May 5, 2015 · 6:17 PM
Alabama spend a whopping $2.6 million on its national semifinals trip, which was a half million dollars more than Ohio State laid out for the trip, despite having a shorter distance to travel.
How did the Tide manage to pull that off? Simply by inviting a shitload of people.
The Crimson Tide sent a traveling party of 908 people — 197 more than any other team brought to a playoff game and more than any traveling party from Alabama’s past BCS Championship Game trips. The school brought 778 to New Orleans for the 2012 BCS Championship Game.
Maybe they were all tutors there to make sure that the student-athletes were able to attend to their studies.
Just remember, folks, the NCAA’s official position is if schools have to pay players, then they won’t be able to afford all those scholarships for the kids who aren’t in revenue producing sports.
May 5, 2015 · 12:44 PM
Sounds like Jeff Long, selection committee head, has a world view informed by Jeff Long, SEC AD:
What are your thoughts on divisions in conferences? The Big 12 doesn’t have them, the other power conferences do. You look at the contrast between the SEC West and the SEC East last season. Are they needed? Should conferences look a different direction on the matter?
Long: Everybody’s views are based on where they are. I think conferences need divisions. I can speak to my situation at Arkansas. I like a division because my fans want to see us battle for a West title. If we’re late in the season and we have a chance to battle for the West title, fans are more likely to come. I think this is in general as well. If you’ve fallen out of the West race, your numbers of no-shows for your tickets are going to increase. So if you just have one conference without a division, you’re going to fall out of contention earlier in that process. To me, from an AD’s point of view, I want to sell tickets, I want my stadium full because that’s a better environment for my student-athletes to hopefully win a game, the home-field advantage, all those things. I like divisions because I’m going to be in that hunt for a division title longer, that’s going to keep my fans engaged longer.
Currently not every conference has a championship game and not every conference plays the same amount of conference games. Ideally, do you feel it would it be best if every league played the same amount of conference games and they either all had a championship game or they all didn’t?
Long: In a perfect world, yes.
Could you envision a scenario where that could become possible somewhere down the road, maybe in five or 10 years?
Long: I think there would have to be more conference landscape changes for that to happen, from my point of view. Generally, broad statement, would I like to see that happen? Generally, I would. But college football is unique and I don’t think we all need to be homogenous. So I don’t have strong feelings about this conference or that conference must do this.
But it would be nice if the Big 12 did… for the selection committee.
May 5, 2015 · 7:52 AM
ESPN is in the throes of a serious schoolboy crush over the Tigers. Here’s a link to a piece observing that Schlabach has them sitting fourth in his preseason rankings, while another writer has them upsetting Ohio State and playing for the national title for the second time in three seasons. And Ed Aschoff has Auburn topping his SEC post-spring conference power rankings.
Maybe it’s nothin’ but the Dawg in me, but I’m not buying it.
My skepticism isn’t over the offense, at least not exactly. Malzahn knows what he’s doing and I expect Auburn to do just fine on that side of the ball. Sure, he’s breaking in a new quarterback, but Jeremy Johnson’s a talented thrower and after watching what Gus did with Chris Todd a few years ago, I don’t doubt that he’ll have Johnson playing well in 2015.
But here are my three doubts for Auburn this season:
- The neighborhood. Auburn plays in college football’s toughest division. Even if the rest of the schedule isn’t daunting – more on that in a second – that’s still six games to negotiate without a hiccup. Add that Georgia is a tough draw almost every year, regardless of where the game is played, and that’s a tough row to hoe just to get to Atlanta.
- The quarterback. It’s not that I don’t think Johnson will turn in a fine season. It’s that he’s not the kind of quarterback who’s taken Malzahn’s offense to the promised land. Unlike Cam or Marshall, he’s not going to beat you with his legs. Maybe it’ll turn out that won’t matter, but I’ll have to see it first.
- The defensive coordinator. This is from where most of the unbridled optimism over Auburn’s chances stems. Defensive coordinator with good reputation who couldn’t cut it as a head coach, and so returns to the DC ranks to kick some ass… where have we heard that before? Oh, yeah – that was the story about Boom’s predecessor, too. Maybe Muschamp is an enormous step up from Ellis Johnson. But I wonder if whatever improvement we see out of the Tigers defense this season will come more from getting a healthy Lawson back. A good pass rush has the benefit of making a coordinator look smarter.
All of which isn’t to say Auburn won’t do well this season. But as I look at this schedule, it doesn’t shout 11-1 at me. And I’m not convinced a two-loss SEC team will be playing for a national title this year.
May 5, 2015 · 7:25 AM
I tell you what – if this is really a thing, any school out there running a pro-style offense that isn’t hyping the NFL to the skies to QB recruits is committing recruiting malpractice.