It never hurts to ask.

Now, this, my friends, is chutzpah with a capital “C”.

Rihanna, Katy Perry, or Coldplay might be doing the Super Bowl halftime show this year—that is, if they’re willing to pay up. According to The Wall Street Journal, the NFL has narrowed down its list of potential performers for the 2015 gig to those three candidates, though it’s also asking “at least some of the acts” if they’d be willing to pay the league for the privilege of playing the halftime show—something that’s absolutely insane, but not 100 percent unreasonable, considering how many people actually watch the performance. Alternately (and this is where it gets wacky), they should “be willing to contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league.”  [Emphasis added.]

As Eric Loomis wonders, it’s not that far from there to asking for a cut of their players’ promotional deals.

It strikes me that Steve Patterson is missing the boat on this one.  The NFL should inspire him.  Instead of drawing a firm line in the sand against student-athlete compensation, he ought to insist on paying college players a little something now in return for a piece of their future earnings.  See how much Johnny Football winds up liking them apples!

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Steve Patterson feels trapped in a world he never made.

The amazing thing to me isn’t that Steve Patterson keeps saying stupid stuff like this (h/t)

But what about athletes like Vince Young and Johnny Manziel, who create huge benefits and revenues for their universities, from fund-raising to ticket sales to sponsorships and licensing? Shouldn’t they at least be allowed to monetize their famous names? “No,” he says categorically. “I am not saying they did not benefit the university. But you have to understand that both parties benefit. The university is largely creating the value. The athletes are trading on the value the universities have created. No corporations are going to be lining up to pay them money out of high school. They also get a huge benefit on the college stage by having such assets as strength coaches, nutritionists, psychological support, tutors, mentors, media training. All of that costs money. It is too easy for those in the sports press to say, ‘You are manipulating and using these kids. You are giving them nothing.’ We are not giving them nothing.”

There are also practical problems with paying athletes, Patterson says. He suggests that if schools pay Young or Manziel, they are going to be sued by athletes on the soccer or basketball or rowing teams, looking for equal pay. “That would almost certainly happen,” he says. “And if you have a situation where the students are employees, you will have to either hugely increase revenues or cut costs and eliminate teams.”

It’s that he thinks saying it helps his cause.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

Why we can’t have nice postseasons.

Gary Laney neatly distills why the four-team playoff format is toast, even before the first one has been set.

A season ago, neither Baylor nor Michigan State, champions of the Big 12 and Big Ten, respectively, would have made the tournament, College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said.

Instead, both Alabama and Auburn would have made it out of the SEC, along with Florida State and Oregon.

When that happens in the future, it won’t be analogous to other postseason snubs like, say, the NCAA basketball tournament. The first team left out of that tournament is the 38th team in line, aside from the 31 conference champions that qualify automatically.

In this case, the selection committee will always leave out at least one major conference champion, even in years when it doesn’t pick two teams from one conference.  [Emphasis added.]

That is exactly why I’ve bitched about bracket creep for years.  The system they’ve built is unstable.  And it’s not predicated on settling it on the field, or having the best teams.  It’s about sharing the wealth.  Eventually, that’s why they’ve got to expand, because leaving a member of the Big Five out every year isn’t going to set well with the people running the game.

They’ll no doubt use us fans as an excuse, the first time there’s a selection controversy, because that will be convenient.  But the thing is, the move to eight, if it’s done as Laney describes – all major conference champions to get in, plus a few at-large berths – isn’t going to make things any more stable.  Because there will come a year when a major conference team that didn’t win its conference and is excluded from the playoff field is better than some teams that do qualify.  And there’s only one cure for that fever.

It won’t stop until there’s no more money being thrown at it.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Keith Marshall’s health may not be the only good news.

I noted the other day that Keith Marshall seems to have progressed nicely in terms of his health and being a contributor again.  He’s awesome in open space, but if there’s one part of his game I wish he could improve, it’s fighting to keep his balance when defenders get their hands on his legs.  So needless to say, I find this comment from Todd Gurley of interest:

“He’s been having a great camp. He’s been able to finish a lot of his runs. Last year at this time, if somebody would have grabbed his legs, he probably would have fell. But he’s definitely driving his knees a lot more and finishing his runs.”

I don’t know if that’s a product of rehab, or if he’s simply refined his technique.  But whatever the case, if that’s so, man, he’s gonna be a lot of fun to watch this season if you’re a Dawg fan.

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Filed under Georgia Football

“Go get me a leaf.”

You say you want a little Dawg porn?  Okay, here’s some.

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Filed under Georgia Football

But they were getting along so nicely.

With the SI.com story about the Petrino-Grantham friction going viral, in the spirit of Lyndon Johnson, all I can say is that I don’t care if it’s true.  I just want to hear them deny it.

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UPDATE:  Here’s Grantham’s reaction(h/t Jeff Schultz)

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UPDATE #2:  Problem?  There’s no problem.

Using Sports Illustrated’s standard, a source close to the program told me on Tuesday there is “no feud” between Petrino and Grantham and that the head coach does not consider himself “stuck” with Grantham and his five-year contract worth nearly $5 million.

“I’ve been around Bobby quite a bit since he’s been here and I’ve never heard him complain about Grantham,” the source said. “I’ve heard him complain about players and a few other things, but not Todd.”

In fact, the source said that he talked to Petrino specifically about this SI story. “Bobby told me the frustrating thing about this is it’s 100 percent not true,” the source said. “Bobby and Todd are fine.

“Bobby understands that he’ll always have things to deal with because of what happened in the past. He gets that and accepts it. But this story is wrong.”

That’s mighty big of him.  But here’s Lyndon Johnson, for the win.

Here is the issue: Petrino has a reputation. Grantham has a reputation. It is going to take more than several denials to swat this story down. It is going to require an entire season of (mostly) harmony and for Grantham to remain on the sidelines for at least Year Two.

We all know how much Grantham appreciates settling down in one place.

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Filed under Fall and Rise of Bobby Petrino