I would never voluntarily replace the signature photo that sits at the top of the page here at the blog, but if it were ever to be lost for good, I could live with this as a replacement.
Apparently, this is what passes for a catchy slogan at Arizona State these days.
“Forks Up”? Sounds like people getting ready to attack their dinner. Was “Fork You” already taken?
Kirby’s plantin’ those seeds, peeps.
“We’ll reconvene, come to Memphis and get our practices in, get a game week type prep while we’re in Memphis and get ready to play the game,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “You’ve got to be careful you don’t overdo it and you can’t under-do it. You’ve got to use it to develop your team. We’re certainly going to take the opportunity to do that while we’re in Athens before we head to Memphis.” [Emphasis added.]
One day, maybe after Georgia prepares for its third consecutive trip to the national title game, we’ll look back on the Liberty Bowl prep work as the time when it all came together.
UPDATE: Seth Emerson speculates on some of the players who might benefit from bowl practices.
For once, Bill Hancock speaketh the truth.
The committee’s protocol went out the window this year, but in came a breath of fresh air — the reminder that finding the four best teams overrides anything else in the committee handbook.
Well, except for getting back to the old tried and true of letting coaches, with all their attendant biases and prejudices, have an oversized impact on setting the postseason field.
Those five former coaches in the room? They know how hard it is to win a conference title, and the value of a head-to-head win, but their voices in the room were influential in guiding the committee beyond resumes and into the talent.
“As we looked to our coaches to share their perspective on what they saw on the field,” Hocutt said, “it was determined that Washington was the more talented team.”
Hell, they may be right about that, for all I know. But I thought the point to all this was to reduce the possibility of… oh, forget it.
The committee had reasons for every decision it made. It just wasn’t in sync with what we heard the first two years, when so much emphasis was placed on conference title games (Ohio State, 2014) and head-to-head results (TCU-Baylor, 2014).
But just when you think it overlooked its protocol, there is an example of how the committee followed it.
“I’m not sure Ohio State would have been in the [playoff] this year,” Hancock said, “if it hadn’t gone and played Oklahoma.”
So strength of schedule does matter. And it can be overcome.
“But I believe, I feel strongly about this, that the way to be sure you get in the playoff is to let your players show what they can do against the best competition,” Hancock said. “I don’t envision that part of it changing.”
I’m not sure it’s possible to jam more contradictions in a five-paragraph stretch than that.
The good news is if you expand the playoffs enough, nobody will care any more. Brackets, for the win!
A business management professor at Miami University who because a Florida State fan and then got tired of hearing Texas A&M fans complain about the refs favoring Texas decided to see if systematic evidence of referee bias in college football actually exists. He claims his studies show that’s the case, but when you break it down, it’s pretty weak beer.
There is a less than insidious explanation: avoiding penalties is a skill. Flagship teams are more likely to have firebreathing truckzillas; Purdue is more likely to have a peasant wielding a pitchfork. In such situations the penalty scales are naturally out of balance; news that Purdue gets 14% fewer “discretionary” calls than OSU fails to move hte needle. That seems about right. This is immediately proposed by the NCAA’s national coordinator for officiating and then largely ignored.
About 3/4ths of the way through the thing we get the big reveal:
While earning his Ph.D. at Texas A&M, he came to sympathize with Aggie fans who believed that all close calls favored the University of Texas. “I reached a breaking point,” Brymer says. Weary of fans whining about refs without empirical evidence, he decided to see if he could find any. “At least I’m bringing myself peace,” he says.
Yes, but think of all the bloggers you’re forcing to write skeptical items in their link roundup pieces.
Guilty! Although I will acknowledge there’s something to be said for this Caesar’s wife suggestion:
Retired Big Ten ref and current ESPN analyst Bill LeMonnier says it wouldn’t hurt to assign more third-conference officiating crews—a Pac-12 group for Alabama vs. Penn State, for instance—especially in big games. “If that eliminates the perception, it’s worth doing,” LeMonnier says.
Then, again, strip away even the perception of bias and all we’re left to argue about is incompetence. Where’s the fun in that, I ask you?
As an aside, conspiracy theorists, don’t miss this little sidebar: “While SEC officials are the least biased in the Power 5, over the years they’ve shown a soft spot for the underdog.” Get your shit together, Birmingham.
Jim Delany, on the role of today’s conference commissioner:
“We’re managing more. It’s more public; it’s more national. There’s more interest in football. The issues were all within our control for a long time. With the advent of more litigation, it narrows the issues that you have direct control over and moves your attention and resources to defending what you think is defensible, and settling what you think you should settle … a series of existential threats you’re thinking about regularly … while you still have to do all the transactions you do day in and day out, whether it’s trading officials or doing television deals. Then it makes you very, very sensitive to the idea that there’s some areas that you still have a lot of control over that you simply need to do better at.”
Fighting lawsuits and negotiating TV deals. That’s it.
And you wonder why I feel so screwed these days.
Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but it sure sounds like Booch knows he’ll be making changes with some of his assistant coaches this offseason — “Contracts for three assistant coaches are set to expire at the end of February, retirement could be an option for a couple…” — but doesn’t plan on announcing anything decisive immediately while he’s recruiting.
I wonder what he’s telling recruits or, perhaps more accurately, what he’s allowing his assistants to tell them. “Forget about me, young fella. Doesn’t hearing ‘Rocky Top’ incessantly send chills up and down your back?”