Daily Archives: May 1, 2015

The CFP and the nobility of consistency

If there’s one thing you can count on from college head coaches, it’s that they’ll never run out of nonsensical justifications for taking a stance out of naked self-interest.

Take Cal’s Sonny Dykes, for instance.  The Pac-12 is that rare bird:  a two-division conference that plays a nine-game conference schedule.  That’s allowed Cal to keep its longstanding rivalries with two powerhouses in UCLA and USC.  Evidently, that’s not something he relishes.  But he can’t come out and just say that.  Instead, he’s got to look around for… something… aha!

Dykes said he’s willing to sacrifice the tradition of playing long-time, in-state rivals USC and UCLA every year if that’s necessary to reduce the Pac-12 schedule to eight games in order to achieve consistency with other power conferences.

“I don’t think it would be my first choice. I don’t think it would be our fans’ first choice,” he said. “But something’s got to give. We just need to have some (nationwide) consistency.”

The Pac-12 and Big 12 play nine conference games, while the SEC, ACC and Big Ten play just eight, allowing them to schedule one more nonconference game of their choosing. The uneven playing field creates potential disparities when teams are selected for the College Football Playoff, which has huge financial implications.

By playing nine games, the Pac-12 has allowed schools to play each of the other five teams in their division, plus three from the other division on a rotating basis. But the annual games between Cal and Stanford and their southern California rivals have been preserved so far.

Screw what the fans want, or what Sonny wants.  If we don’t get national consistency on this, the next thing you know we’ll have dogs and cats living together, or something. This isn’t about Dykes, people.  He’s just offering a sacrifice to save college football from a looming crisis.

Or he could just be full of crap.




Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Pac-12 Football

As long as they spell your name right.

The NCAA puts a bit of a brake on the satellite camp craze with this:

That will cut down on the self-promotion.  But don’t think the visitors won’t be making sure their hosts pump up the noise about the trip.


Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

The NCAA and “economic nonsense”

Shorter defense brief from the Alston and Jenkins cases:  You try telling Nick Saban he’ll have to take a pay cut.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“But the coaches told me I had to be ready just in case.”

Nick Chubb sure makes it easier to adjust to Life After Gurley.


Filed under Georgia Football

A farewell to Gurley

Gurley goes to the Rams with the tenth pick in last night’s draft.  Not too shabby for someone recovering from an ACL tear and who plays a position that’s been devalued by the NFL over the past few seasons.

He enjoyed a remarkable career in Athens.  Despite playing only three seasons, and missing ten games during that time, Gurley still managed to finish second on the all-time Georgia list for rushing yardage and total touchdowns.

He displayed an élite talent.  Groo’s post on his five favorite Gurley moments is as good a place to showcase some of that as any.

But for me, what made Todd Gurley so special was his remarkable determination.  It’s easy to be dazzled by the spectacular, but it’s Gurley’s grit that’s resonated more with me.  Check out the two runs that close this clip showing last year’s loss in Columbia (dial it up to the 3:50 mark):

Those two plays were shut down by the Gamecock defense.  Except nobody told Gurley that.

Gurley’s play after his return from injury during the 2013 regular season was a continuous tribute to that refusal to mail anything in.  Georgia’s season was unraveling, in large part because of injuries, and Gurley was far from 100% physically when he returned to play in Jacksonville.  And while the brilliantly called middle screen for a touchdown that left the Florida defense flat-footed was fantastic to watch, what I remember most about that day was Gurley being asked to put the team on his shoulders for that last keep away drive and taking care of business with what seemed like an endless series of third down conversions by literally inches.

Then there was that incredible fourth quarter comeback at Auburn, when Mike Bobo finally got his playcalling untangled, largely by calling a bunch of screen passes to Gurley, and Georgia came roaring back from twenty points down.  There was a point during that stretch as I was sitting in the stands when I could sense a palpable feeling in the joint that Auburn’s defense knew the question – how do we stop Gurley and Murray (who showed up pretty well in the grit department himself that season)? – but was in a state of panic because it couldn’t come up with an answer.

And then, as the capper, there was the overtime against Georgia Tech.  You knew if the defense hadn’t held in the second OT period, it wouldn’t have mattered, because Gurley would have kept scoring until it had.

I never felt cheated seeing Todd Gurley play.

Having watched Georgia football for a long time, I’m not so foolish as to proclaim Gurley to be the greatest player who’s ever worn the red and black.  But I have no hesitation in saying that I’ve never seen a Georgia player who better combined great physical talent and a sheer will to win.

So, thanks, Todd.  It was a helluva ride you took us on.


Filed under Georgia Football

“All of us realize this industry and the NCAA is changing.”

The good and bad of divisions?  Spare me the bullshit, at least with regard to the latter.

For sure, Scott Stricklin does.

Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin pointed out the SEC’s expansion to 14 teams — and not necessarily divisions — as the reason for some of the scheduling problems.

“When we made the decision to go to 14, there was no way around that,” he said. “Unless we’re going to play a 13-game schedule and all you play is the other 13 teams, you’re going to miss somebody, and there’s going to be some unfairness in the randomness of the schedule that is unavoidable. The division is not the cause of that. That’s the fact we have a 14-team league and we’re trying to play a 12-game schedule.”

It’s not rocket science, Joe Alleva.

But SEC athletic directors have not given much thought to the topic and have hardly talked about championship game deregulation. During their spring meetings next month, they will discuss the deregulation proposal for the first time.

“It’s not crazy. It’s something to think about,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said. “It hasn’t come up because the NCAA rule’s always been you had to [have divisions to have a championship game]. You have to change that rule.”

Have to, bitches.  Have to.  What’s the point to having divisions, if you’re not going to organize your championship game around them?  Probably something to do with money… like everything else.

They’ll tell us it all for us fans.  But it’s really about chasing a spot in the CFP.

“… For the good of the group and the good of the whole, that flexibility as the College Football Playoff evolves puts us in a good position,” Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said. “It makes us more nimble as a conference. We can stay the same and that’s great, and if we need to change, then we’d have the flexibility to do it.”

Awesome.  Makes you wonder what they’ll come up with when the playoff field expands to eight.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

Musical palate cleanser, theme song edition

Theme song for college football, that is.

You’ve probably heard the Cyndi Lauper cover of this, but I’ve always been partial to the local group’s original.


Filed under Uncategorized