Daily Archives: December 13, 2016

Renewing my faith in weird

My friends, welcome to the best college football story of 2016:

An investigation by the Wake Forest Athletic Department following the Wake Forest-Louisville football game on November 12th, found that former Wake Forest coach Tommy Elrod has provided or attempted to provide confidential game plan information to opposing teams, starting in 2014.

Elrod served as the Wake Forest color man on the IMG Radio Network beginning in 2014, and has been terminated immediately from his position at IMG.

According to a Wake Forest press release, he will “no longer broadcast Wake Forest football games and has been banned from Wake Forest athletics and its facilities.”

Elrod graduated from Wake Forest in 1997 and served as an assistant under Jim Grobe for 11 seasons. He was not retained by current head coach Dave Clawson.

That is about fifteen shades of awesome.  First off, there are coaches out there who think they need Wake Forest game plan info?  That’s a real thing?  Do you pay for that, or was Elrod so pissed off about not being retained he was dishing out the good stuff out of sheer revenge?

Even better, Wake won six games this year.  Can we find out which coaches got this information and still wound up losing to the Demon Deacons?  Please?



Filed under ACC Football

Go, Gata.

If you’re of a mind that much of Florida’s success in the SEC East the last two seasons can be chalked up to a salty defense that didn’t lose much, if anything, in the transition from Boom to Geoff Collins, then this news might be of interest to you.

Geez, somebody’s gotta win the East next season, fellas.  But who?


Filed under Gators, Gators...

Junior’s gonna Junior.

Leave it to the Laner, who was lobbying former Alabama quarterback Blake Barnett to join him in sunny Florida before Kiffin had the FAU job.


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin

By the ring on your finger, I can tell…

Say what you will, this is pretty impressive.

– With Lane Kiffin at FAU, take a look at this stat: All 7 FBS head coaches in Florida have won a national championship.

Jimbo Fisher won a title with Florida State
Jim McElwain won titles as an assistant at Alabama
Mark Richt won titles as an assistant at Florida State
Scott Frost won a title as a quarterback at Nebraska
Butch Davis won a title as an assistant at Miami (FL)
Charlie Strong won titles as an assistant at Florida
Lane Kiffin won titles as an assistant at USC.

That’s going to be a part of every coach’s pitch in recruiting. FSU, UF and Miami will get their players, but for out-of-state schools who rely on Florida kids, the local schools have coaches with a pedigree.

As I wrote yesterday, it’ll be interesting to watch how this plays out on the recruiting trail in the coming years.


Filed under Recruiting

They don’t know what they’ve got ’til it’s gone… and maybe not even then.

There are times, believe it or not, when I wonder if I’m being too critical of people like Jim Delany and Mark Emmert when it comes to their business acumen.  I mean, nobody can be as blind to trends and economic developments as I make those guys out to be sometimes, right?

Then I’m reminded that in the end, we’re talking about camel herders.  And no matter how nicely you dress a camel herder, camels are what he knows best.

The NCAA Tournament followed a massive jump in ratings with a big tumble last season after switching the title game to cable TV.

The NCAA’s response: Give it time.

“You have to look at it over periods of time, not in one-year blips,” Mark Hollis, chair of the NCAA’s Division I men’s basketball committee, said Monday. “We’re in extremely good position as far as interest.”

The NCAA agreed to a 14-year deal with CBS and Turner in 2010, with the two companies essentially acting as one under the contract, combining on all aspects of the contract while alternating years on the Final Four.

The 2015 NCAA Tournament saw a huge surge in ratings for the game between Duke and Wisconsin, posting its highest average viewership in 22 years with 11.3 million viewers.

The Final Four was on TBS last season, marking the first time it aired on cable TV. Ratings for the entire tournament were down across CBS and the three Turner networks — TBS, Turner and truTV — and the title game drew a record-low rating, dropping 37 percent from 2015.

Gosh, who would have ever thought that pulling your signature event off the public airwaves and moving it to cable would have a negative impact on viewership?  Obviously not the humble herdsmen who took the best deal they could get.  Plus, it’s not all bad news.

“The difference in rating was somewhat predictable … the number of homes CBS is in than TBS is different,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA vice president of men’s basketball championships. “The thing that struck me was that both CBS and Turner were thrilled with the numbers. They sold out all of their ad inventory weeks before the tournament. From an NCAA perspective, as long as the games are broadly available, then we are accomplishing our goal for the fans. Whether it’s on CBS or TBS, that’s the key.”

Yes, indeedy, the networks are thrilled, so the NCAA is doing its best by the fans.  Gavitt, who used to be an associate conference commissioner, by the way, sounds like a man who thinks he’s quite accomplished at making lemonade from lemons.  He’s just careful to avoid drinking his product — which means he has something in common with the 37% who skipped the Final Four.

For those of you who think college football postseason expansion is going to work out swimmingly, despite mounting empirical evidence to suggest otherwise, what should give even you pause for reflection is the willingness of the movers and shakers to give away value like that in return for short-term gain (although using the phrase “short-term” in the context of a fourteen-year broadcast contract is a stretch).  I don’t know where you come from, but tossing more than a third of your viewers out in a year’s time doesn’t strike me as a way to build your brand.  Face it, especially when you’re talking about how March Madness markets itself to the casual sports fan, getting large numbers of those people out of the habit of tuning in makes it likely they won’t all be coming back.

Oh, but that’s basketball, you say.  That doesn’t count because it’s not college football.  Again, you miss the point.  Football is just taking its first tentative steps away from the regional appeal that is the sport’s greatest and most unique quality.  That’s a path college basketball tread years ago.  It’s the path the camel herders are familiar with; they just think they know better where to walk now.

What makes them dangerous isn’t that they aren’t the smartest people in the room.  It’s that they think they are the smartest people in the room.  It’s easy to do a lot of irreparable damage in that mindset.

Take, for example, the biggest jewel the SEC has in its possession.  Not the SEC Network, which isn’t even generating the most revenue of any of the conference arrangements.  It’s the SEC on CBS.  That’s the only national broadcasting deal any conference has.  Jim Delany chased down Rutgers and Maryland to add viewership outposts.  Larry Scott bitches and moans because he can’t land a deal on DirecTV for the Pac-12 Network.  Meanwhile the SEC shows up all over America every Saturday in the fall.

That’s awesome branding.  That’s why Verne Lundquist is a household figure.  That’s why somebody like Brad Nessler jumped at the first opportunity from a prestigious ESPN broadcast slot to take Lundquist’s place.  It’s part of what makes the SEC the SEC.  Yet it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Sankey and his presidents sell it to the highest bidder when the broadcast contracts come up for renewal, wherever that means those games are shown.

It’s all part of the trend to go national, a trend that’s accelerating with the new prominence of the CFP.  Don’t believe me on that?  Check out what’s already happening with the bowls.

It’s not that they’re trying to kill the golden goose.  It’s more like they’re trying to perform plastic surgery to improve the goose’s looks, even though they’ve never been to med school.  Hey, it could work!  Just ask Dan Gavitt.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, It's Just Bidness

One of those years

I was going to write something about Georgia’s sizeable drop in Bill Connelly’s S&P+ over the course of the 2016 season, but an alert reader pointed out this post at Football Study Hall that’s worth a quick gander — in particular, check out which two schools are the biggest disappointment and most pleasant surprise, respectively.

There’s a glass half empty/half full approach you can take to this.  Either it’s a cause for despair that Georgia may have whiffed on the correct former Donnan player to hire, or a reason for hope that Smart can have success as he tracks the learning curve as head coach.  Stay tuned for which turns out to be right.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Just doing his job

Well, dang, this sure puts the Liberty Bowl bonuses in perspective.

Beaty’s new contract also includes added incentives for achievements such as conference championships, bowl wins and coach-of-the-year awards. Notably, Beaty will receive $50,000 for every FBS win and $100,000 for any BCS or Power Five victory.[Emphasis added.]

And here I thought winning games was part of a head coach’s basic job description.  How quaint.


Filed under It's Just Bidness

Meaningless bowl games = meaningless stats

I mean, this is a nice effort and all, but the idea that an advanced stats comparison of Georgia and TCU is going to have a huge amount of relevance to the Liberty Bowl’s outcome ultimately isn’t as convincing as waiting to see at kick off which team shows up motivated to play.

Start with the reality that Kirby Smart is approaching bowl practice with something other than the usual priority of getting ready for the next opponent.

The extra practices, Smart said, provide an opportunity for younger players to get better.

“We’ve got a lot of them that gotta get reps,” said Smart, the former Alabama defensive coordinator gearing up for his first bowl game as head coach. “But I’ve also been around times where you feel like you lost it in practice. Some big bowls games and some big situations where you might could have done less and gotten more out of the players because they certainly have a long season.”

“The early practices are developmental practices where we want to get fundamentally better,” Smart said of his team that is 7-5. “We want to use them like spring practices but change it up for the players so they enjoy it.”

That means plenty of “good on good” when Smart said the GPS trackers show the best readings “and try to let those guys go after it.”

Of course, freshman quarterback Jacob Eason can use the extra practice reps, too.

“He needs as many as he can get,” Smart said. “Seeing coverages, seeing multiples, seeing different pressures, I think it’s really important for him and his growth. He gets that.”

Gary Patterson appears to be in much the same place.

“Saturday’s practice was probably the best practice we’ve had since two-a-days,” Patterson said. “For us it’s growing up as a football team and finding out how we need to play going into next season because we weren’t happy with this one.”

So, yeah, you might want to throw out the stats book for this one.


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Pay to not play

To paraphrase Richard Pryor, electing to pay Tom Herman’s $2.5 million buyout instead of scheduling a couple of home and homes with Houston in football and basketball is Gawd’s way of telling Texas it has too much money.


Filed under Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Musical palate cleanser, two guys sittin’ around edition

Man, the things that drop on the intertubes without any fanfare.


Filed under Uncategorized