Which of these results is different from the others?
- Thanks to a stronger schedule, ABC’s Saturday night showcase outdrew its 2007 lineup by 24.2 percent. The network served up the fifth-largest college football audience in TV history on Nov. 1, as 12.2 million fans tuned in to watch No. 7 Texas Tech unseat top-ranked Texas 39-33, on a last-second 28-yard touchdown pass from Red Raiders’ quarterback Graham Harrell to wideout Michael Crabtree.
- Elsewhere on the dial, CBS averaged 5.1 million viewers over 18 telecasts, down 4.7 percent versus last season. The broadcaster boasted the year’s most-watched college football game, serving up 15.1 million viewers Dec. 6 with its coverage of the SEC Championship Game. The Gators knocked No. 1 Alabama out of contention for the BCS National Championship Game by a 31-20 margin, in what was also the highest-rated non-bowl game since 2006.
- And while Notre Dame endured another miserable season, going 6-6 and falling to the likes of lowly Syracuse (and at home, no less), the Fighting Irish continued to be something of a lucky charm for NBC, which carried six games and averaged 3.2 million viewers, an increase of 21.3 percent versus its seven-game load a year ago.
Big XII better = higher TV ratings. SEC down = lower TV ratings. Makes sense.
Notre Dame has another season of mediocrity (the record was better for one reason, a much weaker schedule than the ’07 slate), and the ratings jump. Mystifying.
It may be time to renegotiate with NBC. Again.
Mark Richt has had a real change of heart on the subject of a D-1 college football playoff.
Mark Richt has become an outspoken advocate for a college football playoff. Listen to him from a couple of days ago:
“For the longest, I was like, ‘I like it the way it is. I’m fine with it.’ I’m not that way any more.
“I’m ready. I’m ready for a playoff. I’m ready for a four- or eight-team playoff…”
On one level, I think I understand why he’s done an about face on the postseason. It sounds like he found the BCS politicking he felt forced to do at the end of last season distasteful.
“Having to live through last year and feeling like you’ve got to have this big filibuster or whatever you want to call it to go out there and try to convince people to vote for your team – I mean, it shouldn’t be that way in sports, especially in major-college football…”
But here’s the thing: why would any of that necessarily stop with a playoff? As long as there’s a subjective element to selection, there are going to be teams arguing why they shouldn’t be left on the outside looking in. The only playoff format that would avoid this problem would be one that was limited to conference champions (a format that, with a little judicious tweaking, I would be in favor of). But I suspect that adoption of such a playoff format would have little chance of succeeding in the real world.
One reason for that is that subjective standards mean that it’s easier for programs in tough conferences – or tough conference divisions – to gain access to a playoff than it would be if only conference champs need apply. And playoffs with subjective criteria for admission are easier to expand, which makes more coaches look good.
Of course, that would lead to hearing more coaches whine on ESPN about why their teams deserve to be in, but that’s a small price to pay for progress.
The bowl season, that is. Remember these words of wisdom from The Joe Cribbs Car Wash’s Jerry Hinnen:
… Don’t you dare fall for that big-media line about there being “too many bowls.” These are the last crumbs, the final few morsels of college football we get until going without for eight freaking months, and you should love all of them unconditionally. OK, so even I wouldn’t carve out any plans to watch Louisiana Tech-Northern Illinois, but no one’s strapping you down Clockwork-Orange-style and forcing you to watch, are they? I say if a bunch of nutso civic-minded businessmen want to blow a wad of cash on a game no will watch but that will feel like a reward to two bunches of kids who have worked their tails off all season and deserve some kind of thanks for it, by all means, be my guest.
Eight months is a long time.
Get yourself a plate and dive in.
- Butch Davis doesn’t give a damn about what you think about oversigning recruits. (h/t The Wiz of Odds)
- Next season, Alabama is coming back to the Georgia Dome for another College Kickoff game, this time against Virginia Tech.
- Rob Spence gets to keep his orange wardrobe (although Syracuse is one of the few schools in the country that may sport uglier jerseys than Clemmins).
- But if this story has legs (and I’m more than skeptical that it does), Phil Fulmer might have to go shopping. (h/t The Wiz of Odds)
- LawPundit’s final season rankings based on net yards per play are posted here.
- I get the impression that Memphis head coach Tommy West might be a fun date. Here’s what he had to say about whether the absence of a curfew in New Orleans last year had an effect on his team’s play: “What hurt us was we weren’t very good on defense,” West said. “That hurt us a lot more than the beer we drank. I think us not being any good on defense was why we gave up 44 points, not because we had been drinking all week…” Memphis hasn’t had a curfew this year either, which should give his players plenty of opportunity to take in a few of the area’s more scenic attractions if they choose. Just remember, guys: what happens in Tampa/St. Pete stays in Tampa/St. Pete. (h/t The Wiz of Odds)
OK, OK, I got the message. My bad.
Here’s the official format for the post-bowl Mumme Poll:
- Anyone who cast a Mumme Poll ballot this season is eligible to participate.
- Voting will be organized in three tiers: the #1 team; the next four best teams in the country; the next seven best teams in the country.
- Ballots can be turned in beginning Friday, January 9th. The cutoff for receiving ballots will be 9:00 PM Sunday, January 11th.
- The final poll results will be posted Monday, January 12th.
That’s it. Bowl games crank up tomorrow (starting at 11:00 AM!), so dig in for the next three or so weeks.