Daily Archives: June 15, 2021

Playoff expansion and perverse incentives

Stewart Mandel raises an interesting aspect to the coming CFP broadcast deal ($$).

In 2019-20, the most recent season for which the CFP publicized its data, each Power 5 league got a flat fee of $67 million. A conference could net an additional $4 million for each team that qualified for a New Year’s Six bowl and $6 million for reaching a Playoff semifinal. As such, the spread between schools in the Big 12 (which splits only 10 ways) and those in 14-team leagues like the Big Ten was fairly modest — from $7 million to $10 million per school. The Power 5 conferences also net extra payments for their contracts with the Rose (average $40 million per team), Sugar ($40 million) and Orange ($27.5 million) bowls.

In an expanded Playoff, however, the Big 12 suddenly looks smart for staying at 10 teams all this time. With all those contracts folded into one, the expected average CFP revenue for each Power 5 conference jumps to just north of $320 million. In the Big 12, that amounts to $32 million per school, up from an average of $10 million today. The 12-team Pac-12’s hit $27 million; the 14-team ACC, Big Ten and SEC reach $23 million.

Sure, you could argue the Big 12 isn’t going to flood the playoff zone with teams any time soon, but what about Conference It Just Means More?  Four playoff shares spread among ten teams goes a lot farther than it does among fourteen; Mandel’s $9 million a year ain’t chump change.  And he’s using averages.  If the SEC gets twice as many schools in as others, that spread is going to be even greater.

Is that enough for Sankey’s bosses to reverse course on conference expansion?  If not that, it’s probably a decent reason not to add any more unless you’re getting a new member that’s a likely CFP participant.



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

Life ain’t fair: the 2021 Blue-Chip Ratio.

Bud Elliott is back with this year’s edition of his Blue-Chip Ratio.  A reminder of what the BCR measures:

Put simply, to win the national championship, college football teams need to sign more four- and five-star recruits (AKA “Blue Chips”) than two- and three-star players over the previous four recruiting classes.

This has been true basically as far back as modern internet recruiting rankings have existed.

… All scholarship signees count. Transfers and walk-ons do not.

And why it matters:

The requirement to stack talent on top of talent makes sense when considering the violence of the sport of football. Even those teams who stay relatively healthy need depth to survive the season. Teams who sign elite class after elite class have greater competition in practice, and greater quality of depth.

Recruiting rankings are not perfect. But they are damn good, especially in the aggregate. Four- and five-star recruits are about 10 times more likely to be drafted in the first round than their two- and three-star counterparts. And five-stars are about 33 times more likely to be All-Americans as two-stars are. For every two-star who becomes a big success, there are multiples who will be going pro in something other than sports.

That is not to say that development does not matter. It certainly does. But nobody wins a national title by player development in lieu of elite recruiting. Plenty of coaches who are regarded as elite have never sniffed winning it all because they can’t get enough talent. On the other hand, there are examples of coaches who are not regarded as premier head men who have won it all thanks to elite recruits. Not to lump them into the same category, but nobody ever accused Gene Chizik, Les Miles, or Mack Brown of being tactical masterminds.

Coaching matters. But recruiting is by far the most important piece when it comes to separating the good from the great. After all, coaches only get 20 hours weekly with their players by NCAA rule.

The BCR isn’t a guarantee of a national championship.  Rather, it’s more a matter of if your team isn’t in the top fifteen or so, it’s not going to win one.

Here’s how 2021 looks.

Alabama’s percentage is the highest Elliott’s ever calculated, which ought to give you an idea how good Georgia’s number is.  To give you an idea of how those percentages play out in terms of roster numbers, take a look at this:

The spread between Georgia and Florida is fourteen points.  That’s about twelve players.  I don’t care how much the Portal Master™ portals, he ain’t making that gap up, especially when Kirby’s doing at least as good a job mining the transfer market.  Now, sure, there will be years when the stars align properly, as they did in 2020, and Florida will have the upper hand, but over time, this isn’t a winning hand for Dan Mullen.

What to do, then?  Well, if you’re a Florida fan who realizes his coach ain’t gonna beat ’em straight up, it’s the right time to handicap the others, all in the name of the greater good.

Now we have to be really honest with ourselves. Are we okay with Alabama and Clemson winning a 12-team tournament every year, or do we actually want a tournament that is more wide-open?

If we want the latter, it isn’t enough to just expand the field. Instead, I think that the NCAA needs to institute a salary cap on football recruiting.

What if Clemson had to decide between going after a big-time recruit in Florida or building a football facility with a slide? What if Dan Mullen could actually sell his winning record rather than having to sell the facilities that are now under construction?

Where do you set it? I’m sure there are mathematical models that could do a better job than just ballparking, but $1.5 million annually seems reasonable, annexed to some percentage of television deals. If you wanted, you could even have it be a 4-year rolling average so a team could spend $3 million one year but then would have a greatly reduced budget the next.

Immediately the giant advantage that Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Texas A&M and Texas enjoy goes away, or is at least severely limited. In fact, this entire proposal only limits 6 total programs if $1.5 million is the cap number.

Bless his heart.  Once thing he neatly skips over is how recruiting budgets didn’t mean shit last year in the wake of the COVID shut down.  Remind me how Alabama, Georgia and Florida finished with a level spending field.

Yes, there’s your Daily Gator:  better to have the NCAA commit another antitrust violation than to force Dan Mullen to end his vacation on the lake sooner to work recruiting a little harder.


Filed under Alabama, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting

Run the damned ball, Monken?

Came across this chart that ranked D-1 teams by their passing plays percentage last season.  At 46.37%, Georgia finished 67th.  Now, before you say, “hell, with the quarterback play they had in the first eight games, I’da run it, too”, note that the percentage was even lower over the last three games (43.90%).  And that was with them throwing a ton in the bowl game, which ought to give you an idea of how dominant the run game was against South Carolina and Missouri.

Anyway, when the dust settled, Monken only raised the overall percentage a tick from what it was under Foley Coley in 2019 (45.70%), albeit it with better overall results.  Which leads to today’s question:  where do you expect Georgia’s passing plays percentage to be at the end of the 2021 season?


Filed under Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics

Today, in tough trivia questions

Come for Marc Weiszer’s excellent dive into what led to the hire of Caryl Smith Gilbert as Georgia’s new head coach of track and field (Josh Brooks sounds serious about organizing some sort of master plan for facilities and apparently reached out on his own to start the hiring process).  Stay for this exquisite backhanded slap at Greg McGarity, Master Talent Evaluator:

Brooks said part of his pitch to Smith Gilbert was “you’re my first hire, there’s no way I’m not going to let you be successful.”

Athletic directors are more apt to be remembered for who they brought aboard for the most high-profile jobs.

At Georgia, that was Smart and men’s basketball coach Tom Crean for Greg McGarity.

The former UGA AD’s first hire? That would be volleyball coach Lizzy Stemke in December of 2010. She went 79-105 as coach in six seasons.

It’s amazing how far you can go when nobody cares about the job you’re doing.


Filed under Georgia Football

Just leave your wallet on the table where they can reach it.


Revenue distribution from the College Football Playoff took a pandemic-induced $44.6 million hit in 2020-21, a 9.2% decline from record revenue the year before.

With capacity drastically limited at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, site of the championship game, only 14,926 fans attended because of COVID.

That left many of the CFP’s best revenue streams, such as ticket sales, hospitality and merchandise, severely hampered. The vast majority of the CFP’s revenue comes from its 12-year media rights deal with ESPN.

Revenue numbers could grow significantly in the future if the CFP expands the playoffs from four teams to 12. That will be the subject of intense talks during CFP meetings this week in Chicago.

For 2020-21, however, the CFP paid out a total of $441.2 million from the college football season, compared to $485.8 million in 2019-20, the best year the CFP has had in its first seven years.

The biggest financial setbacks were most evident among the Power Five conferences, each of which saw a $10 million decline.


The funny thing is some of y’all actually think playoff expansion is going to lead to the elimination of at least some cupcake games.

That’s almost as amusing as realizing they haven’t even expanded to twelve yet, and there’s already pressure to go to sixteen.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness

TFW you’re doing playoff expansion wrong

I know Andy Staples is juiced for playoff expansion, but I’m still amazed someone who actually went to the University of Florida could write this with a straight face ($$):

But with 12 playoff spots up for grabs, simple math says there should be more games that sink teams’ CFP hopes… In 2020, the result of the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party ultimately would have decided which of Florida and Georgia would start the Playoff at home and which would go on the road.

If you need a playoff seeding battle to get up for the Cocktail Party, Jack, you dead.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football

When it comes to playoffs, my bug is somebody else’s feature.

Honestly, I don’t know how to counter this.

If the beauty of an actual tournament is to render the efforts of the regular season a nullity, can I get a refund on my season ticket purchase expense?  I mean, what am I spending the money on, anyway?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs


Just curious to hear from the faithful:  you buying this set of rankings?

First of all, if the first sentence is really the standard, how do you leave Alabama off the list?

As far as the local team goes, I think what I’d say is that, while the home crowd has had its moments on and off through the years (last five minutes of the 2013 LSU game, the 2019 Notre Dame game down the stretch, etc.), it’s certainly not a constant.

What do y’all think?


Filed under Georgia Football

Musical palate cleanser, shoulda been big edition

I never have understood how this Stevie Wonder tune got lost in the shuffle.

Its main claim to fame is as the b-side to “My Cherie Amour”, which, to my ears, doesn’t hold a candle to it.

As tasty as that is, check out this remarkable live version of the song:

Nineteen.  Years.  Old.  (That little thing he does at the 1:18 mark slays me.)

By the way, the Stones covered this shortly after Stevie released it.  It’s good, but not as good, if you get my meaning.  But it’s historically significant for a couple of reasons:  it’s the first thing they cut with their new guitarist, Mick Taylor, and as they were laying down the tracks, they learned of Brian Jones’ death.


Filed under Uncategorized