Somehow, I’m not surprised.
Daily Archives: April 22, 2008
There’s an interesting discussion thread on the DawgRun message board about Georgia’s 2009 schedule where the point is made that Damon Evans may have been a bit too aggressive with his scheduling of non-conference opponents, in that it may cost the Dawgs an opportunity to play for something big, like a national title, in either of those seasons.
I can’t say that I agree with that reasoning, at least in the context of the next two seasons. For one thing, you never know how things will turn out when you put a schedule together – or when the games are actually played, for that matter.
More importantly, I think Evans has made a conscious decision to elevate the visibility and prominence of the program on a national level. Like it or not, attitudes about the Georgia program like Stewart Mandel’s are not uncommon. One way to attack that is to become a little more fearless in scheduling OOC opponents. Doing so also has the benefit of raising the school’s profile nationally in recruiting, something Tennessee has pursued for a number of years with some success.
Besides, if you win these types of games, they help immensely in getting a school a shot to play in the BCS title game. Just ask LSU about how much the slaughter of Virginia Tech last year helped its chances. That’s why the Southern Cal game is so huge for Ohio State this season – win that game and the criticism about losing the last two BCS title games is blunted significantly.
If Richt has the program at the level most of us believe he does today, games like the ones coming up with Arizona State and Oklahoma State present the opportunity for Georgia to cement its position as among the truly elite, alongside the Southern Californias of the D-1 world, perhaps not so much in our eyes, but in the minds of the national media and the college football public. And that’s a good thing, a challenge worth embracing.
Last, but not least, as fans, don’t we prefer to shell out our money on games with opponents like these instead of 1-AA and Sun Belt Conference cupcakes? I know I do.
While there’s something straightforward about matching 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3 and then letting the winners face off in the BCS title game, there’s a significant logistics problem with that format, namely, the Rose Bowl’s insistence that it be able to maintain its traditional Big Ten-Pac 10 pairing while remaining a top tier postseason venue (a privilege it certainly pays for).
If you can’t get around the Rose Bowl roadblock and you’re still trying to find a way to tweak the postseason formula to get a BCS title game matchup that satisfies more of the critics, it’s off to Plan B.
From Matt Hayes, in the Sporting News, comes this tidbit on an alternative Plus-One arrangement:
Administrators will again explore a plus-one championship model at the annual BCS meetings next week in Fort Lauderdale — but this time, according to BCS sources, with the specific intention of appeasing the Big Ten and Pac-10. Both conferences are against further tweaking the formula; Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen told me last fall his league would break away from the championship series if a plus-one model becomes a reality. The focus this time: finding a way to secure the Rose Bowl for the Big Ten and Pac-10, no matter how the series formula plays out. The Rose Bowl organization also has concerns about the current double-hosting format, and those concerns likely will lead to the addition of a fifth BCS site (Atlanta or Dallas). A plus-one model — which would provide a championship game between the two highest-ranked teams after the bowl games — would give the series more bargaining power in the next television negotiations, which are expected to begin this fall. But the series has to have the Big Ten and Pac-10 on board to make such a move. Network television won’t pay top dollar for a series without two conferences and two of the sport’s most television-friendly schools (USC and Ohio State). If the BCS does go to a plus-one model, it won’t happen until the 2010 season. . . .
There are pluses (heh) and minuses to this proposal. It’s good for the networks, because all of the conferences are on board and there’s more product with one more game. It’s good for the schools for the same reason (more product means more money, of course). It’s good for the one other bowl game that gets elevated to BCS status (I’d bet on Dallas, with that football palace Jerry Jones is constructing). And it’s good, of course, for the Rose Bowl.
For the fans, though, it’s a mixed bag. One the one hand, the BCS games are strengthened, since #1 and #2 would be included in the mix. Looking at last year, for example, Ohio State would have been slotted in the Rose Bowl, instead of Illinois, to play USC. On the other hand, with ten schools participating in the BCS games, it’s very easy to construct a scenario where more than two schools have an argument that they belong in the title game. Which means all that’s been accomplished is to put off the same argument being made now for one week later.
That would make for good fodder on ESPN and the college football Blogosphere, though. From my selfish standpoint, there’s something to be said for an extra week of subject matter to blather about.
Josh Kendall has a piece up in today’s Macon Telegraph about the slight number of Georgia players that will be selected in this weekend’s NFL draft. If you’re watching to see how many of your favorite players will go on the first day, you’re likely to be disappointed.
… when the NFL holds its draft Saturday, Georgia will be decidedly under the radar. The Bulldogs, who finished 11-2 last year, are in danger of having no players selected on the first day of the draft for the first time since 2000.
The article notes the strange juxtaposition between the level of the program’s success over the past few years and the slender number of pro prospects this time around:
“For a team to be as developed as Georgia is at its high level of competition and have such a small and marginal draft class is very unusual,” said Frank Coyle, publisher of Draft Insiders’ Digest…
In my mind, that’s a telling point. And it’s nothing unique to the ’08 draft, either. After all, don’t forget that Georgia didn’t have a player selected in last year’s draft until the first pick of the third round.
Of course, that trend will change – perhaps as soon as next year, if certain players elect to come out after their junior seasons – but it’s quite a tribute to the coaching staff to have the program at the consistently high level it’s been at under Richt without a significant number of high level NFL picks being deployed on the field year after year.
The guru of Georgia/SEC TV scheduling is Jim from Duluth on the DawgRun board. He has a must read post up laying out the TV time projections for the upcoming season (along with a brief primer about how the networks go about making their selections) that you should check out. If nothing else, give it to any friends that are thinking about making wedding plans during football season.