Category Archives: College Football

Today, in asses in the seats

You may have heard that the attendance at Florida’s Homecoming Game against Missouri was its smallest home total since 1990. (Wouldn’t that make it ever, according to most Gator fans?  But I digress.)  Crowd size was announced as 80,017, well under capacity, but judging from this picture, that seems somewhat generous.

Again, that’s for a conference game against a divisional opponent.

Anyway, what’s interesting is how that’s a starting point for this article (h/t Kyle) about why attendance is down at so many schools.  And not by a little bit, either.

Average attendance at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium has dropped each of the last four seasons, from 90,065 in 2015 to 82,427 this year. And with less-than-stellar matchups with South Carolina and Idaho left, don’t be surprised if that number falls more…

… At FSU, attendance has tumbled since Willie Taggart’s debut (75,237). If the current average (69,757) holds, it’ll be the first time since 1992 that the average crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium was less than 70,000. And back then, Doak’s capacity was only 70,123.

Why?  The Tampa Bay Times asked some fans for their explanations and got feedback.  Sure, winning is an obvious reason, although Florida’s decline ran through two seasons of the Gators winning the SEC East and attendance figures at Alabama (!) and Kentucky are down this season.

The rest of the list?  See if you can find the common theme.

The most common reason we heard? It’s too expensive.

“What I have seen appears to be a big money machine that is slowly choosing to price people out,” said Paul Zuccarini, a UF alumnus who travels to a game or two each year from Key Biscayne.

David Gracy agrees.

When the 57-year-old FSU alumnus first bought Seminoles season tickets twenty-plus years ago, they cost about $150 each, including a booster donation. Now they’re more than $700.

“Probably what broke the camel’s back was the increasingly high amounts of money the boosters required in order to maintain our seats,” Gracy said.

Gracy stopped going to games two years ago for other reasons, too, which were among the common complaints we heard.

Because TV partners determine schedules, fans won’t learn the kickoff times for some Nov. 17 games (Boston College at FSU, USF at Temple) until Sunday. Six days isn’t much time for a North Carolina resident like Gracy to figure out his travel plans to Tallahassee. It’s probably not a coincidence that visiting SEC schools are giving back more unsold tickets, as The Gainesville Sun reported over the summer.

Staying at home has become a more attractive option to some. You don’t have to worry about sweating out noon kickoffs, driving home after a prime-time game or sitting for four hours in uncomfortable stands.

“Metal bleachers with very limited space,” said Darrell Card, a Gainesville resident who has cut his UF games down from four or five a year to one or two.

It’s television, of course.  It fuels the big schools’ money chase, it affects scheduling and it provides folks fed up with the in-game experience with a viable alternative.  I don’t see that changing any time soon, either, at least not as long as eyeballs are more efficient at generating revenue than asses are.

Which is all the more reason why I think this is a significant hint at where things are headed.

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40 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

More, in something’s gotta give

It’s gonna be strength on strength tonight in College Station.

Kentucky has one of the nation’s most productive ground games, averaging 259.2 rushing yards per game (11th nationally) with Benny Snell Jr. leading the way. The junior is fourth in the FBS with 132.8 rushing yards per game but he’ll face his stiffest test yet against a Texas A&M defense that has held opponents to 85 yards per game. The Aggies have already played two good running teams in Clemson (115 yards, 2 TDs, 3.6 yards per carry) and Alabama (109, 2, 3.9), and have surrendered a total of five rushing touchdowns in five games.

I took Kentucky in the FP because I thought the spread was a little generous, but if TAMU can limit Snell, it’s gonna make for a tough night for the ‘Cats.

Thoughts?

Consider this your invite to comment on game day action outside of the Georgia game.

22 Comments

Filed under College Football, SEC Football

Thursday morning buffet

All part of college football’s rich pageant:

  • Peak Grantham“While Colorado State is less of a challenge than the Wildcats, Todd Grantham saw some positive improvements from his defensive unit.”  Does that include the Fightin’ Bobos’ 38 minutes of possession?
  • “At various points in the past three seasons, each of the top three teams in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll have leaned on a true freshman…”
  • “NCAA announces it will require schools to pay for tuition, fees and books for basketball players who leave after at least two years and want to return to their same school to get undergraduate degree.”  Why at least two years there?  Why do you think?
  • Classy gesture, kids:  “The North Carolina football team is helping with relief efforts following the devastation of Hurricane Florence by donating per diem allotments…”
  • Per Dave Matter, Mizzou’s best receiver has been nursing a groin injury and its best defensive back suffered a concussion against Purdue.  (Both are expected to play Saturday.)
  • Missouri’s running game should expect to receive Georgia’s defense’s best shot.
  • Larry Scott is all pissy about that California judge’s tentative ruling that show-cause order provisions in the NCAA bylaws violate California law.

59 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, College Football, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Pac-12 Football, SEC Football, See You In Court, The NCAA

No sport can serve two masters.

I urge you to read Brian Cook’s screed about the ever-expanding commercialization of college football in its entirety.  It’s righteous.

A sample:

It says that college football used to be a great bargain. Tickets were relatively inexpensive, games were fun and not largely spent watching people have conferences. Great fanbases sprung up around the teams starting in the 1960s, when Don Canham was packing bands into the stadium so it would be sort of full, and lasted more or less through 2000 without being seriously impinged upon. Ticket prices were absurdly stable. Television was more of a boon than a hindrance because its proliferation allowed you to watch more road games; breaks were relatively rare and tolerable.

Then things got monetized. Ticket prices approximately tripled in 13 years and have kept going up since. The commercial breaks have proliferated madly. Unsatisfied with their massive uplift in revenue, the athletic department has continued to nickel and dime the fanbase even after the departure of Dave Brandon. And for what? For who? For the benefit of ever more absurdly over-compensated coaches, staffers, and especially executives. Every commercial break is Jim Delany—the man who ruined the conference—giving me the middle finger while he dumps another gold brick on the Big Ten’s grave.

This is why to some extent all the hand-wringing in the world by athletic directors about how the game experience has to be made more attractive to keep fans coming is doomed from the start.  Chasing the almighty television dollar is antithetical to a viable game experience, whether that’s because conference expansion weakens scheduling, or incessant television timeouts leave those in the stands restless, Greg Sankey’s on the field egg-timer notwithstanding.  (And isn’t that a perfect example of how tone deaf the powers-that-be are about this?)

A choice between satisfying the asses in the seats and Mickey is really not much of a choice at all for those people.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Embrace the sports book.

Give ESPN credit.  As this “Week 2 college football betting nuggets” piece demonstrates, Mickey’s all over the brave new world of betting.

Note the story from Columbia:

Georgia Bulldogs (-10, 56.5) at South Carolina Gamecocks — 3:30 p.m. ET

  • South Carolina went 6-1 ATS with four outright wins as an underdog last season.
  • The under is 11-4 in South Carolina’s 15 games against teams with a winning record under Will Muschamp.

Boom led something of a charmed life last year.  We’ll see if that narrative holds up today.

Feel free to use this as a general game day thread for today’s CFB action.

44 Comments

Filed under 'Cock Envy, College Football, Georgia Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

My biggest week one takeaway

I watched a lot of football this past weekend and was surprised at how much mediocre to genuinely bad offensive line play was on display.  Some could be chalked up to injury, like Washington losing its stud left tackle, but there were plenty of teams that looked shoddy simply because they were shoddy.

What I can’t figure out is why it’s happened.  Is it simply a matter of opening week kinks that need to be worked out?  Has the talent pool shrunk?  Is the coaching worse?  Is the emphasis on pace and spread having an effect?

Thoughts?

49 Comments

Filed under College Football

Game of Throne

TFW your wife picks up something hideous at last week’s garage sale and you won’t let it in the house.

That’s… really something.

13 Comments

Filed under College Football