… the deployment of Georgia’s defensive front isn’t something that readily comes to mind. Go figure.
Interesting tidbit from David Ching:
However, some attendance increases could generously be described as misleading.
For instance, Akron’s average home attendance improved by 9,232 per game in 2017, but that was hardly the result of enthusiasm over Terry Bowden having led the Zips to a 7-7 record and a spot in the Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl.
The Akron Beacon Journal in 2015 reported on the school’s practice of buying up thousands of its own tickets every other season to comply with a 2002 NCAA stipulation that all football programs average 15,000 paid or actual attendance over a two-year period in order to remain in Division I.
As a result, Akron’s attendance yo-yos wildly on an annual basis. The Zips’ reported average attendances over the last six seasons: 19,569 (2017), 10,337 (2016), 18,098 (2015), 9,170 (2014), 17,850 (2013) and 9,275 (2012).
They really need to start culling some teams from the D-1 herd.
By the way, if you’re wondering who’s paying for that…
With the university subsidizing the football operations by about $8 million, it’s not good that fans and their much-needed cash are staying away from games.
That has forced the university — already making annual debt payments of $4.3 million on the stadium — to dip deeper into its own pocket to drive up attendance artificially.
College football makes some people do stupid things. It’s worse when the stupid ones are the administrators.
I promised a follow-up about how my self-weaning off Dish Network and into the world of streaming went after a full season of college football.
The answer: pretty good, and when you factor in the cost savings, even better.
I had a fairly robust satellite TV package, along with a relatively slow internet service account with Mindspring. Between the two, I was spending roughly $200/month for a package that included ESPN, Fox Sports and the SEC Network. I had service issues with both providers and that motivated me to make changes more than anything.
Here’s what I replaced them with:
- A Comcast/Xfinity bundle that gave me basic cable, high-speed internet service and HBO, for $70/month.
- Sony Playstation VUE, that gave me access to ESPN and Fox Sports, at a cost of $29.99/month. A package including the SEC Network was an additional $5/month.
While I had to sign a three-year deal with Comcast to get the advantageous pricing, that decision looks better in the aftermath of the FCC ditching net neutrality. Sony pulled a jerk move, bumping the cost of VUE another $10/month less than sixty days after I signed up. The good thing about the streaming services like VUE is that you can sign up on a month-to-month basis, which made it easy to jump to Hulu’s new live TV service, which also costs $39.99/month, but gives you access to its library at no extra charge. Hulu includes the SEC Network as part of its service, so that at least saved the added expense during football season.
Hulu is a bit of a pain to navigate, but everything I wanted to watch could be found with a little digging. There’s also 30-day archive access to events, so I was able to watch the Rose Bowl broadcast when I got back from California. (No, I didn’t feel the same way about the national championship broadcast.)
The one thing I miss from Dish is that it was very easy to jump between two stations you were watching at the same time, something that came in handy on a Saturday afternoon. Moving from one game to another is clunkier on Hulu. But that’s a relatively small price to pay for the overall improvement.
I would recommend finding the highest speed broadband access you can swing. In addition to Hulu, I’ve also got Netflix and Amazon Prime for general entertainment. I haven’t had a single issue with buffering the entire time since I’ve switched.
So, to sum up, my service problems, which were slow broadband and weather-related issues with satellite service, have disappeared, and I’m saving about $75 a month on TV and internet, combined. Not too shabby.
One other non-television related matter to share: if you have Comcast broadband service, you might want to check into their new cellphone service, Xfinity Mobile, which was recently introduced. There is no access fee and unlimited text and calls are free. The only thing you pay for is data, and there are two plans to choose from — a $12/gig option and an unlimited data $45 option. (You can change on the fly.) Best of all, it’s on Verizon’s network, which is what I had before, so I have the same service, but dropped my cellphone bill by about $65/month.
I can’t say it’s perfect, but it’s definitely good enough that I have no regrets making the move. And the money savings are sweet.
… is the preseason happy talk that comes from the mouths of Georgia’s rivals.
Those Gators are gonna be awesome this year, I tells ‘ya. ‘Cause nobody else has hard preseason workouts.
Here’s another clip I’d never seen before until just recently (h/t) — Smokey Robinson on Daryl Hall’s Live from Daryl’s House, performing “Tears of a Clown”.
As the old TV ad went, “that’s Smokey!” Very fine…
Those excise taxes on huge coaches’ salaries aren’t going to pay themselves, peeps.
Another byproduct of the new legislation is a provision (Section 4960) that forces tax-exempt organizations like many of the colleges and universities across the country to pay an excise tax of 21 percent on the top five highest paid employees who make a salary of $1 million or more.
In most cases, that would include athletics directors and coaches who are sometimes the highest paid employees in the state.
Nick Saban is the highest paid coach in the FBS last season with a salary of $11.3 million. Under the new tax provision, Alabama would be on the hook for an estimated $2.3 million a year in excise taxes.
The issue stretches beyond Alabama. Last season, 78 coaches made at least $1 million. There were also 15 assistant coaches who made more than $1 million last season, led by LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda ($1.8 million), and a handful of athletics directors who wer paid more than $1 million as well.
How schools will offset the excise tax is another piece of the overall puzzle that no one seems to have an answer for at the moment. Some of it, unfortunately, could come in the form of cuts to programs. Then there are some more extreme measures, some of which involve third-party sponsorship.
“I think that schools are going to look at, ‘Can I get a shoe company to pay part of this?’” McMillen said. “I mean there is probably some workaround, but whatever they are, there’s probably a price to pay. You don’t want your football coach being paid by shoe companies.”
Well, except when you do. But I digress.
Kirby’s gonna be in a pretty high tax bracket when the dust settles. Mel Tucker just pole vaulted over the $1 million a year mark. Presuming success continues for the football program, he’ll soon be joined by other assistants. Sounds like another rainy day storm heading our way. No doubt McGarity is on the mother as I type this.
Of course, instead of giving us another mealy-mouthed explanation for the coming bump in 2019, Butts-Mehre could always get a little creative, like this. Probably not very Georgia Way-ish, though. Too fan friendly.
Always interesting to see the perspective of the Georgia program from the vantage point of other teams, so here’s an early look at the Dawgs’ 2018 prospects posted at the Kentucky Rivals site.
Previewing UGA’s 2018: Fromm is an excellent place for Georgia to start, because while UGA loses Michel, Chubb and leading receiver Javon Wims, a lot of talent returns on the outside and it looks like the Bulldogs should be able to do what they want on offense against most opponents once again. It should be another balanced, efficient attack.
Still, between players like defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter, linebacker D’Andre Walker and cornerback Deandre Baker, the defense still has an embarrassment of high-end talent that should again be one of the SEC’s better units.
Smart’s ability to elevate Georgia a notch or two up the national ladder in two years was impressive, but also a testament to the way his predecessor recruited. But as good as Mark Richt recruited, he never recruited the way Smart is recruiting now. This is a Georgia team with some big shoes to fill, but some big talents to fill them. And they are quickly building more and better quality depth at almost all positions than they have had in a very long time.
In short, they’re the easy favorites to win the East, a leading contender to reach the College Football Playoff for the second straight year, and they’re arguably set up to be one of college football’s two best programs for the foreseeable future.
Georgia might be able to get to 6-0 on cruise control next year. They play Austin Peay, South Carolina, Middle Tennessee, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt in the first half of the season. Unless South Carolina or Missouri can pull a shocking upset, UGA should be a popular playoff pick by midseason.
The second half is a little more tricky with games LSU, Florida, Kentucky, Auburn, UMass and archrival Georgia Tech. But there’s no Alabama or Mississippi State, and the best team on their schedule (Auburn) has to play Between the Hedges. The schedule sets up well for Smart’s third team.
I can live with that.