Category Archives: It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Deserve’s got something to do with it.

For mid-majors, it sounds like TV money is the new playoffs.

According to the records, the American earned $42.179 million in postseason tournaments, including money generated from the NCAA Tournament, revenue from appearances in bowl games and a share of the College Football Playoff as mandated by the playoff management group.

The league received more than $20 million in revenue from its television and radio rights shared over a variety of networks, including ESPN and CBS Sports. The conference’s current media rights deal ends in 2020.

“The real game-changer for us would be TV because we’re just not getting anywhere near what we deserve in TV,” American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco said. “It’s a throwback to that five-year ago period when we were very unstable and the whole situation was unstable and that’s just not remotely true now.

“I think at the time, I don’t think anyone realized how powerful our schools could become. We’ve established ourselves as a nationally relevant and respected conference and now it’s a question of making sure that results in a TV deal that we need to keep this going. It’s a mixture of exposure and revenue.”

I do not think “powerful” means what you think it means, brother.

Checking the NCAA attendance figures, here’s what the AAC brought to the table last season:  sixth in per game average, almost 20,000 fewer than the fifth-place ACC, which was a drop of almost 3,000 per game from the previous year; Central Florida, its conference champion, playing an undefeated season in a large metropolitan area, mirrored the conference overall in drawing 20,000 fewer fans per game than the 30th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys did.

The same story is repeated with television broadcast ratings.

You want more money?  You need more eyeballs.

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“If you want excellence, you have to invest in it.”

This shit is insane.

Though college athletes aren’t paid, recruiting them is an enterprise that has many of the wine-and-dine hallmarks of the corporate world. Powerhouse programs, like those at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin, can afford those prices. Both schools put more than $2 million toward recruiting last year while raking in millions more in revenue.

But recruiting costs are also rising at other Texas schools that compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision: Texas Tech, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at El Paso, UTSA and Texas State University.

Unlike A&M’s and UT-Austin’s athletics programs, the programs at those six schools can’t sustain themselves financially. Last year, those six athletics programs were subsidized by a combined $116 million in student fees and other institutional funds.

Spreadsheets and receipts provided to The Texas Tribune under open records laws show that many schools’ recruiting costs go toward travel expenses – like airfare for recruits and coaches, rental cars, chartered buses and limousine companies — and meals that ranged from a $7,200 catered breakfast to $21.11 spent on Torchy’s Tacos.

The expenses also document the presence of cottage industries that have sprung up around college sports recruiting, like coaches’ packets that contain information about up-and-coming high school players.

“Sold at recruiting events,” these packets “include booklets with information on potential recruit schools, stats on scoring, heights, weight, etc.,” reads a note at the bottom of a ledger of expenses from UTEP.

Last year, coaches at UTEP and two other schools paid more than $12,000, collectively, for these packets about prospective football players and women’s and men’s basketball players. At least another $100,000 was spent among those colleges on scouting services, specialized software, access to databases and certain fees.

There aren’t enough student fees in the world for UTEP to keep up with Texas’ obscenely deep pockets.  That’s why I don’t get all the hand wringing over the power schools buying players if amateurism dies.  They’re already doing it, albeit indirectly, now.

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“That’s not how it’s done anymore.”

There is something wonderful about an Alabama head coach gently lecturing another school about trying to claim a national championship.

“If you honor and respect the system that we have, (despite) some of the imperfections that you understand that the system has, then you wouldn’t do something out of respect for the system that we have,” Saban told USA TODAY Sports. “I guess anybody has the prerogative to claim anything. But self-proclaimed is not the same as actually earning it. And there’s probably a significant number of people who don’t respect people who make self-proclaimed sort of accolades for themselves.”

I mean, who doesn’t love them some college football traditions?

Alabama claims 17 national championships, including some that are disputed and several claimed retroactively.

Can’t say I’m particularly sympathetic to Central Florida here, but, damn, Nick, your team won, okay?  There’s no need to pontificate about it.

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With eight, you get Tater Tot.

Terry Bowden wants — nay, needs — an eight-team college football playoff so he can look his players in the eye.

No, seriously, that’s exactly what he said.

On Monday, Bowden told WJOX 94.5 FM that the College Football Playoff should grow from four to eight teams. At this point in Bowden’s career, his stance isn’t a surprise. Given that he’s coaching outside of a power conference, Bowden admitted that his team doesn’t have a chance to compete for a national title each season. He said the situation would be improved if eight teams were allowed to participate in the College Football Playoff.

“I wish I could look my players in the eye and say, ‘Men, we’re playing for the national championship.’ But in reality, we’re not,” Bowden said on the radio appearance. “Now we can get a poster that says we’re the national champions just as Central Florida did. But as I said, the playoff must go to eight teams. Even a team with one loss in the SEC or even probably the Big Ten is going to be higher ranked than a team at the mid-major level because of strength of schedule. … It’s hard to justify which [are] really the strongest teams.”

Yeah, it’s really hard to tell Alabama and Akron apart in that regard.  I’m sold, Terry.

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Thanks for the memories.

Welp, Scott Frost is dead to Central Florida now.

“… But at the end of the day, the playoff system is that the national champion is the team that wins the playoff.”

If that sounds like Frost isn’t completely aboard the national title train, it’s because he’s not.

“All I’ll say is if we had stayed there, I would have had a hard time getting behind it,” he says. “I think it was smart by them, because it has kept UCF in the media and in the conversation. But you know, like our rings, I kind of wish my ring just said ‘Undefeated Season’ and ‘Peach Bowl Champion.’ ”

If the football gods have a sense of humor, they’ll match Nebraska and UCF in a bowl game this season.

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Never gonna give you up.

Look who’s celebrating their 2017 natty!

You know, maybe we’re looking at this all wrong.  Think where Central Florida’s narrative would be right now if the CFP or BCS had never existed.  You know there would be some poll out there that would have them at the top.

Hey, that’s how Bama got started with its eight hundred or so national titles.

*********************************************************************

UPDATE:  This is richly amusing on a number of levels.

 

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Playing down to their level

Man, of all the folks you’d think you’d never have to advise to act like you’ve been there before… take it away, Alabama AD:

Which immediately allowed for this retort:

Rolled Tide.

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