Category Archives: College Football

I’ll take Galactically Stupid Ideas for $200, Alex.

Oh, for fuck’s sake

We’re talking about a commissioner for major college football: the Power 5 or the entire FBS.

The commissioner concept has traction among some prominent coaches, frustrated with a factionalized process. Others argue that college football isn’t set up for a commissioner and urge greater coach engagement and faith in a still-evolving legislative structure.

But after the satellite camp silliness, it’s foolish to discount an alternative.

“There’s a great need,” Tennessee coach Butch Jones said, “for leadership.”

Coming from the man who used to (past tense, supposedly) get serial heads-up from the Knoxville police department when his charges wound up on the wrong side of the law, that’s a bit rich.  Leader, lead thyself.

Not that he’s alone in that sentiment, or in putting forth dumb support for it.

Stanford coach David Shaw prefaces his remarks by restating he’s not going to the NFL — since everyone asks — but he is a product of the league, having worked for three NFL teams from 1997 to 2005. The NFL’s administrative structure shapes his perception.

Shaw thinks the launch of the College Football Playoff marked the “end of the old ways,” and mandates greater standardization in areas like scheduling, recruiting rules and staff sizes.

“When we get to a point where we can normalize our lives as Power 5 college football,” Shaw said, “then you’d love to have a committee and then on top of that, a commissioner, someone who doesn’t work for anybody other than college football. It would make the absolute most sense.

“We’re no longer complete and separate entities. We’re all feeding into one system.”

Tell that to ESPN when it comes time for the Pac-12 to negotiate its next broadcast deal, man.  I’m sure it’ll go over well.

And then there’s the question of who gets to run the asylum.  Hey, let’s ask Nick Saban for a suggestion!

Like Shaw, Saban coached in the NFL and appreciates how the NFL’s model — led by a commissioner but also committees with team representation, like the competition committee — shapes policy for all 32 organizations rather than 2-3 divisions.

“It would be good if there was somebody, and I don’t know who, but somebody that looked at the game from 1,000 feet,” Saban said. “Not as an AD. Not as a conference commissioner. Not as an offensive guy or a defensive guy, but somebody who’s looking at it from the entire scope.

“It’s not what’s best for the SEC or the Big Ten or the Pac-12, but what’s best for the game. That way, there’s no self-interest.”

Blutarsky’s Rule:  Any time someone suggests having a background in the NFL is a plus for making suggestions to improve college football, walk away.

I’d go on a rant here about how college football’s one saving grace right now in antitrust court is that there is some real competition between the conferences and that doing what these coaches suggest would immediately trash that, but I think I’ll simply state that if even Bob Bowlsby – Bob Bowlsby, for Gawd’s sake – knows this won’t work…

Added Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby: “The idea of having a commissioner over football is probably imposing a structure over college sports that is better in place for professional sports.”

… it really is a brain-dead suggestion.

As for who would make a good CFB commissioner, I have a better candidate than anyone on Rittenberg’s list:  Donald Trump.  After all, he’s got professional football league management experience.  Who better to make College Football Great Again?

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“There’s got to be some limitations.”

You know, for a sport defined by a lack of parity, college football sure seems to have a lot of folks demanding a level playing field.

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The rule that would be kryptonite to Penn Wagers

Now this strikes me as an excellent idea.

The Canadian Football League has taken a step to use technology in order to limit the number of officiating mistakes in its games, and they won’t be the last. The CFL announced last week it has added a video official to each of its crews to address “obvious mistakes” missed by the officials on the field and not covered by replay challenges.

The change makes the CFL the first North American sports league to do so. The video official will be located in the CFL’s central command center in Toronto, much like how the NBA handles its replay system.

A real-time example, as cited by CBC Sports:

The CFL will add a video official to address obvious errors not covered by replay challenges, such as when both the offense and defense enter the neutral zone before the snap. In that case, the replay official could examine the play and tell the referee which team jumped first.

“Expanding what can be reviewed will not result in a slower game because coaches are not being provided with additional reviews per game,” CFL senior vice president of football Glen Johnson, the CFL’s senior vice president of football said in a statement. “In fact, we’re looking to reduce the number of delays and the number of penalties, while improving the quality of the game and protecting the health of our players.”

Unfortunately, I don’t see the SEC taking up the CFL’s banner here, because it would cost money.  Or because its officials don’t ever make obvious mistakes.  Take your pick.

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Mapping the love

This is pretty cool (h/t).

You can see why Mike Slive was considered such a marketing genius, can’t you?  With those demographics, any of my kids could have engineered a better TV deal than the first one Slive cut.

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So far, they’re still geniuses.

Nobody’s gone broke overestimating the passion of college football fans, SEC fans in particular.

Viewership is up across the board. The SEC set an all-time record across all conferences with 7,784,376 fans in 2015, leading all FBS conferences in average attendance for the 18th consecutive year with 78,630 fans per game.  There were attendance records set at lower levels of CFB, as well.

Of the reams of data to go through at the linked article, here’s one that deserves a lot of attention:

  • For the seventh consecutive year, the “SEC ON CBS” was the highest-rated regular season college football package on any network. CBS Sports’ national coverage of SEC football averaged a national household rating/share of 3.4/8. This marked the 20th season of SEC football on CBS.
  • CBS also scored the season’s highest-rated and most-watched college football game with the SEC Championship between Alabama and Florida on Dec. 5. The game delivered an average national household rating/share of 7.8/17 and averaged 12.76 million viewers.
  • CBS also had the second most-watched game of the season: Alabama’s primetime showdown versus LSU on Nov. 7, which averaged 11.06 million viewers.

I guess free TV still has its upside.  Advantage:  SEC (and to a lesser extent, Notre Dame).  Think they’re dumb enough to give that up?  For the right amount of Mickey’s money, sure.

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Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

PAC Men

In Today’s Great Ideas Whose Time Has Come,

Division-I athletic directors want to create strong ties with Congress, state legislatures and other governmental bodies, and perhaps start a political action committee. Those are among the goals listed in the 2016-17 strategic plan for the Division 1A Athletic Directors’ Association, which is trying to make ADs more relevant in shaping the NCAA’s future.  [Emphasis added.]

Question:  would Greg McGarity tap the reserve fund for this?

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Filed under College Football, Political Wankery

More NCAA rules for everybody!

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel hath spoken, people.  Among other things, it’s announced it has:

  • moved to allow the instant replay official to stop the game and create a targeting foul in situations where an egregious action occurred and was missed by on-field officials.
  • approved the use of electronic devices for coaching purposes in the press box and locker room during the game. However, that equipment will still be prohibited on the sidelines, in the team areas and on the field. Additionally, the home institution is responsible for ensuring identical television capability and identical video and Internet connectivity in the coaches’ booths of both teams.
  • directed that the Football Rules Committee will instruct officials to stringently enforce the 3-yard limit regarding ineligible receivers downfield and adjust officiating mechanics to better officiate plays.

I’ll believe that last one when I see it.

The targeting change will probably make the on-field officials even more skittish about those calls.

As far as electronic devices, that opens up a whole new frontier for Nick Saban to challenge.

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Filed under College Football, The NCAA