Monthly Archives: May 2013

“What is in the long-term best interest of the Southeastern Conference?”

Mike Slive manages to distill everything I fear about postseason expansion into a few short sentences.

Slive: Georgia-Alabama was just a terrific game. And one of the things you hope when a team like Georgia plays a team like Alabama and loses close at the end is that the selection committee understands that they are looking at very comparable teams and that they both deserve to be playing for the national championship. And when Alabama goes out and wins (against Notre Dame) the way that they won, it just reinforces the concept. We’ll see how that plays out.

Look, I’m a Georgia fan.  That SECCG was a fantastic game and the Dawgs proved they belonged there.  But they lost.  Call me an idiot for believing so, but that loss should have consequences.  If all the game does is punch a ticket for both to compete for a national title, why play it at all?  (Yeah, I know.)

And of course, as they expand the playoff field even further it becomes ever easier to validate the inclusion of both division winners.  In other words, I think we know how this plays out, Commissioner.

11 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Second time’s the charm.

Nice star witness you got there, NCAA.

Nevin Shapiro, the convicted University of Miami booster who blindsided the school’s athletic program with claims of gift-giving to players, is now admitting to committing perjury when he testified in a criminal trial against a local businessman who is serving 18 years in prison.

Shapiro has sent a letter to a Miami federal judge — along with an ethics complaint to the Florida Bar — claiming he lied under oath in December 2008 when he testified against Juan Rene Caro, who was charged with running a $132 million check-cashing scheme.

But of course nobody thought to let Shapiro self-corroborate on the witness stand.  That would have fixed everything.

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UPDATE:  Straight from the horse’s orifice comes this.

“Who can really take the NCAA serious at this point? Or should? This investigation could have changed the landscape of policing collegiate sports, not… becoming a colossal joke as it has become…. If I had to do this all over again, I would have just kept to myself and allowed the NCAA to sink in their own stew for how ever many more years.”

2 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

Musical palate cleanser, I don’t wanna go home edition

I had a request for some Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.  Here’s a really cool clip from the group’s debut album release party at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ, appropriately on Memorial Day, 1976.

If that doesn’t capture the flavor of the mid-70’s rock scene, I don’t know what does.

And here’s something from the same venue fifteen years later.

“Trapped Again” is from their greatest album, Hearts of Stone.  It’s one of those records that belongs in your collection.  “Walk You All The Way Home” is off Better Days, also highly recommended.

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Filed under Uncategorized

“Will the Auburn-Georgia game always be every year?”

Judging by the rather tepid defense of the game’s future you read here, I’d say not without going to a nine-game conference schedule it won’t.

What do I mean by tepid?  This is what I mean by tepid:

“I’m firm that Georgia-Georgia Tech needs to continue every year,” Adams said, “and I prefer that the Auburn game continue.”

Enjoy it while it lasts, Dawgnation.

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UPDATE:  From Emerson today comes this —

As far as Georgia is concerned, keeping the annual rivalry with Auburn will be of paramount importance. At this point, the rivalry is safe. Yes, there is sentiment to junk it, along with Tennessee-Alabama and LSU-Florida. But is there enough sentiment?

SEC commissioner Mike Slive tends to get what he wants by gently pointing his school’s administrators in his direction. But what does Slive want on scheduling? He’s been cagey on that. When it comes to scheduling, you can sense that Slive wants the SEC to at least consider going to nine games. So it will consider it. But it doesn’t seem Slive is as eager to get rid of more good rivalries.

It also seems that if push came to shove, schools like Georgia and Auburn would accept nine games more than they would getting rid of their rivalry. So if that’s what it takes to preserve the deep South’s oldest rivalry, then they’ll do it.

Selfishly speaking, I’d take that deal all day long and twice on Saturdays.

 

21 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

Les Miles, particle physicist

Lester took his scheduling road show to Tim Brando the other day.  We are fortunate enough to be rewarded with this exchange:

Brando: If I would’ve told you in the last 13 years, you would’ve played non-divisional opponents Florida and Georgia, you’ve played them 17 times. And Alabama has played them eight times. What would you say to that?
Miles: I’d have to say we have a scheduling quark there…
I just wish Brando had followed up by asking if LSU was going to build a linear accelerator in order not to fall behind any further in the quark race.  Because you know Saban’s already got one of those suckers…

27 Comments

Filed under Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

In service of a greater good

There’s a quasi-rhetorical question buried in this Jon Solomon article about the five big topics up for discussion in Destin this week that bears watching.

In the shorter term, finding schedule windows for live games is the SEC Network’s biggest focus over the next couple months. ESPN’s Justin Connolly, the head of the SEC Network, will be in Destin meeting with coaches and ADs to get a feel for their current programming and scheduling. How comfortable will schools feel playing some non-revenue sports on different days and times for exposure?

Oh, I suspect after a few choice words about academic concerns and the student-athlete experience, they’ll be just fine with the idea.  The Network needs product and it’s not like those kids are bringing any money in to support their programs.

The more intriguing answer will come a few seasons down the road when ESPN asks the same question politely about revenue sports.  The beast must be fed, after all.

2 Comments

Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

The spread spreads?

Interesting admission from Corch:

On how his commitment to the spread offense is overrated

“We’re more of a pro style. We might not look like it all the time, but schematically we are. We ran more direct handoffs than we’ve ever run. I have two tight ends that can really block. The spread offense we ran last year wasn’t a spread offense. It was pro style with spread elements. Defenses have done a really good job defending the spread because they work at it so hard. There are at least eight teams in the Big Ten running the spread offense now, whereas in 2005, when we first came to the SEC, there was one — Florida.”

On whether OSU will implement more of the spread when recruiting classes take shape

“I don’t know. I think we’ll always have a little bit more of a pro element to it as well now. Also you have weather issues once in awhile. It depends on what’s working. If teams are working all their time on maybe defending the perimeter run game, that leaves some voids. A lot of our rush yardage last year was interior. Teams defended the perimeter really well last year, so that just gave us a chance to go inside. A lot of it is personnel and what you’re facing. That determines what you do. We took an offense that was kind of built as an I-formation team a year ago and we tried to adapt it to more open sets, not necessarily spread calls.”

I’ve always thought that taking what the defense gives you is a tell-tale sign of a good offensive coordinator.  That doesn’t just mean in-game play calling.  As defenses become more geared to stop spread attacks, they become more vulnerable to power football.  (Your current national champs have made a living exploiting that the past few years.)  Meyer may be a lot of things, but stupid ain’t one of ’em.

On the other hand, I fear for his continued inclusion in the Gang of Six.

10 Comments

Filed under Strategery And Mechanics, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

It’s for your own good.

A D-1 undergraduate student-athlete who transfers to another D-1 program has to sit out a year.  We all know that’s the case, right?

Not so fast, my friends.  It turns out there’s an obscure exception to the rule, as John Infante explains:

Bylaw 14.5.5.2.8, the Return to Original Institution Without Participation or With Minimal Participation Exception says that a student-athlete can play immediately after a transfer if:

The student transfers to a second four-year collegiate institution, does not compete at the second institution and does not engage in other countable athletically related activities in the involved sport at the second institution beyond a 14-consecutive-day period and returns to the original institution. The 14-consecutive-day period begins with the date on which the student-athlete first engages in any countable athletically related activity (see Bylaw 17.02.1). A student may use this exception even if he or she has an unfulfilled residence requirement at the institution from which he or she is transferring.

This exception is available to athletes in any sport. Unlike the one-time transfer exception, an athlete can use it no matter how many times they have transfer in the past. And the final sentence explains how it does not matter that Kiel did not serve his year in residence at Cincinnati. And any summer conditioning Kiel has participated in at Cincinnati is considered voluntary athletically related activity, not countable. So he has not even triggered the 14-day grace period to return to Notre Dame.

Now, I don’t expect Gunner Kiel to return to Notre Dame, even in the wake of Golson’s departure.  But he could and if he did, he could play immediately.  There’s nothing Tommy Tuberville could do about that.

But there is one thing Tuberville could do if the situation arose.

Kiel also does not technically need a release from Cincinnati to play for Notre Dame next year. If Cincinnati refuses to grant Kiel permission to contact Notre Dame about returning, it only means that Notre Dame cannot give Kiel a scholarship for one academic year or encourage the transfer. But if Kiel were to show up at Notre Dame to start the season, he would be eligible to play right away.  [Emphasis added.]

So Brian Kelly wouldn’t suffer under the circumstances, but Kiel would.  No doubt the NCAA, which likes to remind us constantly how much it’s for the student-athlete, would just chalk that up as a character-building exercise.  The system works!

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Filed under The NCAA

Mike Slive prepares to take a victory lap.

You get the flow of this congratulatory piece from the opening – “Mike Slive sprawls in a comfy arm chair, propping his feet on a coffee table…”.  Yes, on the seventh day, Slive rested.  A little slow on the uptake?  Okay, how about “Slive, whose deal with the league runs through next July, sounds like a man contemplating his legacy even if he balks a bit at the term.”?

Read the story in its entirety and Slive’s legacy sounds like it boils down to returning everybody’s phone calls and making sure the money keeps rolling in, and with regard to the latter, in a world where a Paul Finebaum has been able to cash in on the passions of goobers to cut a national deal with ESPN, that hardly seems like a creating light from the darkness move.

If he is leaving next July, there will be a few loose ends for the next guy to pick up.  There’s the whole scheduling format snafu that’s resulted from the last round of expansion.  The odds on that getting settled next week in Destin?  Well, if that occurred, it would be, shall I say, miraculous.

And there’s another issue looming on the horizon that the SEC’s self-proclaimed holder of “almost a public trust” hasn’t come to grips with yet.

Advances in technology in recent years have halted the advance of attendance numbers in college football, and Southeastern Conference officials as well as the league’s athletic directors have taken notice. Nine of the 14 SEC schools suffered declines last season, with Tennessee’s average home attendance dipping under 90,000 for the first time since 1979 and Kentucky’s slipping under 50,000 for the first time since 1996.

Tennessee and Kentucky had disappointing seasons, but Florida went 11-1 during the regular season after going 6-6 in 2011 and still endured a drop of nearly 1,500 fans a game.

It’s kind of like the weather.  Everyone talks about it, but nobody has the first clue what to do about it.

“It’s at the top of our list of concerns, and we talk about it constantly,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “We talk about improving the experience and doing things in our stadium that people are doing at home. We provided look-ins this past year on our video board of other games going on, and I don’t think that would have even been thought of 10 years ago.

“The majority of people are coming to the games to enjoy the team. There is a tradition here, but if we ever took the stance that people are just going to show up and the game will unfold, that’s when problems will really escalate.”

Ah, yes, there’s that “tradition” thing.  You know what tradition is – it’s the public sentiment that the conference taps when it needs a few more bucks.

Hey, I think we’ve just put our fingers on Mike Slive’s true legacy.

14 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

There’s no delusion like offseason delusion.

In the summer of 2002, if you visited the fever swamps of the Gamecock message boards, you would have learned that South Carolina was getting ready to deploy that season’s Heisman Trophy winner, a former baseball player named Corey Jenkins.

Jenkins didn’t win the Heisman.  In fact, if memory serves, he didn’t even make it through the season as the starter.  He did have one memorable moment, though not one that ‘Cock fans particularly cherish.

I only bring this up because it looks like we may have a new sheriff in town, boys.

Auburn fans are so cute this time of year.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands