Monthly Archives: December 2007

But Tebow was hurt.

If he’d been healthy, I’m sure it would have affected this:

Here’s the other thing about Stafford: He played his best in the biggest games. He had a rating of 206.3 in the 42-30 win over Florida (11-of-18 for 217 yards, three touchdowns and one interception)…

One other nifty little note:

… With a win over Hawaii, Georgia could also secure its fifth top-10 finish in the polls in the last six years. No other SEC team would be able to claim that kind of run.

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Filed under Georgia Football

One stop shopping

Here’s the marketing concept:

No matter that Florida breezed past Ohio State, 41-14, in last year’s Bowl Championship Series title game. The number that mattered to Fox Sports and its national advertisers and bowl sponsors was 27.7 million — the viewers who tuned in and gave Fox its strongest Monday night showing in years.

The game was the first national championship broadcast by Fox under a wide-ranging media rights deal that includes the ability to sell bowl sponsorships, in-stadium signage and, perhaps most important, the right to plug the easily recognizable bowl logos into its broadcasts and its business partners’ advertising and marketing campaigns…

… Fox structured the deal to offer what advertising industry executives call “one-stop shopping” for the FedEx Orange, Allstate Sugar and Tostitos Fiesta bowls. (The Rose Bowl has its own broadcasting arrangement with ABC.)

Taco Bell, Allstate and other big corporate advertisers now can sign on one dotted line to purchase commercial time, arrange for seats on the 50-yard line, put their logos inside BCS stadiums and push their promotions directly into the Fox broadcast.

The deal, which first had to be approved by colleges, athletic conferences and bowl officials, was predicated on a simple premise, according to Neal Pilson, a New York City-based media consultant: “They figured that corporate advertisers would pony up more money because there’s clearly added value to this kind of comprehensive package.”

The advertisers love it.

“The synergies are great,” said Tom McGovern, director of U.S. sports media services for OMD, a New York-based advertising and media giant that represents such BCS players as Tostitos and FedEx. “There’s nothing else of this magnitude that [clients] can put their names on.”

The BCS games provide what Paul Swangard, managing director of the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Institute, describes as “their own mini-Super Bowl platform. It’s an overarching media platform that didn’t exist before, and it has the potential to generate incremental dollars that people 10 years ago never could have dreamed would exist.”

Add it all up and what do you get? A river of money:

… The deal seems to be paying off for Fox. Television industry sources say it is charging as much as $500,000 for a 30-second commercial in one of its three BCS games and up to $950,000 for a 30-second spot in the Allstate BCS championship game. Fox had effectively sold all of its time even before the network ran its BCS selection show on Dec. 2. [Emphasis added.]

In other words, the money guys never cared which schools were playing in which bowl games. Think about that the next time you read someone’s call to arms about boycotting the BCS because the fans are unhappy about the matchups.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

Hawaii and the big boys

Going into the Sugar Bowl, Hawaii’s biggest question comes from its weak schedule. It’s hard to judge the quality of a team when its overall opposition is as undemanding as the Warriors’ has been this year.

What I thought I’d do to get a better grasp of the level of Hawaii’s mettle is to look at how the school performed against BCS conference competition over the last three years (the years that Colt Brennan has been the starter). Here’s the list:

  • 2007: Washington (H)
  • 2006: Alabama (R); Purdue (H); Oregon State (H); Arizona State (N)
  • 2005: Southern Cal (H); Michigan State (R); Wisconsin (H)

I don’t know about you, but I was surprised to find that Hawaii was able to schedule five home games against BCS conference opponents and only play two road games against the same caliber of schools during this time. The Warriors compiled a 3-5 record in these games.

Looking at a breakdown of some of the offensive and defensive stats from these games, here are a few items that emerge:

  • Hawaii was outscored by an average of about nine points per game. It was held under 20 points three times (all losses). Hawaii’s defense held these schools under thirty points on three occasions and won two of the three games.
  • Win, lose or draw, Colt and his receivers are going to get their passing yards. Hawaii averaged over 400 yards per game passing against these eight schools. Its worst showing was 236 yards passing in a game at Michigan State.
  • As we already suspected, running isn’t that important to Hawaii’s success. The average running yardage in these games was under 100. There were four games in which Hawaii rushed for over 100 yards; its record in those games is 2-2.
  • Despite a losing record in these eight games, Hawaii on average outgained its competition by more than 70 yards per game.
  • On average, offenses playing Hawaii throw for about 75 yards per game more than they get on the ground. The Warriors held only two of these eight teams to less than 100 yards rushing (Purdue and Oregon State), but only managed to win one of the games.

If you take Hawaii’s averages in these games and compare them to the national ’07 stats here’s how it would rank, along with the nearest BCS conference team to that ranking:

  • Scoring: 27.75, 62nd nationally (Connecticut)
  • Defensive points: 36.63, 110th nationally (Minnesota)
  • Total offense: 498.63 ypg, 5th nationally (Missouri)
  • Total defense: 427.13 ypg, 94th nationally (Duke)

Overall, these are respectable numbers. Hawaii is going to move the ball. It’s also going to give up its fair share of yards and points on the other side. Honestly, if I had to compare them to an SEC team, I’d think of Kentucky.

The stats show this team is credible enough to give Georgia a good fight next Tuesday. The Dawgs had best be on their toes when they play.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

They think about stuff to post so I don’t have to.

Here are a few choice tidbits from today’s college football buffet line:

  • If there were any doubts about Penn Wagers’ officiating crew being the college football equivalent of a train wreck waiting to happen, last night’s Holiday Bowl should erase them completely.
  • Darren McFadden’s got himself a new, bad ride.
  • West Virginia sues Rich Rodriguez for the $4 million buyout, which should help immensely in the school’s search for a new head coach. It’s inspired the thought of the day: So West Virginia is suing Rich Rodriguez for the $4 million buyout called for in his contract. If it’s going to come down to a jury trial in front of 12 West Virginians, he might just as well write the check right now.
  • Maybe we’ve found the canary in the coal mine when it comes to the BCS: TV ad revenue. “What matters to us is the consumer interest in the BCS,” said Lisa Cochrane, vice president of marketing for Allstate, which is in its second year as a Sugar Bowl title sponsor. “All of the interest we’re seeing is good, as long as it’s not negative, and we’ve not seen any evidence of fans boycotting bowls because of their various opinions.”
  • The New York Times shows Knowshon a little love.

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Filed under College Football

Sugar Bowl punditry

There are a couple of Sugar Bowl previews up at CFN and ESPN for your perusal.  There’s nothing particularly earth shattering in either – in case you didn’t know, look for Hawaii to throw the ball and for Georgia to run the ball – but both pieces do focus on one particular matchup that should be interesting to watch.

From Fiutak at CFN:

Looking to bottle things up in the middle is 6-0, 302-pound bowling ball Michael Lafale, who’s been the anchor of the Hawaii line since moving over from the offensive side a few years ago. While not an interior pass rusher, he’s the one who needs to be shoved around to make the Georgia running game go. If he’s handled by just one lineman, there will be big problems for the Warrior linebackers. If he can consistently take on two blockers, Hawaii’s defense will have its moments.

And here’s what Scouts, Inc. has to say over at ESPN:

Key individual matchup

Hawaii DT Michael Lafaele vs. OC Fernando Velasco
Lafaele anchors the Warrior defense and he can be tough to move at 302 pounds, but he will struggle to hold his ground working against Velasco. Velasco has adequate quickness, he takes sound angles to his blocks and he shows above-average lower body strength once in position. If Velasco is able to handle Lafaele by himself, it will make it easier for the guards to release up to the second level and wall off the linebackers, giving RBs Moreno and Brown big lanes to run through. In addition, Lafaele shouldn’t have much success getting to QB Stafford. Velasco gets adequate knee bend in his pass set, and he rarely gives ground to bull rushers. While Velasco lacks an explosive first, Lafaele isn’t quite quick enough to exploit this weakness.

Note that both previews pick Georgia to cover the spread.  Note also that somebody can’t spell the Hawaii DT’s name correctly.  (The Honolulu paper indicates that it’s CFN’s screwup.)

On another front, we haven’t seen a Tom Dienhart “what I’m hearing about coaches” link in a while, so here’s a timely one.

A source close to the SMU situation tells me Hawaii coach June Jones is the main target. He already has had a clandestine interview for the job.

SMU has yet to make a move on former Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione and ex-Southern Miss coach Jeff Bowers, among others, even though both have been available. Why? Because SMU is waiting on Jones to finish the Warriors’ trip to the Sugar Bowl, where unbeaten Hawaii will play Georgia.

Is it true?  With Dienhart, who knows?  Brennan is gone after the Sugar Bowl and Jones’ contract with Hawaii is up.  Could this be a distraction?  It couldn’t hurt if it were.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Here come the robots, y’all.

If you’re Fox Sports, the BCS has been berry, berry good to you.

… With four post-New Year’s games on its schedule, including the college football national championship game on Jan. 7 between LSU and Ohio St. as well as broadcasts of the Sugar, Fiesta and Orange Bowls on the docket, Fox has sold out its entire inventory for the slate of games, despite hefty increases on pricing. For the Sugar, Fiesta and Orange Bowls, the network priced each 30-second spot at $500,000 this year. The BCS National Championship game drew prices of $950,000, up from last year’s prices of around $800,000.

And so now you start looking for new worlds to conquer.

With rights to leagues such as the heavyweight Southeastern Conference coming available for the 2009 season, Mr. Goren said Fox is looking for opportunities to make college football a part of the network’s long-term plans. One key to that could be with the SEC, which enters the final year of its deal with CBS with the 2008 season.

“We would love to get a regular-season package, and I believe we could do a lot with it,” Mr. Goren said. “We talked about having a regular season for years, but unfortunately a lot of those deals don’t come on the market very often. That’s a hell of a testament to the health of college football in this country.”

SEC football and those stupid Fox graphics… be still, my heart.

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UPDATE: On a related note, at least Georgia fans have some attractive options if we don’t want to listen to the Fox broadcast crew for the Sugar Bowl. Larry Munson is going on the road and will handle the play by play duties as only he can. And ESPN Radio is giving us Uncle Ron.

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UPDATE #2:  Scratch Munson from the Sugar Bowl.  Oh, well… at least we’ve still got Franklin as an alternative.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

Don’t ask. Do tell.

I was sitting in a Mexican restaurant Monday night drinking a beer when I looked up at a big screen TV that was tuned to ESPN’s Monday Night Football preview show.  There was no sound, so I hadn’t been paying attention, but a question posed across the bottom of the screen caught my eye and reminded me why I don’t like the NFL and do like college football.

It was a simple question about the upcoming NY Giants – New England Patriots football game:  Do the New York Giants owe it to the rest of the league to play their starters against New England? 

You see, both teams have already clinched playoff spots and the outcome of this game makes no difference to either team’s seeding.  But the Patriots are on course to set history by going undefeated over a 16 game regular season.  The question essentially is, should that matter to the New York team?  And the answer is, at least in the context of the NFL, nope.   There’s no reason for the Giants to jeopardize their postseason with an injury to a key starter in what has become a meaningless regular season game.

Those are scales I hope I never see a D-1 football team have to balance.

I’m not opposed to a playoff.  But I am opposed to a postseason format where considerations like that could become part of the equation.   The day I hear Mark Richt asked a question like that before a Georgia Tech or Auburn game is the day I find another sports interest.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

From the flying wedge to flag football

Is the run and shoot making wimps out of opposing teams’ defenses? Here’s an argument that says yes, but maybe not for the reason you might expect:

I have long felt that tackle football, especially at the NFL level, has been migrating toward 11-man flag ball. I think it may be inevitable if the game is going to continue to be a significant part of a society that has become softer and gentler, and I think that the NFL, by investing in youth flag football, understands this.

Watch a pass-only team (such as Hawaii) on offense. There often isn’t a whole lot more contact when they’re on offense than you’d see in flag ball.

Yes, receivers (and occasionally a runner) are taken to the ground, but with the exception of sacks and the occasional big hit on a helpless receiver (which, despite my dislike for receivers as a class, I would like to see outlawed), most of the time the ball carrier is tripped up, pulled to the ground, or pushed out of bounds (if he doesn’t go out of bounds voluntarily). The tackles are rarely violent, and the blocking mostly consists of holding a defender at arm’s length.

The game we’re playing now is a different one from the game I played 50 years ago when I was in college, and considering the way football has evolved from the days of the flying wedge to today’s pass-crazy game with its push-and-grab “blocking”, there is no reason to believe that the game we see today will be the same one they’ll be playing 50 years from now.

I fully expect blocking below the waist – on all plays – will be the next thing to go. Other than when backs have to pick up a blitz, it’s no longer of much use to pass-first teams, anyhow.

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Filed under Strategery And Mechanics

Phil Steele’s stocking stuffers

Pass the Diet Mountain Dew – Mr. Steele has some new info up at his site.

First, he’s posted his strength of schedule rankings for 2007.  No matter how these lists are generated, Hawaii always seems to bring up the rear.  Georgia checks in at #41.

And here’s his Sugar Bowl analysis.  Check out what his computer projects about Hawaii’s rushing yardage.

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Filed under Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

Today’s recruiting story

… comes from an article in The Baltimore Sun about Maryland starting QB Chris Turner (about whom the only thing I previously knew was that his father was a drummer in the 80’s hair band Ratt).

In tracing the course of Turner’s journey to starter, the reporter notes that he was recruited by several schools besides Maryland, including Louisville.  Why didn’t he go to a school that was being touted as a national title contender?

… Turner picked the Terps over Louisville in part because his parents weren’t sure whether Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino (now at Arkansas after spending part of this season with the Atlanta Falcons) would be there long.

That was three years ago.  Imagine what kind of vibe Petrino is going to give off on the recruiting trail now.

It’s almost going to be too easy for guys like Fulmer, isn’t it?

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Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Recruiting