“Marge, where’s the number for the ASPCA?”
Daily Archives: December 28, 2018
One thing about molding college football into a national product is that it makes ESPN’s job of squeezing the market easier.
Can’t wait to watch my Notre Dame squad take on Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals this Saturday. Or not.
Tuned in to ESPN this morning and on the bottom of the screen appeared a warning that I (as a Verizon Fios customer) may soon not be able to watch the CFB playoffs and other programming, and I should call Verizon. A few minutes later ESPN ran a commercial saying I might not be able to watch the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl and provided a Verizon number for me to call.
I called Verizon. A recorded message essentially tells me that ESPN is spreading misinformation about Verizon customers losing ESPN when the network’s contract with Verizon expires later this month. The recording says Walt Disney-owned ESPN wants to charge Verizon hundreds of millions of dollars more for ESPN. The recording also says Verizon has been negotiating in good faith with Disney.
My take is Disney, which already charges by far the highest affiliate fee of any sports channel—around $8 per month per subscriber—is using the CFB playoffs and bowl games to play hardball.
Hoisted on our own petards.
A unit that is already missing its two starting corners, Greedy Williams and Kristian Fulton, just found out it will be without Kelvin Joseph as well. That’s the team’s top three corners. This is on top of losing the top two nose tackles, Breiden Fehoko and Ed Alexander, forcing Aranda to start a freshman (Tyler Shelvin) backed up by another freshman (Dominic Livingston).
Oh, and the linebackers will be without K’Lavon Chiasson, as they have all year. Additionally, Jacob Phillips will serve his suspension for an illegal hit in the Texas A&M game in the first half. We also don’t know what sort of punishment John Battle will face for his role in the postgame shenanigans.
Oh, but don’t worry.
While I won’t sit here and tell you it’s a good thing LSU will be scraping the bottom of the bowl to find anyone who can play cornerback, what is exciting is that this is essentially the first game of 2019. LSU’s defense is going to be playing on one leg (but come on, we’ll still have Devin White and Grant Delpit, so let’s not pretend we won’t have our two best defensive players), but the offense will finally be ready to go.
Ensminger has had the excuse all year that this was a complete rebuild of the offense. LSU had to replace its starting quarterback, its top two runners, its top two receivers, and four offensive linemen. All while installing a new offense. Some growing pains were bound to happen, and that’s before the line showed about as much stability as a plutonium isotope.
However, the line is now healthy and Ensminger has had a full year to install his offense. Joe Burrow is no longer the outsider, a transfer from out of conference, he is now the undisputed team leader. The receiving corps is no longer going to be judged on its potential, but its actual production.
The offense is out of excuses. It’s time to take down those “pardon our progress” signs and debut the finished product. It’s a new year, and the year of construction is over. Now, part of this timetable is due to the defense needing the support. There’s nowhere for the offense to hide in this game. It has to produce.
Those assholes are gonna beat another SEC West team, aren’t they…
Eh, why not?
I’ll use Pete Fiutak’s preview as a jumping off point. First, he’s got a few neat factoids worth sharing:
- “(Jake Fromm) has thrown just one pick since the loss to LSU in mid-October.”
- “The Texas defense can be hammered really, really hard by good, efficient passers, giving up 240 yards or more eight times. In the last nine games, Texas has allowed 19 touchdown passes with just five picks.”
- “Georgia should dominate on third downs. Again, Fromm is terrifically effective, helping the offense finish second in the SEC and 11th in the nation converting 48% of its chances. Texas? It gives away third down conversion like M&M’s, allowing teams to convert over 44% of the time. Over the last six games, offenses are connecting on 50% or more their chances.”
If Fromm is his usual efficient, effective self — and, on paper at least, it appears the Texas defense may be willing to accommodate him — it’s hard to see how the Dawgs don’t approach their seasonal scoring average against D-1 teams of 38.7 ppg.
Also worth noting is that Georgia has beaten eleven of its thirteen opponents this season by double-digit margins, while nine of Texas’ regular season games were decided by seven points or fewer.
Fiutak thinks the bowl game will boil down to Georgia’s attitude and that while the team will start out sluggishly, it will eventually grind its way to covering the spread. Considering that’s how a number of Georgia’s regular season games played out, that’s not a bad assumption.
This is pretty funny. Quinnen Williams is on the verge of talking a little shit about Kyler Murray and then it’s like you can see the thought balloon pop up over his head with Nick Saban looking at him disapprovingly over creating bulletin board material.
“Nah, I’m good.”
Swinney discussed the process’ limitations Thursday.
“My big thing I think there should be a common-sense committee, to be honest with you,” he said. “I think a common sense committee would easily look at this situation [differently].
At least in Georgia’s case, the school stepped up, acknowledged the source of the issue and went about making a case for reinstatement that was eventually accepted. Clemson, in an admittedly short time, has gone with an unusual excuse making route.
“Still looking at all of the different things that we give to our players,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said. “Hopefully we’ll come up with an answer here soon.”
Float tanks, Epsom salts, energy drinks and hair products were among guesses players threw out. Some supplement companies include banned substances without proper labeling. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says ostarine has not been approved for human use or consumption in any country.
What I find most intriguing for now is that Clemson has lost one of its best players, a surefire high draft pick in Dexter Lawrence, just a few days before the CFP semi-finals, and has stayed pretty low key about it. Me, I’d be going nuts over the call in every media outlet I could source, especially if I sincerely felt there was no way my players had knowingly ingested the substance.
Serenity now, I guess.
I alluded to this the other day and got some pushback, but it sounds like the three Alabama players who were suspended knowingly screwed up.
“Those things (the NCAA violations) carry certain consequences,” Saban said. “And those players knew the situation. They made poor choices and decisions.”
And yet for some of you, this appears to be the greater sin:
Ledbetter, one of Baker’s closest friends on the team, said he appreciated the way Baker went about his decision. He said Baker discussed it with his Georgia teammates first.
“He sort of got our input, so we support him,” Ledbetter said. “He’s been practicing with us the whole time and it was on his mind and you could definitely tell it was kind of bothering him. He just wanted to make sure he was healthy for his career and his future. It just kind of hit him in the middle of the week and he expressed it to us, to Kirby and to the leadership guys. He’s a leader on this team and we support him and he knows that.”
… he gets in one last parting shot.
“Contrary to what you guys said, I’ve never had a problem with the media, ” he said. “Really until I came to Atlanta. I’ve got about 8 million congratulatory things from everybody who’s ever covered me at any school I was at. So that may have been the perception you guys wanted to paint. You painted it. You did a good job with it. I don’t think that you ever asked me anything I didn’t answer or you asked for an interview that I didn’t give you. So write whatever the hell you want. That’s my final press conference.”
That’s the sound of a man with no more fish to fry.
Not that anyone above his pay grade cares, but Nick Saban has never been a fan of playoff expansion.
Saban, who reminded everyone that he wasn’t in favor of going from two to four teams, said he feels expanding the field leads to an undercutting of the “self-gratification” for players that comes with going to bowl games not associated with the national championship…
Saban argued that if the playoff were to expand, then more players would skip bowl games to prepare for their NFL futures and fewer fans would attend the games.
Yeah, but as long as the TV ratings are there and Mickey keeps cutting the checks, those are minor details, Nick.