Mississippi State coach Mike Leach with the best opening statement ever after Greg Sankey's introduction. "I appreciate that. Any questions?"
— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) July 19, 2022
Somehow, Phil manages to rank Florida 32nd on his preseason top 40 list while also making the Gators his #2 Most Improved Team. Helluva 2021 season, guys.
Then he goes on to ask Florida fans “Are we friends again?” in his SEC forecast. LOL.
Back in January, on the day when two of his schools (Georgia and Alabama) would again compete for the national championship, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey made a final pitch for the establishment of a new College Football Playoff.
It featured 12 teams. The field would be made up of six guaranteed bids to the top six conference champions, plus six more selected by a committee. The top four champs would receive a first-round bye. The opening-round games would be played on the campus of the higher-seeded team, the rest would take place at neutral sites, mostly established bowl games.
… This was a life preserver to specific leagues, and the sport as a whole.
Yet the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 formed a so-called “Alliance” to block it, puzzling and insulting Sankey and the others who worked on the plan (Bob Bowlsby of the Big 12, Craig Thompson of the Mountain West and Jack Swarbrick of Notre Dame).
Six months later the Big Ten blew the alliance up by raiding the Pac-12 for USC and UCLA.
At this point, the ACC and Pac-12 would crawl across smoldering coals to get Sankey’s 12-team model back on the table.
Yeah, well ($$)…
The other piece? Sankey didn’t say this, but UCLA and USC’s move to the Big Ten provided the punchline to the joke that was the ACC/Big Ten/Pac-12 “Alliance” that stood in opposition to the 12-team format designed by Sankey, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and then-Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. That realignment move earlier this month effectively guaranteed that the power the next time around would be consolidated within two leagues. You’ve read in this space for more than a year that the only two leagues that must be included for a Playoff to be considered legitimate by most people are the Big Ten and the SEC. After the Bruins and Trojans bolted the Pac-12, there is no doubt about this. Not even a coalition of the other eight FBS leagues could overpower the Big Ten and SEC if those two conferences fundamentally agree on what they want in a postseason format. And the Big Ten and SEC don’t have to be in lockstep. If they agree on enough points, what they want will happen.
“How you like me now?”, in other words.
Seriously, in a sport dotted with incomprehensible decisions over the past quarter century, the ACC and Pac-12 move to form an alliance with one of the P5s two wolves in a lame attempt to thwart the other has to be at or near the top. I used to compare the suits running college football to Jed Clampett, but I’m becoming convinced that’s an insult to ol’ Jed himself.
Couple of things went down yesterday that make me wonder if they might be related.
The Big 12 and Pac-12 have ended talks about a potential merger or partnership after multiple conversations between the conferences across the last couple of weeks. The Big 12 ultimately walked away from the negotiating table Monday night after reviewing its options, sources tell CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd.
The Big 12 reportedly approached the Pac-12 first with the leagues discussing options including a full merger, pooling television rights or a scheduling partnership, according to ESPN. Ultimately, the Big 12 believed a merger might be most beneficial but decided it had better options as adding many of the Pac-12’s programs would not help the league substantially increase its media rights revenue.
Might this be one of those “better options”?
Notre Dame would remain independent if it can earn at least $75 million annually in media rights revenue from current broadcast partner NBC, sources told CBS Sports. The Fighting Irish’s deal with the network is set to expire in 2025.
For NBC to feel comfortable raising Notre Dame’s valuation to such a level, it is seeking “shoulder programming” (in this case, games played before and/or after Notre Dame’s contests) from a Power Five conference to enhance its college football coverage.
When such a move had been speculated previously, the Big Ten was the conference mentioned most often as a target. However, the Big 12 has emerged as a strong option to fill NBC’s shoulder programming needs.
… Outgoing Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby had not heard anything specific on NBC targeting the Big 12 for additional programming but said such a move “makes sense.” The Big 12 may be one of the few leagues with inventory available as its media rights deal also expires in 2025.
I never thought taking Notre Dame’s sloppy seconds would amount to much of a lifeline for a P5 league, but apparently that’s where we might be. Go figure.
“So, I’m not trying to be a smart-aleck guy, but we ARE a superleague,” Sankey said.
He also offered the league leadership’s contentment with SEC’s current configuration consisting “like-minded institutions located in contiguous states.”
Gee, I wonder who’s that directed against.
Ah, college football — when it’s not about the money, it’s about a dick measuring contest.
“I do question what are the guiding principles for college football and athletics moving forward,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said. “I sure hope it’s not about the almighty dollar. I hope it’s bigger than TV deals being college football’s guiding principles, because every action we take moving forward we lose sight of what we love about this game.”
Does anybody want to tell him?
So, this happened… or, more accurately, didn’t happen.
As governor of California, Gavin Newsom likewise is entrusted with oversight of the state’s massive, 10-campus university system.
So common sense might suggest that Newsom would have been among the very few people in the know last month as UCLA, along with private institution USC, announced plans to abandon Pac-12 Conference membership and join the Big Ten Conference in two years.
Speaking candidly with FOX-11 TV Los Angeles, Newsom declared he knew nothing in advance of the schools’ plans.
… Newsom doubled down on his being surprised at the move and indicated he was unaware that any discussion about the Bruins’ planned departure for the Midwestern and East Coast-based Big Ten had been broached at the higher levels.
“Is it a good idea? Did we discuss merits or demerits?,” Newsom asked. “I’m not aware that anyone did. So it was done in isolation, it was done without any regental oversight or support. It was done without any consideration to my knowledge.
“Now, perhaps there was deep conversation with other presidents, rather chancellors and presidents in the system it will impact more broadly. Not just to the UCs but to the other universities, including Stanford University.”
Though Newsom did not divulge what action or actions he believed could potentially be taken in the wake of UCLA’s decision, he emphasized the office of the governor is investigating the matter.
Do I think there’s anything he can do to reverse the decision? Nah. Do I think he’ll find some way in the future to stick it to UCLA? Well, let’s put it this way — it probably wasn’t a smart move to give him the opportunity.
For some reason, my bullshit detector is going off.
Yes, Sankey’s problem with the current state of NIL affairs is based on his concern for the families of recruits. If you’re buying that, please reach out to me about that tasty oceanfront tract in Hahira I can let you have at a very attractive price.
And Stetson didn’t even have Metchie and Williams to throw to.
A sobering stat from Bill’s SEC East preview ($$):
Of the past 10 national champions that weren’t coached by Saban, only half have finished in the AP top five the following year. Three finished unranked (all SEC teams), and the teams’ cumulative win percentage fell from 0.958 (13.7 wins per year) to 0.788 (10.4).
That isn’t to say Georgia’s 2022 season is marked for disappointment.
Smart spent 11 seasons as a Saban assistant and is as close to Saban 2.0 as college football has seen. If that remains true, then Georgia will reload defensively, play at a top-three level and plow through the SEC East once again.
What it does mean is that we’re about to find out if Kirby is as good a head coach as we think he is.