Monthly Archives: May 2012

Word to the wise

Fair warning:  I plan on leaving today’s QOTD up for a while.  The sucker resonates with me.

9 Comments

Filed under College Football

Mmm… more cupcakes!

This should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.

19 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The logic of a nine-game schedule

There are plenty of reasons that justify it, but here’s what I suspect will be the most compelling, if not today, then soon.

SEC attendance is down 1.3 percent since the league set a national record in 2008. That figure is tickets sold, not the head count of those actually in the seats. Just because a game is listed as a sellout doesn’t mean every seat or parking space or concession-line spot is filled.

Television is the main reason. There are more televised games and more choices than ever before. The TVs themselves are bigger and better, with superior picture quality and theater-level sound.

Not everyone will actually show up to watch State U. play Directional Tech when fans can sit in the comfort of their living room, eat a hamburger that costs less than $8 and have the option of checking in on better games around the dial.

Moreover, while crowd figures are creeping downward, the price of so-called “guarantee” games continues up. Once upon a time, a couple of hundred thousand dollars enticed an outmanned marshmallow into an expected beating. That figure now bumps up against seven figures.

Non-BCS leagues know they have the BCS schools over a barrel when it comes to non-return games and they are using the leverage to their monetary advantage.

The math ain’t happy.  And the trends aren’t positive – just ask Georgia’s ticket office, which is still offering single game tickets to three games and season tickets to the weakest home schedule in a very long time.  A ninth SEC game addresses a lot of that.

A nine-game SEC football schedule would cut down on those problems. League games are better attended than the normal non-conference bores. Plus, members don’t have to pay other members to visit campus. It’s in the bylaws.

Two more benefits:  one, by reducing demand, the addition of a ninth conference game also reduces the cost of inviting a cupcake opponent, and, two, it’s more inventory for the TV networks to pay for.  At some point, the Greg McGaritys of the conference are going to realize that the cost benefit analysis of a seven-game home schedule like this year’s show that it’s not worth it.  As to when that occurs, that depends on how stubborn these guys are about defending their position.

Okay, that’s the money side.  Here’s the fan side, from a LSU blogger who does the math to find that Miles’ whining about the cross-division lock-ins is misplaced.  (Today must be LSU Bloggers Call Out Les Miles For Being A Weenie Day.)

Tying this all together one thing jumps out at me, 17 of the 20 SEC championship during this time has been won by teams inside the top five of the schedule. This tells me that the schedule is a lot more balanced than I would have believed prior to researching.

The reason for the balanced numbers is that teams evolve. No team during this stretch has sustained a high level of success allowing teams to move up and down in the rankings.

Would I like to see the conference drop the lock-in game, absolutely, but only because I want to see LSU play all the teams on a consistent basis. I love when LSU plays Georgia and Tennessee, but why should I have to wait four years to see this happen?

The simple answer is, you shouldn’t.  Just like I shouldn’t have to wait over a decade to plan a trip to LSU.  And with a nine-game conference schedule, we wouldn’t have to, would we?

30 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

This is a good thing, right?

According to Phil Steele, Georgia returns a higher percentage of tackles than any other major program in the country.  In the context of finishing fifth in total defense last year, I’d call that grounds for optimism.

7 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water

STFU, Les.

I realize that the Sturm und Drang we hear from the coaches at the SEC meetings is essentially window dressing – don’t forget, last year they unanimously voted against the roster management rules that were passed by the presidents a day later – but that doesn’t mean Les Miles hasn’t been showing his ass in a major way this week.

Yesterday I wondered if Miles’ complaint about LSU playing Florida on a permanent basis was about him or if he was making a bigger argument about the conference as a whole.  I guess with his AD whining about other schools’ selfishness on the issue, the Hat chose to go all in.

“Mississippi State is going to play Kentucky every year, and I think that is disproportionate,” Tigers coach Les Miles told reporters Wednesday at the gathering in Destin, Fla. “I’m not for Auburn playing Georgia every year. Again, it’s disproportionate. I think there should be an opportunity to see a greater segment of the conference.”

It turns out that Dan Mullen isn’t for Les Miles.  Booyah!

… This, of course, led to the response from Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, which was a G-rated version of what he really wanted to say.

“I’ve been in this league for a while, and I have a national championship ring from when my crossover games at the University of Florida that year (2006) were Auburn, Alabama and LSU,” Mullen said. “Is that fair? But we still won a national title. I don’t see how there’s any relevance to that.”

I know it’s hard to believe, but it doesn’t appear that Miles and LSU are winning many converts (“Reporters struggled, though, to find other coaches coming forth in agreement with Miles…”) on the issue.

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UPDATE:  Make sure you read this terrific post at And The Valley Shook.  Particularly this:

That said, permanent rivals are important. They also strengthen the bonds of the conference, and it ensures programs of relative quality play each other every year. More importantly, it preserves two of college football’s greatest rivalries. Alabama-Tennessee gets the press, but I think saving Auburn-Georgia is more important.

Auburn is an Eastern team playing in the West. Their traditional rivals were largely the eastern schools, and they took one for the conference when they agreed to move West. The SEC predates 1992, and Auburn’s already been asked to sacrifice the Florida game, but asking them to also give up the South’s Oldest rivalry is just obscene. That’s not progress, that’s slapping tradition in the face. I think preserving one of the oldest rivalries in sports is not some incidental goal. Auburn’s given up a lot for the SEC, and as their conference mates, we can give them this. Tradition matters. It matters a lot. Even if it’s not my tradition.

It’s sad that the fans grasp this, while the folks in power grow less and less concerned about it.

35 Comments

Filed under SEC Football, Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

Is the OBC jumping the shark?

I’m beginning to wonder if Steve Spurrier is running his mouth just to play to his audience.  Yesterday, he pitched the idea, as he did last year, about pay to play.  But he’s upped the ante considerably.

At the top of that list is outspoken South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, who again suggested the SEC’s 14 coaches could pay players—out of their own pockets—an annual stipend for expenses not covered by a scholarship.

A nice thought in theory, until you dig down and realize that the NCAA membership last year voted down a proposal that would give players an extra $2,000 per year to supplement full cost of attendance.

Spurrier wants to pay them $4,000.

Matt Hayes called him on his BS… and Spurrier folded.

So after he trotted out his idea, after he spoke at length about helping out players—after he said he got his first job at Duke in 1987 making $75,000 and players today get the same now as they did then while he and other coaches now make millions—I asked Spurrier if his plan to pay players included all 85 scholarship players.

“Well, that’s where it gets a little tricky,” he said.

No shit, Sherlock.

19 Comments

Filed under The Evil Genius

James Franklin is a wild and crazy guy.

Well, this is one way to pick a staff.

Franklin, in a relaxed mood near the beach, explained, “I’ve been saying it for a long time, I will not hire an assistant until I see his wife.  If she looks the part and she’s a D1 recruit, then you got a chance to get hired. That’s part of the deal.  There’s a very strong correlation between having the confidence, going up and talking to a women, and being quick on your feet and having some personality and confidence and being articulate and confident, than it is walking into a high school and recruiting a kid and selling him.”

You’ve got to love this response from one of the Vandy assistant coaches.

I haven’t figured out yet how this gets used on the recruiting trail, but I’m sure somebody will come up with something.

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UPDATE:  Oops.

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UPDATE #2:  Travis goes there.

34 Comments

Filed under James Franklin Is Ready To Rumble

That’s mighty big of Jim Tressel.

Sometimes you don’t need to read past a header.  This is one of those times.

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Filed under Big 12 Football

Musical palate cleanser: Americana

I was going to post this yesterday, but paid my respects to the late Doc Watson instead.  Today, though, is about something to celebrate – Neil Young’s first album with the entire Crazy Horse lineup since 1996.  It’s called Americana and it’s an interesting concept.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse will put out an album of reworked American folk songs this summer for an LP called Americana (“Clementine,” “She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain,” that kind of thing). It’s the first collaboration between Young and Crazy Horse since 2003′s Greendale and the first featuring Crazy Horse’s current full roster (Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina, Frank “Poncho” Sampedro) since 1996′s Broken Arrow. Young went on record about the release earlier this year, telling Rolling Stone that “”A very young choir of children plays with Crazy Horse [on the album]. They’re songs we all know from kindergarden, but Crazy Horse has rearranged them, and they now belong to us.”

I’ve got a couple of cuts from the album for you to sample.  First, “Jesus’ Chariot (She’ll Be Coming Round The Mountain)”:

And here’s “Oh Susanna”.

I think Neil’s right.

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

This is what happens when you get your athletic director from Duke.

So this is what things have come to.

I wonder if Missouri’s AD still has the same rosy thoughts about how everyone in the SEC operates with the mindset of what’s in the best interest of the league.

I can’t speak for him, but if I still give a shit about college football in five years, I’ll be amazed.

30 Comments

Filed under SEC Football