Monthly Archives: December 2011

Name that caption: gettin’ down in Tampa

This certainly beats wearing a sombrero, standing next to some chubby Mexican dude:

(UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

Have at it in the comments.


Filed under Name That Caption

No doubt this will come as a crushing blow to Mark Richt’s ego.

The latest “I saw it on the Internet, so it must be true” rumor about who’s taking the Penn State job has to be read to be believed.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules

A cynic looks at the new Big Ten/Pac-12 partnership.

First off, let me say that a bunch of power conference schools getting together to announce a plan that would increase the number of games they play against their peers is something to congratulate.  Nah, make that celebrate.  Unequivocably.  From a fan’s perspective, the fewer regular season games we have to watch against Directional Cupcake A&M, the better.  And for the two conferences involved, it’s brilliant marketing – “the benefits of conference expansion without adding members”, whatever the hell that means – that peeled some of the attention away from the SEC’s 2012 scheduling announcement.

But to read the immediate reaction of the punditerati, you’d think Larry Scott and Jim Delany had announced they’d found a cure for the common cold.  You’ll have to pardon me if I don’t join the wankfest.  Allow me to make a few points from my perspective.

  1. The devil’s in the details.  This sucker doesn’t kick in until 2017.  Skipping past the obvious point that nobody knows what the landscape of college football will look like in six seasons (hell, who knows what it’ll look like in six months?) such that it might render the deal irrelevant, you’ve got issues about which schools will play which schools and where the games will be played to work out.  As Michael Elkon noted, the concept of drawing Wisconsin away from the friendly confines of Camp Randall to play a non-conference opponent with a pulse on the road is certainly novel (Mike Leach in the past has been just as guilty of this scheduling mindset, so a Wazzou-Wisky matchup might be poetic justice).  And just ask the SEC how easy it is to arrange a schedule to accommodate new partners.  Bottom line:  they’ll need every bit of the six years to get ready.
  2. Say goodbye to the nine-game conference schedule.  Let’s get real here.  There’s always going to be a need for cupcakes in college football.  In the context of a twelve-team conference, an eight-game conference schedule is a decent balance and a nine-game conference schedule is basically a luxury.  Delany’s already indicated that the Big Ten won’t adopt a nine-game schedule.  My bet is that the Pac-12 follows suit.  Here’s a big tell:  the conferences kept Notre Dame, which plays five games against member schools, apprised of the developments.  In the end, this is really an admission that neither of these conferences has any immediate plans to expand beyond their current configurations.  But if that changes, all bets are off.
  3. The 800-pound gorilla in the room.  That talk about playing chess vs. playing checkers makes for some nice chest-thumping, but to some extent what’s going on here is in reaction to the SEC.  Start of the season kickoff event at a neutral site?  Sounds familiar.  Even the basic concept of regular matchups with OOC schools from the same conference isn’t an alien one – just ask Florida, Georgia and South Carolina how each has ended their respective seasons for the last couple of decades.  I don’t want to say there’s never nothing new under the sun, but these aren’t exactly virgin concepts either.
  4. At the end of the day, Jim Delany is still Jim Delany.  Funny how the same people lionizing Delany for coming up with this were predicting two weeks ago his eventual capitulation on the playoff front because of his supposed isolation from the other conference commissioners’ evolving position on the plus-one.  Hard to see how he and Scott are BFFs on this while rabid rivals on the other.  The reality is that all of this is of one piece for Delany.  It’s about maximizing the value of the most important asset the Big Ten owns, regular season football programming.  And Delany has Scott marching in lockstep with him on that front.  Any change to the postseason will be made in light of doing no harm to their golden goose.
  5. Tough shit, little guys.  Speaking of Jim Delany still being Jim Delany, is there any doubt the man enjoys sticking it to the mid-majors when the opportunity presents itself?  And make no mistake about it, this move hurts every mid-major and FCS program that offers itself up as a sacrificial lamb for a big check.  Two conferences just reduced demand by a total of 24 games a year.  Don’t think that won’t have an impact on what the small fry will be able to command.
  6. Your move, SEC.  If this is a move primarily about creating more broadcast product – and it seems safe to assume that it is – I suspect that this will hasten the inevitable for Mike Slive and his cohorts to move to a nine-game conference schedule.  (Greg McGarity is already making “you never say never” mouth noises about that.)  That’s a decision which makes a great deal of sense for a fourteen-team conference simply on the merits of balancing the schedules more fairly (think Georgia would be getting off as easy if the SEC required schools to play nine conference games in 2012?);  the added revenue from the networks makes it a virtual no-brainer.  And with a 2017 timetable in play, that should alleviate problems (cancellation penalties, you cheap bastards) the ADs have with the move.


Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football

Thursday morning buffet

The season grows closer to an end, but the buffet remains stocked.

  • Steve Spurrier is philosophical about the 2012 SEC schedules.
  • In three months, Ken Malcome goes from walking away from the program to first string tailback.
  • Any ideas on where John Jenkins was “abiding by the curfew” in Tampa?
  • Urban Meyer isn’t a distraction for the Gators.  Yeah, right.
  • Mike Bianchi, Gator troll“If the Gators don’t win, they finish with a losing record for the first time since 1979 when Charley Pell’s first UF team went 0-10-1.  It’s never good when you are the first coach in more than three decades to have a losing record. Not only that but it would be yet another blow to UF’s ego if the Gators were to lose to Ohio State, the program Meyer essentially ditched them for.”
  • I’m quite content with Tennessee saving money like this.
  • has Georgia fifth in its 2012 Early Bird Preview.
  • Donna Shalala talking about schools needing to reassess their relationships with power coaches is comedy gold, Jerry.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, SEC Football

It’s a great season for football… let’s win two!

Tater Tot, at his first day on the job at Akron, manages to channel Diddy Bowden and set a high bar for the program, all in one sentence.

“The first thing is how are we going to dad-gum win two because we only had one last year,” Bowden said. “We have got to get two to have one more. It’s going to take a lot to win, but we can have it and we will have it.”

It’s gonna be a magical year for the Zips.  You can just feel it.


Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

2012 SEC conference football schedules released (finally).

Here they are.

The specifics for Georgia:

  • 9/8 – at Missouri
  • 9/22 – Vanderbilt
  • 9/29 – Tennessee
  • 10/6 – at South Carolina
  • 10/20 – at Kentucky
  • 10/27 – Florida (at Jacksonville)
  • 11/3 – Ole Miss
  • 11/10 – at Auburn

Other points of interest:

  • South Carolina drew LSU and Arkansas from the West.
  • Florida plays South Carolina the week before the Cocktail Party.  Wow.
  • Vanderbilt, like Georgia, misses the Big 3 from the West.
  • Tennessee plays three East opponents in November, adding Missouri.
  • Pity Ole Miss:  at Alabama, at Arkansas, at Georgia and at LSU.

And maybe I’m missing something, but it looks like the conference was able to preserve all the historical rivalries for 2012.


UPDATE:  Here are the first strength of schedule rankings for 2012 I’ve seen.

I’m okay with that.


Filed under SEC Football

It’s broke, Indiana State. Fix it.

Feel the power.

For the second time in less than two weeks, schools are objecting to a reform measure sought by university presidents and endorsed by NCAA President Mark Emmert.

More than 75 schools are asking to override a plan approved in October to allow multiyear athletic scholarships rather than the one-year renewable awards schools currently provide. That’s the minimum number of dissenters needed for reconsideration by the Division I Board of Directors when it meets next month in Indianapolis at the annual NCAA convention. The NCAA announced the change the Friday before Christmas….

“The NCAA and presidents step up with this legislation and then the universities want to vote it down,” said Christian Dennie, a former compliance officer at Missouri and Oklahoma who practices sports law in Fort Worth and writes an NCAA oversight blog.

Dennie thinks it’s all about the money, but the comments posted by the schools show it’s about something else.

… Indiana State offered a more blunt assessment, suggesting the change could “create some real nightmares.”

The “problem is, many coaches, especially at the (Football Championship Subdivision) level, in all sports, are usually not around for five years and when the coach leaves, the new coach and institution may be ‘stuck’ with a student-athlete they no longer want (conduct issues, grades, etc.) or the new coach may have a completely different style of offense/defense that the student-athlete no longer fits into,” the school wrote. “Yet, the institution is ‘locked in’ to a five-year contract potentially with someone that is of no athletic usefulness to the program.”

“The current system works. We don’t need to get into bidding wars where one school offers a 75% (scholarship) for two years and the other school then offers 85% for three years, etc., etc. This puts the kid into a situation where they almost need an agent/adviser just to determine the best ‘deal.’

Horrors!  I bet Ann Alexandra Charlebois wishes she’d been allowed an adviser when she signed with her school.

… Earlier this month, former Missouri women’s soccer player Ann Alexandra Charlebois sued coach Brian Blitz and the university’s governing board, claiming that she agreed to attend Missouri only after Blitz vowed in writing to provide more than $106,000 in support through 2015, with the player and her family needing to contribute only half of her college costs in her first year.

Charlebois received a 50% partial scholarship in 2010 as a freshman. After complaining about receiving a similar amount of financial aid this year, she was kicked off the team in September, her attorney said.

I guess that family isn’t buying the “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” defense.

Let’s ignore Indiana State’s nostalgia for a minute and see if we can come up with a few rules that might offer better balance without wrecking the NCAA’s wish to preserve its amateurism rules.  Here’s what I’ve got for starters:

  1. Pass NCAA proposal 2011-97, which allows schools to offer scholarships as multi-year grants.As I posted before, there isn’t a down side to this, other than taking some of the control of the signing process away from the schools.
  2. Allow student-athletes whose scholarships aren’t renewed to transfer to any other school with immediate eligibility.  If a coach transferring to a new program doesn’t have to sit out a year, it’s hypocritical to hold players to a more restrictive standard.  And it’s harmful to deny them the opportunity to attend a school of their choice on scholarship.
  3. Allow student-athletes to consult a third-party legal advisor before signing with a school.  You know, Indiana State has a point.  Signing is confusing enough for 17- and 18-year olds who aren’t exactly the most worldly people; giving schools the opportunity to propose different scholarship offers complicates things even further.  The schools have their lawyers.  The kids should, too.
  4. Adopt Andy Staples’ proposal to eliminate national signing day.  As he puts it, “Want to offer a high-school freshman? Go ahead. But you can’t send him some empty promise. You have to send him a national Letter of Intent. If he signs, you promise one of your 85 scholarships to him for at least a year, and he promises to attend your school for at least a year, whether you’re there or not. Coaches wouldn’t have to baby-sit committed players as rivals swarmed, and players wouldn’t have to worry about a coach giving away the scholarship he already promised to them.”  Trust me, that would do more to reduce grayshirting abuses than anything on the books right now.
  5. Allow student-athletes who are draft-eligible to sign with an agent.  They’ve gone to school and developed marketable skills, supposedly the point of an education.  Yet as they weigh the prospects of future employment against remaining in school, the only advice they’re allowed to get is from their coaches and the NFL.  Good thing there are no conflicts of interest there.  Like it or not, players need their own source for advice.  To keep things on the up-and-up, agents would have to be certified by the NCAA and would not be allowed to pay players.  It’s got to turn out better than the crap we’re seeing now.
  6. Either the players get to profit off their likenesses, or nobody does.  Of all the bullshit that emanates from the NCAA and the schools, there’s nothing bullshittier than how the institutions are allowed to generate revenue from a player’s name, but the player isn’t.  It’s a corrosive practice.  It demeans the NCAA official stance on amateurism.  Either end it completely, or devise a system that lets the players share the wealth.  What’s wrong with a 50/50 split on jersey sales, for example?  Yes, guidelines would need to be put in place to make sure that rogue boosters don’t game things, but if schools stay in the loop, I think the NCAA can come up with something that’s fair.  (And for those of you about to get on your high horse about players receiving pay for their ability to play well, let me remind you that the NCAA allows for student-athletes who are professionals in one sport to play as amateurs in another.  Hard to see how one’s okay and not the other.)

That’s what I’ve got.  Any suggestions/criticisms/offers of support for Indiana State?  Let me hear about it in the comments.


Filed under College Football, The NCAA

Sure, that’s their story now.

SPORTSbyBROOKS is reporting that ESPN never really liked that Craig James feller:

Multiple sources have indicated to SbB in recent days that ESPN was unlikely to retain James as an employee of the company after his contract expired in April.

How convenient.

Now there’s a part of me that doesn’t doubt the WWL might be trying to spin James’ departure in a favorable way.  No organization can be that blind to James’ unpopularity.  But even if he had a contract, it’s not like the network had to keep putting him on the air if it was really that dissatisfied with him.

The proof will be in the pudding if James’ Senate campaign goes nowhere and he seeks to return to the broadcast booth.  We’ll see how much ESPN really wanted a separation then.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Political Wankery

Tampa talk

Aaron Murray and Mark Richt from the first day of bowl practice:

Nothing particularly earth shattering there, but there does seem to be a sense that they’re in a better place than they were a year ago.  (Duh.)

By the way, you can get an idea of why Richt was complaining (“A lot of windows over there too, you know…”) about all the buildings overlooking the practice field.


Filed under Georgia Football

Hail to the Spartans!

It’s not as if I expect much from Bleacher Report, but, yeah, this is a bit embarrassing:

Sugar Bowl 2012: BeamerBall to Test Michigan Spartans’ Mettle


(Featured Columnist) on December 28, 2011

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - NOVEMBER 26:  Head coach Frank Beamer of the Virginia Tech Hokies watches from the sidelines against the Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images) Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Somebody’s gonna in for a surprise when Michigan comes out wearing blue and maize in New Orleans.  Then, again, maybe it’s just a case where Joel and/or his editor did some shopping at Victoria’s Secret.


Filed under General Idiocy