Monthly Archives: April 2008

“I don’t want to play for a sluggish-looking team.”

I don’t know what astounds me more about this story – that a kid would pick a college based on the school’s uniform, or that a kid would pick Oregon based on the school’s uniform.

… The recruiting gossip last winter was he was almost certainly headed to Florida State, but the seeds of his cross-country sojourn were initially sown on a faithful October afternoon when he and some buddies watched Oregon nip USC on television.

Said Blount, “Those uniforms are tight.”

“Would you go there?” a buddy asked.

“I’d go there.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

(photo courtesy ESPN/Eric Evans)


Filed under General Idiocy

Comings and goings

  • Will he or won’t he? The 2008 NFL draft is only in the books for a couple of days and the pundits are already speculating about who will be at the top of the draft list in 2009. CFN lists Matt Stafford as the #2 pro prospect at QB (note that nine of the top twelve on the list are juniors). Not to be outdone,’s Pete Prisco lists Stafford as his #1 overall draft prospect.
  • Is the commitment of OT Austin Long a big deal for Georgia? Groo thinks so. All I know is that the kid needs a new hat.


UPDATE: ESPN’s Todd McShay has Stafford going third in the ’09 draft. As a bonus, check out #10.


UPDATE #2: And at, their mock draft has Stafford going #1 in the draft – and the Chiefs trading up with the Falcons (!) to get him.  If that were to happen, Arthur Blank would be run out of town on a rail.


Filed under Georgia Football

Random Georgia factoid of the day

Per Steve Patterson at

… the current crop of seniors, which consists of players from the classes of 2004 and 2005, with 2005 being the lowest ranked class of the Richt era at number ten, is currently riding the second longest winning streak in the nation at seven games (BYU, 10), and could become the sixth consecutive class to have added 40 or more wins to Georgia’s all-time totals. [Emphasis added.]

Even in a twelve game regular season era, that’s nothing to sneer at.

1 Comment

Filed under Georgia Football

Nothing like a little trash talking

Damn, I don’t know how I missed this quote from Suzanne Yoculan:

“You should have seen that list of the top 10 coaches in the SEC in that Alabama newspaper,” Yoculan says, referring to a list by a Mobile Press-Register columnist. “I’m No. 10. (Football coach) Tommy Tuberville of Auburn is No. 9. How many national championships has he won?”

I presume she means real ones.

Demonstrating how wide the gap really is between she and Tuberville …

(photo courtesy Kelly Lambert, AP)

(h/t Capstone Report)


Filed under Tommy Tuberville - Mythical National Champ

Message to Zook: Recruiter, heal thyself.

I don’t think Rivals’ Bobby Burton and the Zooker will be exchanging Christmas cards any time soon, judging from the shot fired back by Burton in response to the Zooker’s recent complaint about the perceived cozy relationship between recruiting services and coaches.

I give Burton this much credit: at least he was willing to lay out specifics:

… The new rule has come about because of your profession’s inability to work within the rules that govern them. Simply put, the NCAA doesn’t want its head coaches going out in the spring because they don’t trust you and your brethren.

This new rule has nothing to do with; it’s not our job to recruit players, nor is any writer paid to recruit players to a school. It’s our job to report about recruiting. Instead, the new rule has everything to do with your profession’s inability to follow rules.

Even in the face of these new rules and professional scrutiny from other coaches, you personally continue to push the envelope. [Emphasis added.] For example, your appearances at coaching clinics on high school campuses – including an upcoming one at Chicago’s Mount Carmel High – is a possible circumvention of the new NCAA rules. At least that’s how one conference’s compliance folks ruled. The Big East already has told its programs they can’t conduct these “clinics,” ones exactly like you are conducting, on high school campuses during the spring evaluation period.

The by-product of this new rule won’t be that or any media member will have greater control over where a recruit chooses to attend college. The only real by-product will be more NCAA regulations to keep you and other college coaches from trying to circumvent the system.

Will the Zooker take this lying down, or will he fire back? We’ll have to wait and see.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds)

1 Comment

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, The Adventures of Zook

“If you’re in the Justice League wherever someone is in distress, you go.”

Shorter Dennis Dodd:  Congressman Neil Abercrombie may be a dumbass, but… never mind, I can’t come up with a qualifier.

Comments Off on “If you’re in the Justice League wherever someone is in distress, you go.”

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles, Political Wankery

“To tell you the truth, that’s the last thing on my mind…”

I’ve posted on this before, but if Stafford has the kind of year in ’08 we all hope he’s capable of, it’s going to be hard for him to resist the siren song of the NFL draft.

… Stafford is noncommittal about whether he will think about entering the draft after next season.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It depends. There’s a whole lot of time between now and then as far as injuries can happen, the team can or can not play good. There’s a whole bunch of stuff that can happen. There’s a lot of factors that boil down into it.”

Stafford has a good resource. He is good friends with an NFL scout who used to work for Dallas and lived across the street from Stafford in Texas.

“That really, really helps,” Stafford said.

Gil Brandt, the former Dallas Cowboys personnel executive and a draft analyst with, watched Stafford play in high school.

“I think he has outstanding ability and he’s a very mature guy,” Brandt said. “As an example, I talked to (Dolphins No. 1 overall pick) Jake Long and told him you ought to send a nice big check to Lloyd Carr for advising you to stay in school and make considerably more money. I think for somebody in Stafford’s case, if he stays there through his fourth year, he has a chance to be the first player taken in the draft.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt told quarterback recruits for the next signing class that they would have a chance to compete for the starting job in 2010.

That’s true no matter what Stafford decides.

“You just tell them by Year 2, you’ll be competing with Logan Gray and whoever else we sign in this class and maybe a guy a year behind you,” Richt said. “The numbers are not that daunting. It’s a very good time to come in and go compete.”

In case you were wondering why Richt thinks it’s crucial for Georgia to sign two QBs in the class of 2009…


Filed under Georgia Football

The once and future BCS

The presidents and conference commissioners are meeting… but on the BCS front, nothing much is likely to happen.

The annual B.C.S. meetings involving 11 conference commissioners and Notre Dame’s athletic director, which start Sunday in Florida, were seen as an important milepost on the way to any changes. But in the past three months, the optimism has turned to pessimism and the “season of discussion” appears likely to be nothing but talk.

“I don’t know if we’re in a place to have a serious conversation,” said Notre Dame Athletic Director Kevin White, echoing the sentiments of several high-ranking officials interviewed last week.

The parties that would like to move forward on a plus-one format have no proposals to present.

… But perhaps the most glaring sign that the Plus One will not materialize is that the commissioners who have been open to change have not gathered any momentum.

“I haven’t really seen any hard and fast, black-and-white proposals,” said Craig Thompson, the Mountain West commissioner.

The lack of momentum behind a specific model combined with opposition from the Big Ten and the Pac-10 mean that the status quo appears to be the likely route. Swofford stressed that any change had to be approved unanimously.

The usual suspects continue to express their opposition.

“It isn’t really a case of being open-minded,” Tom Hansen, the Pac-10 commissioner, said. “It’s a case of having certain goals and certain historical relationships that we are very protective of.”

The Pac-10 and the Big Ten have a television contract with the Rose Bowl and ABC separate from Fox’s B.C.S. deal. That relationship with the Rose Bowl is something the conferences cherish for its tradition and its high television ratings.

Jim Delany, commissioner of the Big Ten, said the four-seeded-teams model would soon morph into an 8-team or 16-team playoff. He is adamantly against any playoff.

“The one that seeds them, it is what it is,” Delany said. “It has a tail and it barks. It’s a four-team playoff.”

Nothing scares university presidents, to whom the commissioners report, more than the potential of a football playoff. E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State, said: “You’ve got to persuade 60 university presidents to move to a playoff system. That is just not going to happen, at least in this generation.”

And Notre Dame knows the most important thing here is to follow the money.

The likely next window for significant change in the postseason would be 2014. That is when the Pac-10 and Big Ten’s deal with ABC for the Rose Bowl expires.

“With the lack of contractual symmetry, it’s a futile exercise in the short term,” Notre Dame’s White said.

Speaking of television, Fox seems pretty satisfied with the status quo…

Until then, the biggest drama is probably going to be whether Fox keeps the rights to the B.C.S. Fox is pleased with the results so far, including the ratings, and it will probably need to pay much more next time. College football’s popularity, as measured by regular-season ratings and attendance, has increased significantly in the past few years.

Ed Goren, the president of Fox Sports, said that the relationship with the B.C.S. had been a “lovefest,” and that retaining the contract was the “No. 1 priority.”

“If there are modifications in the system, I’m sure we’ll be as interested in the relationship,” Goren said. “But it’s not for us to say. There are already probably too many agendas and voices to sort this out. They don’t need any help from us.”

… while ESPN sounds as if it would prefer a few changes.

Fox has a one-month exclusive negotiating window in September, though ESPN has expressed its interest in acquiring the games.

“I think that sort of goes to our interest,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN’s senior vice president for college sports programming. “We are interested now, and we’d be more interested if it was slightly tweaked.”

You wonder how much the WWL would be willing to pay for the tweaks. And even if the Game Day crowd were willing to pay more for the privilege, how much of a difference maker would that be in the end? If you take the BCS crowd at its word, maybe not as much as you’d think:

There is a feeling among the commissioners that the B.C.S., though not immune to criticism, has overcome some of its earlier controversies and that the public has developed an understanding of it. The biggest roadblock to change may come from administrators who do not want to water down the regular season, which they say has a playoff-like feel every week. The Big Ten’s Delany and Wright Waters, commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference, mentioned the lack of buzz surrounding regular-season college basketball.

And while the ending of the football season may generate controversy every season, the buildup is among the best in sports.

“I would say that a lot of people from an operation and a working standpoint seem to feel pretty good about the B.C.S. as it exists,” Swofford said.

Which brings us to Tony Barnhart’s post of the day: his solution to the BCS dilemma. He proposes a plus-one format matching the top four BCS ranked teams in 1 vs.4; 2 vs. 4 semi-final games, with the winners playing in a national title game. He would add a fifth BCS game to accommodate the extra round. He would also permit the Rose Bowl to maintain its traditional arrangement with the Pac-10 and Big Ten conferences, although that would mean accepting some tradeoffs:

The national championship game will be on a five-bowl rotation (Sugar, Orange, Fiesta, Rose, and Chick-fil-A). The semifinal games, however, will rotate among four bowls because the Rose, by choice, will not participate at that level of the playoff.

That would mean the Rose would host the MNC game less than it does now and that it would agree to a lesser standing than it has now, with three postseason games ahead of it instead of one – all while continuing with the same payout. Somehow I doubt this will be satisfactory. I’d also expect the TV rights to be worth less under this format. Barnhart doesn’t address any of this, which is problematic to say the least.

What he does address, though, and what is a useful exercise, is what the previous seasons would have looked like with his four team playoff proposal. I’ll go through them with his commentary and add mine after each, along with whether I think the plus-one would have been an improvement over the one shot BCS title game – or not.


No. 1 Ohio State (11-1) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (11-2)

No. 2 LSU (11-2) vs. No. 3 Virginia Tech (11-2)

Comment: After No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia both lost on championship Saturday, No. 3 Ohio State jumped to No. 1. No. 7 LSU jumped all the way to No. 2 after winning the SEC championship. A four-team playoff would not have helped Georgia (10-2), which dropped from No. 4 to No. 5 in the final standings. It also would have created a rematch of a regular season game (LSU vs. Virginia Tech).

We don’t get Georgia or USC in either game. What we do get is a rematch of a 48-0 game from the regular season. The irony here is that these pairings would have created even more controversy than the one game that was in fact played. Thumbs down.


No. 1 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 4 LSU (10-2)

No. 2 Florida (12-1) vs. No. 3 Michigan (11-1)

Comment: When No. 2 USC lost on championship Saturday, Florida jumped from No. 4 over Michigan to the No. 2 spot in the Final BCS Standings. Michigan’s only loss was in a close game to Ohio State (42-39) so the Wolverines thought they deserved a rematch. LSU thought it had the best team in the country at the end of the season. With a four-team playoff, both LSU and Michigan would have gotten their chance.

We would have gotten the game that we wanted here to settle the controversy at season’s end: Florida vs. Michigan. Wonder what ol’ Kirk would have had to say about two teams that didn’t win their conference championships playing in the semi-finals. And LSU didn’t play in the SECCG, either. The Rose Bowl would have been stuck with the third best team from the Big Ten, to boot. Sucks for Pasadena, but overall this would have been better for the fans. Thumbs up.


No. 1 USC (12-0) vs. No. 4 Ohio State (9-2)

No. 2 Texas (12-0) vs. No. 3 Penn State (10-1)

Comment: USC and Texas were clearly the best two teams in the country in 2005. With a four-team playoff, we might have missed one of the best college football games ever played (Texas over USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl).

Nothing more needs to be said about this one. Thumbs down.


No. 1 USC (12-0) vs. No. 4 Texas (10-1)

No. 2 Oklahoma (12-0) vs. No. 3 Auburn (12-0)

Comment: Auburn, the SEC champ, was shut out of a chance to play for the national title. A four-team playoff would have given the Tigers their shot. Texas’ only loss was to Oklahoma (12-0) but the Longhorns finished strong and beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

The poster child for a four team playoff (although I doubt it would have made any difference ultimately in the result). Thumbs up.


No. 1 Oklahoma (12-1) vs. No. 4 Michigan (10-2)

No. 2 LSU (12-1) vs. No. 3 USC (11-1)

Comment: USC was ranked No. 1 in both human polls (AP, coaches) but finished No. 3 in the BCS Standings. As a result, college football had split national champions: LSU (BCS) and USC (AP). A four-team playoff would have avoided that.

No doubt this was another strong year for a four team playoff after Oklahoma lost in the Big XII championship game. Thumbs up.


No. 1 Miami (12-0) vs. No. 4 USC (10-2)

No. 2 Ohio State (12-0) vs. No. 3 Georgia (12-1)

Comment: Miami and Ohio State played a great double overtime game for the national championship. A playoff would have given Georgia, the SEC champion, a shot. USC, under quarterback Carson Palmer, the Heisman Trophy winner, was a great team by the end of this season.

As a Georgia fan, I would have loved it, of course. But the reality of it is that the two top teams were undefeated and deserved to meet. Adding a two loss team to the MNC mix in that context would have really watered things down. Thumbs down.


No. 1 Miami (12-0) vs. No. 4 Oregon (10-1)

No. 2 Nebraska (11-1) vs. No. 3 Colorado (10-2)

Comment: Nebraska made the BCS championship game despite losing its last regular season game to Colorado 62-36. Oregon, the Pac-10 champ that was ranked No. 2 in the human polls, was locked out. The result was the worst BCS championship game ever. Miami led Nebraska 34-0 at halftime of the Rose Bowl. This year screamed for a playoff.

No it didn’t. What it screamed for was for the voters to get their heads out of their asses and realize that Oregon should have been the clear #2. Teams that give up 62 points to a two loss team shouldn’t drop a mere one slot in the polls. I suspect that a four team playoff would actually encourage more buck passing, since the voters could reassure themselves that it would all get sorted out in the plus-one games. As a bonus, we would have gotten a rematch of the Big XII championship game. Ugh. Thumbs Down.


No. 1 Oklahoma (12-0) vs. No. 4 Washington (10-1)

No. 2 Florida State (11-1) vs. No. 3 Miami (10-1)

Comment: Miami was ranked No. 2 in the human polls and had beaten Florida State (27-24) in their head-to-head match-up during the regular season. But the BCS formula put FSU into the championship game against Oklahoma and left Miami at No. 3. A rematch in the semifinals would have been compelling.

Again, a rematch in a semi-final game. Not good. But Miami did get screwed that year. You just wonder why the BCS formula couldn’t be tweaked better to avoid situations like this. And what would Richt have done with the Georgia job if FSU’s postseason had been two weeks longer? A (reluctant) thumbs up.


No. 1 Florida State (11-0) vs. No. 4 Alabama (10-2)

No. 2 Virginia Tech (11-0) vs. No. 3 Nebraska (11-1)

Comment: Florida State and Virginia Tech were the only two undefeated teams, but Nebraska had a compelling case to be in the mix. The Cornhuskers (11-1) only lost one game (24-20 at Texas) but then avenged that loss by beating the Longhorns (22-6) in the Big 12 championship game.

Compelling cases are slippery slopes, Tony. And again, this would have allowed another two loss team to gate crash. Thumbs down.


No. 1 Tennessee (12-0) vs. No. 4 Ohio State (10-1)

No. 2 Florida State (10-1) vs. No. 3 Kansas State (11-1)

Comment: Florida State jumped from No. 4 to the BCS title game when No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Kansas State both lost on championship Saturday. Kansas State’s only loss was in double-overtime (36-33 to Texas A&M). Ohio State’s only loss was to Michigan State (28-24).

And Kansas State played a Kansas State schedule that year, too. It won its three OOC games by a combined score of 201-14. I don’t see where a plus-one would have added much here, but it probably wouldn’t have detracted from much, either. No thumb.

By my count, that’s four thumbs up and five down – not a very compelling case. Is fixing years like 2004 worth the downside that Barnhart acknowledges even as he pitches this?

2. It will devalue the regular season. The reason college football has the best regular season of any sport is the weekly tension of knowing that one loss can knock a team out of the race for the national championship. Schools have invested millions in facility improvements and count on full stadiums during the regular season. Example: The West Virginia-Pittsburgh game on Dec. 1 drew huge ratings because West Virginia had to win to get into the BCS championship game. That drama would be lost with a playoff.

3. The bowl system, which has contributed millions to college football, would eventually be damaged. Every playoff in the history of college athletics has grown and this would be no different. Once the playoff grows to eight or more teams, the early rounds of the playoffs would be held on campus as is the case with the lower divisions of college football.

It’s obviously not my call, but a solution that raises as many problems as it intends to fix isn’t much of a solution.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

I got my eye on you, babe.

The NCAA only thinks it’s holding down Nick Saban with its silly rules. But rules are meant to be circumvented if you’re the Sabinator.  This is probably more of that character building stuff college coaches like to talk about when they’re trying to sell the value of a football program.

Meanwhile, in Gainesville…


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward

“That’s cutting it pretty close…”

Three more bowl games on the table – perhaps.  If all are approved, that would make for a total of 35.  Stewart Mandel wonders where all the teams are going to come from to play.

Just how low on the totem pole are these games willing to go? The Congressional Bowl’s agreement with the ACC would send the league’s ninth eligible team to D.C — but the conference has yet to produce more than eight since expanding in 2004. (The bowl’s backup partner is the MAC.) And a potential partnership with the St. Pete Bowl would give the eight-team Big East seven guaranteed slots in 2008 (though Notre Dame can take one of them).

The bowl system last expanded in 2006 with the addition of four new games: The BCS’ stand-alone national championship game, the game in Birmingham, Toronto’s International Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The NCAA’s coinciding move to a 12-game regular-season, along with the elimination of previous restrictions against 6-6 teams and the counting of wins over I-AA opponents, expanded the pool of eligible teams from 59 in 2004 to 73 two years later.

Last season, however, there were only seven eligible teams that did not land bowl invitations. They were Troy, South Carolina, Northwestern, Iowa, Louisville, Ohio and Louisiana-Monroe. Had the three proposed new games already existed, there would have been just one team to spare.

So why does bowl expansion keep happening?  Because there are enough interested parties – including us – fueling it.

Last year’s 32 bowl games netted an average attendance of 54,078, highest in eight years. The Bowl pitting Cincinnati and Southern Miss garnered a modest but respectable 2.26 rating on ESPN2. By comparison, NBA regular-season games on ESPN average a 1.3.

“If the market can bear it, [NCAA schools] have basically voted to have as many bowls as they can,” said Giannini. “If all bowls are stable, basically, the market is saying that having that many bowls is efficient.”

What’s not to like?

“The reality is that I’ve yet to meet a coach who doesn’t want a postseason opportunity,” said ESPN’s Derzis. “If they qualify, their season continues, they get extra practice time, they get a chance to showcase their program on national television, and it truly is positioned as a reward for the players, the staff and the fans.

“… Communities continue to embrace [bowls] and to open their arms to host new ones, and television ratings continue to show that the public has not had their fill of bowls.”

If you televise it, they will come.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness