser, Dabo.
  • Fire Nick Saban!
  • Don’t sleep on Missouri, SEC East fans.
  • The NCAA may not be able to figure out what to do about the $2000 athlete stipend, but there’s no problem with the Mark Emmert contract extension.  Figures.
  • Zach Mettenberger on being LSU’s next starting quarterback:  “It’s gonna be like getting a Maserati when you turn 16.”  That usually doesn’t end well, does it?
  • Phil Kornblut on that Gurley-to-Clemson story he broke yesterday:  Oops.


Filed under ACC Football, Nick Saban Rules, Pac-12 Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

A cynic looks at the new Big Ten/Pac-12 partnership.

First off, let me say that a bunch of power conference schools getting together to announce a plan that would increase the number of games they play against their peers is something to congratulate.  Nah, make that celebrate.  Unequivocably.  From a fan’s perspective, the fewer regular season games we have to watch against Directional Cupcake A&M, the better.  And for the two conferences involved, it’s brilliant marketing – “the benefits of conference expansion without adding members”, whatever the hell that means – that peeled some of the attention away from the SEC’s 2012 scheduling announcement.

But to read the immediate reaction of the punditerati, you’d think Larry Scott and Jim Delany had announced they’d found a cure for the common cold.  You’ll have to pardon me if I don’t join the wankfest.  Allow me to make a few points from my perspective.

  1. The devil’s in the details.  This sucker doesn’t kick in until 2017.  Skipping past the obvious point that nobody knows what the landscape of college football will look like in six seasons (hell, who knows what it’ll look like in six months?) such that it might render the deal irrelevant, you’ve got issues about which schools will play which schools and where the games will be played to work out.  As Michael Elkon noted, the concept of drawing Wisconsin away from the friendly confines of Camp Randall to play a non-conference opponent with a pulse on the road is certainly novel (Mike Leach in the past has been just as guilty of this scheduling mindset, so a Wazzou-Wisky matchup might be poetic justice).  And just ask the SEC how easy it is to arrange a schedule to accommodate new partners.  Bottom line:  they’ll need every bit of the six years to get ready.
  2. Say goodbye to the nine-game conference schedule.  Let’s get real here.  There’s always going to be a need for cupcakes in college football.  In the context of a twelve-team conference, an eight-game conference schedule is a decent balance and a nine-game conference schedule is basically a luxury.  Delany’s already indicated that the Big Ten won’t adopt a nine-game schedule.  My bet is that the Pac-12 follows suit.  Here’s a big tell:  the conferences kept Notre Dame, which plays five games against member schools, apprised of the developments.  In the end, this is really an admission that neither of these conferences has any immediate plans to expand beyond their current configurations.  But if that changes, all bets are off.
  3. The 800-pound gorilla in the room.  That talk about playing chess vs. playing checkers makes for some nice chest-thumping, but to some extent what’s going on here is in reaction to the SEC.  Start of the season kickoff event at a neutral site?  Sounds familiar.  Even the basic concept of regular matchups with OOC schools from the same conference isn’t an alien one – just ask Florida, Georgia and South Carolina how each has ended their respective seasons for the last couple of decades.  I don’t want to say there’s never nothing new under the sun, but these aren’t exactly virgin concepts either.
  4. At the end of the day, Jim Delany is still Jim Delany.  Funny how the same people lionizing Delany for coming up with this were predicting two weeks ago his eventual capitulation on the playoff front because of his supposed isolation from the other conference commissioners’ evolving position on the plus-one.  Hard to see how he and Scott are BFFs on this while rabid rivals on the other.  The reality is that all of this is of one piece for Delany.  It’s about maximizing the value of the most important asset the Big Ten owns, regular season football programming.  And Delany has Scott marching in lockstep with him on that front.  Any change to the postseason will be made in light of doing no harm to their golden goose.
  5. Tough shit, little guys.  Speaking of Jim Delany still being Jim Delany, is there any doubt the man enjoys sticking it to the mid-majors when the opportunity presents itself?  And make no mistake about it, this move hurts every mid-major and FCS program that offers itself up as a sacrificial lamb for a big check.  Two conferences just reduced demand by a total of 24 games a year.  Don’t think that won’t have an impact on what the small fry will be able to command.
  6. Your move, SEC.  If this is a move primarily about creating more broadcast product – and it seems safe to assume that it is – I suspect that this will hasten the inevitable for Mike Slive and his cohorts to move to a nine-game conference schedule.  (Greg McGarity is already making “you never say never” mouth noises about that.)  That’s a decision which makes a great deal of sense for a fourteen-team conference simply on the merits of balancing the schedules more fairly (think Georgia would be getting off as easy if the SEC required schools to play nine conference games in 2012?);  the added revenue from the networks makes it a virtual no-brainer.  And with a 2017 timetable in play, that should alleviate problems (cancellation penalties, you cheap bastards) the ADs have with the move.


Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

I can’t quit you, baby.

In the course of being hired at Arizona, Rich Rodriguez brought up playing Michigan.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Pac-12 Football

Keeping up with the big boys

One other thing about Wazzou’s hire of Mike Leach worth keeping an eye on:

… But an influx of money from the Pac-12’s new television contract may have changed the fortunes in Pullman, allowing Washington State to afford a proven winner.

Leach went 84-43 at Texas Tech before his firing two years ago. He replaces Paul Wulff, who made a Pac-12-low $600,000 per year and went 9-40 in four years, including 4-8 this season.

Washington’s State’s television revenue in 2012 will go from about $4 million to more than $16 million thanks to the $3 billion deal signed by Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. And the new revenue-sharing model puts Washington State, which is in remote eastern Washington, on a more even playing field with Pac-12 programs like Stanford, Southern California and Oregon. Arizona recently signed Coach Rich Rodriguez to a five-year deal worth about $10 million to replace Mike Stoops.

“For traditionally smaller-revenue schools, percentage-wise it’s going to be an astounding leap in their revenue starting next year,” Scott said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

Leach’s salary quadruples that of Wulff’s.  He’s also been given a much larger budget for assistant coaching salaries than his predecessor’s.  All because of TV money… regular season TV money, that is.

Two things about that.  First, Jimmy Sexton is happy.  More revenue means more money for schools to throw at coaches.  More competition over coaches’ salaries is never a bad thing for an agent.  Second, it’s just another sign of how the gap between the mid-majors and the rest of D-1 continues to grow.  WSU has had its share of success at times, but it’s not what you’d call a powerhouse program.  It sure gets to spend like one now, though.

And it’s not sharing the loot with San Jose State any time soon.


Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football