Category Archives: ESPN Is The Devil

Just keep those checks rolling in, please.

Read this ESPN piece – and think about it being an ESPN piece while you read it – and ask yourself two questions:  (1) is Bob Bowlsby the canary in the coal mine; and (2) if he is, does he realize it yet?  I mean, this is pretty doom and gloom stuff here:

But as one industry insider who worked directly with programming and distribution before recently leaving for another job in the industry indicated, there’s also plenty reason to be pessimistic a Big 12 network could ever get off the ground.

“I believe the days of conference networks have kind of come and gone for the most part,” the insider said. “The SEC Network feels like the last one to me. No cable or satellite distributor wants to pay for another network, not in this environment.”

Customers moving away from subscription are part of that environment.

“I feel that the Big 12 network is an uphill battle,” the insider said. “Nobody in the industry wants to spend money right now in the satellite or cable distribution world. Nobody wants to dance in this climate. That is the biggest issue with a [Big 12] network.”

Before you brush that off as a case of someone working the refs, consider the TV deal Conference USA is taking.

Rights fees for C-USA television are expected to fall from about $1 million per school to between $300,000 to $400,000.

Although TV revenue will decrease, MacLeod said the number of C-USA games that will be televised will increase.

More games for less money… such a deal.

As the ESPN piece indicates, the Pac-12 network has fallen woefully short of expectations.  The jury is still out on where the ACC is headed, although in any case, it looks like it won’t be top-tier in revenues, either.

Regardless, the ACC does not appear positioned to match or surpass the Big Ten or SEC in annual per-school distributions. Most recently available tax returns, for fiscal 2013-14, show the Big Ten at $26.4 million per school, the SEC at $20.9 million – that doesn’t reflect the SEC Network – and the ACC at $19.3 million. The Big Ten and SEC project future distributions of more than $40 million and $30 million, respectively.

When it comes to cash flow, the reality may simply be that the P5 is really more of a P2+3, not because Delany and Sankey are so much more savvy than Bowlsby, Scott and Swofford (not to say they aren’t), but because the former two are sitting on larger pools of college football-crazed fans.  Which is to suggest that if the Big 12 is looking for real bang for the buck, it’s not going to come from the likes of Cincinnati or Houston, but from raiding a major program or two from another P5 conference.  Is that likely, or is losing a Texas or Oklahoma to the Big Ten or SEC, both of which can afford the asking price, more likely?

Aside from that, here’s the other longer term consideration.

So while ACC revenue has doubled within four years, it needs more. Not as much as the Big Ten and SEC necessarily – if money were everything, the Big Ten would have a helluva lot more than one men’s basketball and two football national titles in the last 25 years – but an infusion, and the largest source figures to be media rights.

Right now, in terms of competing, money isn’t quite everything, although it certainly helps.  Should Jeffrey Kessler get his way, though, what happens in an era when conferences are competing with each other over player payment?  Those extra millions per year are gonna come in mighty handy.

In the meantime, I guess you can hope John Swofford’s right when he says,

“I’ve been hearing forever that rights fees and television dollars are going to level out or go backwards,” he said, “and I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years now. It’s never happened. It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but there’s not much history to suggest that it will happen. …

Somebody’s in for a surprise.  We’ll see if it’s the conferences or ESPN.


Filed under Big 12 Football, ESPN Is The Devil, It's Just Bidness

Thursday morning buffet

Grab a plate and dig in, folks.

  • Nick Robinson has decided to transfer.  I can’t say I’m surprised, but I do think he can play a little.
  • Marshall Long isn’t on campus yet, but he’s already thinking about how he’ll punt to North Carolina’s return man.
  • Led by a disappointing ESPN, Disney missed on its earnings targets.
  • The Washington Post looks at the Redskins’ seventh-round draft pick, Keith Marshall.
  • Spoilsport alert“An Omaha man is suing the University of Nebraska in an attempt to curb the balloon release tradition that happens at Husker football games, citing a 1976 federal law governing waste disposal.”  (h/t)
  • Over at Dawgs247, Jake Rowe takes a stab at projecting a depth chart for Georgia’s offense.  The pleasant surprise (for me, at least) is that the wide receiver roster no longer gives me heart palpitations.
  • Why is Texas staying quiet in realignment talks?  Because it can.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, See You In Court, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Cranking up the narrative to 11

So, based on this, this and this, by which game will it be when you expect ESPN crosses the line into outright skepticism about Kirby’s coaching acumen if Jacob Eason hasn’t been named the starter?


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

It’s gonna be a long, hot summer.

I don’t mean what the thermometer will show in July and August.  I’m talking about the ESPN-led hype of Jacob Eason, which is off to an early start.

Even after a strong G-Day performance, hold off on crowning Georgia freshman QB Jacob Eason the team’s starter.

The staff has indicated this spring that Eason, the 6-foot-5 early enrollee from Washington, has some learning to do.

That said …

“There’s two or three throws a practice that make you stop and say, ‘Wow,’ ” a Georgia assistant told Insider.

Veteran Greyson Lambert would be the starter if the season began today, those close to the program have indicated. Eason has plenty of time between now and September to close the gap; it’s all about how consistently he can perform in Jim Chaney’s system by then.

Throw in this observation from one of the SEC Network’s talking heads…

… and, well, Kirby Smart may not want a quarterback controversy, but it looks like the WWL may do its damnedest to provide him with one anyway.


UPDATE:  Enter Herbstreit.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

Hey, everybody, ESPN’s back with those stats with initials!

Nah, not QBR.  It’s ESPN’s Football Power Index.

The Football Power Index (FPI) is a measure of team strength that is meant to be the best predictor of a team’s performance going forward for the rest of the season. FPI represents how many points above or below average a team is. Projected results are based on 10,000 simulations of the rest of the season using FPI, results to date, and the remaining schedule. Ratings and projections update daily.


FWIW, Georgia’s ninth in FPI, which sounds nice, except that’s only good for fifth-best in the SEC, which doesn’t sound as nice.

I only mention this because it’s early April and I’m bored.  You can ignore this proprietary measurement for the rest of the season now.  Except when the WWL is shoving it in your face, that is.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Stats Geek!

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.


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

An ESPN narrative we can all support.

For more than one reason, I am so down with this train of thought.

As he continues to reshape his image in Tuscaloosa, it feels like only a matter of time until Kiffin gets the call he’s looking for. After all, every radioactive element has a half-life; maybe we’ve reached Kiffin’s.

Saban will turn 65 years old this season and with his longtime defensive coordinator Kirby Smart now the head coach at Georgia, it’s unclear who Alabama would turn to in the event of his retirement. Former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain was a fan favorite after leading Colorado State to back-to-back bowl games in 2013-14, but now he’s at Florida for the foreseeable future. So does that leave Kiffin as the in-house candidate to replace Saban? If not now, then what about a few years from now, when he’s fully in tune with Saban’s process?

Junior as Saban’s successor?  One can only hope.

I think PAWWWLLL should start pushing this immediately.  Maybe a Herbstreit tweet is in order, too.

Run with this, WWL peeps.  The world needs the Laner in Tuscaloosa.


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, ESPN Is The Devil