Alabama’s national title run didn’t come cheaply.
Including bowl bonuses paid out to football staffers, Alabama’s athletic department bill for its most recent title-winning run through the 2017-18 playoffs totaled nearly $7.6 million, up slightly from its 2016-17 playoff appearance.
Alabama’s combined expense report for its recent CFP appearance totaled more than $5.37 million, including in excess of $2.8 million for its national semifinal win over Clemson in the Sugar Bowl and another $2.5 million for its title victory over Georgia in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, according to documents released through a public records request by The Decatur Daily.
I’m curious to see Georgia’s numbers in that regard. Whatever they turn out to be, one thing I feel fairly certain about: if Michael Adams were still president, they would have been much higher.
Those of you complaining about Chaney’s second-half playcalling in the national title game, okay, fine. Just explain something to me, first: how would you scheme around Da’Ron Payne, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Rashaan Evans?
Evans finished tied for the lead in total tackles with 74 including eight run stuffs and in pass defense he added six sacks and three pass break-ups. Fitzpatrick was third in tackles, had seven pass break-ups and an INT, and also made six run stuffs. Payne’s impact was quiet statistically (one sack, seven run stuffs) but he was the heart of the defense and regularly clogged up the interior for the Tide’s athletic backfield.
The result of Evans and Fitzpatrick being so good in coverage and versatile enough to each play two primary positions had the effect of making Alabama “matchup-proof.” Both of them could man your typical slot WR or TE without being overwhelmed and needing an in/out bracket from a down safety. That then freed the Tide to play both safeties over the top to help the corners or to bring extra defenders on the blitz. It was also nearly impossible to find a favorable angle or matchup inside with Da’Ron Payne owning the interior and rag dolling opposing centers.
Georgia was able to throw on guys not named Fitzpatrick and Evans and also ran the ball well on a few key third downs when Alabama got caught playing man coverage with our two heroes turning their backs to the backfield (until the Tide started dropping a safety to eliminate that problem).
The good news is they’re gone.
One thing I can’t help but wonder about with regard to Alabama’s potential home-and-home searches with the likes of Notre Dame and Texas is why Nick Saban is willing to cast aside a business model he’s clearly comfortable with. After all, this is the man who once said,
“When you play at home, you do really well,” Saban said in the run up to the Cotton Bowl with the Spartans. “When you play away, you don’t do very well. When you play a neutral-site game every year, you do well every year from a business standpoint.”
Has the math changed? Michael Casagrande tries to suggest it has.
A big question is how much money a home game with a Notre Dame or Texas would bring in. Using the most recent NCAA financial filing, Alabama football ticket sales brought in an average of $4.96 million per home game opposed to an average of $812,000 of game-day operations costs.
Of course, not all games are created equally in that equation. Single-game tickets for this season cost as little as $40 for Arkansas State and The Citadel and as much as $140 a game for Auburn. A one-off with Notre Dame or Texas could fetch even more than the even-year Iron Bowl visit.
But that consideration doesn’t come in a vacuum. To maximize the revenue gain, that would mean dropping a cupcake from the home schedule. Does that sound like something Nick Saban would embrace? Color me skeptical.
That’s not to say I doubt Alabama is pursuing these games. It’s just that I doubt there’s really that much more money to be made from scheduling them over a neutral site opener. So what’s really going on in Tuscaloosa?
I have a feeling we’ll be mining the Tennessee coaching change news for weeks. Now comes a report that Alabama’s assistant AD for strategic planning, at the request of Alabama AD Greg Byrne, sent this letter to John Currie:
My name is Kyle Vasey and I am an assistant AD for strategic planning at Alabama. Greg Byrne asked me to send you some analysis we performed on head coaches recently. You’ll find an excel spreadsheet which ranks head coaches based on a metric we created called: coaching efficiency. This metric is a weighted score which incorporates various factors such as national championships, final AP ranking, overall win percentage, etc. You’ll also find a pdf file which analyzes coaches based on their previous coaching experience: Power 5 Head Coach, Power 5 Assistant Coach, former NFL head coach, etc
I am happy to answer any questions you might have on the data.
So, yeah, Alabama’s athletic department offered assistance with Tennessee’s search for a new football coach. Why, I have no idea.
And that kind gesture was rewarded by taking Saban’s defensive coordinator. So much for gratitude.
I can’t wait to hear what PAWWWLLL!!! and Heather have to say about Alabama’s 2019 non-conference schedule. It’s a real challenge.
Rashaan Gaulden’s explanation for giving Alabama fans the bird during a game last season?
Pretty simple, actually.
“I hate Alabama. That’s just the way it is…”
I have to admit I’m sorta cool with that.
Man, of all the folks you’d think you’d never have to advise to act like you’ve been there before… take it away, Alabama AD:
Which immediately allowed for this retort: