Category Archives: College Football

Spring composite rankings

The rich stay richer.

Sporting News wanted to gauge how everybody else was ranked. We looked at CBS Sports, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and ESPN to see what a consensus top 25 would look like. We also included SN’s post-spring top 25, which was released Monday.

Screenshot_2019-05-03 College football rankings 2019 Clemson tops Alabama in composite preseason top 25 poll

Shocked, shocked, indeed, to find Clemson and ‘Bama on top.

By the way, Texas sure has milked that epic Sugar Bowl win into heightened expectations, hasn’t it…

Advertisements

16 Comments

Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

The high price of maintaining a cupcake diet

I’ve been wondering for a while how long the scheduling math holds up for certain athletic departments.  It sounds like we’re getting closer to a reckoning.

Purdue has seven home games in 2019. It played seven at home last year, too. But the days of consistently having seven games in Ross-Ade Stadium appear to be finished. None of Purdue’s future schedules through 2025 has seven home games.

“We would like seven games from a pure economics, pure playing-in-front-of-your-home-crowd standpoint … all of that would make great sense,” said Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski. “But so does everyone else. The math doesn’t work. At some point, there has to be some give and take certain years.”

Playing seven games in Ross-Ade Stadium has been the norm. Since 2006–when the NCAA began to allow schools to have 12 scheduled games–Purdue has played seven home games each season except for one: 2017, when it had only six games in Ross-Ade Stadium. That year, Purdue played a neutral site non-league game in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium vs. Louisville to open the Jeff Brohm era. Before that, the last time Purdue played just six home games was in 2005.

“The problem with getting a seventh game a lot of years, the market to buy an opponent has gotten prohibitive,” said Bobinski. “It has gotten to the point where in the current economic reality, we would be upside down. We would be paying more than we take in.”

The seasons that present the most issues for Bobinski are even-numbered years, when Purdue plays just four of nine Big Ten games at home. In those seasons, it would be ideal to have all three non-conference games played in Ross-Ade Stadium. But getting non-league foes–who don’t want a return visit from Purdue–to come to West Lafayette is a pricey proposition.

Supply and demand, baby.  The mids sound like they’ve figured that out.

Scheduling home games with MAC schools–in which Purdue wouldn’t have to make a return visit–has become very expensive. MAC schools sit in the heart of Big Ten country. And they are popular home fodder for Big Ten schools. That competition has driven up the price to lure visits from MAC opponents. Schools like Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State–which have massive stadiums and fat checkbooks–are paying almost $2 million to MAC foes to visit their venues and not require a return visit, according to Bobinski.

“That just becomes math that doesn’t work for us,” he said. “We have stretched it up to $1.2 (million) or somewhere, and that’s a hold-your-breath deal for me to sign those.”

That leaves two options, play more FCS teams, something that carries its own cost, or increase the size of the conference schedule.  At some point, the latter is going to become an attractive option from a cost-savings perspective — and with another round of playoff expansion coming sooner or later, arguably a less risky option, to boot.

Something’s gonna give.

13 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Coaches vs. gamblers

Ooh, I think we’re gonna need some popcorn for this one.

The NCAA Gambling Working Group will propose the first-ever standardized national player availability report for college sports, two sources told CBS Sports.

Later this month, the working group will propose a pilot program that would have coaches list players as “available,” “possible” or “unavailable” for that week’s game without mentioning a specific body part or injury.

That seems pretty anodyne and a safe workaround for privacy concerns related to disclosing personal information about students.  Well, at least if you’re not a coach.

College football coaches are often noted for their lack of transparency when it comes to releasing injury information.

“I think as coaches we’re probably always wired not to give away the game plan,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule said. “We try to do what’s best for our kids. I think it has to be a bigger conversation.”

Washington State’s Mike Leach, for example, has been strictly against releasing any injury information.

When informed of the proposal, Texas coach Tom Herman said, “If I said ‘unavailable,’ I still want the right to make that a game-time decision.”

Those sorts of details have yet to be worked out, according to a source.

Good luck with that, he said.  The problem is that coaches’ control is only half the concern here for the folks running the sport.  Here’s the other half.

However, professional leagues don’t have to deal with federal privacy laws in their injury reports. The Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) keep an individual’s medical information private.

All of this is essentially intended to provide the most accurate information for bettors to keep the games from being corrupted. With the new gambling laws, college sources are already worried about injury information leaking out. That information could be used to get an unfair betting advantage and defraud the system.

“They’ve got to do something. They leave themselves open to corruption,” said Tom McMillen of college sports. McMillen is the president of Lead1 Association, which represents FBS athletic directors.

Every decade since the 1940s, college sports has endured at least one major point-shaving scandal.

Cue the “shocked, shocked” quote here.

The irony here is that coaches are going to lean on student privacy concerns as an excuse to defend their own turf.  And that may work!  When in doubt, doing it for the kids is always college sports’ go-to excuse.  So what if that allows for the occasional betting scandal?  If there’s one thing college athletic departments are good at — aside from doing it for the kids, of course — it’s sweeping pesky little problems that don’t affect the bottom line under the rug.

I mean, what’s a little corruption between good friends?  Just ask the NCAA as the shoe scandal prosecutions unfold.

6 Comments

Filed under Bet On It, College Football

“We certainly are sensitive to church and other events that are held on Sunday.”

Only so far, though.

Oklahoma’s season opener against Houston has been moved to Sunday, Sept. 1. The game will be on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET.

This will be the first Sunday game the Sooners have ever hosted.

You knew Mickey would be involved.

I wonder if beer will be sold.

40 Comments

Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

Today’s slate

Georgia is the only SEC team with a spring game today, but if you’re interested in what else is out there to sample, here’s ESPN’s summary.

I hope they’ve got Mike Leach mic’ed up.

Comments Off on Today’s slate

Filed under College Football, Georgia Football

“We’re better off padding the goal posts.”

Mel Tucker learned right from the start that he wasn’t in Georgia anymore.

The University of Colorado hired a new football coach in December, and as coaches are wont to do, he talked tough.

“Our team, we will be physical,” Coach Mel Tucker said at his introductory news conference. “My dad always told me the name of the game is hit, hit, H-I-T. There is always a place on the field for someone who will hit.”

He was preaching that old-style pigskin religion. Unfortunately, Tucker, who came from the University of Georgia, runs a football program that has produced at least a half-dozen players — including several who played in the N.F.L. — who have killed themselves. Other former players are alive but afflicted by severe post-concussion problems.

Two university regents, dissenters from the Church of Hit, Hit and Hit, read Tucker’s remarks and shook their heads. A few days later, these heretics voted against his five-year, $14.75 million contract. They could not block the contract, but another cannon had been fired in the football concussion wars.

“I really thought at first that we could play football safely with better rules and better equipment; I drank the Kool-Aid,” she told me. “I can’t go there anymore. I don’t believe it can be played safely anymore. I want these young men to leave C.U. with minds that have been strengthened, not damaged.”

I wish I could say I have a good rebuttal for that, but I don’t.  In fact, I don’t think you’ll find a better summary of the dilemma college football faces in that regard than this quote:

“We should move in the direction of offering lifelong insurance and medical care for football players who become badly damaged,” said John Kroll, the other regent who voted against the coach’s contract. “But to do that is an implicit acknowledgment this game is incredibly dangerous to play.”

We love the sport and our passion fuels its success, but, man, the price some of these kids wind up paying for that.  I don’t know about you, but, yeah, I feel a little guilty.  In the meantime, as a minimum, make that lifelong insurance and medical care a reality, schools.  It really is the least you can do.

39 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

Got college football?

Here’s a handy guide to the barrage of spring games tonight and tomorrow.

What’s on your agenda?

13 Comments

Filed under College Football