Daily Archives: May 6, 2013

The zen of roster management

Boy, that Bret Bielema is a quick study.

Remember, grasshoppers soon to lose their scholarships, “transition is a process”.  Especially in the SEC West.


Filed under SEC Football

What’s better than awesome?

More awesome, of course.

“Is this (the new four-team playoff) better for all of us in college football?” Petersen asked. “I think a playoff system and a four-team structure, no, I don’t think anybody’s going, ‘That is the answer.’ But it’s moving in the right direction.

“How do you get an eight-team (playoff)? I think that would be the next really awesome step, and then how do you go even bigger than that? Well, how do we get that all done? We can only play so many games. This is college football. They’re students, and you have finals and injuries. I don’t have the answers.”

While it sure sounds like Petersen would prefer a 16-team playoff format, he says he “doesn’t have a clue” how it would get worked out, “because you have to cut down your regular season games for sure. There’s probably enough money for everybody to share in that if they did that. I do think bigger than four is what a lot of people would like to see.”

You can’t blame Petersen for the sentiment.  The way things are set up now, Mountain West dwellers like Boise State are going to have a tough time cracking the four-team field because of strength of schedule considerations.  So move that bad boy out to eight or sixteen teams and watch his frown turn upside down.

That already makes two high-profile coaches who’ve come out advocating a bigger tourney before the commissioners have even settled the details on the new one.  Wanna bet there are more to come?


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

“Hopefully he won’t have to hear any of that big-game stuff anymore.”

Just curious how everyone’s favorite Aaron Murray meme fits in with this.

In time, a relatively unimpressive stat line against Florida might go down as the turning point in Aaron Murray‘s career.

By that midseason game last fall, Georgia’s quarterback had already authored a series of subpar performances against ranked teams in his two-plus seasons as the Bulldogs’ starter. He was in the middle of another against the Gators, tossing interceptions on three straight first-half possessions as Georgia took a 7-6 lead into halftime.

Yet Murray was able to regroup, going 8-for-16 in the second half for 116 yards and hitting Malcolm Mitchell for a win-clinching 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that proved Murray is a tougher competitor than it might once have appeared…

In Georgia’s next game against ranked opposition, Murray was hit in the mouth again — literally, by Alabama defensive end Quinton Dial in the SEC championship game — but went on to prove that he’s anything but soft. In Georgia’s games against ranked opponents following the Florida win — against Alabama and against Nebraska and its top-ranked pass defense in the Capital One Bowl — Murray flashed resiliency that he might have lacked earlier in his career.

He was a combined 36-for-66 for 692 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions against the Crimson Tide and Cornhuskers. And in the second halves of those two games, he was even more efficient, hitting 15 of 25 passes for 401 yards, three scores and no interceptions.

I don’t think Murray’s problem has ever been about toughness – ask Nick Fairley about that – but rather more about focus and keeping himself in control in a game.  No question he can do better, but it’s worth noting that he hasn’t been nearly as consistently bad as some of his detractors claim.


Filed under Georgia Football

All things being equal in the Big Ten…

Mea culpa, folks.  I don’t know how I missed it, but it seems that with the Big Ten’s divisional re-jiggering and move to a nine game conference schedule, Jim Delany’s also hit on the big idea of parity scheduling.

… If you look at the schedules, what you’ll see is over time, the crossovers rotate. In the first 18 years, you’re going to see a lot of competition between teams at the top of either division. We call that a bit of parity-based scheduling. You’ll see Wisconsin and Nebraska and Iowa playing a lot of competition against Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan…

This is what you get when your conference commissioner puts on his programming director’s hat.

… From a business standpoint, I get it because TV completely drives the sport and having Nebraska or Wisconsin play Ohio State-Penn State-Michigan as much as possible is a no-brainer. But from an equity standpoint, it has some problems, at least during the 18-year period at the start of these new divisions…

Yeah, it does.  To start with, look at the question that drew that answer:

… How in the world did this parity-based schedule come to be? This has got to be a classic case of the decision makers being way too immersed in their task and completely losing sight of the big picture. I see the benefit, but this completely destroys any credibility in the process of crowning a conference champion. It’s one thing for the scheduling gods to bless a lucky team or two every year based on randomness, but to deliberately tip the scales so that some teams will have tougher/easier schedules than others is absurd. The concept of a champion has been completely marginalized. If a “mid-tier” team ever has a surprise year and wins the B1G, how could anyone call them a champion if the schedule is DELIBERATELY aligned in their favor EVERY YEAR?! How has this not been met with opposition by anyone with a brain? It’s not too hard to imagine this system malfunctioning. Example: Iowa wins the west winning a couple crossover games against Rutgers and MSU, while Nebraska comes in 2nd in the west going 0-2 against Michigan and OSU. A scenario like this is almost guaranteed to happen at some point.

I suspect that if you could get Delany to talk about it off the record, he’d tell you that it’s unlikely that a mediocre team, even one buoyed by a parity schedule, would get by a tough opponent in the conference game, and that in either event, the winner would come out with an enhanced position for the national playoff.  That’s the second purpose to this arrangement – to make sure there’s at least one team that emerges out of the conference race with a good SOS number.

It’s all about the ratings (TV and schedule, in that order).  Works for the NFL, doesn’t it?

Sounds great.  If you aren’t, say, a Minnesota fan, that is.

Delany’s announcement this week of the East-West football alignment that starts in 2014 will include “parity” scheduling — meaning more games for a traditional mutt such as the Gophers against Maryland, Rutgers and Indiana, rather than Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State.

Get those tickets as soon as possible when the 2014 home schedule comes out. Maryland, Rutgers and Indiana are sure to pack the joint.

Some people lack an appreciation for the greater good.  Or the bottom line.


Filed under Big 12 Football

SEC post-spring status report

I figure this piece in the Baton Rouge paper summarizing where the 14 schools stand at this point is about as good a place as any to start a discussion about the relative strengths and weaknesses of each.  Sure, there will be a few kids coming in the summer and fall who will make a difference (Ole Miss, anyone?) and somebody’s gonna suffer a key injury or two, but I’m just curious how y’all think the East and West are shaping up.

For what it’s worth and to get things started, I think the authors are slightly pessimistic about LSU (the West outside of the top three teams doesn’t look that hot to me) and somewhat optimistic about Tennessee, which has enough personnel issues this season to make six wins a real stretch.

Let me hear from you in the comments.


Filed under SEC Football

O’Bannon and Econ 101

Any time I see an editorial on college athletics mention Adam Smith, I’m gonna toss a nod in its direction.  And this is a particularly good point made in response to the Jim Delanys of the world:

O’Bannon’s response to the NCAA may be the most powerful case ever assembled against the association’s propaganda machine. Among other things, it systematically dismantles the NCAA’s argument that the vast majority of its members lose money on sports. In fact, most Division I schools are not caught in an expensive arms race for coaches and athletic facilities. They have simply obscured the profitability of their football and basketball programs with accounting tricks, such as shifting revenue from sports concessions to the food service budget.

The NCAA advances these false claims of poverty so it can argue that its member schools can’t possibly afford to spend more money on sports, much less pay their athletes. O’Bannon’s lawyers put the lie to this, too, invoking foundational truths of economics dating to Adam Smith and David Ricardo: “Redistributing rents does not change true economic costs. It simply takes money from one person or group and shifts it to another.” Translation: Paying athletes wouldn’t result in schools spending additional money on sports. They would just spend less of it on coaches and facilities and more on students.

It’s not so much that I’m at the point where I want to see the schools cut checks to players as I am wanting to hear the O’Bannon defendants admit they’re FOS.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

A name and a frame

I’m going to dispense with the usual mockery about offering a kid who just turned fifteen (even if he is already 6-foot-3 and 292 pounds), because how could you not want somebody named Brodarious Hamm as your nose guard of the future?


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting