Daily Archives: July 6, 2012

Access isn’t easy.

So as college football’s postseason morphs in to something that sounds like the punchline to a bad Yakov Smirnoff joke (“in D-1, schools don’t qualify for bowl games; bowl games qualify for schools”), one question that remains to be answered is what sort of impact on access to the playoff and top-tier bowl games can schools not affiliated with conferences that have already secured (or in the case of the SEC and Big 12, created) tie-ins with those top-tier bowl games expect after the changes.

The answer for now seems to depend on whom you ask.  Jerry Hinnen, for example, is fairly benign about access.

… But as this blog’s Matt Hinton illustrated, boost the playoff field from two to four, and look what happens: a Mountain West team and a Big East team playing for a national title in 2009, and that same Mountain West team earning that right in 2010. Boise never quite broke through in Hinton’s projections, but it’s not like it was any better off under the BCS, where the Broncos were probably first-runner-ups even if they survive Nevada in 2010 or TCU in 2011. If the Broncos had gone undefeated either of those seasons, though, a playoff would have rewarded them with a shot at a national title.

Isn’t this reason enough for non-AQs to celebrate the BCS’s dissolution? TCU and Utah have solved their problems by making the leap to AQ status anyway, but Boise — and Cincy, and UCF, and San Diego State, and Nevada, and Houston — has gone from starting every season knowing that the greatest prize it can reasonably win is a league or bowl championship* to knowing that with the right breaks, it could win a national championship. These teams now matter in a way they never have before.

This is a step back? This is running in place?

Andrea Adelson, however, is a good deal gloomier about their prospects under the new arrangements.

But I still think access could potentially be a big issue. The past two years, the Big East champion finished: unranked (UConn, 2010) and No. 23 (West Virginia, 2011) in the final BCS standings. Under current rules, both teams earned automatic spots into BCS games. Under the future system, neither one of those teams would have been invited to the elite bowl games. Why? Because the Big East does not have an automatic tie-in into one of those games for its champion.

Let’s face it, for all intents and purposes, the Big East is now little more than a glorified mid-major conference.  For its schools, life in the postseason just got tougher.  You don’t need me to tell you which schools don’t have the same problems.

I do think Jerry has it right with regard to the playoff in one aspect – doubling the number of teams that make up the field playing for a national title is a serious increase in access.  But I also think his optimism about overall mid-major access may very well turn out to be misplaced for one significant reason, which is that nobody knows how the selection process is going to turn out.

That’s the big problem I have with all these “here’s how the last ten postseasons would have looked under the new deal” pieces that popped up seemingly everywhere over the last couple of weeks.  It’s an apples-to-oranges exercise, because the way schools were selected then and the way they’ll be selected beginning in 2014 are different.  Going forward, you’ve got conferences dictating tie-ins to lucrative bowl games and you’ve got a selection committee that will be calling the shots on which schools make it into the playoff.

Nobody knows for sure how that committee is going to operate.  But I think it’s foolish to assume that it’s going to make its decisions completely outside the commercial framework that the powerhouse conferences have been busy constructing over the past few months.  I’m sure they’ll be subtle about it, at least until things come to a head and a certain part of the have-nots find themselves officially lopped off from D-1’s football riches, but all the same, I expect there will be a certain amount of game-rigging going on.  Jim Delany hasn’t gone to all this trouble simply to make sure that four or five mid-major schools can crack the big money games.


UPDATE:  Year2 adds some thoughts on the matter of access here.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

About that running game

I suppose there are two ways of looking at this data in the wake of Crowell’s departure.  One would be that no one could accuse Georgia of having a dynamic rushing game last season even with Crowell in the mix, so how much worse could things get this season?  The other would be to say with Georgia’s leading returning rusher likely to be its fifth-string back when the season commences and three seniors on the offensive line being replaced that there may not be much room for improvement, either.

All I can hope is that Theus, Marshall and Gurley live up to their considerable hype.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

“There are a lot of things that could change. There are a lot of domino effects.”

You get the feeling that the next two years are going to be uneasy times for a lot of bowl game execs.  Per the president of the Music City Bowl:

The bowl’s conference tie-ins are undetermined past 2013, when its deals with the SEC and ACC expire. Maintaining the SEC affiliation will be a top priority.

“Until now, it has always been a four-year cycle,” Ramsey said. “Every bowl in the country has the same years remaining on their deals. That’s why the new model will take effect after the 2014 regular season. Right now it’s a little premature to think about your strategy until you know the lay of the land. That’s going to be probably six to eight months down the road.

It’s not just the lower tier bowls that are nervous.  The Sugar Bowl has to figure out how to carve itself a place in the new world order, too.

It’s eat or be eaten time, boys.  The problem is that any bowl that doesn’t lock up a conference champion real soon  is going to find itself swimming with the sharks – and people like Jerry Jones have a lot more experience courting postseason business in a contested climate than do the honchos at the Sugar and Fiesta Bowls.  So either you bring in some heavy support quickly or you risk dying on the vine as a relevant part of the new postseason.  We’ll soon see who’s nimble enough to survive.

It’s sort of like all these venues are engaged in a single-elimination playoff themselves.  They’re certainly dealing with selection committees already.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

I’d like you to meet Robert Nkemdiche, our director of recruiting.

I know this sort of outsourcing goes on all the time.  It’s just that it’s not usually acknowledged so openly.

“Clemson said they like Ryan a lot and that he’s at the top of their board. Yes, sir, if Clemson offers Ryan, it would seal the deal. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. David and Ryan, those guys are like family. They are like brothers to me. I’m close to them. We’ve had success playing football together and I don’t want to change it.”

Carter said he’s had limited contact with Clemson but would probably commit rather quickly if they offered a scholarship. “Yes, because that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, to play with Robert in college. I’ve been best friends with David and Robert since the eighth grade. We’re like family.”

Not a word about the coaches in there.  I guess Nkemdiche will worry about them in a couple of years if things don’t turn out as well as he expects.


Filed under ACC Football, Recruiting

The Fabris-zation of Georgia’s roster

Heckuva challenge you’ve got there, Markie.

According to an announcement Thursday by Mark Richt, Georgia redshirt sophomore inside linebacker Brandon Burrows has decided to transfer in a quest to find more playing time…

Burrows departure leaves the Bulldogs with 74 players on scholarship, which includes five former walk-ons who were granted scholarships last year.

That’s an understated way of saying that Georgia’s scholarship numbers for offered players is closer to FCS standards than D-1’s.

Now Burrows’ departure (no offense) by itself may not be a huge loss – he came out of high school recovering from a serious injury and had yet to see the field for Georgia – but on top of the attrition and the undersigning that’s been part of the program for the past two or three seasons, it leaves the program in a rather dicey place.  That’s somewhat offset by Georgia coming off its first injury-free offseason under Richt, but who expects his luck on that front to hold up throughout the grind of an SEC season?

You’d have to think this is going to have a serious impact on how Richt goes about his business this season.  For instance,

  • How much contact does Georgia allow in fall practice and in weekly in-season practices?
  • How hard does Georgia try to put away its weaker opposition early on to clear the bench as soon as it can in the second half?
  • Outside of Aaron Murray, is there anyone on the roster who doesn’t play on special teams?
  • When do we hear about the final details on the suspensions of Rambo, Ogletree and Smith?

In other words, it’s not so much that all is lost, as it is that this season is going to put a premium on roster management.  And prayers for continued good health.


Filed under Georgia Football