Posted on: May 6, 2011 3:01 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Every Friday we catch up on four stories you might have missed during the week ... and add a few extra links to help take you into the weekend.
FOUR LINKS ...
1. It hasn't exactly been a state secret, since it's a matter of simple addition, but it wasn't until this post at SEC blog Team Speed Kills this week that we realized that Vanderbilt has seven quarterbacks legitimately battling for the Commodores' starting quarterback position (and six of them on scholarship). And we thought Notre Dame was overrun. (Though, like the Irish and Dayne Crist, we'll be surprised if the current favorite -- Larry Smith -- doesn't hold onto the job as expected.)
2. Since we spent so much time yesterday informing you of games re-scheduled to Fridays, how 'bout another? USC and Colorado will play their first-ever Pac-12 conference game Friday on ESPN2, Nov. 4, instead of Saturday Nov. 5. We're not sure the Trojans really need the boost in exposure of a Friday night Boise State special, but no doubt Larry Scott (and his billion-dollar quest to break his conference out of the regional-network prison they've been confined to the last few seasons) approves.
3. It seems perhaps a little ... tactless for Jim Delany to welcome Lincoln as the Big Ten's new Green Bay when his conference already includes such "charming smallish town" candidates as West Lafayette and Champaign, but no doubt the Huskers won't mind the comparions between their successes and the Packers'.
4. You noticed Oregon honoring the armed forces at their spring game last Saturday, right? If not, well, they did, but the highlight had to have been this speech from Chip Kelly after the game:
AND THE CLOUD ...
Nebraska looks poised to introduce a substantial pistol element to their new Tim Beck- directed offense, which should be good news for Taylor Martinez if the Huskers can make it work ... BYU receiver Cody Hoffman was arrested recently on failure-to-appear charges after he left a speeding ticket unpaid ... Also appearing in the police blotter was Colorado signee Nelson Spruce, arrested for marijuana possession ... former Navy players talk about the death of Osama Bin Laden ... receiver Brandon Felder has transferred from North Carolina home to Pitt to help care for his ailing grandparents; Felder redshirted last fall ... We're told by the first line of this story not to ask, but we're going to anyway: Why were Penn State's original uniforms pink and black? ... and for all the lonelyhearts in Gainesville, have we got the site for you.
Posted on: April 25, 2011 11:50 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
For as long as this college football fan can remember, the Big Ten has started its Saturdays in the fall at noon eastern. As a kid growing up in Chicago, this was a pretty sweet deal. I could sleep in a bit on Saturday mornings and when I woke up --BAM! -- college football. Honestly, that habit hasn't really changed much as I've grown older, but it sounds like I may have to watch the ACC and Big East for an hour before the Big Ten games begin. That's because, according to a report in the Quad City Times, Jim Delany is trying to make it so that the noon eastern start times are a thing of the past. Instead, he wants to push the start of Big Ten games back an hour.
Note: The times in the text quoted from the report are in central standard time.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is lobbying hard in negotiations with the television networks to do away with them. If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games next season will start at either noon, 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Won't somebody please think of the early morning drinkers!?
Seriously, though, it is pretty cool to think that Delany is actually listening to the fans who have been complaining about the lack of proper tailgating time. An extra hour of fun before kickoff doesn't hurt anybody except for those in charge of cleaning up afterward. The question is, just because Delany and the Big Ten want it, will the television networks?
While I'm sure Delany wouldn't have much trouble convincing the Big Ten Network to push back start times, it may not be as easy to do so with ESPN/ABC. ESPN has had games beginning a noon, 3:30pm and 8:00pm for some time now, and I'm not so sure they'll be willing to move everything around just to please the Big Ten. And let's be honest, it's the networks that televise the games who will be the ones deciding when those games start, not the fans attending them.
Posted on: March 31, 2011 12:14 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 12:17 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
This Chicago Tribune Q&A with Tom Osborne is chockful of interesting nuggets from the Nebraska athletic director, such as ...
Q: Is Nebraska a Legend or a Leader?That's right: even the athletic director of the school whose addition created the Big Ten's new six-team divisions can't keep them straight enough to know for certain which one his team is in.
But it's all water under the bridge for now, since the Big Ten is showing no inclination to change the names anytime in the forseeable future. So as a public service both to Mr. Osborne and the general Eye on College Football reading public, here's an easy guide to remembering which team is a "Legend" and which is a "Leader":
1. The letter "N" only appears in the name "Legends." So that's where the two "N" schools, Nebraska and Northwestern, were placed.So there you go. Now if someone could just help us remember which ACC teams are in the Atlantic and which are in the Coastal, we'll be all set.
Posted on: February 11, 2011 1:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
When Larry Scott was named commissioner of the then-Pac-10 in summer 2009, more than one observer wondered how involved in football an East Coast-bred administrator whose only previous sports experience came in women's tennis would really be.
It didn't take long for him to give us an answer, aggressively reshaping the league into the Pac-12 and by many accounts nearly convincing Texas to become the tentpole for a 16-team superconference. Scott has already taken one step to extricate the league from its less-than-optimal television contracts, signing a lucrative deal with Fox for the new conference title game. And now two stories out of the West Coast show that Scott's not slowing down his proactive ways anytime soon.
The first: under the direction of former NFL official (and Fox replay-challenge expert) Mike Pereira, the Pac-12 is overhauling its football officiating programs , starting with the departure of longtime Coordinator of Football Officiating Dave Cutaia and continuing with ... well, we're not sure, but it sounds great:
"Like in other high priority areas, we have taken a fresh look at our program, and will be implementing a series of changes that are forward-looking, innovative and take our program to the next level," Scott said. "The game and level of play is always improving, so it's essential that in the critical area of officiating, the program continue to evolve and improve as well."Again, what this "series of changes" entails specifically -- what "adjustments" will be "implemented" when the season begins -- are still a question mark. But given the occasionally laughable errors made by Pac-12 officials the past few years and certain ethically dubious officiating policies , it's clear there's plenty of areas that need the improvement.
But it's the other story that really illustrates how involved with his conference's member schools Scott wants to be. Remember when Washington's athletic director called Oregon's academics "an embarrassment"? Per the Seattle Times, Scott tried to arrange for U-Dub to issue an apology by writing their apology for them :
On the Monday following the Nov. 6 game, Scott sent to UW interim president Phyllis Wise what was referred to as "our suggestion" of a one-paragraph statement UW could release, apologizing for the incident ...
When discussing the most powerful commissioners in college football, the first two names that come to mind are Mike Slive and Jim Delany. But if Scott remains this insistent on managing his league's affairs in this kind of detail as well as leading the charge on issues like TV contracts and expansion, he might find himself in Slive's and Delany's company before too much longer.
Posted on: January 13, 2011 4:34 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Remember when the Big Ten announced that it was going to name its new divisions Legends and Leaders? That was pretty hilarious, right? I mean, I can think of a lot of things that a college football conference could name it's divisions, but I don't think I could top the magnificent combination of idiocy and arrogance that the Big Ten pulled off with those.
After hearing the backlash against the new names, Big Ten overlord Jim Delany probably felt a bit embarrassed by everything, and said the the conference would consider renaming the divisions. Then New Year's Day came along, and the embarrassment the Big Ten felt that day overshadowed everything. So much so, in fact, that Delany and the Big Ten are just going to scrap that idea to reconsider the names. For now anyway.
"Short term there is no plan to change," Big Ten assistant commissioner Scott Chipman told FanHouse. "They will definitely be utilized for the 2011 football season. It would be impossible to measure their sustainability without using them as they were intended to be used. But like any of our branding or marketing efforts, we will continuously review all aspects, conduct market research, and test sustainability."
Trust me, Mr. Chipman, the names will still be just as dumb in 2012 as they are now. If the conference was so determined not to use geographical names for the divisions then it could have just gone with Great Lakes and Plains for a name. Then some people would have called the idea stupid and moved on.
But with these names there's just too much to make fun of.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 1:35 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2010 1:41 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
To boil this report from CNN Money down to one simple question: What recession?
The profit for the 68 teams that play in the six major conferences was up 11% from the prior school year, according to a CNNMoney analysis of figures filed by each school with the Department of Education.Way to ruin the shutout, Demon Deacons.
But seriously, folks: that 11 percent increase (fueled by rising ticket sales and prices and juicy new television contracts) pushed BCS conference profits up over the collective $1 billion mark for the first time. Contrast that with the profits turned in by, say, the nation's swim teams, and it's easy to see why -- charges of hypocrisy notwithstanding -- the NCAA and its member schools are willing to do so much to protect its interests on the gridiron.
Of course, that business model doesn't work nearly as well at the non-AQ level. Even after their 2009 Fiesta Bowl berth and the largest set of profits in the country at the mid-major level, for instance, TCU only broke even. We've heard plenty of horror stories the past few weeks about the amount of money smaller schools are burning through on their bowl trips, thanks to ticket guarantees and the like; in 2009, eight of the 53 bowl-eligible smaller-conference schools wound up losing money on the year.
With the line drawn so firmly between the sport's haves and have nots, it's no wonder access to the big-money BCS games and television's never-ending contract coffers have become the sources of so much acrimony. (Given that even the best possible year for them in the Mountain West still amounted to chump change for most Big East teams, is it any wonder the Horned Frogs jumped ship?) With no sort of NFL -style revenue-sharing agreement forthcoming (in fact, the angry comments from BCS commissioners like Jim Delany make clear that such an agreement would be less likely now than ever), don't expect anything to change anytime soon. The rich of college football are only going to get richer, and the poor will simply have to make themselves attractive enough to join them.
HT: GTP .
Posted on: December 17, 2010 11:10 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
If you're college football fan enough to read this post, you already know about -- and in all likelihood have already made some kind of joke about, bitterly complained about, printed up a crude-but-effectively-hilarious t-shirt about, etc. -- the Big Ten naming their new six-team divisions the "Leaders" division and "Legends" division. It was a decision as clumsy as it was stupid, and his approval of those disasters must rank amongst league commissioner Jim Delany's biggest missteps ... if not squarely at the top.
But to give Delany some modicum of credit, he hasn't simply turned a deaf ear to the torrent of abuse sent in his and his conference's direction since the announcement. Speaking to Chicago radio station WGN yesterday (with some quotes transcribed here ), Delany admitted that the league will "revisit" the "Legends" and "Leaders" after the holiday season:
"We've had enough experience with names and expansion and development of divisions that we know that you rarely get a 90 percent approval rating," Delany told WGN AM-720. "But to get a 90 percent non-approval rating was really surprising. It showed that we didn’t connect with our fans in a way that we wanted to ...Given that the "90 percent non-approval rating" is an overstatement unless we're talking about "approval rating amongst Big Ten executives," the revisiting really ought to result in a rebranding; the ACC has played six seasons now following their 12-team split, and a big chunk of college football fans (this blogger included) still struggle to remember which teams are Atlantic Division teams and which are in the Coastal division. Delany can talk about "Legends" and "Leaders" representing the Big Ten's rich history, but to the college football world at large, they're not going to represent a thing other than confusion.
That rebranding would be costly and embarrassing, and for Delany to even consider it does show some measure of necessary humility. But unless he issues the order for full retreat, abandons "Legends" and "Leaders," and spearheads the effort to come up with something, anything more accessible, he's not going to be humble enough for his conference's own good.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 3:36 am
Edited on: December 16, 2010 3:43 am
Posted by Adam Jacobi
The BCS cannot catch a break these days. It's been only days since it finally shed the label of "most reviled aspect of collegiate sports" (the new winner being the Big Ten's "Legends" and "Leaders" division name change, of course), and already the BCS faces its toughest obstacle yet: Mark Cuban.
Cuban, the irascible and opinionated owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks and various other holdings, proposed funding a playoff system during an interview earlier today:
And how, precisely, would Cuban make these changes? Why, throw an unholy amount of money at the problem, of course:
Our colleague Ben Golliver expressed doubt that Cuban would be able to make any headway in spite of a theoretical playoff's overwhelming popularity, but I'm not so pessimistic. The one thing the BCS has always been able to (literally) capitalize upon was that it operates essentially out of the purview of the NCAA. Sure, the bowl game committees don't break any NCAA rules when it comes to giving players gifts or anything, but that's likely due in some part to the fact that paying players doesn't advance the bowls' financial agenda nearly as much as paying the schools and conferences, which they do in insane amounts. In return, the bowl system -- which is ludicrously tilted in the financial favor of the six BCS member conferences -- gets to hand-select its participants with only the most basic of guidelines. People complain, but it's what works because it's what makes the most money.
But if Cuban comes along and suggests a playoff system that makes more money for the NCAA and its schools and conferences, well, the BCS finds itself in a spot of trouble, because it can't exactly come running to the NCAA to enforce any pro-BCS rules; again, the BCS is a separate institution, and one that generally relies on a postseason monopoly -- you either go to a bowl or you don't. There is very little to suggest that conferences like the Mountain West would pass on an opportunity to play for an opt-in title when its teams are going 12-0 in the regular season, only to be told those teams aren't allowed to play for the BCS Championship. Efforts by the power conferences to shame and intimidate the non-AQ conferences only serve to deepen the divide, and that's a power play that could backfire hilariously if the BCS isn't the only postseason game in town anymore.
Obviously, Cuban's plan isn't fully cooked yet, so it's impossible to judge the plan on its merits until we know what they specifically are. Further, opting out of the BCS entirely has never been attempted by a school or a conference (and really, why would anybody do that without a viable alternative?), so it's going to take a lot of contractual research to figure out exactly what that would entail. It may very well be the case that this playoff idea never gets off the ground for whatever reason. You really think Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and SEC commissioner Mike Slive are going to let their BCS baby roll over at the first sign of a fight? Please.
Nonetheless, Cuban's insertion of himself into the BCS debate isn't a gamechanger; it's even better. That's because the game's always going to be the same, and that game is money. If Cuban can bring more money to the table and win the PR debate to boot, then it won't matter how many rich men in blazers the BCS bowls send to top schools; Cuban's going to win that game every time.