Category Archives: College Football

“It’s exactly what Nick Saban has been saying.”

I don’t think this comes as any shock to a Georgia fan.

Attendance for the seven games run by the College Football Playoff dropped to an all-time low this postseason, halfway through the CFP’s initial contract that created the New Year’s Six games and the CFP National Championship. The attendance at those seven games were down a cumulative 42,500 fans or 8 percent from a playoff-era high in 2015.

That’s an average decline of 6,069 fans per game across the Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Peach Bowl, Sugar Bowl and CFP National Championship. A sellout crowd of 76,885 Monday watched LSU defeat Clemson at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in the title game. That brought the CFP attendance total to 492,220, down 3 percent from the previous season.

For the fourth consecutive year, four of the seven CFP games decreased in attendance from the previous season…

Georgia and Baylor drew only 55,211 in the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl. That was down 16,238 from the previous year’s game, another non-semifinal when Texas beat Georgia. The Georgia-Baylor game was the eighth-lowest attended Sugar Bowl since it started in 1935. Three of the lowest-attended Sugar Bowls since the early days of the game in 1939 have come since 2013.

Naturally, Baghdad Bill says there’s nothing to worry about.

CFP executive director Bill Hancock said the overall decline was not a concern.

“This is all best viewed in a game-by-game perspective,” Hancock told CBS Sports. “… Digging deeper into the game-by-game [attendance], the Sugar Bowl had a school with very small alumni base [Baylor] and Georgia had been to the Sugar Bowl last year.”

Overall bowl attendance is up, but then, so are the number of bowl games.  What the numbers suggest is that there is a hollowing out at the level just below the playoff games.  I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that suggests to Bill’s bosses.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

Young whippersnappers these days… what are you gonna do?

LOL at this latest Loran Smith “back in my day” classic:

Following the Orange Bowl Jan. 1, 1942, Georgia’s first bowl game, everyone was giddy and euphoric. When the team returned home from Miami there was a note on the bulletin board in the dormitory that spring practice would begin a week later.

“Not me,” said Frank Sinkwich who then quit the team. He later came back and won the Heisman trophy, leading his team to the Rose Bowl…

College football has created a different culture. The fall season of 2020 will be the 40th anniversary of Georgia’s winning the 1980 national championship. You remember the Erk Russell tee shirts that characterized those national champions: BIG TEAM, little me.

Today, it has become BIG ME, little team.

I’d like to think he’s not even trying there, but, bless his heart, I really think he is.

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Filed under College Football

“Is it worth the $20-per-ticket price?”

I’m not going to pretend this piece has all the answers to the question why college football appears to have an attendance problem, but I will say the geniuses who run college athletics ignore the students who will become the alumni base they need to sell tickets to in ten to twenty years at their peril.

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Filed under College Football

“F—ed up business. People are insane.”

It seems quaint now to reflect on Georgia giving Mark Richt fifteen years.  (Hell, there were plenty of people who had misgivings about letting Richt go despite the dry spell after the 2012 season.)  What I’m wondering about is whether it’s going to soon seem quaint to give any head coach three years without immediate gratification.

Willie Taggart, Chad Morris and Joe Moorhead will forever be linked together for something they’d probably like to forget. They were all fired before coaching the first game of their third season at their respective school.

The timing is important here. Before this season, you’d have to go back more than a decade to find three Power 5 coaches who were dismissed, primarily for on-field performance, before their third year. This year, we got three in a single season, two of them within a week of one another in early November—when Florida State fired Taggart after 21 games and Arkansas fired Morris after 22 games. On Friday, in an unusual move, we got No. 3 when Mississippi State fired Moorhead, the rare coach fired after his bowl game.

The Moorhead firing is particularly unusual.

And so after just 26 games, Mississippi State fired a man with as many wins in two years as the Bulldogs had in a five-year stretch from 2002-06. It is the greatest and most recent example of the pressurized, win-now era of college football…

… Before Mullen’s arrival, State played in one bowl the previous eight seasons. Go deeper into State’s history and you’ll find a program that had 15 winning seasons in a 50-year stretch starting in 1959 and ending with the start of Mullen’s tenure. In 10 years under Mullen, they had eight such seasons. “The just beat Ole Miss narrative was assassinated this morning,” tweeted longtime Bulldogs insider Steve Robertson. “Mississippi State just fired a coach who beat the Rebels both times he played them and went to two bowl games. It’s a different day and time in Starkville.”

This is, to put it mildly, insane.  Whom exactly are they expecting to hire in Starkville that would dramatically change the school’s fortune in the SEC West?

The answer, of course, is nobody obvious.  Still, when you’ve got the bucks to make short attention span decisions, that’s what you’re gonna do.

Moorhead’s buyout is much lower, a source said, about $7 million, but that can be mitigated to as little as $4 million through off-set language in his contract, assuming the coach finds other employment. Meanwhile, a new coach’s contract could cost more than $20 million guaranteed. And then there’s the current and future staffs. Schools must buy out remaining assistant coaching contracts (many coordinators have two to three year deals), and a new staff might cost more than $5 million in guarantees.

Thank Gawd for the new TV revenue that will be coming in when Mickey picks up the CBS deal.  All that’s going to lead to is putting more money in the pockets of Jimmy Sexton and his clients.  But, hey, at least mediocre ADs will be doing something.

This is why Jim Delany is jonesing for an antitrust exemption.  Athletic departments need immunity from their own stupidity.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

A modest proposal

After a few chuckles, that chart got me to thinking.  I mean, here’s Auburn not showing up at a bowl game for the second time in the last three years, giving some program an over-inflated sense of worth.  Not good, Bob, but, going forward, what can be done to prevent schools from half-assing another meaningless bowl game?

I’m glad you asked.

We all know that money rules in today’s college football world.  Make me god-king of the NCAA for a day, and I’ll make every athletic director, coach and player care about every bowl game the way somebody who took minus-22.5 in a bowl game featuring a mid-major sweats out a drive in garbage time that would cut the final margin to 20 cares.  Three easy steps to giving a damn:

  1. A school only gets its share of conference bowl money if it wins its bowl game.
  2. A coach only gets a bowl game bonus if his team wins the game.
  3. Players receive a share of conference bowl money, but only if they suit up for the bowl game.

I realize the third proposition is the most controversial, but, really, how many kids staying out to protect a shot at the NFL are going to turn down, say, a $20,000 check?  I’m guessing not many.

Hey, if you’ve got a better suggestion, I’m all ears.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Celebrate good times

This is great.

I don’t know what I like more there — using the word “traditional” in the tweet, or Solich eating a fry — but I love it.

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Filed under College Football

I’m Mark Emmert, and I approve this message.

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Filed under College Football