Daily Archives: March 29, 2018

“You think I like playing in Dallas better than playing in Tuscaloosa?”

One thing I can’t help but wonder about with regard to Alabama’s potential home-and-home searches with the likes of Notre Dame and Texas is why Nick Saban is willing to cast aside a business model he’s clearly comfortable with.  After all, this is the man who once said,

“When you play at home, you do really well,” Saban said in the run up to the Cotton Bowl with the Spartans. “When you play away, you don’t do very well. When you play a neutral-site game every year, you do well every year from a business standpoint.”

Has the math changed?  Michael Casagrande tries to suggest it has.

A big question is how much money a home game with a Notre Dame or Texas would bring in. Using the most recent NCAA financial filing, Alabama football ticket sales brought in an average of $4.96 million per home game opposed to an average of $812,000 of game-day operations costs.

Of course, not all games are created equally in that equation. Single-game tickets for this season cost as little as $40 for Arkansas State and The Citadel and as much as $140 a game for Auburn. A one-off with Notre Dame or Texas could fetch even more than the even-year Iron Bowl visit.

But that consideration doesn’t come in a vacuum.  To maximize the revenue gain, that would mean dropping a cupcake from the home schedule.  Does that sound like something Nick Saban would embrace?  Color me skeptical.

That’s not to say I doubt Alabama is pursuing these games.  It’s just that I doubt there’s really that much more money to be made from scheduling them over a neutral site opener.  So what’s really going on in Tuscaloosa?

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Filed under Alabama

Mecole Hardman and “a little flavor”

One reason I have higher hopes for Georgia’s passing game in 2018 is that I expect the offensive line to make another leap forward.  Another reason, though, is that there are signs the receiving corps is stepping up things.

That’s now behind him, with Hardman coming off of a strong finish to the 2017 season. Holding an expertise with the playbook, Hardman believes he can bring more to the table as a junior.

“Once you get it down like I have it now, you can start putting a little flavor to it on your own, and play how you’re supposed to play,” Hardman said.

By this, Hardman means he doesn’t have to stay directly on script with a particular route. If a defender is playing a certain way, Hardman can try some techniques that break the initial line of the route. And as the chemistry between a quarterback and receiver grows, the coaching staff allows for more leeway in this area.

Hardman said the trust with quarterback Jake Fromm has grown to the point where they can maneuver their way around a strict route concept.

“In the playbook, you have lines and they tell you the route,” Hardman said. “But on the field, coming out first, you try to run it like that. But once you know it, you can do different releases, stems, and not necessarily how it’s drawn up. When you’re comfortable with that, coaches will give you more freedom to do more things.”

Remember that last season was Hardman’s first full year on offense.  His game did improve noticeably over the second half of the season.  If he’s really comfortable with the playbook and Fromm, look out, world.

From there, assume he’s not the only receiver growing more comfortable with the offense and his quarterback.  This could get fun.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Today’s money round-up

Four stories worth your consideration:

  • If you’re seriously concerned about where colleges will find the money to pay student-athletes if that dark day ever comes, let me suggest that such payment would be a better use of money than Michigan State spending half-a-million large on a PR firm to track social media on people who are upset with the school over the Larry Nassar scandal.  You really need to spend big bucks to confirm that somebody suing you doesn’t like you?  Hell, I’d have taken that gig for half price.
  • From California “In the midst of March Madness, Assemblymember Chris Holden announced introduction of his legislation, Assembly Bill 2747, the College Athletes’ Civil Rights Act of 2018, to protect to college athletes from harmful policies by the National College Athletics Association (NCAA). The legislation would allow college athletes to self-organize, create the possibility of the “Olympic Model” for college athletes such as commercial sponsorship, and help protect college athletes from abuses by college coaches, trainers, and other athletic staff.  If adopted, the legislation would be the first law in the country to regulate the NCAA.”
  • It looks like Jeffrey Kessler’s case is going to trial.  This doesn’t sound promising for the NCAA:  “In a 36-page opinion, Wilken did not give either side total victory. However, she rejected several of the NCAA’s critical contentions and set the stage for the plaintiffs to seek a new system that would apply to Division I men’s and women’s basketball players and to football players at Football Bowl Subdivision schools.”  Read the whole thing and remember a couple of key points.  One, Wilken has already ruled and been affirmed on appeal that the NCAA violated antitrust law.  Two, Kessler isn’t asking for money damages as relief, just asking for the restrictions set in place by the NCAA to be removed.  And this is where it seems to get particularly chilling for the NCAA’s chances:  “Under antitrust law, these types of restraints can exist if a defendant can show that the limits have certain benefits. In Wednesday’s ruling, Wilken said the NCAA produced “no evidence” to support six justifications it had offered in these cases, and she rejected the evidence they offered for a seventh.”
  • Everybody’s cashing in on Loyola-Chicago’s run to the Final Four, except, of course, the players, none of whom are expected to play in the NBA.

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Filed under General Idiocy, Political Wankery, See You In Court, The NCAA

Battle of the coaches clinics

If there’s one valuable lesson Kirby Smart has learned over the years, it’s never give an inch on the recruiting front.

That’s right. Smart is pulling out all the stops for UGA Coaches Clinic 2018, which begins Thursday at the Butts-Mehre Football Complex. Get a load of Smart’s lineup of instructors:

  • Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn
  • 2017 NFL Coach of the Year Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams
  • New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, 5-time Super Bowl champion.

… Don’t be misled. This, too, is another competitive endeavor in college football and in the SEC in particular. And it can have recruiting implications. UGA recruits its home state the hardest, and the majority of participants in Georgia’s annual clinic coach in the state.

Not lost in all this is the fact that Alabama’s Nick Saban will host what he calls the Clinic of Champions April 12-14 in Tuscaloosa. And Saban’s dance card is scheduled to include Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles, Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers along with his special teams coordinator, Ron Zook.

Apparently Alabama has been known to pull in 500 or so coaches to its clinics. So, naturally, the ever-competitive Smart said he hopes to draw more than 1,000. If his other endeavors are any indication, he’ll probably get it.

Any list that has the Zooker on it is probably going to come out second-best as a matter of general principle.  But I digress.  Kirby can bat his eyes and insist it’s all about giving back to the high school coaches — and, sure, that never hurts — but it’s just as much about giving it back to a certain college coach.

Which I’m in favor of, of course.  Not one inch, Kirby.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting