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Daily Archives: January 10, 2014
It may surprise you to learn that Aaron Murray had a pretty good 2013 season.
The ACC wants to do something to make the World’s Smallest Outdoor Cocktail Party (h/t Jim Donnan) be all it can be.
ACC commissioner John Swofford said Friday he is in favor of conferences having “the autonomy” to determine how teams qualify for their league championship games, and should the NCAA decide this spring to lighten its restrictions, the ACC would consider a different format.
Under the current structure, the NCAA requires that each conference have an equal number of teams in each division, and every team must play each opponent in its own division. Swofford said the NCAA is likely to re-evaluate those rules this spring.
“A piece of legislation may affect what we ultimately do,” Swofford said. “… If some of those requirements were removed, we may schedule a little differently during the regular season than we do now, but that’s to be determined.”
Swofford said scheduling is always a popular topic at league meetings. And with the recent expansion to 14 teams, conference officials have been looking at how often conference teams play each other outside their divisions.
If the NCAA lifted its title-game requirements, Swofford said the ACC would consider having the top two teams in the league play for the ACC championship, in addition to maintaining divisions, but not requiring teams to play every opponent in their division.
This, of course, begs an obvious question: if adopted, what’s the point of having divisions, anyway?
I’d ask what the point of having a conference championship game would be under those circumstances, but I think we all know the answer to that one.
This has to be my favorite Emerson mailbag question evah:
Seth, do you think that Mark Richt’s loyalty to his coaching staff is greater than his loyalty to the Bulldog nation?
Bobby Petrino ain’t got nothing on Mark Richt in terms of being a selfish bastich.
All of which leads me to a question that came to mind yesterday when I was looking over the results of the most recent reader poll. It gets back to the five-year meme. Basically, when it comes to the Georgia program, what are reasonable expectations for how it should perform over time?
It’s not as easy to answer that as you might expect, at least not for me. On the one hand, we’re looking at a program that enjoys favorable demographics (helped even more by Georgia Tech’s mediocre recruiting efforts), solid fan support and plenty of financial resources. On the other, Georgia hasn’t played for a national title in more than thirty years, has a habit of spitting the bit at the most inopportune times (’92, ’97, ’02 and ’07 all come to mind) and never seems willing to deploy its financial advantages aggressively.
I’d say what I’m looking for is a program that regularly competes for a shot in Atlanta. By that standard, the last five years have definitely been a mixed bag, and again, how dire you think that period’s been depends on how you view the just concluded season.
But Richt is right when he notes that you can’t really control anything other than winning the conference. However, I’d say with the advent of a four-team playoff, your chances for postseason glory increase noticeably with an appearance in the SECCG.
I’m guessing that’s probably not enough for some of you. So I’d like to hear what you think. Pretend you’re Greg McGarity interviewing candidates for Richt’s successor. What do you tell them you expect?
Imagine, if you will, being the loyal fan of a school lucky enough to qualify for the 2014 playoffs who wants to see his heroes in person. It’ll take some planning.
Instead of one postseason bowl game to end the season in a faraway city, two teams will play in two postseason games – a semifinal and championship, both in different states.
The two semifinal games will take place in Pasadena and New Orleans on Jan. 1, 2015, with each participating team required to buy a block of 12,500 tickets to resell to their fans.
Less than two weeks later, on Jan. 12, 2015, the semifinal winners will play for the national championship in Arlington, Texas, where each participating team will be required to buy about 20,000 additional tickets, all at full price.
Is that asking too much?
Not for college football’s Baghdad Bob.
“We’re confident about the demand for the championship-game tickets,” said Bill Hancock, executive director of the new playoff. “The game will be extremely popular. We expect all four schools will offer tickets to their fans before the semifinals, and we expect the demand to exceed the supply. Of course, the demand in the host city also will be tremendous.”
Oh, those tickets will sell, alright. But it’s a lot to ask Joe Fan to lay out that kind of serious jack, especially when he won’t even know for certain when he buys the tickets that his team will be playing in the title game.
“This ticket purchasing requirement is asking schools to make a leap of faith – hoping that these tickets can be sold to those who wish to make the trip,” said Mark Conrad, director of the sports business program at Fordham University. “Although it is less than the past requirement, the number of potential games and distance of the locations do pose risks for the schools, especially with the ability of fans to watch these games in the comfort of 50 inch-television receivers.”
It probably won’t matter, though, because whatever demand lessens from a school’s fan base will be picked up by the moneyed interests. And the TV revenue will still be there. It’s the first step down the road to the corporatization of college football attendance. It won’t be the last.
Again, you wonder if a sport that owes so much to the regionalized passion it generates is well served by this. At least you do if you’re not one of the folks cashing the checks.
Until somebody hires Junior, the Petrino story is the most enjoyable thing to follow in the world of college football right now. A few tidbits that caught my eye yesterday:
- Garrick McGee, who was Petrino’s offensive coordinator at Arkansas, is a real chip off the block. He quit as head coach at UAB to rejoin Petrino as Louisville’s offensive coordinator. The kicker is that he did it without telling his players. Talk about learning from the master! I wonder if he left them a note in their lockers.
- McGee isn’t the only coach from the state of Alabama joining Petrino’s staff. Kevin Steele is leaving Nick Saban to become Louisville’s new defensive coordinator. Between Steele and Clint Hurtt, who’s laboring under a two-year NCAA show cause penalty, Petrino’s got some real recruiting firepower. Which, given the circumstances, can’t hurt.
- The funniest thing I saw were a number of tweets lamely defending Louisville’s AD, Tom Jurich, as a smart man. Paying Petrino, damaged goods, $3.5 million per year doesn’t strike me as particularly sharp. This, however, does:
You know who the smartest person is in all of this? Western Kentucky athletic director Todd Stewart. When he hired Petrino last year, he had no illusions. He knew who Petrino was, and knew he was only going to use the Hilltoppers job to rebuild his resume so he could get a better one. So he built into the contract a buyout clause: $850,000 a year for four years, with a $1.2 million buyout. If someone wanted Petrino bad enough, they’d pay the buyout. Petrino’s restless feet didn’t even keep him in Bowling Green for one year, which means that not only did Stewart get an eight-win season out of Petrino, but Western Kentucky will actually make a profit off Petrino’s salary alone. Petrino was their coach for one season, and WKU was paid $350,000 for the privilege. Now that’s understanding what you’re in for when you hop in the boat with the snake.
On top of that, I believe Louisville is obligated to play a home and home with WKU as a result of hiring Petrino. Nicely played, Mr. Stewart.
UPDATE: Steele changes his mind.
I bet Bobby Petrino hates when that happens.