If you’re somebody who, for whatever reason, thinks SEC refs have it in for Georgia, then this John Pennington post should be right up your alley.
Category Archives: SEC Football
There’s usually something tempting you can find on the ol’ buffet.
- Julie Roe Lach says the NCAA enforcement division needs more
- Andre Ware gives you his top five quarterbacks in the SEC. And, no, grasshoppers, Jeff Driskel isn’t among them.
- Artie Lynch makes Steele’s All-American second team.
- The ACC wants its own network, will have to go through Raycom to get it.
- “But goodness, did Florida play some ugly football.”
- This is what Florida did when it played pretty football. (h/t Smart Football)
- Nick Saban, consumer advocate.
The link is here.
Here’s how the numbers break down per school, in order of total offensive and defensive players listed on his four teams:
TEAM TOTAL 1st TEAM Alabama 14 8 Georgia 12 2 Florida 10 1 Ole Miss 9 1 Vandy 8 2 Tenn. 8 2 LSU 8 2 TAMU 5 3 MSU 5 1 S. Car. 4 1 Missouri 4 0 Auburn 4 0 Ark. 3 1 Kentucky 2 0
There are a few things that jump out at me…
- Alabama has as many or more first teamers than ten teams have total.
- Tennessee has no skill position players listed. I wonder when the last time that happened.
- Loucheiz Purifoy is listed on both the fourth team offense and fourth team defense.
- Robert Nkemdiche makes the third team defense as a true freshman. His brother is a first teamer. And Ole Miss shows out with the fourth-best total.
- Anybody else surprised by South Carolina’s total? How ’bout Vandy and LSU showing out equally?
- TAMU has no defensive players on the list.
- Very thin crop at tight end, so why not Jay Rome at fourth team?
- There’s something not right about Jeff Driskel lining up next to Aaron Murray.
What do y’all see there?
Big Mike passed out the checks in Destin this week and everybody’s impressed.
League commissioner Mike Slive capped another spring meeting in Destin, Fla., by announcing Friday afternoon that a record $289.4 million will be distributed to its institutions, or $20.7 million to each of the 14. The SEC distributed $241.5 million last spring when the league contained 12 members, with each school receiving $20.1 million.
“Obviously we passed out a bit of money to our folks,” Slive said in a news conference. “It’s the highest in our history, and we hope to be able to tell you that every year from here on out.”
Don’t throw your shoulder out with all that back patting, Commissioner. The thing is, if I’m doing the math correctly, had the conference remained at 12, Slive’s bounty would have amounted to around $24.1 million per school. That’s a difference of about $3.4 million, which ain’t exactly chicken scratch. (If bowl revenue is part of the equation, then the numbers would be slightly less, since TAMU went bowling. Same goes for March Madness and Missouri.)
The SEC Network had best be raining cash on these guys. Assuming anybody’s noticed…
UPDATE: Bowl loot not included in the distribution.
Word comes from Greg McGarity that the SEC is considering the possibility of the conference implementing a conference-wide substance-abuse policy, with a possible vote by its presidents tomorrow. While the author of the piece thinks the devil’s in the details (“How frequent are the tests? What exactly constitutes a positive test? Would the SEC hire an outside company to conduct the tests or leave it up to the individual schools? Would all the testing methods be identical or just the penalties?”), I’m gonna put my money down on our old friend competitive advantage as the real sticking point.
Based on the substance-abuse policies obtained by ESPN from the schools’ official websites or through public records requests, a student-athlete at Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and LSU is dismissed after a fourth positive test, while the remaining 10 SEC schools dismiss a student-athlete after only a third positive test…
… Some SEC athletic directors and coaches, who didn’t want to be quoted, think that certain schools have “competitive advantages” based on how frequently — or infrequently — they test or how many games student-athletes miss for positive tests.
For example, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi State require student-athletes to miss 10 percent of their regular-season contests after a first positive test, while the remaining 11 SEC schools don’t suspend a student-athlete for a first offense.
Punishment for a second positive test also varies greatly among league members. At Missouri, a second positive test results in only a seven-day suspension, compared to Auburn and Kentucky (suspended for 50 percent of the season) or Vanderbilt (a one-year suspension).
McGarity and Adams are the ones pushing this hard, according to the article, so you can bet this isn’t about relaxing Georgia’s drug standards to level the playing field. So let’s just say that when I hear Les Miles play the fairness card in this area, maybe I’ll start to believe the conference is having a Come to Jesus moment on the subject. In the meantime, it’s every school’s integrity for itself.
Again, given the variety of agendas on display, it’s no surprise that the SEC is sticking with the eight-game conference schedule for now. But in the same breath, most folks sound like Will Muschamp.
“Personally, I think we’ll end up moving to nine (conference) games eventually,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “My personal opinion (is) you create an SEC Network, at the end of the day, it’s going to be driven by the dollar, and having those games is going to be important, and having enough quality games on television promoting a nine-game SEC regular season, in my opinion, will eventually happen.”
In the meantime, the official position of the conference is incoherent.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive said it’s doubtful the 2014 schedule will be finalized this week at the league’s spring meetings. He’s declined to weigh in on whether he’s in favor of going to nine conference games. But he didn’t hold back on the importance of SEC schools upgrading their nonconference schedules.
“I don’t want us playing four games that mean less,” Slive said. “I made that very clear.”
In other words, coaches don’t want the added burden of another conference game on the schedule, ADs don’t want to lose a seventh home game, but the commissioner expects his member schools to upgrade their non-conference schedules by adding another tough game that would most likely be negotiated on a home and home basis. If there’s a logic to this, it escapes me.
The SEC wants you to know it’s serious, by damn, about the new targeting rules. No, really, Mike Slive means it.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive said the idea of creating a new rule has been on his mind for some time now. Last year, he suspended two players for controversial above-the-shoulder hits. Controversy also swirled around Alabama defensive end Quinton Dial’s nasty hit on a defenseless Aaron Murray in last year’s SEC championship game. The hit appeared to be helmet-to-helmet, but no flag was thrown and Dial wasn’t suspended for the BCS title game.
No doubt you were as shocked about that at the time as I was.
Slive applied the rule arbitrarily last season, so you’ll have to pardon me if I’ll wait to see if he’s got religion this year.
From that Andy Staples piece I linked to earlier today:
A note on the SEC Network and nine conference games: The assumption is that ESPN would want more conference games to improve the quality of its inventory. This certainly would not improve the quantity of inventory. Adding a ninth conference game would actually reduce ESPN’s inventory because it would put seven SEC schools on the road for an additional week. Since most SEC schools schedule mostly home payday games out of conference, the eight-game schedule, in practice, would probably produce five or six more home games that ESPN could broadcast. In an age when a 3 a.m. replay of the Central Florida-Ball State Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl nets 610,000 viewers, quantity might be more important than quality.
I’m not exactly sure Mike Slive would agree with that last point. But I’m not sure how relevant Staples’ whole argument is there, because it leaves out an important part of the equation. CBS would love to see the conference improve the quality of its inventory. And considering it just redid its broadcast deal with the SEC without handing over an additional penny of revenue for the next ten years, I bet the conference would be interested in determining how much that love is worth. (If it doesn’t already know, that is.)
Oh, yeah – as a fan, it goes without saying that I’ll pick quality over quantity every damned time. If I’m dying to watch a noon Sun Belt game, that’s what ESPN the Ocho’s for. Save the filet for Verne and Gary.
Matt Melton’s back with his annual analysis of the strength of conference teams. (If you need an SDPI refresher, take a look at last year’s post on the subject.)
Here’s how things shape up:
The West was stronger than the East, but not so much because of the teams at the top, which broke pretty evenly. It’s the suckitude at the bottom of the East that’s the difference there.
A few other observations:
- The top of the conference wasn’t as dominant in 2012 as it was in 2011. You have to get all the way down to sixth before you see an SDPI figure that’s an improvement. Is that a reflection of expansion or overall quality? Beats me.
- Boy, Auburn really sucked last year. Loeffler being worse than Malzahn isn’t a surprise but VanGorder being a bigger flop than Roof is. No wonder he’s just a position coach in the NFL now.
- Hugh Freeze did a fine job in his first year at Ole Miss.
- The header is a little tongue in cheek. Georgia didn’t slide in the offensive rankings, but its SDPI figure did – ever so slightly more than Grantham’s group did, in fact. (Bobo wasn’t juggling suspensions over the first third of the season, either.)
- LSU slid big time in one season. Of course, Les chalks that up to the cross-divisional rivalries. Unfair!
- More and more, Vanderbilt looks like a program that has its bearings. The numbers show an impressive consistency that’s solid.
- Mississippi State’s consistent, too. But in the Bulldogs’ case, that’s not really a compliment.
- If TAMU gets a defense, look out, world.
To what should be nobody’s surprise, the SEC will soldier on with an eight-game conference schedule for the time being. (Mike Slive’s “the First Amendment is alive and well” schtick is code for “I’m not ready to make a decision”.)
What is a little surprising is how much thought the conference’s coaches have put into the matter of how many times they should face each other in a regular season. (It’s a lot more than I suspect they put into voting in the Coaches Poll.) At one end of the spectrum, you’ve got Nick Saban, who thinks that a nine-game schedule is both smart and inevitable.
“For me, when you add a ninth game, that’s seven more losses for our conference,” Freeze said. “We want to fill all of our bowl slots, we want our kids to represent our conference. When you play that extra ninth game, I know it’ll probably create some more revenue, but it also is seven more losses for us.”
(Did I miss a reference to what the fans might want in there? Hmm… I guess not.)
James Franklin strongly objects. This has to be the most over the top comment of the week.
“We’ll go to nine and people will say, ‘We don’t have enough sexy out-of-conference games anymore so you’re going to have to play nine and another,’” Franklin said. “When’s it going to stop? Two years from now they’re going to say, ‘You know, we probably ought to schedule an NFL team. You’re probably going to have to play the Jets. You’re going to have to play the Falcons.’ Now we’re going to play nine games and and an NFL team. When’s it going to end?”
Dayum. Now that is some Olympic-class whiny-ass bitching there. And I’m not sure how that squares with Franklin’s declaration that “…the Commodores will push for some of the toughest nonconferences schedules in the country in future years.” Except that one way or the other, he’s full of shit, that is. If you’re going to commit to playing a tough ninth game against any school, it’s likely going to be on a home and home basis, so what’s Franklin’s beef here?
As a counter, tune in and listen to the mellow sounds of Mark Richt, traditionalist.
“The one thing I will say I would vote on is to continue to have a rivalry game with Auburn,” Richt said. “Does that involve an eight-game, a nine-game? I don’t know. If (the Auburn game) goes away, then does an eight-game change in my mind compared to nine? I think one of the keys to this whole thing is whether the rivalry games stand. That can change how people think about the big picture.”
I think we know how Slive gets Georgia to vote in favor of a nine-game slate, if that time comes.
There are even some helpful suggestions put forward on the broadcasting front.
Franklin and Bielema also have a solution they believe would satisfy the league’s television partners. “You don’t have to go to nine games to make sure we have more really good games,” Franklin said. “What you do is you force everybody to spread their out-of-conference games out. You can’t open the season with three out-of-conference games and then hold one for late. There have to be three SEC vs. SEC games Week 1. There have to be three SEC vs. SEC games Week 2. And do that the whole year. Now, that’s going to allow the SEC Network or ESPN to make sure there are great games the entire year.” Bielema agrees completely. He said he suggested the same thing to the Big Ten three years ago while he was the head coach at Wisconsin. “I told them I’d gladly play Ohio State the first week of the year,” Bielema said, “just to get that wow factor.”
That may put asses on the couches, but I’m not sure it does much to answer one of Saban’s concerns.
“I’m absolutely in the minority. No question about it, but everybody’s got their reasons,” Saban said. “The biggest thing we all need to do in some of these decisions that we’re making about who we’re playing and what we do is, ‘What about the fans?’ because one of these days they’re going to quit coming to the games because they’re going to stay home and watch it on TV.
“Then everybody’s going to say, ‘Why aren’t you coming to the games? Well, if you play somebody good we’d come to the game.’ That should be the first consideration. Nobody’s considering them. They’re just thinking about, ‘how many games can I win, can I get bowl-qualified, how tough a teams do I have to play?’”
That last paragraph really does sum things up nicely, except for how much money the conference wants to make. Which, let’s face it, will be the deciding factor in the end. This issue really does have much of the same feel as the change in the recruiting rules that were taken up in Destin a couple of years ago. Slive gave the coaches their head for a while and then told them what was going to be done. I expect we’ll see much the same result this time as well once all the information is in on the criteria to be used by the playoff selection committee and the final price tags from CBS and ESPN for expanding the conference schedule.