Category Archives: College Football

The best years of their lives

I’m curious to hear what some of you think about this exercise in opening the doors to the sausage factory, via a former Purdue football player.  His conclusion after four years on scholarship:

People will probably ask me what the solution is and I don’t have the answer. Current players can discuss compensation, nameless marketing, coaching ethics, schedules, useless degrees, etc… Former athletes could discuss post-graduate education, company partnerships, and resources to find careers. The possibilities are endless but the first thing is acknowledgment. If I knew what I know now, that Engineering degree looks a lot better.

He wanted an education, but wound up getting a job.  That’s what he signed up for, right?



Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football

Monday morning buffet

To the chafing dishes!


Filed under 'Cock Envy, College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Sorry, Nick.

To save you the trouble of being upset over the absence of Nick Chubb’s name from the list of those being honored by the College Football Hall of Fame a decade from now, Patrick Garbin explains why that’s how it will go down.

The most arbitrary part of the joke is this:

As mentioned, it’s the requirement of having been a First Team All-American which will keep Georgia’s Chubb out of the Hall of Fame. Although, upon further research, Georgia’s Fran Tarkenton and Ole Miss’ Archie Manning were not chosen First Team All-American by an NCAA-recognized selector, yet both players are in the Hall, inducted in 1987 and 1989, respectively. Notwithstanding, according to the NFF, the provision of the First Team All-American status was not added until 1990, and has remained since.

This is not to say Tarkenton and Manning (nor any other player/coach cited henceforth) did not deserve induction. However, if the induction criteria were then what it is now, the two standout SEC quarterbacks from yesteryear would be in the same boat as Chubb. Instead, Tarkenton and especially Manning (by one year), who ironically has served as NFF Chairman since 2007…



Filed under College Football

Pigskin Disney World

I don’t know how to take this.

Texas athletics director Chris Del Conte wants to make some major changes to the game day experience for fans during football season in order to improve attendance.

The new AD told ESPN Radio’s Freddie and Fitzsimmons that his staff is working on ways to make attending football games more attractive during a time when college football attendance is down across the country. Del Conte said he believes it starts with improving the atmosphere and fanfare around the game itself.

“Whenever we have a football game, it’s truly a chance for us to celebrate our university,” Del Conte said. “And that means not only just the game, but all the pomp and circumstance that goes around that game. These stadiums are 60, 70, 80, 100,000-seat stadiums. Things have changed. With television, the kids, how they view their content. … So we have to look at different ways we purpose that in-game experience as well as that out-of-game experience.”

Del Conte said the school needs to improve wireless access for fans who want to use their phones and participate in the experience on social media during games. He also emphasized a need to “repurpose” in-game entertainment during timeouts and television breaks.

The Texas AD pointed to Disney World as an example of a fan experience that goes beyond the main attraction. He wants to create that same sort of atmosphere around Texas football games.

“If you look at Disney, the experience of your children going to Disney starts when they receive that ticket,” Del Conte said. “And they fly to Orlando. You get in the hotel and [you get] all that [Disney] experience until you get to the gate. Then you wait in line for three hours to get on the Matterhorn. Right? Three hours. And then you get on the ride for 40 seconds, and you’re going, ‘Oh my God.’ Then we do it again.

“But what happens when you get back to the hotel? Your kids [say], ‘Dad, that was awesome! Can we do it again?’ We’ve got to create that same experience all the way around our venues.”

On the one hand, it sounds like a classic example of “talk is cheap”.  (Although if any program can afford to simulate what Disney does to create that experience, it’s Texas.)

On the other hand, it’s more of an acknowledgement about what an athletic department needs to do to improve the game day experience than we’re likely to hear out of Butts-Mehre.


Filed under College Football

In the toilet

Mike Brewster’s coaching career has nowhere to go but up from here.

Until last month, I’d never called a phone number that I’d found on a men’s room wall. Of course, none of the other numbers were attached to a résumé that included Jim Tressel as a reference.

Mike Brewster didn’t originally plan on posting copies of his résumé on the wall above the urinals in the highest trafficked men’s room at the American Football Coaches Association convention, but desperate times called for a little ingenuity. Brewster had carefully assembled résumé packets before traveling from Orlando to Charlotte, but he had quickly realized he had to scrap his original plan if he wanted to get his name in front of coaches who might hire him…

… Brewster devised a surefire way to get his information in front of as many coaches as possible. Pee would meet CV. Brewster blocked out the phone numbers for references that included Tressel, the former Ohio State coach who is now Youngstown State’s president, and Jim Bollman, Brewster’s college offensive line coach who now serves as Michigan State’s offensive coordinator. Then he stuck them to the wall above a place almost every coach would have to visit at least once.

… So far, the placement hasn’t landed Brewster a GA job, but plenty of coaches saw his résumé. Three told me about it within a few minutes of walking into the convention last month.

“I hired him after I read his résumé while I was taking a leak” isn’t exactly the stuff legends are made from, but, hey, it’s a start, hopefully.


Filed under College Football

An AD’s gotta do what an AD’s gotta do. Even when the AD shouldn’t.

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.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Reading the tea leaves on college football’s declining attendance numbers

One thing I found interesting about this CFN chart is that every SEC team that fired its head coach after the 2017 season saw a significant drop in year-over-year home attendance.

  • 80.  Florida: minus-1131
  • 99.  Texas A&M:  minus-3115
  • 114.  Tennessee:  minus-5189
  • 122.  Arkansas:  minus-6357

Given the surrounding circumstances, Matt Luke (minus-6279) is probably okay for a couple more years, but I’d say Ed Orgeron (minus-2725) better keep an eye on asses in the seats this year.

Now, if you’re an athletic director, it’s a safe assumption to make that an unattractive product on the field means less fans in the stands.  In the short run, a coaching change can’t hurt in that regard (other than the buyout you had to pay) and if you catch lightning in a bottle, so much the better.

It’s also a dodge at concerning yourself with the underlying factors that may also be contributing, though.  That’s an uncomfortable thing to consider, because it likely means looking at one key revenue source as causing a problem with another key revenue source.

But the overall drop that should concern everyone last year — and this one isn’t calculated in the NCAA figures — is the falling student attendance. It happened at Texas, and I assume that will change when Tom Herman’s team plays closer to its recruiting rank, but the Longhorns are not alone here. Stories about difficulty in getting students to attend games at previous levels can be found at many large schools, state and private, across the land.

And that’s the one that scares everyone because, frankly, millennials and their behavior scare the hell out of the rest of us. There are essentially four reasons for this, depending upon one’s viewpoint.

They don’t respect the things we honor. They want to change everything we view as traditional or necessary. They want to take our jobs. They’re cutting the darned cords on their cable.

It’s that fourth one that gets the most attention (especially if, full disclosure, one has a connection to ESPN), but I think this attendance discussion touches upon everything but the jobs component of the above.

How can it be hard to get college kids to go to college football games?

I understand some of the reasons that others have listed in the comments section of one of these NCAA attendance stories.

Tickets are too expensive.

The games take four hours and, given the burden of working one’s way into and out of parking lots, it’s an all-day commitment.

Since everything is done for TV, kickoff times aren’t even set two weeks before the game.

And then there’s the biggest which is the toughest to address.

It’s just easier to watch on your big screens at home.

We have seen a dramatic and important reversal on this front. A half-century ago television, a relative newcomer on the scene, did its best to recreate the game experience of actually being in the stadium. Today it’s incumbent upon teams in every sport to try to recreate the home viewing experience for those actually in the arena.

It’s remarkable how much effort (and how many millions of dollars) get spent in new buildings on things unrelated to actually seeing the game from your seat. It still stuns me to walk around, say, Globe Life Park and see the number of people busy doing something other than watching the game they have chosen to attend.

The college football experience as I mentioned can be a four-hour ordeal. Longer if Big 12 defenses are involved. The number of kids content to put their phones away, grab a seat and watch each team take 95 snaps from center is minuscule.

I don’t think college football is in danger of losing its entire audience in the near future, or even a sizable portion of it. But the battle to get people into a stadium at a lofty ticket price and keep them engaged is ongoing. TV money may drive all sports leagues and conferences, but no one wants to watch a studio sport. We want to feel like we’re part of that passionate stadium experience even when we don’t want to put up with all that comes with that experience.

I’m not sure I agree with everything there — there are plenty of people who will watch the early slate of bowls, which, from a live attendance standpoint, are essentially studio sports — but that last line is a perfect encapsulation of the dilemma athletic directors everywhere face in an era where broadcast partners call most of the shots.  Not only do I think none of them have a real clue about what to do, I don’t think most of them even want to consider the problem.  That’s troublesome, because for every program like Georgia that’s seen its fortunes suddenly explode, there are plenty of others that don’t have a reserve of fan enthusiasm like that to tap into.  If there’s a growing gap in that regard, only TV is equipped to step into the breach, which will only serve to exacerbate the problem.


Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil