Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

Because, in the end, it was all about academics.

The NCAA and another day of making it up as they go along.

Next up, it’s either ask the NCAA for a waiver of the 20-hour rule, or just get the school to change its academic schedule.  As long as it’s for the good of the kids, you know…


Filed under Academics? Academics., BCS/Playoffs, The NCAA

Bill Hancock, you’re such a kidder.

If anybody out there seriously believes this drivel

Then Hancock added: “We don’t make decisions based on television numbers. I don’t have a TV number that influences my measurable for success.”

… please contact me.  I’ve still got a fantastic investment opportunity involving ocean front property in Hahira to discuss with you.  But it won’t last long!


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Blowing Smoke

‘You know what, it’s not working.’

Shorter Bill Hancock:  with regard to that rather alarming decline in viewership for the semifinals, we’d prefer to panic at a time of our own choosing.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“Airing the College Football Flayoff semifinals on New Years Eve was a flop.”

Boy, I like to think I blast Bill Hancock and his masters for their arrogance, but’s Richard Deitsch turns in a masterful performance here with his analysis of where things stand after the CFP’s significant drop in ratings on New Year’s Eve.

But College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock would not budge–you can’t spell hubris without the ‘H’ in Hancock–and there appears to be no immediate plans to change course based on what Hancock told the Associated Press on Saturday. “It’s too soon to know how much was due to the lopsided games or how much what I think we all thought would be an inevitable decline from the excitement of the first year or the semifinals on New Year’s Eve,” he said. “I suspect it’s a combination of those three, but I don’t have any idea what the weighting is. ESPN is studying the numbers and we’ll learn a lot more in the next few months.”

… The predicted increased ratings from Year 3 and 4 will change the narrative only briefly until the numbers sink again for Year 5 and beyond. But this isn’t just about ratings. Holding a primetime playoff game on New Years Eve is arguably the most viewer-unfriendly option in all sports for a major property. Given Hancock’s job is to bring his playoffs to the biggest audience, most CEOs who lost 40 percent of their customers would be out the door faster than Usain Bolt. As my colleague Pete Thamel wrote last week, the semifinals can’t be held on its logical place, New Year’s Day, because those time slots are, until 2026, already allotted to the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. “If there is one thing we’ve learned over the years about the conference commissioners who run college football, it’s that they care little about the greater good of the game if it means losing dollars from their own wallets,” Thamel wrote.

Deitsch advises the suits analyzing the situation to give up on changing viewer habits on December 31st.

I’m happy to save the TV research wonks some time: You will never change the paradigm of New Years Eve when it comes to how Americans celebrate. The arrogance of Hancock and his Power Five conference commissioner cronies knows no bounds as they are preventing many Americans from watching one of the signature sporting events of the year.

What should be even more depressing for ESPN, Hancock and the commissioners to consider is the market data for the playoff games.

1. The top 10 rated TV markets for Cotton Bowl (Alabama-Michigan State): 1. Birmingham (48.1), Greenville (21.3), Knoxville (21.2), Nashville (21.1), Atlanta (20.2), Detroit (20.0), Columbus (19.7), Jacksonville (15.9), Memphis (15.9), and New Orleans (15.7).

1a. The top 10 rated TV markets for Orange Bowl (Clemson-Oklahoma): Birmingham (35.6), Greenville (29.6), Oklahoma City (29.4) Tulsa (27.9), Knoxville (18.5), Atlanta (17.8), Columbus (17.6), Nashville (15.8), New Orleans (14.4), and Charlotte (14.2).

Take out Detroit and Columbus, whose audiences were interested in Michigan State’s fate and all you’re left with are viewers in the South/Sun Belt.  No big West Coast or northeastern markets show up.  If the strategy behind the CFP is to translate college football’s regional passion into a more generically national one – presumably because that’s where the money is – it’s failed to resonate so far.

But as Deitsch’s piece indicates, nobody’s backing down.  And why should they?  They’ve spent all this time believing they’re the smartest people in the room.  This is hardly the place for that mindset to change.

What bugs me is that eventually the pressure behind the lagging ratings will cause the geniuses to panic, just as they did when they abandoned the BCS.  These aren’t people who do panic well.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

Your tradition. Their money.

I’m sure Mickey is taking this news well.

Viewership for Thursday’s two College Football Playoff semifinal games was down drastically when compared with last season, a clear indication that ESPN paid a price for the games’ move to New Year’s Eve.

ESPN had hoped to turn New Year’s Eve into a new sports holiday to showcase the semifinal games, much as Thanksgiving has become for the N.F.L. and Christmas Day for the N.B.A. The network aggressively marketed the advent of the semifinals in a promotional campaign, but the effort apparently did not succeed.


Clemson’s 37-17 victory over Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl, which started at 4 p.m. Eastern, was seen by an average of 15.6 million viewers, a 45 percent decrease from the 28.2 million for the 2015 Rose Bowl, the semifinal game played in the comparable time slot on Jan. 1.

The second semifinal, Alabama’s 38-0 rout of Michigan State, averaged almost 18.6 million viewers in prime time, down 34 percent from the nearly 28.3 million for the Sugar Bowl last season.

That’s a total drop of about 15 million viewers.  Yeah, I’d call that pretty apparent.

As for what the steward of the game has to say about this, well, it’s about what you’d expect.

These guys don’t do retreat very well.  Unless there’s a lot of money at stake.  Which, ultimately, there will be.  Anybody wanna bet on how this gets resolved?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

And, now, some random semi-finals musings

It’s Alabama versus Clemson next Monday… week.  Thanks, ESPN.

  • Given the lopsided nature of both games yesterday, did the selection committee get things wrong, or is 2015 simply a season for which the old BCS format was better suited?
  • Yeah, Deshaun Watson is quite a player, but I came away from that game really impressed with the Clemson defense.  Hard to believe that’s some of the same bunch Georgia ran roughshod over just a couple of years ago.
  • Giving the devil his due, I was also impressed with the job Junior’s done as a position coach (even if I’m still not swooning over his playcalling).  One of the best defenses in the country schemed to make Jake Coker beat it, and Jake Coker did.  Can anyone imagine saying the same thing about, say, Greyson Lambert?
  • And for those out there who argue that recruiting rankings are overrated, that they’d rather have a team full of motivated three-star kids than whatever, last night’s Cotton Bowl pretty much showed differently.  Sure, you’d better be able to coach ’em, and motivation matters, but domination still begins with having more of the Jimmies and Joes than the other team does.

Oh, and let me finish with this bit of snark.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban Rules

Thursday morning buffet

Bowls making you hungry?  Okay.

  • ESPN is reporting that Scott Cochran will be getting more than $600,000 a year to stay at Alabama.  $600K for a strength coach.  Jesus.
  • Speaking of salaries, you’ll be pleased to know that Charlie Weis comes off the Notre Dame payroll tomorrow.
  • This probably isn’t good.
  • I don’t know if you watched the Holiday Bowl last night, but some kid who had two career sacks coming into the game managed three – on three straight plays.  Wowser!
  • ESPN wants to dominate New Year’s Eve, much as the N.F.L. takes over Thanksgiving Day and the N.B.A. deploys five games in its bid to wrest control of Christmas from Santa Claus.”
  • Nobody at The Miami Beach Edition cares, ESPN.
  • Why they love bowl season:  Jake Ganus confesses to eating 13 lobster tails at the bowl game dinner.
  • I didn’t realize that Ivan Maisel wrote for the AJ-C.  It’s something to consider how much talent came and went at that paper.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football, Charlie Weis Is A Big Fat..., Crime and Punishment, ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles