Category Archives: College Football

Betting on the come

I’m sure there will be much rejoicing concerning this news.


EA Sports is coming back to college football.

After last making a college football video game in 2013, the possibility of the game returning had been in limbo. Now, it isn’t. EA Sports vice president and general manager, Daryl Holt, told ESPN the game maker will be returning to the space with “EA Sports College Football.”

“As we look for the momentum that we’re building on in sports, it all starts with the passion of our fans and the opportunities of what they are interested in,” Holt said. “I don’t think a visit where I go outside wearing a piece of EA Sports branded apparel, that someone doesn’t go, ‘Hey, when is college football coming back?'”

It will — at some point. Holt said there is not a date on when the game will return or even a date where the return will be announced other than it won’t be coming back for this year.

To make the game happen, EA Sports partnered with collegiate licensing company CLC to make sure they had the FBS schools, traditions, uniforms and playbooks — among other things — ready to go for the game. Over 100 teams will be in the game.

For now, EA Sports is planning to move forward without rosters that include the names, images or likenesses of real college players. Current NCAA rules prohibit athletes from selling their NIL rights while in college.

“For now”, eh?  The thing is, that was how the game was set up before and that didn’t stop EA Sports from being sued.  So what might be changing?  You probably can guess what the company is expecting.

However, those rules are likely to be changed at some point in the coming year — either by the NCAA, state legislatures or Congress. It’s not yet clear if the evolving rules will allow for the kind of group licensing arrangements that would be needed for EA Sports to negotiate with athletes to use their names in the game.

The company claims it’s going forward no matter what.  We’ll see.

By the way, “Holt said the plan for the reboot will be to not have the NCAA name, but to use ‘EA Sports College Football.'”.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Today, in doing it for the kids


College football players sustained far more concussions during practices than they did in games, medical researchers reported on Monday, a finding certain to add to the years long debate about regulating training regimens across the sport.

… The authors of the new study, published in JAMA Neurology, a peer-reviewed journal, found that 72 percent of the concussions they reviewed over five college football seasons happened during practice. And although preseason training accounted for about one-fifth of the time the researchers studied, they found that nearly half of the concussions occurred during that period.


The report will fuel the longstanding debate about safety in college football, but changes do not appear to be imminent.

Surprise, surprise…


Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

Every College Football Teams Longest Play 2020 Season

Found a link to this on a message board and thought I’d share.  It’s a fun watch.

Well, once you get past Alabama’s longest play, anyway…


Filed under College Football

How seriously should we take the 2020 season?

I took a look at the final set of F+ numbers for the past season compiled by Brian Fremeau and Bill Connelly.  (For those who need a quick definition:  “F+ Ratings combine Brian Fremeau’s FEI ratings with Bill Connelly’s SP+ ratings in equal parts. Overall team ratings (F+), offense ratings (OF+), and defense ratings (DF+) represent each team and unit’s standard deviation above or below average. FEI ratings (FEI) represent the per-possession scoring advantages a team would be expected to have on a neutral field against an average opponent, based on opponent-adjusted possession efficiency data. SP+ ratings (SP+) are tempo- and opponent-adjusted measures of college football efficiency based on play-by-play and drive data designed to be predictive and forward-facing.”)

Screenshot_2021-01-27 2020 COLLEGE FOOTBALL F+ RATINGS Football Outsiders

Other than the obvious takeaway that Alabama was head and shoulders better than any other FBS team, what more can we glean from those rankings, considering the variation in the number of games played, the weekly roster shifts due to management of the pandemic and the lack of cross-divisional games?

Obviously, I’m not posing that as a criticism of Brian and Bill.  They’re plugging the data, just like they do every season.  Even more, it’s not just the stats.  Given the uncertainties cited in the above paragraph, how much credit should we give our subjective assessments about 2020?  Do we call it the mother of all outliers and avoid any big picture statements?  If not, how do you weigh what you saw and what the numbers tell you about the quality of the teams that played college football last season?

Or, another way to put it — do you really think BYU, Cincinnati and Coastal Carolina deserve their F+ rankings?  If they do, is that simply due to placing them in the context of a weird year, or do you see them as legitimate national powers that will continue their success in 2021, assuming we approach something like normality again?


Filed under College Football, Stats Geek!

Can the cream rise any farther than the top?

Andy Staples ($$) has written a massive piece about how the P5 schools (or most of them, anyway) should break off from the NCAA for football and form their own management association.  I’ll skip past the macro concern I have with it (without an antitrust exemption, forming a monolithic group means the schools lose the one competitive argument they’ve had to argue; besides, somebody’s gonna have to convince me the commissioners are ready to surrender their power to a central authority) as well as my questions about some of his individual suggestions, and turn, instead, to focus on his NIL argument.  Excerpts:

The people in charge now want to ensure the new NIL rules keep players from being paid to attend a certain school. This is a foolish thing to worry about. Of course, players will be paid to attend certain schools when the new rules are in effect. Players are paid under the table to attend certain schools now. Recruiting is a competitive endeavor, and opening up more avenues to pay players — because keeping those avenues closed violates their basic rights — will make it even easier to funnel money to players to choose certain schools.

… Could a booster under this system give a five-star high school quarterback a $1 million endorsement deal with the tacit agreement that the QB is getting the money because he signs with Big State? Absolutely. And when that QB gets beat out by the junior three-star (who just happens to be better because quarterback recruiting is a crapshoot), then that booster would be out $1 million and it would serve as a warning to anyone dumb enough to invest that kind of money in a 17-year-old.

… You might be saying, “But then only a few schools would get most of the best football recruits.” Yes. Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU and Clemson would get most of the best football recruits. Just like they do now.

Of all the arguments against player compensation, the competitive disadvantage one is the particular line I don’t get at all.  Right now, the powerhouse schools successfully use their resources to enhance facilities and infrastructure to attract the top recruits.  All that would change under a new compensation regime is that those resources would be redirected more efficiently to the recruits themselves.  That’s hardly a sea change.  Further, as Staples notes, there’s nothing stopping a school not in that group Staples cites from getting a bunch of boosters to pony up a fund to go out and battle them to attract recruits.

Now, you may not like watching the sausage being made, and I get that.  But I don’t understand the argument that somehow this is going to increase the lack of parity in college football.


Filed under College Football, Recruiting, The NCAA

Real spring football

In light of my last post, this is an awkward question, perhaps, but how many of you will watch FCS football this spring?

In a normal school year, members of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football team would have just returned to campus to begin the spring term, with a little time to rest up after a fall semester full of football games and a renewed focus on the winter workouts coming up.

But as everyone knows, 2020 wasn’t a normal year. And these aren’t normal times. So when the Mocs returned over the weekend, they did so in anticipation of two weeks of winter workouts that will lead up to official practices — not those of the “spring” variety — starting in early February. It’s all in preparation for a spring semester season in the Football Championship Subdivision, with the Southern Conference playing an eight-game schedule.

The Mocs — who played one game in 2020, a 13-10 loss at Football Bowl Subdivision member Western Kentucky on Oct. 24 — will kick off their league slate with a home game against Virginia Military Institute on Feb. 20. The FCS playoffs will run from mid-April to mid-May, with the field limited to 16 teams (11 league champions and five at-large selections) instead of 24 for this edition.

It’s kind of interesting that they’re using the pandemic to shrink the size of the postseason.


Filed under College Football

Playing it safe

I clicked on this Brian Fremeau tweet out of curiosity to see where Georgia finished…

… but my attention turned to the team that finished sixth, Buffalo.

Which brings me to the point of this post — Lance Leipold has an impressive track record as a head coach at two very different levels of college football.  He’s got thirteen years of experience running football programs.  He’s coming from Buffalo, so it’s not like you’d have to spend an arm and a leg to hire him.  He knows how to develop players.  I’m guessing he would be able to hire a decent recruiter, too, for those of the “he’s never been in the South” persuasion (not that that’s stopped Auburn).

So, if you’re South Carolina, why would you hire Shane Beamer over Lance Leipold?  Lack of imagination.  Laziness.  Group think.  All of the above.  Just like most schools.


Filed under College Football

The state of college football, in two tweets



Iowa State should be one of the great stories in the sport.  Instead, it’s going to be washed away by the deluge of hot takes about which team should have been in the CFP instead of Notre Dame, and how 2020, the outlier of all college football season outliers, should be the impetus for another round of playoff expansion.

We are watching in real time what makes college football special slip away.  Hell, in many quarters, you’ve got people actively working to make that happen.  And it will, as long as there is more money in that.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

Your first (non-Dawg) game day post of 2021

Just remember, this is all that stands between you and the abyss of empty Saturdays until Labor Day or thereabouts.

Screenshot_2021-01-02 FBS (I-A) Conference Schedule - 2020 - NCAAF - ESPN

Gotta admit, it looks pretty entertaining from where I sit, even with nothing but pride on the line.  It’s the SEC’s (or at least the part that doesn’t involve Alabama) last chance for a little respect this season.

Who ‘ya got today?


Filed under College Football

Your (non-Dawg) game day post

We’ve got three after the Peach Bowl:

Screenshot_2021-01-01 FBS (I-A) Conference Schedule - 2020 - NCAAF - ESPN

And here are the current spreads, per ESPN:

Screenshot_2021-01-01 College Football Daily Lines ESPN

And brief thoughts on each:

  • No idea what to make of the Citrus, given the coaching change and all that typically ensues from something like that.  Both teams play better defense than offense, so the four-point spread in the abstract doesn’t bother me.  Northwestern gave Ohio State a decent fight in the championship game, but ran out of gas and had a disastrous time defending the run in the second half.  Cox is Cox Nix is Nix, damn it, but Auburn can run the ball and Tank Bigsby is out for the game.  Your guess is as good as mine, but I’d probably go with the Wildcats.
  • Alabama by 19.5?  And people think expanding the playoffs is going to make for better football?  Sure, man.  Take the Tide and the points.
  • The CFP meteor game ought to be a real hoot.  No matter who wins, I’m going to cringe.  Given I think Ohio State’s defense has shown some weakness defending the pass and Fields has looked just a little bit shaky at times recently, I think Clemson covers.  On the bright side, that ought to be good for at least one more comment from Dabo to chew on.

And you?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas