Category Archives: College Football

A few things to look forward to

A schedule round up…

First, here’s how the opening weekend shapes up on ABC/ESPN.

ABC, ESPN To Kick Off 2016 College Football Season

ABC and ESPN each will feature Week 1 tripleheaders involving ranked teams as the 2016 college football season gets underway on Labor Day Weekend:

Date

Game (site)

Time (ET)

Network

Sept. 1

South Carolina at Vanderbilt

8 p.m.

ESPN

Sept. 3

Ga. Tech vs. Boston College (Dublin)

7:30 a.m.

ESPN2

Sept. 3

Oklahoma at Houston

Noon

ABC

Sept. 3

Hawaii at Michigan

Noon

ESPN

Sept. 3

LSU vs. Wisconsin (Green Bay, Wis.)

3:30 p.m.

ABC

Sept. 3

Georgia vs. North Carolina (Atlanta)

5:30 p.m.

ESPN

Sept. 3

USC vs. Alabama (Arlington, Texas)

8 p.m.

ABC

Sept. 3

Clemson at Auburn

9 p.m.

ESPN

Sept. 4

Notre Dame at Texas

7:30 p.m.

ABC

Sept. 5

Ole Miss vs. Florida State (Orlando)

8 p.m.

ESPN

My ass obviously isn’t going very far that weekend.  And yours?

Next, here’s CFN’s look at its top ten SEC conference games in 2016.  Georgia makes the list twice.

8. Tennessee at Georgia, Oct. 1

Depending on what Florida is able to do, this could be for the East title. Tennessee will be coming off the home game against Florida, but it has to go on the road for three games in the next four dates. The Bulldogs will be more than happy to be home in an oasis on a run of three road games in four weeks, coming off away dates at Missouri and Ole Miss.

6. Florida vs. Georgia (in Jax), Oct. 29

Welcome to the a.k.a. Cocktail Party, Kirby Smart. By this point, the Bulldogs will have played on the road at Missouri, Ole Miss and South Carolina, and will have faced Tennessee, but this is the one a Georgia coach has to win. The Gators have to go to Tennessee and host LSU, but the rest of the slate is relatively light until this point. Win this, and Florida might be the lead dog for the East.

Wedged in between those two is the meteor game in Knoxville.  From here, it’s hard to see how those three games won’t decide the East.

Last is a look at the hardest and softest SEC home and road schedules.  Georgia doesn’t qualify for any of the four spots, although it does get some brief consideration for having an easier road schedule.  The interesting schedule there is Arkansas’, which manages to have both the toughest at home and the softest on the road.

Is it September yet?

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

Viva La Revolucion!

Man, what’s come over Stewart Mandel?

He’s gone from upholding the feudal order to blatant capitalism.  (Fortunately, Georgia is in his new world order.  So much for a Montana Project follow up.)

It’s like watching the Middle Ages come to an end.

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Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

The art of the hold

Trust me, the only thing that will piss you off more than missed holding calls is this article explaining why officials don’t call holding when there’s holding.

When determining whether to reach for the flag, as yourself these two questions:

  • Was there an advantage gained by the offending team?
  • Was there a disadvantage suffered by the offended player?

Once you can answer yes to either question, does the play fit into one of the following buckets:

  • Grab and restrict. When a player takes hold of a would-be tackler and prevents him from advancing toward the ball-carrier. Call it near the point of attack, not if it happens 15 yards away and has no impact on the play.
  • Grab and turn. When a player takes hold of a would-be tackler and spins him away from the play. Again, proximity to the point of attack is a component.
  • Takedown/tackle. The point of attack is not critical here. A takedown to the ground needs to be called anywhere on the field…

And… if someone gets held but just gives up on the play with no effort to get away – even right at the center of the play – it’s not a foul.

If I’m a defensive player, all this tells me is when in doubt, flop.

What’s truly hilarious about this set of evaluations is that if an official was really following one potential holding situation that closely, think about all the other things happening on the play that he isn’t watching.

(h/t)

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Filed under College Football

Sometimes, it’s not the NCAA’s fault.

I always look for a good rant or two after draft day, and here comes Kevin Scarbinsky’s stay in school, kids! piece about how early entrants should be allowed to return to school if they’re not drafted to fill the bill.

You could argue that this could impact scholarship numbers because players declare in January and schools sign recruits in February knowing how many openings they have. If a school has a full complement of 85 players on scholarship, an undrafted underclassmen who wanted to return would put that school over the limit.

Truth is, few schools actually have 85 players on scholarship, and the NCAA could grant waivers for underdrafted underclassmen if they did.

Isn’t the NCAA all about athletes being students as well? Shouldn’t the NCAA want to give players every opportunity to continue their education? And why would the NFL care either way? NFL teams might get a more polished and mature prospect to consider the next year.

If you care about the players, as the NCAA and the NFL should, it just makes sense to give them a chance to continue their formal and football educations.

Uh, you done there?  Good.  Allow Jim Weber to retort.

First, let me give you a little bit of background information with an assist from John Infante of the Bylaw Blog. Contrary to popular belief, a player who declares early for the NFL draft and goes unpicked can return to school within 72 hours of the draft’s conclusion if he hasn’t signed with an agent. In college hockey and baseball, players can even return to school after being drafted (which happens after high school or their junior year) because they don’t declare early; all players except freshmen and sophomores are eligible to be drafted.

The loophole that college baseball and hockey players have used in order to maintain their eligibility and keep the option of returning to school open is using agents only as “advisors” who they pay at their going rates for their services as opposed to signing a contract. Case in point: Baseball super agent Scott Boras is an “advisor” to many high school and college baseball players with the idea he will become their agent once they turn pro.

Because football players who get selected in the NFL draft must leave school, a market has never really developed for college football “advisors.” But with around 30% of early entries going undrafted the last two years, it’s clear those with late-round grades would be wise to choose this route instead.

Weber’s post is from 2013.  The NCAA provision he links to has been on the books in one form or fashion since 2002.  Really.

In football, an enrolled student-athlete (as opposed to a prospective student-athlete) may enter the National Football League draft one time during his collegiate career without jeopardizing eligibility in that sport, provided the student-athlete is not drafted by any team in that league and the student-athlete declares his intention to resume intercollegiate participation within 72 hours following the National Football League draft declaration date.  The student-athlete’s declaration of intent shall be in writing to the institution’s director of athletics.  (Adopted: 10/31/02, Revised: 4/14/03, 12/15/06)

How many kids take advantage of that rule?  Hell, how many of ’em know about the rule?  Weber suggests one reason few, if any, do is because undergrads sign with agents before the draft, instead of merely seeking advisory assistance, and I have no doubt that’s just how agents like it.

But what’s the schools’ excuse?  What about Scarbinsky’s noble sentiment?  Someone more cynical than me might suggest the current format makes it easier for coaches to scare student-athletes into staying by painting a decision to leave early as an one-way ticket with no return, whereas if college players chose to follow the guidelines the NCAA laid down and preserve a right to return, then they would have a much safer means of testing the waters.  Which might very well make it tempting for more kids to test the waters than we already see doing so.  Again, that would be something coming from someone more cynical than me.  Me?  I’m just sayin’.

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Filed under College Football, The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

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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Filed under College Football

“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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Filed under College Football

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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Filed under College Football