Monthly Archives: May 2007

SEC meeting week odds and ends

  • We all know that Bernie’s playoff crusade will be the most watched story this week from the SEC business meetings. At least one guy is willing to go on record and object to a college football playoff. “…Introduce a playoff and all of a sudden we’re looking at college football the same way we look at the NFL: fun, but nothing special.” Right on, brother!  As Victor Laszlo said in Casablanca, welcome to the fight.
  • Nick Saban speaks! In fact, he’s positively garrulous in this article in the Tuscaloosa News. All that illegal recruiting talk? It’s “funny”. (Heh.) He doesn’t have any bad feelings about Les Miles, but “I can’t speak for him, though.” (Heh, heh.) He and Spurrier have evidently had a conversation about their stints in the NFL. (Heh, heh, heh.) He even manages to one up Bernie about what to do with the extra bucks that might flow to college football from a championship playoff – don’t give the money to all of the schools in D-1, give it to the players.
  • All that buzz about an early signing day for college football? Not so fast, my friend, at least when it comes to SEC coaches. As a group, they’re split on the proposal. Read the story carefully, though. The split breaks down between the haves and have nots. The recruiting powers like the current set up a lot more than the little guys do. One other thing worth noting: while there are a lot of pros and cons discussed in the story, there’s no mention of how an early signing date would benefit the kids.
  • While I’m on the subject of recruiting, I wanted to mention Georgia’s tenth verbal for the class of 2008, GAC linebacker Christian Robinson. Normally I don’t spend time blogging about verbals (especially when we’re something like 8+ months away from signing day), but this kid has a great quote in the Athens Banner-Herald worth sharing: “I’ve been around South Carolina all my life and it was really hard to tell them no today,” he said. “Everything that I wanted is at Georgia: People, coaches and I just know that Georgia is a great place.” Take that, Clifton Geathers!

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football, SEC Football, Whoa, oh, Alabama

“This is not about football,” Christian says. “It’s about how you treat a student athlete.”

Yeah, suuuure it is.

You’ve got to love the irony in this:

… Christian describes the suit as “taxpayer action” and argues taxpayer money was wasted because White failed to do his job. [Emphasis added.] The suit wants White to order a “good faith, full, complete and independent” investigation into the e-mail sent to Mustain. It also seeks an injunction to stop Sugg from paying White, who it alleges is in breach of his contract. It also seeks an injunction to stop White from paying any member of the football coaching staff “who are failing, or have failed, to carry out their mandatory contractual obligations.”

… These days, Freedom-of-Infomania is all the rage in Fayetteville. The university has received so many FOI requests in recent months, White says, it has had to hire an additional attorney. [Emphasis added.]

The capper?

“It’s a feeding frenzy out there,” says White, who is trying to conduct a search for an athletics director amid this environment. White is handling the search himself. He says he is putting nothing in writing and is not using his university cellphone.

(h/t Sunday Morning Quarterback)

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal

“A hundred million dollars is not going to sway us, when $2 billion didn’t.”

The college football world waits with baited breath for Bernie’s playoff plan to be unveiled at the SEC presidents’ meeting.

… The short version: Form a limited liability corporation that, like the BCS, would work outside the framework of the NCAA. Try to utilize the current bowl structure, but distribute revenue to all 119 Division I-A schools instead of keeping most of the money for the schools in the six “power conferences.” The market, Machen said, would determine whether to play an eight-team, 16-team or “plus-one” format.

Depending on who you listen to, that ol’ market sure can throw out some interesting figures:

… Machen believes money eventually will convince his fellow presidents to embrace a playoff. He said the current system doesn’t generate as much revenue as it should, especially considering college football’s massive popularity. He points to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which brings in $545 million in television rights fees from CBS each year. Fox’s contract with the BCS to televise the Orange, Sugar, and Fiesta bowls and the BCS national title game pays $83 million a year. That contract runs through 2010, and Machen hopes presidents will consider a playoff before agreeing to a new deal.

“There may be – and you won’t know this until you test it – $100 [million] to $200 million that’s not on the table right now,” said Machen, who said he has spoken to media consultants about the dollar figures.

Jim Wheeler believes Machen’s math is wrong. Wheeler worked with a Swiss company called International Sports and Leisure in the late 1990s. The company, which has since gone bankrupt, offered about $375 million a year ($3 billion over eight years) to stage a 16-team playoff. Later, the company amended its offer to $2.5 billion for an eight-team playoff.

“The money is there,” said Wheeler, who now runs the Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Oklahoma’s college of business. “That’s the easy part. [Machen’s figures] will be surpassed if there’s a true playoff.”

$2.5 billion for an eight team playoff?  No wonder the company went bankrupt.

It’s his naivete that’s so impressive.  Those pesky PAC-10ers and Big Ten folks?  Those Rose Bowl guys?  Screw ’em if they don’t want to play with Machen:

… Machen hopes that if the other nine “bowl subdivision” conferences agree to support a playoff, the Big Ten and the Pac-10 would cave to pressure from their own fans.

“We may do it without them,” Machen said. “My approach would be that the other conferences and schools would devise a playoff system, and we’ll see if the Big Ten and the Pac-10 can stay outside of it. … With a lot more money on the table and a true playoff system, they’re going to say ‘Sorry, we’re going to Pasadena?’ We’ll see.”

You’re going to propose a true national championship playoff without USC, Michigan and Ohio State?  Yeah, that’ll work.

Maybe Bernie hopes that if he holds his breath until his face turns blue, they’ll cave.  If nothing else, that should be fun to see.

… Wheeler isn’t sure Machen, who as interim provost ran the University of Michigan during a presidential search that lasted from 1995 to 1997, remembers the power of the conference in which he once worked.

“If he thinks he can round up the troops and bully the Big Ten,” Wheeler said, “I’d buy some popcorn and watch it.”

By the way, here’s an enterprising reporter’s look at a 16 team playoff scenario.  All I needed to see was the first matchup to know how much this would suck.  Middle Tennessee State University.  Bleah. 

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Matt Hayes inspired this post.

In fashioning a response to Matt Hayes’ ignorant shot at Georgia’s defense, I took a look at the Dawgs’ defensive stats for the past three seasons – VanGorder’s final year and Martinez’s first two years as defensive coordinators.

First, check out average yards per carry (ypc) rushing from month to month.

In 2004, it goes like this: 3.45; 3.19; 2.78; 1.71.

In 2005, it goes like this: 2.86; 3.75; 4.37; 4.61.

In 2006, it goes like this: 2.87; 3.33; 4.21; 1.62.

There’s a disturbing trend there. In ’04, the average ypc improved from month to month. With the exception of last year’s bowl game, the direction under Martinez has been the opposite.

Now look at the season rushing totals. [Totalled by games, attempts, yards, ypc and TDs.]

2004 12 421 1283 3.05 7
2005 13 486 1870 3.85 17
2006 13 433 1407 3.25 15

While the defense certainly made strides in 2006 in reducing average ypc, the number of rushing touchdowns remains significantly higher than it was under BVG. And don’t forget that the 2006 schedule was far softer than the ’04 and ’05 slates were (no LSU, no SECCG, for example).

Here are the passing defense stats for the same three seasons [totalled by games, attempts, completions, yardage, interceptions, TDs and passer rating]:

2004 12 326 180 2184 5 13 121.58
2005 13 369 211 2205 16 8 105.86
2006 13 342 182 1950 19 11 100.62

Not surprisingly, given Martinez’s prowess as a secondary coach, these numbers have improved noticeably over the past three years, particularly interceptions.

What this tells me roughly a hundred days out from the season opener is that Georgia fans should be much more concerned about the ability of the front seven to shut down the run in 2007 than about Bryan Evans’ inexperience.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

You had me at “unproven”.

Today’s exercise in lazy journalism comes courtesy of TSN’s Matt Hayes, who writes:

… The loss of star CB Paul Oliver (academics) leaves Georgia in a precarious situation in the secondary. The unit is just not that good in coverage and played poorly this spring. There was hope that the quick front seven–and Oliver’s ability to shut down one side of the field–would allow the unit to jell. Now the team likely will use unproven Bryan Evans and Asher Allen at corner. Though both have potential, they’ll struggle with little help from Ss Kelin Johnson and CJ Byrd, who aren’t necessarily cover guys. The loss of Oliver puts more pressure on FS Reshad Jones–a top recruit in 2006–to learn the nuances of the position and win a starting job in fall camp. Then there’s this hanging over the unit: The season opener is against Oklahoma State, one of the nation’s best passing teams. . . .

Look, it’s not unreasonable in any sense to have some questions about Georgia’s defense right now.  But to call Bryan Evans unproven is a reach, as he started several games last year and, along with Weston, significantly improved down the stretch.  Which, in turn, was a large reason the Dawgs’ pass defense stepped up in the last four games of the year.

How hard is it to do a little research before acting like you know something about a program?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Around the Internets, Memorial Day edition

In no particular order, a few columns that caught my eye today:

  • In what no doubt seemed like a great subject until he actually sat down and penned a piece on it, this writer for the Greenville News ranks the SEC schools in the order of post spring practice enthusiasm. Or something like that. Don’t miss the Georgia cheap shot. The irony of someone in South Carolina bitching about Georgia fans arrogantly thinking that their program “isn’t too far away from an SEC title” shouldn’t be lost on any Dawg fan.
  • More rumblings here about Congress taking a look at the NCAA and the tax exemption. Actually, it seems like more of the same rumblings from Senator Grassley. Once again, there’s at least a whiff of jealousy from academia behind this: “Dr. James Duderstadt, president emeritus of the University of Michigan, said last week that the spending spree of big-time athletics department could be the ultimate downfall of higher education.” Who knew Mal Moore had that kind of pull?
  • The Lincoln Journal-Star has an interesting article about scheduling problems the twelfth game presents for Big 12 schools. It’s something I’ve wondered about for a while, or at least since the New York Times published a piece about the rising costs of scheduling cupcake schools. Here’s it’s noted that the payout for such games has roughly tripled. More problematic is the fact that many mid-majors are asking for 2 and 1 deals, requiring the big boys to play one game on the road to get two at home. Not surprisingly, the BCS schools object to playing in a much smaller venue. Where this trend takes college football is uncertain right now, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see it lend support to adding an additional conference game to the schedule.

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football, The NCAA

I love Notre Dame, how ’bout you?

Notre Dame’s attempt to extort… er, uh, renegotiate its current deal with the BCS has drawn some fire.

Kyle King’s take on it can be found here. In reading it, I was reminded of an exchange from My Cousin Vinny:

Judge Chamberlain Haller: Mr. Gambini?
Vinny Gambini: Yes, sir?
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Mr. Gambini, that is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection.
Vinny Gambini: Thank you.
Judge Chamberlain Haller: Overruled.

Then, there’s this somewhat more breathless post on what Irish AD Kevin White is up to.

Kyle likens the situation to welfare – “Notre Dame has been on the dole for too long without pulling its own weight, much less Charlie Weis’s” (great shot, by the way) – while Mr. Apple analogizes it to a spendthrift teenage daughter flunking out of college. Kyle is much closer to the mark, in my opinion.

Except this isn’t about performance on the field. It’s about putting asses in the seats (stadium and EZ-Boy recliners in front of TVs). As long as Notre Dame delivers on that in a way that no other school in college football can, it’s going to get special treatment.

The funny thing to me is that Notre Dame used to refuse to play in the postseason. And college football seemed to weather its absence just fine.

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Filed under Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat..., The Blogosphere