Daily Archives: December 2, 2012

“Why can’t I just pick and choose which channels I want?”

Because you can’t, for obvious reasons.

The odds of a change to la carte are long. The majority of the national and local sports channels are owned by a handful of media giants who like the current system and have the leverage to make distributors accept it.

“Our efforts are totally frustrated by this cabal of a half-dozen media giants,” said Bob Gessner, president of Massillion Cable, an Ohio-based operator.

But the shit is getting out of hand.

The average household already spends about $90 a month for cable or satellite TV, and nearly half of that amount pays for the sports channels packaged into most services. [Emphasis added.]  Massive deals for marquee sports franchises like the Dodgers and Lakers are driving those costs even higher. Over the next three years, monthly cable and satellite bills are expected to rise an average of nearly 40%, to $125, according to the market research company NPD Group.

So far, people seem willing to pay. But the escalating costs are triggering worries that, at some point, consumers will begin ditching their cable and satellite subscriptions.

“We’ve got runaway sports rights, runaway sports salaries and what is essentially a high tax on a lot of households that don’t have a lot of interest in sports,” said John Malone, the cable industry pioneer and chairman of Liberty Media. “The consumer is really getting squeezed, as is the cable operator.”

People get pissed off enough about something like this, you can bet there’s an ambitious politician out there who will make hay out of it.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Kevin Drum calls this a “sports tax” and that’s just the way to get folks riled up.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

‘Bama bookends

If, like me, you perceived the Sugar Bowl loss to West Virginia as the proverbial canary in the coal mine and the second half of the ’07 season as a false spring, it’s pretty clear what the 2008 loss to Alabama was – a clear indication that the program was collapsing due to the rot of complacency that had eaten away its underpinnings.  We saw how that played out over the next two and a half seasons and we watched the program begin to change directions in 2011 and 2012.

Even if the execution wasn’t perfect, the effort and aggressiveness that characterized yesterday’s SECCG play and coaching were light years away from the worst moments of 2008-10.  That it also took place in the context of a game against Alabama – the first since that Blackout blowout – meant that it came up just the tiniest bit short.  But the real question for me is whether it marks a true turning corner for Mark Richt and his program.  If it does, it would signify one of the more remarkable recoveries I’ve witnessed of a major football program headed by a long-tenured coach.  There aren’t a lot of Richt’s peers who could do that, or (let’s be honest about the current state of major college football) even be given the opportunity to do that.

Last night, coupled with the way I saw the team compete in Jacksonville a little over a month ago, gives me hope.  But you know what would give me more?  A solid bowl game.  This program needs to build on trading punches with what’s been the best program in college football over the past four years.  And that starts with not regressing emotionally and mentally.  They’ve done a good job channeling their emotions into a great ride in 2012, with the exception of the South Carolina game.  The next step is to build that into a winning confidence that’s bolstered by a recognition that you’ve always got to work harder to excel than the next guy.  That’s what’s made Alabama Alabama under Saban.  And last night it showed.  Given the way things have played out since that ’08 game, it would be fitting to see Georgia learn that very lesson from those two games.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Fun and games with the Coaches Poll

I don’t see eye to eye with Dan Wetzel very much when it comes to the postseason, but with regard to the last regular season Coaches Poll balloting, he’s spot on with this observation.

This next vote is the one released for public consumption, so it will be interesting to see who’s shameless.  I expect a few, at least, to live down to expectations.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

To spike, or not to spike…

That is the question.  Actually, I’m not sure why spiking is such a slam dunk decision in minds of many people today.  If you read Weiszer’s post on the play, you get a valid rationale for what they called…

“We were moving the ball effectively. By the time we got down to the red zone we didn’t really want to spike the ball. We wanted to keep the personnel they had in the game. We decided to hurry up and get to the line and get another play off. There was a little bit of confusion.”

… and you get an explanation for why it didn’t work out.

Mark Richt on spiking the ball: “Well, spiking the ball takes time. We had plenty of time to call play, so we called the play and we were taking ‑‑ the goal was to take a shot at their back right end of the end zone and the ball got batted, the ball got tipped and it landed to a receiver that was running a speed out.”

And more: “We had the play we wanted. We had a good play. The ball got tipped at the line of scrimmage and it fell in the arms of a guy in play. The ball was going to the back end of the end zone, either a catch or out of the end zone. Because if you have, I don’t know how many seconds there were, 15 or whatever it was, if you spike the ball, you might only have two plays after that.  If you throw the ball in the end zone, you probably get three plays out of it.  So once you spike it, it does take a little time to spike it, and you reduce the chance of having the third play, basically. So the goal was to throw it in the end zone. That’s what Murray was attempting to do.  Once again, the ball got batted, and landed in the arms of our guy in play.”

Plus, they thought they had what they wanted.

“I wasn’t calling the plays,” quarterback Aaron Murray said when asked if he thought of spiking the ball. “We thought we would have time for two more plays. Obviously they were running down the field. They wouldn’t get set up real quick. I actually think I had Malcolm (Mitchell) on the fade. When I threw it, he said he had him. I thought he beat him too. If it was an incomplete pass we still would have had one more play to go.”

I’m not saying you can’t make a case for spiking the play there, because you can.  But what Richt decided then is certainly defensible in my mind (unlike, say, the idiocy of what happened in the overtime of last year’s bowl game loss).  The momentum running Georgia’s way at that moment was palpable.  I can’t blame him for wanting to capitalize on it.  Besides, who’s to say that a pass play after spiking wouldn’t have been tipped?  Or that in all the confusion and excitement of the moment, Georgia has a problem getting a play called and executed in time?

Besides, that call isn’t where Georgia lost the game.  Georgia lost because its run defense got owned for better than two quarters of play and because its offense couldn’t convert a couple of third-and-ones that would have helped keep the defense off the field a little longer to regroup perhaps.  If you’re a Dawg fan and you’re angry – and I’m not sure why you should be given the level of effort those kids gave yesterday – that’s where your attention should go.

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UPDATE:  Chris Brown adds his thoughts on the decision here.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics