Daily Archives: December 13, 2017

There’s gold in them thar bowl games.

You wonder how there can be so many bowl games, when so many have issues with attendance?  ESPN is here to help you with that knotty problem.

Such games arguably make more financial sense for ESPN than traditional non-profit bowl organizations because the currency of the realm for ESPN is eyeballs on screens and not so much butts in stadium seats.

“The ESPN bowl games, which account for the growth in bowl games, are essentially made-for-TV events,” Stanford economist Roger Noll told USA TODAY Sports.

Consider that Miami Beach Bowl in which Tulsa beat Central Michigan last year, 55-10.  A crowd of 15,262 was bad news for a small non-profit that relies on ticket sales and corporate sponsorships to make ends meet.

But attendance doesn’t matter as much to a deep-pocketed media network. ESPN wants live television programming during the holiday season to draw viewers, sell advertising and beat the competition, reinforcing the channel’s value with cable distributors and satellite providers.

The game drew an average of 795,000 TV viewers, trouncing other channels that day, on a Monday afternoon. Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports Network both had less than 280,000 viewers on average during the same time period, according to Nielsen. For comparison, ESPN boasted earlier this year that its Wednesday Night Baseball viewership had increased to an average of 636,000 in April, up 11% from a year earlier.

“Think of how well it would rate in a different time slot,” Overby said of the Miami Beach Bowl

Even though it was the least watched bowl game of the season, it was still a ratings win for ESPN. Live sports games are especially coveted by advertisers because viewers are considered more likely to watch their commercials live, unlike non-sports content that often is recorded with a DVR to skip the ads.

Not to say that Mickey doesn’t have a potential knotty problem of its own with which to wrestle.  Playoff expansion is bound to hurt the bowls, so where does the WWL line up when the day comes that the CFP moves to eight… sixteen…?

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54 Comments

Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

Why Smart will never be able to build a fence around the state

It’s the sheer numbers, stupid.

More than 4,000 former Georgia high school players have been on college rosters this season, according to the annual research of Steve Slay, a member of the Georgia High School Football Historians Association and football fan who has tracked these numbers in Georgia for the past 10 years.

His 4,191 Georgia players on 2017 rosters are the most he’s counted. They range from the 585 playing in Power 5 Conferences such as the SEC and ACC to the 372 on the rosters of junior-college teams such as the Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters of the Western States Football League. Fun fact: There are 28 former Georgia high school players who were Gila Monsters this fall.

There also are six recently selected Associated Press All-Americans from Georgia.

Those include Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown (Peachtree Ridge), N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb (Hillgrove) and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith (Macon County), all on the first team. On the second team are Clemson tackle Mitch Hyatt (North Gwinnett) and Colorado State receiver Michael Gallup (Monroe Area). Clemson defensive end Austin Bryant (Thomas County Central) made the third team.

You want more math?

Kirby’s game plan has to be to take the best and leave the rest.

Oh, and once again, thank you, Paul Johnson.

41 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

Gift Guide PSA

I just wanted to let y’all know I’ve done the first page update, adding several of your suggestions, along with another of my own.

Keep the recommendations coming!

2 Comments

Filed under GTP Stuff

Pruitt better win.

A couple of hot takes on the incredible job Phil Fulmer did luring Jeremy Pruitt to Tennessee:

  • Pete Thamel“In the end, Tennessee ended up with an inferior coach, an overmatched athletic director and setting a new standard for a disastrous coaching search. The hires that former athletic director John Currie was on the cusp of making – Greg Schiano and Mike Leach – are exponentially more accomplished and better qualified for the Tennessee job. But Phil Fulmer’s power play ended up with him in control as athletic director and Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt as coach. Pruitt is just inexperienced enough that Fulmer will be able to keep sticking his nose in the program, which is what he’s wanted since he was run out of the job nearly a decade ago. (The classic clueless Fulmer moment was treating the press conference to dismiss Currie like he’d just been hired as coach again, as his tone – including introducing his family in attendance – showed a stunning lack of self-awareness.) Opposing SEC athletic directors, by the way, are giddy to have Fulmer in charge, as his administrative acumen presents little threat to the rest of the league. Expect Tennessee’s glory to remain faded.”
  • Dan Wolken“Coaching searches are far more art than science, and there are always unique dynamics at each individual school that can complicate matters. But the Tennessee search will be remembered in this industry for years, and not in a good way. Whether Tennessee fans agreed or disagreed with the choice of Greg Schiano after Dan Mullen chose Florida, the idea that a social media fan uprising could essentially spook the school into reneging on a signed agreement is still mind-blowing. Former athletics director John Currie did his due diligence on the search. He knew who was available and who wouldn’t take the job. Right or wrong, he made the determination that Schiano was the best coach he could reasonably hire. And as imperfect as it might have been in the eyes of some fans, he was prepared to make a tough decision and sink or swim with the results on the field. That’s the way it’s supposed to work when you hire people to leadership positions and let them lead.

    At Tennessee, though, the response was different. And for whatever reason, the people who were supposed to have Currie’s back instead decided to sweep him aside and let former coach Phillip Fulmer run the athletics department and complete the coaching search. Maybe the end result may work out for Tennessee — we’ll see — but the process to get to Pruitt was messy. Within college athletics circles, the school’s brand was far more damaged over the last two weeks than Currie’s. He’ll certainly resurface somewhere soon. Whether this fiasco helps make Tennessee a contender again is far more uncertain.”

Sure, Pruitt may work out.  He’s got an impressive work ethic and great recruiting skills on his side.  Then again, Booch’s problems didn’t stem from recruiting.

Tennessee’s decline in football is more than about coaching, though.  The athletic department leadership has been notably substandard going back to the Mike Hamilton regime.  The idea that Phil Fulmer, who’s never been an administrator before, is the guy with the right skills to launch a renaissance, feels like nothing more at this juncture than wishful thinking from a fan base that’s just thrilled to have a real Vol calling the shots.

Even worse, Fulmer’s only got a two-year deal.  If things don’t take off for Tennessee football in that time frame, he’ll sail off into the sunset washing his hands of the affair,  serene in the claim that he did what he believed was best for the program.  Meanwhile, it’ll be up to the next poor sap to deal with a fan base that fervently believes a return to greatness is easier than it is in real life.  For the rest of us, all that’s standing between years of mockery and UT football is Jeremy Pruitt.  And even that may be fleeting if Pruitt sees his time in Knoxville as a stepping stone to a program with more stability at the top.  Enjoy your time there, coach.

53 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, The Glass is Half Fulmer

Just a few dollars more

For those of you who wonder how schools could afford to pay student-athletes, perhaps this story about the excise tax on large salaries contained in the tax bill currently winding its way through Congress might give you some ideas.

Both the House and Senate versions of the bill include a new 20 percent excise tax on salaries of $1 million or more paid by universities and other nonprofits. Universities also would take a financial hit from the elimination of a tax deduction for the donations that many schools require for the right to purchase season tickets. Donors currently get to deduct 80 percent of those contributions. Without the tax break, giving could plummet.

How schools would absorb those costs is an open question. But economists and other experts say an excise tax is not the best way to drive down coaches’ salaries or combat the widespread public perception they are overpaid.

In its most recent survey, USA Today found 78 football coaches and 41 men’s basketball coaches making $1 million or more, topped by Nick Saban’s $11.1 million salary at Alabama. If the tax proposal does become law, Alabama would face a $2.24 million tax bill every year.

That’s some major jack, even for ‘Bama.  What to do, what to do?

Tom McMillen, a former Democratic congressman from Maryland who is now the CEO of the Lead1 Association, which represents Division 1 athletic directors, doesn’t expect the new tax to drive down salaries.

“Certainly our schools, if they have to choose between a great football team and getting a coach that’s going to deliver that and making cuts elsewhere, they’re probably going to make cuts elsewhere,” McMillen said.

The hit on universities from getting rid of the season-ticket tax deduction and adding the salary tax will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually, McMillen said, and he believes Olympic sports subsidized by football and basketball revenue likely will be affected the most.

But John Colombo, a University of Illinois law professor who has studied the economics of college sports, said cuts to other programs “would have to be done on the sly” to avoid an outcry from faculty. He said schools most likely would raise ticket prices or hit up their donors, arguing that more money is necessary “to stay competitive.”

The correct answer is, of course, all of the above.

There’s always more money.  That’s not the big issue.  This is:

“This is happening really quickly,” Washington athletic director Jennifer Cohen said. “I’m not sure any of us are well prepared to figure out how to manage.”

Ain’t that the truth.

15 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Musical palate cleanser, sucks getting old edition

Sigh.  Again.

Singer/songwriter Pat DiNizio, who sold millions of records with his New Jersey band, the Smithereens, has died. He passed away just days after indicating via Facebook that he was looking forward to returning to the road. DiNizio was 62 years old and had been recovering from injuries sustained during a fall that he was rehabilitating…

Born Oct. 12, 1955 in Scotch Plains, NJ, DiNizio was working in his family’s trash-hauling business when he formed the Smithereens with fellow musicians Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken and Mike Mesaros. Starting in 1980, their highly melodic music (almost all of it written by DiNizio) became an FM radio staple and touring favorite. Such songs as “A Girl Like You,” “Blood and Roses,” “Behind the Wall of Sleep” and “Only A Memory” were radio-friendly and instantly memorable.

Great little band, also a terrific live act.  Here’s one of my favorites of theirs, “Blood and Roses”.  That opening bass line is killer.

Pat, you’ll be missed.

13 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Kirby Smart doesn’t have time for this shit.

Not good:

Georgia freshman defensive back Latavious Brini was arrested Tuesday evening on a first-degree felony forgery charge, according to an Athens-Clarke County jail log.

Brini was booked at 6:16 p.m. and released at 9:23 p.m. He was issued a bond amount of $5,700, with a total of $5,000 listed under the bond remarks section. Arrested by the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, this forgery charge is listed as a felony.

He’s a redshirt, so on the field it means nothing as we head towards the Rose Bowl.  But it’s certainly a distraction Smart would prefer not to have on his plate right now.

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UPDATE:  The details aren’t great.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department alleges that Brini and a man named Trevon Shorter used a fake $100 bill to purchase $8 worth of merchandise and received $92 in change on July 14. It wasn’t realized until later that the currency used was fake as the bank the store uses rejected it.

24 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football