Daily Archives: January 8, 2019

My first burning question of 2019

Quite simply, is this kid ($$) ready to step up and be a contributor?

Demetris​ Robertson cut a lonely visual​ in the​ Georgia locker​ room after the​ Sugar​ Bowl.​ He​ sat​ at his locker​ in a corner,​​ putting his unused jersey, unused pants and unused cleats in a bag. He did not play in the Sugar Bowl, a fitting ending to a shockingly quiet season.

“It was a learning experience, mostly,” Robertson said. “I already knew my position coming into the season. Learning the playbook. Talking to coaches about playing more special teams, things like that.”

He left out blocking, which, to my eyes, was the biggest thing keeping him off the field last season.  There’s no question he’s a gifted receiver who has the speed to take the top off a defense, but if he can’t block a lick, there’s not much use for him in Georgia’s offensive scheme.

He comes off in Seth’s article as composed and sharp, so hopefully he knows what’s ahead for him if he wants to play a major role in 2019.  Lord knows there’s a place for him.

81 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

CFP’s first DEFCON warning?

Ooh, baby, that fatigue’s a beyotch.

 

Since Bama-LSU, hunh.  Gee, wonder what happened after that.

**********************************************************************

UPDATE:  ESPN polishes the alleged turd.

47 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Spreading the wealth

Perhaps the news that the Pac-12 is exploring the opportunity of allowing a private equity investor to buy a stake in the conference should cause me to take these college football program valuation stories that crop up in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal more seriously.

Brewer’s study calculates what a college team would be worth on the open market if it could be bought and sold like a professional sports franchise. Brewer analyzes each program’s revenues and expenses along with cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections.

The problem with that approach is that the value of a college football team is based in part on its business model, which incorporates amateurism, and that is something that is unlikely to translate seamlessly on the open market.

Then again, those times may be close to a-changin’.

While tens of millions of college sports fans watch the action between Alabama and Clemson unfold Monday night in Santa Clara, Calif., college sports power brokers, and their lawyers, will be monitoring developments about 40 miles away in Oakland where, any day over the next few weeks, a federal judge could issue a ruling upending the economy of major college sports, clearing the way for more money to make its way to athletes…

In a statement, Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, denounced the athletes’ demands, and asserted they would sap money from sports subsidized by football and basketball.

“All of the Clemson and Alabama student-athletes taking the field in the College Football Playoff championship game are just that: students. However, the plaintiffs would rather see a world in which paid professionals would instead take the field,” said Remy, who earned $933,000 in 2017, the most recent year the NCAA’s nonprofit IRS filing is available.

“Replacing scholarships with salaries would professionalize college sports, de-emphasize academics and reduce future opportunities for incoming student-athletes,” Remy said.  [Emphasis added.]

It’s okay to be a professional as long as you don’t step on the field, eh, Donald?

At the bench trial late last year, lawyers for the NCAA and the conferences essentially made two major arguments: (1) Droves of fans would stop watching college football and basketball if they knew the players were getting paid, and (2) Allowing pay would “drive a wedge” between college athletes and their classmates, hurting “integration,” an essential goal of college sports.

Those are tough sells in this day and age.  With regard to the second argument,

To counter the integration argument, the lawyers for the athletes put their clients on the stand, where they testified the feared “wedge” between them and their classmates already exists, created by demanding practice schedules, frequent travel, and high-end workout facilities and dormitories built exclusively for athletes.

Former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston testified he was told by academic advisors to take only easy classes that met in the mornings, so he’d maintain eligibility and not miss practice, and he spent his little down time with other athletes.

“We never built relationships with other people,” Alston testified.

And as for the first,

Last March, meanwhile, provided what could be considered a real-world experiment on how college sports fans’ behavior might change when they learn players are getting paid for their talents.

As an ongoing Justice Department investigation roiled college basketball with revelations that Adidas officials arranged bribes to players and families to get them to attend preferred schools, CBS reported ratings for the first full weekend of the men’s tournament: They were up by 11 percent.

Never mind that players are already getting paid with COA stipends, that student-athletes aren’t disqualified if they receive payment from their countries’ Olympic committees for winning medals and that the NCAA recognizes that a student-athlete who turns pro in one sport retains his or her amateur status in another.  The irony here is that the schools and the NCAA count on our continued passion for consuming sports as the basis for ever increasing revenue streams from ticket sales and broadcast deals, no matter what they do about conference realignment, scheduling and playoff expansion, while pretending that it’s fragile enough to be unable to withstand more dollars in student-athletes’ pockets.

If you’re looking for the real driver behind player compensation, you don’t need to go any farther than your mirror.

10 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, See You In Court, The NCAA

Today’s question of the day

So, if this is how Georgia’s 2019 depth chart at quarterback looks…

1. Jake Fromm (Jr.)

2. Stetson Bennett (RSoph.)

3. Dwan Mathis (Fr.)

… and, as Jake Rowe puts it, “Fromm’s hold on the starting job is now as strong as any player on the team. That may be the case for any player in America.”, and if Kirby believes that competition brings out the best in any player, does that mean Jake Fromm is headed for a season of regression?

I keed, I keed… I think.

53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

The quintessential day after take

Ripped from the pages of PAWWWLLL!!!

‘Bama fans, don’t ever change.

(h/t Michael Elkon)

35 Comments

Filed under Alabama

I felt sorry for myself because my team lost to Texas, until I met a coach whose team got blown out in the natty.

A few random observations inspired by last night’s ass kicking…

  • The end result reminded me a little of LSU’s trip to Athens in 2004, fresh off a national championship.  Georgia’s offensive line gave David Greene time to throw and he destroyed Saban’s secondary with the intermediate and deep passing game.  Lawrence was Greene with a massively better arm and deeper receiving corps.
  • Many are pointing to the botched field goal as the sign of Saban’s panic, but for my money, that hand was tipped in the second quarter, when Saban elected to go for it on fourth down on Alabama’s 34.  Fowler and Herbstreit noted it was an unusual call for Saban, but thought it gave credit to Alabama’s offensive line.  They undersold it.  What it really said was that Saban realized his defense wasn’t capable of stopping Clemson’s offense.
  • The main reason for that is because the Alabama defensive front didn’t control the line of scrimmage.
  • I guess it doesn’t take a dual-threat quarterback to beat Alabama.  Just a really good one.
  • Georgia did a better job defending Tua than Clemson did.  Which is saying a lot.
  • Here’s the thing about strength of schedule:  sometimes a team like Clemson beats up a P5 conference because it’s weak and sometimes a team like Clemson beats up a P5 conference because it’s dominant.  Those are not conflicting observations.
  • One thing I believe Wolken really gets right is that Saban’s emphasis on advancing recruiters into coordinator positions really bit him in the ass last night.  Yeah, it’s a Jimmys and Joes game, for sure, but when the other guy matches your talent, you better have the Xs and Os to counter.
  • Venables was so far ahead of Locksley for most of the night, constantly changing in and out of looks, that it was embarrassing.  Clemson’s defense did a fantastic job of turning Tua’s uncanny sense of anticipation against him.  And on the other side, once it was clear that nobody on Alabama’s defensive front was capable of disrupting Clemson’s offense other than Quinnen Williams, Lupoi looked a little lost trying to counter.
  • If there’s one thing Kirby Smart should take note of from the game is that you have to play Alabama without an ounce of fear.  Never take your foot off the gas, because once you do, it’s an invitation to get rolled.  Clemson stayed aggressive until the bitter end and Alabama didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that presented.

133 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake

Marketing genius

Once thing that I continually marveled at during the period when major league baseball struggled to come to grips with player free agency is how the owners would consistently trash their own product in trying to best the players’ union.  As business strategies go, it was questionable at best and headshakingly stupid at worst.

I heard a faint echo of that when I saw Chris Fowler’s comment about the college football playoffs.

ESPN college football announcer Chris Fowler told reporters on a conference call there is a “massive need for fresh blood” in the field, although he acknowledged the reality that consistent success by Clemson and Alabama leads to fewer spots being available for teams in other regions of the country.

“Any Playoff bracket is better served when there are contenders distributed around the country, just so fans can become more invested in it,” Fowler said. “You just like to have teams from all over, playing into November in true Playoff contention. It makes the regular season more compelling for more fans. But hey, there’s not much room.”

This year’s semis had Notre Dame and Oklahoma, but never mind that, I guess.

What I really love there is the “true Playoff contention” measure, as if there’s something phony about excluding the Pac-12 from the CFP.  When you strip Fowler’s observation down to the essentials, it’s all about the company line that the playoffs should be constructed for a national audience that doesn’t care about the regular season as much as fans following a regional product do, because everybody is sure the latter will stick through whatever Mickey and his broadcast partners foist on us.

So what if there’s a little trashing of the product they’re bringing us now along the way.  It’s all for a greater cause, right?

14 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil