CUSA just cut a new TV deal with ESPN and CBS. Here’s the part that raises a few eyebrows.
C-USA’s entire slate of October football games will be played during the week, with most on Tuesday and Wednesday, along with some on Thursday and Friday.
All for the low, low price of $750,000 per school. Why make that decision? Product, people!
This idea was floated to me by several people in the league over the last few months. It’s both a way to get more visibility on TV and get a little more money out of the broadcasters. The Mid-American Conference has its MACtion midweek games in November. The Sun Belt has some midweek games as well late in the year. But October live sports content is pretty dry during the week before the NBA and NHL start back up. Instead of being buried on ESPN+ on busy Saturdays, C-USA could be the only game on TV during a weekday in October.
One small catch.
But midweek games are very difficult for fans who want to attend them, especially students and fans who travel long distances. While the MAC gets a lot more TV exposure in November, its crowds are typically barren, in part because of the timing during the week but also the cold weather. This is the tradeoff conferences make when playing midweek games.
Actually, that’s a trade off college football makes every day of the week lately.
Good freakin’ Lord.
A fully guaranteed $5 million a year contract for a G5 coach. Sure, that seems sensible.
This is funny.
They did manage to finish out for the win.
Quite the historic track record for today’s opponent:
Saturday will mark the Golden Flashes’ 22nd road trip against a Power 5 opponent since 2013, including well-compensated dates at Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Clemson, Auburn, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and, most recently, Washington and Oklahoma. Their record in those games: 0-21 by an average score of 42 to 9.
Admittedly, that score wouldn’t cover the spread. So…
Let me preface this by saying I haven’t seen a single minute of Kent State football this season. All I’ve got to go on is stats, schedule and others’ takes on the team, so take this post for what it’s worth.
- General impressions. Steele, in his Preview, picked them to finish second in their MAC division. That being said, he only lists two of their players on his preseason MAC team. Some of that is no doubt due to the fact that they only have ten returning starters. One of the departing players, quarterback Dustin Crum, was the conference’s player of the year last season.
- Scheme. The offense is much more run-heavy this season; their 221.33 rushing average ranks 21st nationally. (They’re 20th in rushing attempts and 56th in yards per carry.) Schlee, this year’s quarterback, has led them in rushing in two games and is the team’s second leading rusher on the season, with a respectable 7.38 yards per rush. He will be Georgia’s first real test for defending a true running quarterback. Defensively, Kent State runs a 3-3-5 scheme.
- Approach. They apparently run a hurry up sort of offense. They’re also pretty decent converting third downs. That being said, they’ve run the same number of plays that Georgia has.
- Scheduling. Saturday marks the end of a brutal run for these guys, having already traveled to Washington and Oklahoma. At a minimum, they’re used to playing in front of large, hostile crowds. And, to their credit, they led Oklahoma until the final minute of the first half. (As you can probably imagine, though, turnovers were problems for them in those two games. They were -2 in each of them. Schlee threw four interceptions.)
Look, I don’t think there are many deep insights to take away here. Kent State, contrary to what Kirby Smart says (a “really, really good football team” capable of knocking them off), is a relatively inexperienced MAC squad with the primary goal tomorrow of not getting beat up physically as they enter conference play. In short, look for more of the same of what we’ve seen from the Dawgs in the first three games.
Andy Staples ($$) brings up something I’ve touched on before, the trends threatening the future returns for mid-majors scheduling guarantee games.
… [Kent State athletic director Randale] Richmond didn’t offer any judgment about what happened before he arrived. But he did point out that those games were signed when demand for such games outstripped supply. In the middle of the last decade, Power 5 schools wanted to buy home games with no return dates without scheduling too many FCS teams. That allowed MAC and Sun Belt schools to drive up the prices of these games. Kent State made $1.2 million to open the 2011 season at Alabama. Georgia will pay 58 percent more for Saturday’s game.
As more Power 5 schools opt for home-and-home series against other Power 5 schools — because fans hated the buy games and showed their displeasure with their absence — the number of buy games is decreasing. Meanwhile, the SEC is considering adding a ninth conference game. The seller’s market has become a buyer’s market.
“Now less games are out there,” Richmond said. “People are out there saying ‘Hey, I still need that revenue. I’ll take less than School X.’ That’s where that next wave is coming.”
It’s the law of supply and demand, and demand looks like it’s starting to dry up. Also, there’s some bottom up squeeze from FCS schools, when you think about it. For the average Georgia fan, Kent State isn’t any more attractive than Samford is. So, if you’re Josh Brooks, why agree to pay mid-major rates when you can schedule a lower tier school at half the price?
Nick Saban is probably asking himself “why didn’t I think of that first?” about now.
You know, it’s Central Florida honoring a Gasparilla Bowl win with a ring, so that’s two strikes against it…
… and, yet, somehow it still works. Go figure.