Category Archives: ESPN Is The Devil

“We understand the finances that are available through TV.”

Color me a little surprised by the next hill the American Football Coaches Association has decided to assault.

The American Football Coaches Association will begin to ask the NCAA to consider a process adjusting game times that better benefit athletes this week.

Time demands on players have become a top NCAA priority. Coaches and administrators have increasingly complained about teams getting back from road trips in the middle of the night — or early morning — after night games.

AFCA executive director Todd Berry told CBS Sports, “We feel like there are times when you’re traveling cross country or on a long bus ride. If someone is not getting back until 4 in the morning because of a start time, is this really fair to the student-athlete?”

The proposal is preliminary and will be made while Berry is in Indianapolis this week as an ex-officio member of the NCAA Oversight Committee. That committee would have to first consider the measure before it is passed up the chain to become formal legislation.

Berry would not reveal any specifics, but he says there is a detailed plan regarding time zones and when schools return from road trips…

Don’t get me wrong.  This appears to be a legitimate “think of the children” concern and I applaud the coaches for going there.

But.  Still.

Inevitably, any such discussion about earlier game times will have to involve TV partners. Industry sources say such time adjustments are a long shot. The television rights held by the networks allow them to dictate starting times as a way to recoup the money paid to those conferences. The popularity of those games is reflected in ratings and ad revenue.

“These things are all governed by contracts and the quality of the game,” an industry source said. “The reason the game has become as popular as it has, they’re televised in the best possible time slot.”

Another industry source cited ESPN’s stance. The network has loads of programming to fit into a day. If it allowed outside influence to impact game times, the network “would be out of business.”

Yeah, Mickey might have a problem with that.  And since everybody in college football is sucking from that teat — including the coaches, when you get down to it — you’d have to think what’s the WWL’s problem is their problem, too.

In other words, don’t get your hopes up, kids.

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Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

Rise and shine

One other thing about that ESPN spring FPI set of rankings:

Teams on the rise

There are four teams in the top 25 in the spring football version of Preseason FPI that are at least 20 spots higher than their ranking at the end of last season.

… Georgia is up to No. 13 after finishing outside the top 40 in 2016. The Bulldogs return 17 starters, tied for the most in the SEC, and added the No. 3 recruiting class.

It’s another sign that it’ll be hard to make the case for 2017 being a second throwaway year for Kirby Smart.  ESPN’s not buying in.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Live, in front of a television audience

The MAC decides to boldly go where no other conference has gone.

You either love MACtion or you hate America. Pick a side, comrade.

While you’re deciding, take a look at the vast array of dates this November when Mid-American Conference football games will be showcased: 11/1, 11/2, 11/7, 11/8, 11/9, 11/14, 11/15, 11/16, 11/21 and 11/24.

That seems like a lot of game days, especially since there are only four Saturdays in college football’s most critical month. November contains 30 total days. Ten of them will feature MACtion.

Guess which day of the week won’t have any?

NOVEMBER IN THE MAC, 2017
NOVEMBER DAY MAC GAMES
TUESDAY 12
WEDNESDAY 7
THURSDAY 4
FRIDAY 3
SATURDAY 0

Imagine being a season ticket holder and seeing this. Now blink, makes some weird noises and imagine how quickly you just decided to stop being a season ticket holder.

There’s only one reason to do that, and, podnah, you know what that is.

It’s not hard to see that ESPNthe MACquietly made a financial decision to transform its flagship sport from a live in-person rite of college life into made-for-TV programming for the masses for the sake of margins. The casual smattering of fans in their stands is set to shrink even more, and the atmosphere that makes November college football so great will be replaced with a figurative green screen, along with literal green.

On the bright side, I bet you can pick up a Tuesday night ticket to watch the Zips play for pennies on the dollar.  Maybe a penny on the dollar, now that I think about it.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

ESPN’s got some new narrative for you, with numbers.

Hey, everybody, it’s QBR’s kissing cousin, ESPN’s FPI!  According to Mickey’s computers, Georgia is a narrow choice to win the SEC East.  The projected order of finish looks like this:

  1. Georgia
  2. Florida
  3. Tennessee
  4. South Carolina
  5. Kentucky
  6. Missouri
  7. Vanderbilt

The Commodores may have the lowest FPI showing in the conference, but it’s still good for 46th in the country, a sign that ESPN still likes the strength of the SEC.  I presume that’s also reflected in Georgia’s strength of schedule ranking, which is a (much higher than I expected) fourth.

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

You might have a stressed business model if…

Times are tough at the WWL.

SI has learned that ESPN will have significant cost-cutting over the next four months on its talent side (people in front of the camera or audio/digital screen). Multiple sources said ESPN has been tasked with paring tens of millions of staff salary from its payroll, including staffers many viewers and readers will recognize. Those with contracts coming up would be particularly vulnerable, sources said. The company is also expected to buyout some existing contracts, which is something rare for ESPN historically beyond a few NFL talents. The cuts are expected to be completed by June. Sources within ESPN say that there is no set list of names yet and stressed that behind-the-scenes people will likely (key word) not be impacted by these cuts.

Last month Reuters reported Disney had a lower-than-expected quarterly revenue, hurt by the drop in advertising revenue at ESPN. In addition, ESPN continues to shed subscribers at an enhanced rate, down to 88.4 million households in Dec. 2016. That number was 100.002 million in Feb. 2011.

Though it remains one of the great destination jobs in the sports media and hiring will continue, ESPN has experienced significant layoffs over the last two years. In Oct. 2015 the company laid off roughly 300 employees, many who had spent their entire professional careers at ESPN. Sports Business Daily media writer John Ourand, in this piece on those layoffs, examined the skyrocketing rights fees and deep distribution cuts that led to those layoffs.

On Sunday when contacted by SI.com, an ESPN spokesperson provided the following statement: “We have long been about serving fans and innovating to create the best content for them. Today’s fans consume content in many different ways and we are in a continuous process of adapting to change and improving what we do. Inevitably that has consequences for how we utilize our talent. We are confident that ESPN will continue to have a roster of talent that is unequaled in sports.”

Remain calm.  All is well.  This is fine.  Ignore the laid off employees behind the curtain.

Hey, look on the bright side.  At least McGarity’s got another reason to cite for his rainy day fund.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

Spring is sprung.

Here’s the entirety of the SEC’s 2017 spring game schedule.

We’ll know Kirby’s made it when G-Day hits ESPN.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

ESPN has some stats for you.

It’s time to trot out the preseason FPI rankings, everybody!

The model comprises four major components: the last four seasons of performance on offense, defense and special teams, with the most recent season counting most; information on offensive and defensive returning starters, with special consideration given to a team returning its starting quarterback or gaining a transfer quarterback with experience; a four-year average recruiting ranking of four systems (ESPN, Scouts, Rivals and Phil Steele); and head coaching tenure. These four components interact and are assigned different weights depending on the team to produce preseason FPI.

Combining all of the factors above produces a predicted value on offense, defense and special teams, which represents the number of points that each unit would be expected to contribute to the team’s scoring margin if it were to face an average FBS team on a neutral field.

Georgia pops up at number 13, good enough for tops in the SEC East… for what that’s worth.

Meanwhile KC Joyner, who’s brought you such previous hits as Marcus Lattimore, overrated player, and John Brantley’s preseason game greatness, now wants you to know that Georgia is a legitimate college football playoff contender.  In 2017, I mean.

It’s only February, and the offseason feels too damned long already.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!