Daily Archives: December 26, 2014

It’s clock cocking time again.

Here’s something the Wiz of Odds posted a few years ago in the wake of 2008’s new clock rules…

… Given the lack of protest from the rest of the coaching fraternity, there is a strong possibility that the 40/25 rules could be here to stay. That would swing open the doors for more commercialization and the likelihood that in two or three years the length of games will once again be pushing the 3:20 mark.

Take notice of what’s happening. Long commercial breaks often suck the energy out of the stadium. For fans sitting at home, commercials are now being inserted after kickoffs, following the NFL blueprint.

And something I wrote in response to another post of his:

Subjectively speaking, it strikes me that coaches seem to be able to affect the pace of the game more than before, particularly in terms of how the 40-second clock is utilized.

Well, guess what?  It sounds like it’s time to take another look at the clock rules.

All that scoring caused this season’s average length of game to hit 3 hours, 23 minutes in late November, according to the NCAA. That was up from 3:17 last season. Games are, on average, 14 minutes longer than in 2008. By comparison, this season’s NFL average is 3:07.

“I think it’s trending in the wrong direction, and it is a concern,” American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said.

Administrators are wary of turning off fans, especially young ones who crave faster action and represent future ticket buyers. They also are mindful of the risk of injury to fatigued players who are on the field longer and for more plays.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee expects to discuss the issue when it meets in February, secretary-rules editor Rogers Redding said.

“The 14-minute increase has been gradual” since 2008, he wrote in an email to The Associated Press, “but the cumulative effect has generated some concern among some stakeholders so that it is probably something that the committee will want to take a look at.”

Turning off fans?  Increased injury risk?  Nice concerns, y’all, but there are so many other things happening in college football that undercut both, you’ll have to excuse me if I’m not buying your crocodile tears act.  This, though?

Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, who chairs the College Football Officiating Board of Managers, said it’s imperative to keep the average game under 3:30. That figure coincides with the typical window TV networks allot for a game.

“A shorter game is better than a longer game. That’s painting with a broad brush,” Steinbrecher said. “If a game is exciting, I suppose it doesn’t matter how long it takes. We ought to probably be in that 3:15 to 3:20 range.”

Yeah, that’s gonna be a problem.

You know, I kid about Jim Delany being more a director of broadcast programming than a conference commissioner.  Maybe college football ought to eliminate the middleman and pick somebody from ESPN to become the first college football commissioner.  At least it would all be out in the open.  And maybe they’d quit blaming us for their problems.

Though college football attendance remains robust, administrators are always looking for ways to draw fans away from their high-definition TVs at home and to the stadium. Once there, they need to be entertained when the game is in a lull.

Some schools have hired “fan experience” directors to keep game day fun. Wifi has been enhanced at stadiums, and bigger-than-ever video boards have been installed. Still, many schools are seeing declines in student ticket sales. Those students represent the future fan base.

“People want the experience,” said Jim Kahler, executive director of Ohio University’s Center for Sports Administration, “but they want it convenient and they want it fast.”

Just go ahead and shoot me.

23 Comments

Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

Just for kicks

Interesting quote about the college kicking game:

But some high-profile misses combined with the effects of social media have fueled the perception that college kickers are unreliable or that coaches at certain programs don’t place much emphasis on recruiting elite kickers.

That’s not the case, according to Chris Sailer, a former All-American at UCLA who now runs kicking camps all over the country under his name. The problem, he said, is that most schools don’t have a coach on staff who specializes in kicking technique, which means often they don’t know what to look for. And given the 85-scholarship limit in FBS, meaning only a few will be devoted to specialists, the margin for error in recruiting is thin.

“Some schools will rely on walk-ons or only scholarship one kid every five years, but I see things changing,” Sailer said. “Coaches are giving more scholarships (to kickers), creating more competition and recruiting guys to redshirt if they have a senior on the roster. The schools that do it right are definitely reaping the rewards.”

Georgia appears to be on both sides of the divide.  There isn’t a coach on staff who specializes in kicking technique.  (Or at least no one’s willing to admit it.)  On the other hand, though, Richt certainly hasn’t been shy about having multiple kickers on scholarship, or, most recently, recruiting a kid as a preferred walk-on pending Marshall Morgan’s graduation.  Is that enough?

6 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“I don’t think it’s totally crazy.”

Take as a starting premise that there are more bowl games than ever because we like to watch, not because we show up.  Add to that the profitability that comes from ESPN owning or controlling many bowl games outright.

If not for ESPN, many of these games might not exist. ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, owns and operates 11 bowl games, including two new ones this year.

All but one of the 39 postseason games this season will be broadcast by ESPN or ABC networks, both owned by The Walt Disney Co.

By owning the games, Charlotte-based ESPN Events can sell tickets and sponsorships to the games and not have to pay an unaffiliated company for TV broadcast rights. It’s an investment that usually pays off with a big live TV audience attractive to sponsors.

“We’ve built a very viable business that we’re really pleased with,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Events…

“They (ESPN) need live content, even mediocre live content,” Maestas told USA TODAY Sports. “Even 400,000 viewers in a sad bowl with 25,000 people in the stands is getting better (viewership) than 100 channels out there.”

Shake gently and voilà!

Sometime in the next several years, the powerful overlords of college football finally might decide they’ve seen enough.

To heck with ticket sales, they might say. Instead of struggling to draw crowds to stadiums, why not just stage some of their postseason bowl games in mammoth television studios?

Even a live studio audience would be optional. All they’d really need is a network to televise the games and sponsors to buy in.

Your idea of who “the powerful overlords of college football” are and USA Today’s may vary.  Here’s where I put my money:

“Fans are voting with their remotes and with their eyeballs,” said Ilan Ben-Hanan, ESPN’s vice president for programming and acquisitions. “I take issue with the notion of judging what’s a good idea based on how many people are in the stands. There are a lot of sports out there that would kill to have tens of thousands of people in the stands.”

It’s the coming reality.

… The average attendance for bowl games has declined each of the past six seasons, down to 49,116 last season, the lowest mark since 1978-79, when there were 15 bowls, according to the NCAA bowl record book.

At the same time, ticket sales generally have decreased in importance for bowl revenues. They accounted for $150 million – about 33% — of the $445 million in total gross receipts for all bowl games in 2012-13, according to the most recent available data on gross bowl receipts obtained by USA TODAY Sports. That percentage had decreased every year since 2008-09, when ticket sales comprised nearly 38% of all bowl revenue.

Television and media revenue, sponsorships and other sources make up the rest.

“More money in sports is starting to come from TV than from tickets,” Maestas said. “There was a day when the only thing that justified the game going on was ticket sales, because there was no TV. We are heading to the day when it’s possible to put on a college football event with no fans.”

Boy, that’s some progress you’ve got there, college football.

23 Comments

Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

“It’s something your program has to go through sometimes, but I think this program is about to be lights out.”

Damian Swann can’t stop comparing the two defensive coordinators he played for.

Said Swann: “It was a blessing for me to play under Pruitt for a year. You can see the difference in the numbers. You can see the difference in the leadership. You can see the difference in the way the entire defense plays, and that’s what we needed.”

Swann needed a grand finale to cap a college career that contained a noticeable downturn. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound senior was a top-100 national signee in 2011 who quickly earned playing time amid an experienced secondary containing Sanders Commings, Bacarri Rambo, Shawn Williams and Branden Smith.

That quartet was gone after the 2012 season, as were linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree and defensive linemen John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington. Nine members of Georgia’s defense two years ago have played in the NFL, and their departures left Swann battling through an erratic 2013 season.

“A lot of guys in my class played under Grantham when things were good,” Swann said. “We played under Grantham when we had two first-rounders, a second-rounder and some third- and fourth-rounders. I’ve played with some great talent, but when it went from those guys to a struggling season, it was like the world was ending.

Kinda makes you wonder what some of the kids on offense will be saying about their coordinators three years down the road.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

“I don’t know the Cowboys’ schedule, but you never know when they want to do a walkthrough, or something else is going on.”

LMAO time:  The CFP is looking at a potential conflict between the Dallas Cowboys playoff schedule and preparation time for its national championship game.

At its most basic level, the Cowboys’ playoff game could alter the amount of time each of the final two teams have to prepare for a game inside AT&T Stadium; of the four Playoff teams, Florida State is the only one to have played a game at the stadium during the past two seasons.

“You’ve got two teams coming in who need to practice,” said Martin Jarmond, Ohio State’s Associate Athletics Director for Development. “One of our questions was, what does that look like if the Cowboys keep winning, which they have — when will we be able to get into the stadium?

But, hey, Bill Hancock says they’ve been “… planning this with the Cowboys and the stadium staff for several months”, so I’m sure this will all work out fine.  Because somehow Hancock knew long ago how successful the Cowboys’ season would turn out to be.  Hope he made a few bucks in Vegas while he was at it.

2 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Something’s gotta give?

The SEC generated $1.38 billion in college athletics revenues in 2014, but the conference’s three-year growth average was just 4.74 percent.

Meanwhile, expenses for the average D-1 team increased 48 percent between 2007 and 2012 – and the top 25 spenders (nine of those from the SEC) increased spending by 72 percent over that five-year period.

Maybe I’m missing something, but over the long run, those trends aren’t going to end well.

19 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football