Monthly Archives: April 2011

Risk/reward and another muddied message

Two other high-profile kids who ran afoul of the NCAA last season because of agent-related issues wound up as the third and fourth picks in the draft.

Doesn’t exactly put the fear of God into student-athletes, does it?  Not that the NFL gives a rat’s ass about that.


Filed under The NCAA

One more time: why stars matter.

It’s a common fallacy repeated on message boards and blogs ad nauseam:  recruiting ratings are worthless because this two-star prospect succeeded and that five-star kid was a flop.  I call it the micro approach to recruiting.

It’s the bigger picture that’s far more relevant, though.  Talking about this year’s NFL draft, Matt Hinton observes,

… Six of the top 10 were accorded five-star status as recruits, which is even more impressive when you consider just how few players make up the upper crust in recruiting rankings. Using Rivals’ ratings, five-star players make up a little more than one percent of all Division I-A signees every year, and four-star players less than 12 percent; a full 87 percent of incoming players are rated three stars or lower. (In Rivals’ system, all DI-A signees are automatically granted two-star status; walk-ons are usually unranked.) But that group produced a grand total of 13 picks Thursday night from a cast of more than 10,000 last year.

Missing out on a particular kid tells you nothing about a program’s talent level.  Signing decent numbers of four and five-star recruits on a consistent basis, on the other hand, is an indication of success.  As Hinton summarizes how the math works out, “The four and five-star players, a group that makes up a little under 13 percent of the entire population of college players, accounts for just shy of 60 percent of first-rounders.”  I’ll take my chances with a program that steadily cranks out first-round draftees, thank you very much.


Filed under Recruiting

Show cause.

Brian Cook takes a look at the NCAA’s decision not to reverse course on the Todd McNair appeal and games out what that might mean for Ohio State and Jim Tressel.  Cook thinks there’s a decent chance Ohio State decides to stand by their man.

I don’t know how likely it is that a school takes a gamble on a head coach who’s prohibited from recruiting for an entire year, though.

There’s a bigger question about Cook’s reasoning, though, one that’s highlighted over at Conquest Chronicles.  The NCAA’s D1 Board of Directors has issued new rules for its infractions folks, including one that sounds like it comes straight out of Bush v. Gore:

Remind the membership in LSDBi and in committee policies and procedures that Committee on Infractions and Infractions Appeals Committee reports in prior cases are not binding in future cases. The reports do not reflect all of the facts and circumstances considered by a committee, rules may have changed, committee members have likely changed and no two set of facts are exactly the same. Those appearing before the committees should focus on the conduct involved in the actual matter pending before the committees, not on prior cases.

Precedent means zilch.  Every case is unique.  Blah, blah, blah.  In other words, rules? The NCAA don’t have to show you any stinkin’ rules.

That may make things easier for the organization in terms of passing judgment, but it’s not so conducive to encouraging your member institutions to avoid certain forms of behavior.  Not to mention maintaining respect for the enforcement procedure itself.  But then we’ve all known that consistency isn’t one of the NCAA’s strong suits.


Filed under Big Ten Football, The NCAA

“James Carpenter went in the first round?”

Nothing like having your head coach’s surprise at your selection broadcast on national television.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

I don’t want to spoil the party, so I’ll go.

No doubt it’s churlish of me to point this out as most of Dawgnation celebrates A.J.’s good fortune last night, but has anyone else considered what type of skill position talent the 2008 Georgia team trotted out on the field?  There were studs all over the place:  a #1 NFL draft pick (Stafford), a #4 (Green), a #12 (Moreno) and a #50 (Massaquoi).  No wonder those Dawgs were a popular pick for preseason number one.

And yet that team (1) found itself on the embarrassing end of a 31-0 halftime score against Alabama; (2) lost by 39 points to Florida; (3) barely squeaked by a mediocre Kentucky team despite scoring 42 points; and (4) suffered the only loss to Georgia Tech in Richt’s career, again while scoring 42 points.

You would think that Richt’s extensive experience would have made it easy for him to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of that squad.  But for some reason, Martinez, Jancek and Fabris were allowed to stay on board for the next season, with predictable results.  Waiting one year too long to do the obvious is what leads to testy moments with the fan base, perhaps.

I think I’ll shut up now.


Filed under Georgia Football

You know whom Dan Mullen reminds me of?

You read Year2’s analysis of Mississippi State’s improvement in 2010 and realize you’re looking at a former highly respected offensive coordinator who’s come in to a program as head coach and worked hard not at the splashy stuff but at two things that can generate positive results:  offensive efficiency and good defense.

Those numbers reflect what I saw on the field.  Mullen may be the best manager of a game in the SEC right now.  That approach can be a grind and it’s not always pretty – that Florida game was awful to watch – but it gets the job done more often than not.

Kind of takes you back to Georgia circa 2003-4, doesn’t it?


Filed under SEC Football, Stats Geek!

Here’s the real “It’s So Easy”.

Stewart Mandel succinctly catches the “pinch me, I’m dreaming” aspect of the business side of college football these days:

… Otherwise, it’s business as usual among college football’s power brokers, which must seem mind numbing to their critics. But really, what’s their incentive for change?

Some would assume it’s money. How many times have we read over the past year that the commissioners are “leaving money on the table” by neglecting to adopt a playoff.

Yet over that same time, ESPN and Fox have been throwing obscene amounts of money at conferences and individual schools to show their regular-season games. The Pac-10 (soon to be Pac-12) is about to make a killing off their forthcoming rights deal, thanks to interest from Comcast/NBC.

The Pac-10 made about $28 million from the BCS last year. It’s expected to net nearly 10 times that with its new deal. And the commissioners will tell you their revolutionary 1-2 game is a major reason for that.

“We never could have believed the regular season would have grown over the last 15 years the way it’s grown, and I think that’s due in part to the BCS,” said Delany. “Obviously along the way there’s been controversy, but if you look at the growth of the television, the growth of interest in conferences around the country, I think it’s been a resounding success — more successful than I ever thought.”

This is what the Wetzels and PlayoffPACs keep missing every time they insist that college football’s power brokers are morons for not adopting a playoff.  Those guys are making a killing lately on the regular season – and they don’t have to share the wealth outside of their own conferences.

Until somebody can present a convincing argument why Mike Slive, Jim Delany, Dan Beebe and the rest of their ilk should risk changing that, it ain’t gonna happen.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

The “largest conflict of interest known to mankind”

This explains everything you need to know about Craig James’ continued existence on the air:

… ESPN vice president and director of news Vince Doria, a panelist and IU National Sports Journalism Center board member, called his network the “largest conflict of interest known to mankind,” referring to the fact that ESPN has financial relationships with leagues to broadcast games while also covering those games as journalists. But those deals, he said, don’t prevent aggressive coverage of those leagues.

I have no idea how these people can keep a straight face.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

Mark Richt is pissed off, and wants you to know it.

Georgia’s head coach brought along one of his personas to keep him company on this year’s Bulldog Club spring tour.  No, not Evil Richt.  Say hello to In-The-Arena Richt.

The interrogators’ voice was low, and only those around him could really hear it.

He was unhappy with Georgia’s running game, running backs, play-calling, a lack of scoring, not enough rushing, too much passing and the performance of running backs coach Bryan McClendon.

Mark Richt heard the man loud and clear, waited for him to finish and answered.

“I’ll tell you this, and you’re certainly close to an expert in football, I’m sure you are,” Georgia’s head football coach said as the 250-plus fans at the Macon stop of the Bulldog Club tour Thursday night at the Walnut Creek Shooting Preserve began to create a buzz.

And he dissected all of the elements that lead to a good running game, and then he noted that a team has to do more than just run the ball to win.

“I’ve seen teams throw the ball and win the national championship; I’ve seen teams run the ball and win the national championship,” Richt said. “Believe me, you can win the SEC doing it more than one way. Steve Spurrier, when he was at Florida, he chunked the ball, and he won how many SECs?”

And then the temperature rose a little bit more.

“I see your frustration, I understand your frustration,” Richt said, politely but sternly. “I wasn’t born yesterday, I’ve coached football for 25 years, so I know what the hell I’m doing, OK?”

That’s the sound of a man who’s discovered the warmth of the seat he’s perched on.

The coach didn’t reserve his ire for members of his audience entirely.  He also had a few choice comments for his tailbacks.

… Richt said in a one-and-one beforehand and during his talk that tailback is his biggest concern, and he was asked how to motivate often-in-trouble Washaun Ealey.

“All those guys have had ample time in my opinion to take a hold of it,” Richt said, pointing also to upperclassman Caleb King. “No one has. That’s been the most disappointing (thing for) me probably the last couple seasons is that, that position didn’t get solidified by somebody there who was capable.”

He said earlier that the position is more than open.

“The bottom line is we don’t have a tailback right now who deserves to start, in my opinion,” Richt said. “We don’t have a guy that’s proven that he can do all the things we’re going to ask that guy to do. There’s nobody that will stand up and say, ‘This is my job, I’m taking it and I’m keeping it.’ ”

Does Richt coach better with a chip on his shoulder?  We’re about to find out.


Filed under Georgia Football

Big Ten integrity at work

Here’s Jim Delany ringing in a happy new year for Ohio State:

… He said reports indicating he lobbied for the five suspended Ohio State players to be eligible for the Sugar Bowl are not true. He said he didn’t even know there was a precedent for such a delayed-penalty ruling until an NCAA official informed him.

And here’s Mr. Delany today.

You tell me – is there a difference between “lobbying” and “advocating”?  Because if not, somebody’s FOS.


Filed under Big Ten Football, Blowing Smoke