Category Archives: College Football

And now, a word from Bill Connelly’s heart

After doing advanced stat projections for all 128 D-1 teams, Bill gets subjective and gives an opinion-based ranking here.

And, yes, Georgia at number five makes me nervous.

On the other hand, I agree with him completely about LSU, my pick for the SEC’s biggest mystery right now.

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Filed under College Football

“After 30 or 40 years, we expect you to name a building after yourself.”

If you’re intrigued by the concept of what a D-1 football program that paid more than lip service to academics would look like, here you go.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football

Just your typical student

Part of college football’s power over us comes from what I call the romance of amateurism, the idea that the kids we see on television and cheer on in our stadiums are in school for the same reason our next-door neighbor’s son is, and that, outside of those game days when we connect with them, they lead the same lives.  It’s an ideal that the NCAA and the schools have done their damnedest to exploit to their profit.

But it’s nothing more than a convenient fiction.

Unless you think this is the kind of thing every college kid utters about himself…

“I’m here to serve the people,” sophomore running back Sony Michel said. “They’re fans and if they ask for something, I’m willing to give them my autograph. It’s no big deal.”

… while in almost the same breath his head coach is close to calling for an outright ban on the practice.

“You’re just about to the point where you say don’t sign anything for anybody,” coach Mark Richt said. “But that’s tough. I don’t think we can get to that point. But if you are doing it for pay, then you are wrong and you just shouldn’t do it.”

That isn’t to say Richt is a hypocrite.  He’s only pointing out the consequences of living with the risk of violating NCAA norms. Sadly, between the Green and Gurley suspensions, he’s the closest thing we’ll find to an expert on the subject.

But it’s not just about autographs and some money on the side.  More than anything else, it’s about control.

At Clemson, Dabo Swinney has banned his players from social media during football season.

Don’t expect to see any tweets, snapchats or Facebook posts from the Clemson Tigers the next few months.

As has become standard practice, the Tigers’ social media ban went into effect on Aug. 3, reportsUSA Today.

Players are not required to delete or deactivate their accounts, but are “forbidden” from being active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media during the season, according to the report.

The ban is intended to keep players’ focus on football as opposed to the outside world.

Now some of you may applaud this as a necessary or wise step.  But if that’s the case, why is focus only important for players during football season? Why doesn’t Clemson apply such a ban to all students attending school on full scholarships, or all of its enrollees?  For that matter, if the academic mission of a school is as important as the athletic one, why doesn’t Swinney ban his players from social media during the entire school year? (And while I’m asking, if you’re the parent of a child attending college and you approve of what Swinney has done, have you imposed such a ban?)

Whatever happened to letting kids learn a few life lessons from their experiences along the way?  Isn’t that supposed to be part of a college education?  What’s the point of treating twenty-somethings, people close to having to step out and make it in the real world, in the way we’d treat our eight-year old daughter?

It happens because they’re football players, because their coaches make millions of dollars a year and because those coaches think that control equals accountability (for them, not their players).  All of which may be true, but has nothing to do with the way the average college student is allowed to lead his or her life.

Another thing to keep in mind here is that those of us outside the arena don’t see student-athletes as mere students.

Carter and teammate Jake Ganus said the attention they get is nothing compared to that of running back Nick Chubb.

Even some of the other players get extra attention simply for knowing Chubb.

“I’m not Nick Chubb, but I am Nick Chubb’s friend,” Ganus said.

Chubb is aware of the public persona that comes with being a star on the Georgia football team. He likes having the ability to have his peace and quiet every so often.

“That’s part of job,” Chubb said. “You come here to be a football player, but other things come with it and that’s one of it. People want to see me and greet me and I enjoy it. But sometimes I just like to fall back into the shadows.”

Just like… I’ll let you finish the sentence there.

But it’s not just us fans who are guilty of that.  The schools themselves, the purveyors of amateurism romance, are just as bad in their own way.

Unless you think that Tennessee paints rocks for every kid who applies there.

Believe it or not, my point isn’t that this is why players deserve to be paid.  It’s that the system surrounding them is corrupt and hypocritical. The NCAA and its member schools try to straddle a divide of amateur innocence on one side and big money with big demands on student-athletes on the other.  And it’s a gap that grows ever wider as more money flows into the system and raises the stakes.  The romance isn’t sustainable, and the sooner we realize that, the less we’ll be hurt by the sport’s changes.

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

Replay? Take your time, fellas. It’s not that big a deal.

We live in an imperfect world, I know.  And so it’s not reasonable to expect perfection from college football replay.  But with all the money rolling into the sport, is it too much to ask for better effort from the conference offices than this?

Carollo said he considered in 2009 making the Big Ten command center the sole place for replay decisions, but the bandwidth wasn’t good enough and “quite frankly, our replay officials in the Big Ten needed more work.” Today, technology is so much better. The new competition committee plans to discuss ways to improve replay after 2015.

“The people in the stands have HD phones that they know are better and faster than what we use,” Carollo said. “We think we need to stay at least even, if not ahead, of the game…”

Gee, that would be nice.  In the meantime, they can always farm out replay calls to the fans with the better technology.

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Filed under College Football

“Nick Chubb. He runs hard, I’ll tell you that. He runs like he’s in trouble.”

That’s a great quote from Vanderbilt LB Nigel Bowden in a good Jon Solomon piece about a survey of 42 SEC players on a variety of topics, from who’s the best player in the conference to how many teams should be in the CFP field.

The only real surprise in it for me was how many players are unconcerned about concussion risks.  Either the schools have really upped their game on protecting the kids, or a lot of heads are buried in the sand.

Anyway, take a minute to read it.

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Filed under College Football

Blah, blah, blahing it

Blatant Homerism’s Allen Kenney was gracious enough to invite me to do a podcast about… well, about what’s wrong with college football these days.  I kidded him beforehand that it would turn out to be the most depressing podcast he ever hosted and I think we lived up to the promise.

You can give it a listen here.

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Filed under College Football, The Blogosphere

Thursday morning buffet

Do I need to tell you what to do here?  I didn’t think so.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football, See You In Court, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas