Category Archives: College Football

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.

Advertisements

33 Comments

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

“It is just the way we do business.”

Wall Street Journal:

College football has an attendance problem. Average announced attendance in football’s top division dropped for the fourth consecutive year last year, declining 7.6% in four years. But schools’ internal records show that the sport’s attendance woes go far beyond that.

The average count of tickets scanned at home games—the number of fans who actually show up—is about 71% of the attendance you see in a box score, according to data from the 2017 season collected by The Wall Street Journal. In the Mid-American Conference, with less-prominent programs like Central Michigan and Toledo, teams’ scanned attendance numbers were 45% of announced attendance.

Even teams in the nation’s five richest conferences routinely record thousands fewer people passing through stadium gates than they report publicly. The no-shows reflect the challenge of filling large venues when nearly every game is on TV, and they threaten a key revenue source for college athletic departments.

“Attendance drives recruiting, attendance drives donations, merchandise sales,” said Rob Sine, who until earlier this year was president of IMG Learfield Ticket Solutions, which works with dozens of colleges. If fans don’t use their tickets, he added, “they’re more likely to not come back.”

Yeah, well, is anybody really surprised there’s usually a gap between reported attendance and actual butts in the seats?

A few bullet points:

  • Georgia was one of about 30 teams that didn’t provide data.  Wonder if this is something that will turn up in, say, oh… 90 days or so.
  • It’s easy to brush this off if your program is selling out, but even if that’s the case, there’s still missing revenue from concessions, for example, not to mention funds that aren’t being paid out to local merchants.
  • The excuse making, from Purdue’s “outdated equipment, connectivity problems and user error” to FSU’s “personnel and technical issues in scanning tickets”, is pretty pathetic.
  • The least surprising thing in the article?  Easily this:  “The NCAA accepts the announced attendance numbers schools submit ‘at face value’”.  That, despite the fact that schools are supposed to maintain a 15,000 “actual or paid” home attendance on a rolling two-year average to stay in D-1.

72 Comments

Filed under College Football

“The market just continues to go up.”

Greg Sankey’s bland assurances otherwise notwithstanding, let me introduce to the eventual reason the SEC goes to a nine-game conference schedule.

College football’s version of the gig economy gets rolling Thursday, as teams across the country begin the annual ritual of playing one-time, non-conference games in exchange for huge payouts.

This season, well over $175 million will change hands just for teams getting on the field for these so-called “guarantee” games, according to an analysis of more than 275 contracts for matchups involving teams in the NCAA’s top-level Bowl Subdivision.

Top of the list?  The Florida Gators.

The greatest payout this season is the $2 million Colorado State is getting from Florida for a game Sept. 15 that the schools created as part of package under which coach Jim McElwain fulfilled the $7.5 million buyout he owed for leaving the Rams to join the Gators after the 2014 season.

Boy, that turned out to be money well spent.

The trend, as the header quote from Iowa AD Gary Barta indicates, is upwards.  At some point, you’d have to think the conferences are going to realize the math stops adding up.

27 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

The college football party starts now!

Spare me the Week 0 crapola.  Tonight’s twelve-game slate, including a ranked team and a P5 conference matchup, is 2018’s real beginning.  So let’s get in the mood early.

31 Comments

Filed under College Football