Lesson from a collegiate athletic postseason, part one

What’s so pathetic about college football’s current concern about keeping asses in the seats in the new CFP era is that the suits have had a laboratory experiment running for decades now with men’s college basketball.  And it’s as if nobody learns anything from anything.

If the whole product of college basketball doesn’t intrigue, could attendance numbers continue to freefall?

“If the game doesn’t present a compelling product, I don’t think you can expect people to pay for it,” Bilas said. “It just doesn’t work that way.”

Read the litany of options and issues expressed in the article.  Most of them are distressingly familiar.

And as for presenting a compelling product, how compelling can it truly be when the regular season is nothing more than a holding pattern for March Madness? What do I mean by that?  This is an example:

Fox’ team played a meaningless game yesterday; it’s already in the Tournament and nobody’s getting by Kentucky today, anyway.  So from his standpoint, it’s prudent to let one of his key players rest and heal.  But from a fan’s standpoint, what kind of message is being received from a decision like that?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

20 responses to “Lesson from a collegiate athletic postseason, part one

  1. The guy was hobbling around. He would not have been effective. If he plays in the SEC tournament and gets hurt then he’s out for March madness. If he plays in the NCAA tournament and they lose he’s got seven months to rest. Great call.


    • Again, from Mark Fox’ place, absolutely.

      In terms of telling us the regular season is compelling? Not so much.


      • Chuck

        It wasn’t the regular season. It was the SEC tournament. This year’s UGA basketball regular season has been intriguing. Opening loss to a pathetic Tech team made me think ‘Oh well’, and the NIT preseason games didn’t dispel that feeling much. Then, it started to get interesting. If your season is what gets you to the tournament, it’s still watchable. I’ve watched much more UGA b-ball this year than since Tubby Smith’s tenure.

        I get that scheduling can water competition down some, but even in the old days coaches tried to schedule some easy games as breathers. I don’t think its quite as bad as you portray it.


        • If your season is what gets you to the tournament, it’s still watchable.

          That’s all it is.

          But the article was about live attendance, not TV.

          As for your regular season objection, that’s just semantics. Conference tournament championships mean nothing these days, unless some team that otherwise has no chance of playing in the NCAA tournament pulls off a major upset.


      • Ant123

        I don’t completely agree with your assessment. Don’t you think if in the regular season we had a game with Duke followed by a conference game against a lesser SEC opponent under the same circumstances the same thing would have happened? I would think so. It’s all about having the best players for the biggest games with a some of the players effectiveness at the time factored in.


  2. JasonC



  3. I have the perfect solution for both college football and basketball. Simply have every team play three to eleven regular season games (depending on the sport). Then seed the teams in categories based on won loss record (e.g., all 3-0 FB teams going in the top category) and with seeding within each category performed randomly, like drawing names from a hat. Winners and losers play each other in consolation rounds as long as necessary to determine final rankings. This way, the great majority of games are “playoff” or “tournament” games, everyone gets in, TV numbers are up, and everyone’s happy because no one gets left out! Perfect solution for the “everybody gets a trophy” and “it’s all about ratings” era! Memo to ESPN and the NCAA: I expect a .5% royalty payment for each broadcast following implementation of the “Slaw Dawg Plan for Fairness and Equity in Major College Sports.” You’re welcome!


    • Bulldog Joe

      Just adopting the 24-second NBA shot clock would go a long way toward making the game more interesting.


  4. W Cobb Dawg

    I’ll go out on a limb and speculate scheduling UGA games for 9 pm on a Tuesday probably doesn’t help attendance.


  5. Bulldog Joe

    “From a fan’s standpoint, what kind of message is being received from a decision like that?”

    The building was well over 50% Kentucky fans. Not sure if most of them even noticed. Either way, they were going to see a sluggish meaningless game with the quick turnaround from the night before. Conference tournaments started going this way after the NCAA expanded beyond 32 tournament bids.

    Given the ever-expanding NCAA tournament field, the conference tournaments are only interesting if:

    A team well outside the bubble catches fire and plays for an automatic NCAA bid; or
    A local rivalry game is played (i.e. Duke/UNC/NC State or Michigan/Ohio State/MSU).

    The larger conferences make these types of games less likely.

    It would be interesting to see if the TV ratings hold up enough for the big networks to pay the conferences the big bucks to televise them.


  6. Bulldog Joe

    Georgia State scores 38 points and wins the Sun Belt men’s basketball tournament championship game.

    Must-See TV.


  7. As a Georgia BB season ticket holder whose favorite sport is basketball I watch the conference tournaments with interest because it is basketball, but it is stupid to have 18 SEC games to determine the best team then have that team play three more games to get the SEC’s automatic bid. I was happy we got the bid in 2008 but it was a silly way to choose the NCAA representative.

    The ACC started the tournament idea because it generated much needed revenue and the participating schools were reasonably close to Greensboro. The other conferences started tourneys in the late 1970s and 1980s to make money, and that is all that is about.


  8. AusDawg85

    Mark Richt screws up,doesn’t win the SEC, and now we have another meaningless game against Michigan State in the postseason.


  9. Bob

    College Football has 3 months of drama that ends in a murmur. College Basketball has a 3 month version of Spring Training that ends with 16 days of magic. If CFB isn’t careful, they will have that 3 months of Spring Training for a regular season too.


  10. sUGArdaddy

    I keep saying it. UNC’s last title. Ty Lawson was banged up and sat out the acc tourney. The heels didn’t win it after being regular season champs. He healed up for the ncaa’s. They won 6 straight tourney games by double digits and Roy’s 2nd title. Ask any unc fans if they care Lawson sat out the acc tourney and they lost. He dominated the NCAA tourney that yr.


  11. Keese

    Since we’re cross comparing (sure)….Kinda like holding out injured players from a meaningless bowl game? ie Leonard Floyd


  12. Union Jack

    This is news? Gregg Popovich has been doing this for years in San Antonio. He doesn’t do it because he thinks the regular season is meaningless – he does it because he understands that the ultimate goal of his organization is to win a championship. He has an 82 game schedule + a playoff where the maximum # of games could be 28.

    Giving key starters rest and rehab time during the season is brilliant. Tim Duncan and Tony Parker et al, will be ready come playoff. It improves team chemistry because the 10-12 man on the roster get meaningful playing time during regular season games and not just garbage.

    Yes it drove David Stern crazy. It probably does the same to Adam Silver but so what. Pop’s salary is paid by the owner who also ponies up for Stern and Silver. The Spurs still are trying to win the game – they have not been accused of throwing them. Unlike the Sixers, Lakers and Knicks, who have been deliberately tanking since about Nov 15, the Spurs understand that their playoff seeding is still important and still give maximum effort to win.

    Is anyone accusing Georgia of laying down? Probably not, but giving league offices a say in final game rosters is dangerous territory.