Category Archives: College Football

Nick Saban, “so far out”

Nick Saban’s over a nine-game conference schedule now.

He wants ten games.  And more.

“We should play all teams in the Power 5 conferences,” Saban said Wednesday. “If we did that, then if we were going to have bowl games, we should do the bowl games just like we do in the NCAA basketball tournament — not by record but by some kind of power rating that gets you in a bowl game. If we did that, people would be a little less interested in maybe bowl games and more interested in expanding the playoff.”

“You eliminate the six wins to get in a bowl game and now you can have a different kind of scheduling that is more fan interest, more good games, bring out the better quality team,” he said, “and whether you expand the playoff or have a system where it’s like now — we take the top 12 teams and decide what bowl game they go to — just take them all.

“In this scenario, there would be more opportunity to play more teams in your league, as well as to have more games that people would be interested in. We all play three or four games a year now that nobody’s really interested in. We’d have more good games, more public interest, more fan interest, better TV.”

Saban suggested a 10-game SEC schedule, for example, plus two Power 5 nonconference opponents during the regular season.

Other than why this would need to lead to playoff expansion, I’m in love.  How can you argue with any of “more good games, more public interest, more fan interest, better TV”?  That’s why I question his embrace of the basketball tournament format.  An expanded tourney waters down the regular season; there may be more good regular season college basketball games by his standard, but March Madness dilutes them of much meaning and, thus, public interest.

But combine the rest of what he’s talking about with the current four-school football playoff?  Jeez, talk about heaven on earth…

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62 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Nick Saban Rules

My favorite year

Without a doubt, in my lifetime as a college football fan (as opposed to a Georgia football fan), there’s no season I have enjoyed more than the 2007 one.  It was absolutely and unpredictably nuts from start to finish, with plenty of stops along the way.

So, it is with great pleasure that I share with you SBNation’s tribute to that season.  Check out the following pieces in particular:

The end result:  the only national champion to lose two regular season games in multiple overtimes.

Crazy as hell.  But great.  I doubt we’ll see another season like it again.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, The Evil Genius, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

“When do these kids get a break?”

It’s nice that Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo thinks the grind of a 14-week college football schedule is pushing it for student-athletes.

“I feel for these guys right now,” Niumatalolo told the Sentinel of his Midshipmen players. “These guys don’t get any breaks … they go year-round.”

Niumatalolo, 52, points out that unlike when he played in the late 1980s, being a college football player nowadays requires a year-round commitment. Most freshmen enroll early and many players spend much of their offseason in the weight rooms with strength coaches or at camps instead of working out by themselves.

“When do these kids get a break?” he asks.

Niumatalolo has his own unique perspective on the situation.

As a parent of two sons currently playing college football at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, he’s witnessed firsthand the impact of being a football player in the modern era.

“It never ends for them,” Niumatalolo adds.

In the wake of the NCAA recently eliminating two-a-day practices, some coaches have pushed up the start of fall practices a week earlier than normal in order to get the maximum 29 practices in before the start of the football season. In Navy’s case, for instance, fall practice begins on July 31.

I just wish he wasn’t finding something of an equivalence between their situation and that of his assistant coaches, who get paid for their time.

Both Niumatalolo and Leipold expressed concern for the wear-and-tear a prolonged season would have on their assistant coaches.

“We continue to shorten the calendar on time for our assistant coaches ….” Leipold said of the possible impact on his staff. “You start doing this and we’ve got to really be concerned about the life of an assistant football coach at the FBS level.”

“You go from the season to recruiting, to spring ball and during spring recruiting you’re going to have official visits …” adds Niumatalolo, who points to changes to the recruiting calendar with an early signing period in December and open recruiting in the months of April, May, and June. “It’s just becoming such a vicious cycle. I don’t see where it ends.

Yeah, that’s a shame.  Too bad all they get is a scholarship and free food… oh, wait.

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Filed under College Football

Loss of institutional control

This is too fucking rich.

Nick Saban cannot contain himself. Such is the case when an issue impacts his ability to coach football at the highest level.

It’s been seven months since Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipped their bowl games, but their actions have created one of the hottest topics of the offseason.

What if, Saban wonders, ducking out for the pros before a bowl game becomes a college trend? Or worse …

“Same thing will happen in high school if they make the signing day before the season,” Saban told CBS Sports. “It will take a few years, then some kid will say, ‘Hey, I’m going to Notre Dame. I’m not playing my senior year.’

“Then the high school coach will go nuts.”

That Nick Saban.  So selfless.  Never thinking of himself.

The apple, it seems, doesn’t fall that far from the tree, either.

“It’s a major negative to me because it takes away from the team aspect of the sport,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “… Are we going to get to a point where someone commits to a college and says, ‘I don’t want to play my [high school] senior year for fear of injury?'”

Coaches like Saban and Smart can jump ship any time they’d like, without repercussion (other than a pesky buyout clause, maybe).  Indeed, Saban is on his fifth head coaching gig and nobody’s playing the “taking away from the team aspect of the sport” card on his ass.  But a player daring to take his career considerations into his own hands?  That’s death.

Even Smart detects a whiff of hypocrisy there.

“I definitely sympathize and see both sides of it,” Smart said. “I don’t want to sound like the selfish coach that only thinks of himself. Also, think of the purity of the game. You’re playing for more than the coach. You’re playing for a team, a university.”

Okay, only a faint whiff.

There aren’t many times when a player has control over his career.  A stud finishing his third college season with a likely NFL check staring him in the face has just that.  And it’s killing coaches like Saban and Smart.

There’s not a damned thing they can do about it, either, other than trying to convince the NFL to penalize kids for making a decision to skip a bowl game.  Good luck with that.  Of course, they could always advocate for student-athletes to be paid enough where it becomes worth their while to stay in school… eh, who am I kidding with that?

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

“People are concerned about the time.”

But, as usual, not concerned enough to question the amount of time devoted to commercial breaks.

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Filed under College Football

They’ll let anybody on a preseason watch list.

The folks running the Davey O’Brien Award aren’t even trying.

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Filed under College Football

Workin’ for the man isn’t really a job.

Greg Sankey can be such a card.

Greg Sankey knew the exact amount of time between the end of the College World Series and the beginning of Southeastern Conference media days.

He knows because he was there in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 27 when Florida beat LSU to win the national championship. He knows because he was there, too, on Monday, stepping to the microphone to begin media days.

“We used to sing ‘Twelve Days of Christmas,’ ” Sankey joked in his opening address to reporters. “We’re working on ‘Twelve Days of Summer’ as a new song. It does go quickly.”

Chuckle, chuckle.

Remember, this is coming from the guy who said this week that the SEC is following the discussion on expanding the college football season an additional week, with its attendant price of shortening the period between the end of summer school and the start of fall camp.

Then again, Sankey’s joviality may stem from the reality that there ain’t really that much time now, anyway.

More than half of the league is beginning preseason camp in July, according to tentative dates that emerged this week.

The NCAA Division I Council abolished two-a-days this spring, a ruling that resulted in the addition of an extra week of camp. Schools can start seven days earlier than in previous years.

Some are using it. Others are not.

Practices are beginning as early as July 25 at Mississippi State and as late as Aug. 3 at Alabama…

… The Bulldogs don’t complete the second term of summer classes until Aug. 2-3, a week after camp is scheduled to start. LSU will have a short break — just two days — from the time summer school ends (July 27) to its reporting date of July 30. Drills begin July 31.

Coach Ed Orgeron purposely planned the schedule to allow his players to potentially return home before the grueling weeks of camp begin.

“I couldn’t push it any farther back,” he said. “Got to give the guys a couple of days off. We cannot push it back another week. That’s going to dig into our summer school time. We’re starting as early as we can.”

Two whole days to spend with the family.  Ed, you’re a real prince.

For Mullen, even starting as early as possible isn’t enough.  It seems the NCAA has left too much slack in the players’ schedule for his comfort.

The NCAA has made it mandatory that players receive one full day off per week during drills. Complete off days were not mandatory and were somewhat of a rarity in previous years.

Mullen, a previous member of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee, is against a full day off. He’d like to see the policy tweaked to allow coaches to, say, teach a non-football class on players’ off days.

“Instead of sitting around a hotel on their back for the entire day, bring them in and have two hours of life skills,” he said.

Lazy sumbitches, sitting on their backs.  Good thing the coaches don’t treat them like they’re on a job.

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Filed under College Football