Category Archives: College Football

“The vaccine is a competitive advantage.”

Why am I not surprised to learn this?

Two weeks before summer training begins and less than two months before fall camp opens, dozens of college football teams are struggling to vaccinate their athletes. Similar to the country’s regional discrepancy in COVID-19 protocols, the U.S. is a fractured mess as it relates to the vaccine. And that goes for universities as well.

Some, such as Ohio State, Notre Dame and Navy, have at least 90% of their football team vaccinated. Others, like Clemson, Charlotte and Ole Miss, are below the 20% mark. And then there are those like Tennessee, Oregon State and Troy, hovering around 50–60%.

While administrators expect a surge of vaccinations when players return to campus in June, many of them fear that athletes will continue to eschew the shots for some of the same reasons as those in the general population—religious beliefs, conspiracy theories and misplaced guidance from others.

“The low vaccination rates are worrisome,” says one ACC school administrator who asked for anonymity. “I’m battling trying to figure out how to normalize this vaccine.”

This is a bigger deal than you might think, because of the logistics.

Though college-age people often experience little to no ill effects from COVID-19, vaccinations are imperative, NCAA medical experts say. They clear a path back to normalcy. A team reaching enough vaccinations will likely avoid the coronavirus protocols and disruptions that marked the 2020 season.

In fact, officials expect a different set of protocols for those vaccinated and unvaccinated. Players choosing not to vaccinate will find themselves subject to contact-tracing and quarantine rules—the biggest disrupter of 2020—as well as regular testing. Those vaccinated will be exempt from such. In short, COVID-19 outbreaks on or around a team will likely affect only unvaccinated players and staff.

As the article notes, at Clemson, the Tigers are only at a 10% vaccination level.  And the meter is running.

“The two-shot vaccines take six weeks to be fully effective,” says Jeff Dugas, Troy’s team doctor and an orthopedic surgeon in Birmingham who chairs the Sun Belt’s COVID-19 advisory panel. “They need to be vaccinated by mid-June. They’ve got five weeks before they need to have the first shot.”

I have to believe Dabo is going to move heaven and earth to hammer that number.  But what happens if he can’t move the needle sufficiently?  How will that impact Clemson’s approach to the opener with Georgia?  Beats me, but I’ll be watching to see.

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Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

“The data is the data.”

The NCAA is changing preseason camp rules.

In response to results from a five-year concussion study released earlier this spring, an NCAA legislative committee is deeply exploring ways to make the annual August camp a safer place, officials told Sports Illustrated in interviews this week. The Football Oversight Committee (FOC), college football’s highest policy-making group, plans to present recommendations soon that will significantly change one of football’s most grueling traditions.

Committee members are considering a reduction of full-padded camp practices (from 21 to eight), the complete abolishment of collision exercises (such as the “Oklahoma” drill) and limiting a team to two scrimmages per camp (lowered from three and a half).

The changes stem from a study published in February that was funded by the NCAA and Department of Defense. The study tracked head exposures in six Division I college football teams from 2015 to ’19, finding that 72% of concussions occurred during practice and nearly 50% happened in preseason practice, despite it representing just one-fifth of the football season. Total head impacts in the preseason occurred at twice the rate of the regular season. More than 650 players from Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Wisconsin, UCLA, Air Force and Army were involved in the study.

The study leaves college administrators with no choice but to again adjust college football’s preseason camp policies, says Shane Lyons, the West Virginia athletic director and the chair of the FOC.

Nobody likes being sued.  Right, NCAA?

Though the changes seem significant, they shouldn’t impact the majority of coaches in a dramatic way. Results from an American Football Coaches Association survey this spring showed that many coaches already adhere to such camp practices, says Todd Berry, the AFCA executive director.

That’s what they say, anyway.

The new rules are the latest way the NCAA is attempting to relax what was once known as the most excruciating and laborious experience in football. For years now, fall camp has seen its teeth removed in the name of safety. In 2017, the NCAA banned two-a-days, and in 2018, the governing body reduced the number of preseason practices from 29 to 25.

The latest impending modifications keep both the number of practices (25) over the same amount of days (29) but adjust the type of practices coaches can hold.

In the latest working model, a 25-practice camp must include at least nine non-contact, padless practices (helmets only). That’s up from the current rule of two mandatory padless practices, which are part of an acclimatization period at the beginning of each camp. No more than eight practices can feature full pads and full contact, up from 21 under the current rule.

… The working model would also reduce scrimmages from three and a half to two; would permit a maximum of 90 minutes of full tackling in any one single padded practice; and would prohibit more than two consecutive full-padded practices, requiring coaches to wedge in non-contact and shell practices.

There was a limit on the changes, though.

… The committee rejected a request from the SEC to expand camp by six days to allow for more days off. According to a letter obtained by SI and sent to the FOC, the league wanted to hold 25 practices over 35 days, lengthening camp to spread out its full-contact practices.

That seems like a player-friendly, pro-safety move, so why not?  My guess — and it’s pure speculation, based only on my gut feeling of college football doing college football things — is that it would cost more money to do so.  Doing it for the kids is not the NCAA’s prime directive.

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Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

Super duper

One of the more pointless exercises I’ll see college football pundits and fans go through is pondering how great it would be for the sport to adopt one of English soccer’s great traditions:  relegation.  Never mind that it’s an apples and oranges comparison, if there ever was one — for one thing, you’re matching professional leagues with paid players and college leagues with student-athletes, and, for another, your comparing standalone soccer programs with football programs that are part of a larger athletic department — it’s speculation that some people find hard to resist.

Which is one reason I find the news that the biggest European teams in the sport are planning on putting together their own show, the Super League, with a new wrinkle:  no relegation, just twelve to fifteen permanent members and a few fillers to add in from season to season.  Why are they doing this?  You only get one guess.

Yes. According to their own estimates, each founding member stands to gain around $400 million merely to establish “a secure financial foundation,” four times more than Bayern Munich earned for winning the Champions League last season.

But that is just the start, really: The clubs believe that selling the broadcast rights for the Super League, as well as the commercial income, will be worth billions. And it will all go to them, rather than being redistributed to smaller clubs and lesser leagues through European soccer’s governing body, UEFA. At the same time, the value of domestic leagues and their clubs will diminish drastically as they are effectively rendered also-rans every year.

You’d think the lesson would be obvious here, but, quite the contrary, it’s just juicing a whole ‘nother type of speculation.

LOL.  So much for the excitement of relegation.

You want a CFB Super League?  Sure.  All you need to do is take the top 20 or so teams on this list and add Notre Dame and Southern Cal (they’re both private schools) to them, and voilà!  College football, supersized.

Some people didn’t get enough shiny toys when they were little.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Just like coach drew it up in the locker room

Well, now.

‘Nova didn’t finish the comeback, though.  Still, that makes for a pretty good memory.

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Filed under College Football

Modern times

Excellent topic suggestion from Bud Elliott here:

And a few responses:

What’s your take?

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Filed under College Football

Down and dirty

There’s a good piece today from Andy Staples ($$) about how the NCAA is trying to come up with an effective sanction when a football team fakes an injury to slow down the tempo of a game.

This is his starting point:

It seems nothing is easy in college football, and a solution for this is an example.  Nobody wants the on-field refs to make the call (for one thing, they can’t see what happens when a player goes to the sideline).  An automatic rule to keep out any injured player for an entire series if it led to an injury timeout risks discouraging injured players leaving the field.  (“According to Steve Shaw, 81 percent of players who come out of the game in an injury timeout miss at least six plays.”)

Staples says the NCAA appears to be coalescing around a different approach.

A solution may come via the targeting rule. According to NCAA rules, if instant replay is not available, a targeting penalty can be reviewed after the game. That’s where this injury framework could fit.

In this situation, a school or conference could request a review sometime after a game, which would go to Steve Shaw’s officiating committee. That group would then make a determination and recommendation.

As you can guess, the devil’s in the details.  What entity enforces the recommendation?  What is the nature of the penalty, assuming some body wants to enforce it?

“I would say, in a lighthearted way, we’re still all ears,” Steve Shaw said. “If you’re sitting at home tonight eating dinner and something pops into your head about a creative solution for this, we’re definitely all ears.”

Sounds like a solution is right around the corner.

42 Comments

Filed under College Football, The NCAA

Perfect form

Nestor Higuera is 5’5″.  Nestor Higuera’s listed weight is 285 pounds.

Nestor Higuera kicked a game winning field goal as the clock expired.

That’s it.  That’s the post.

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Filed under College Football

Betting on the come

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

Deets:

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.'”.

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

Today, in doing it for the kids

Shot.

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.

Chaser.

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

Surprise, surprise…

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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…

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Filed under College Football