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Thoughts of the Day: June 27, 2012

  • A few thoughts for Wednesday morning:

    1. A PLAYOFF IS BORN: After all these years of hearing every reason and excuse under heaven about why there can’t be a playoff for Division I college football, we now have one although it won’t begin until 2014. It’s a four-team playoff and not the plus one that was originally favored by the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences. We’ll have two semifinal games that are rotated among the bowls and then a championship game to be played one week later at a site sold to the highest bidder. Perhaps having only four teams won’t satisfy everyone, but show me a playoff or tournament in which there aren’t teams complaining that they were robbed of a chance to play for a championship. We hear it every year in basketball, which now has 68 teams and has expansion proponents begging for a 96-team tournament. I can already imagine the fallout in football when teams five through eight don’t get to strap it up and play for a title.

    2. THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS: Just how we’ll arrive at those four teams is a work in progress. At this moment, the commissioners favor a selection committee without computers that have had a large say in the BCS selection process the last 14 years. Selection committees are how nearly every other college sport chooses the teams that will participate in its playoff tournaments, but it’s a lot easier to get it right when you have basketball’s 68-team field because the sheer volume of teams allows a far greater margin for error. When you’re selecting only four teams and perhaps six of the eight best teams in the country have identical records, it’s dicey. Is it possible to have a selection committee of commissioners and athletic directors that can impartially choose four teams? Would it be better to have a committee made up of former coaches and athletic directors? Even then, could you eliminate partiality? Would it be better to have a computer model included in the selection process? There will be other questions that will have to be answered but the selection process will command center stage.

    3. DOES A PLAYOFF HELP A TEAM FROM A NON-POWER CONFERENCE?: There is no easy answer to that question. Because you add two more teams into the championship picture, it certainly enhances the chances that a Boise State could have its shot. But, with the college football landscape under assault from conference realignment that will probably continue to shift, it’s possible that we could end up with four 16-team power conferences and that can only put the squeeze on the smaller, less successful leagues. The larger the conferences the more conference games on the schedule and that will result in fewer chances for teams from Conference USA or the Mountain West to get games with teams from the power conferences. That means fewer opportunities for teams from the non-power leagues to get a chance to earn that signature win they will need to get a foot in the playoff door.

    4. WHY DID WE GET A FOUR-TEAM PLAYOFF THAT INCOPORATES THE BOWLS?: By incorporating the bowls and using two semifinal games on January 1 with a championship game a week later, 60 percent of the Division I college football teams will still get their 15 extra practices in December, which is the equivalent of an extra spring and it will still be hard for presidents and athletic directors to fire coaches that won seven games and got their team to a bowl game. That is the reason why coaches, athletic directors, school presidents and conference commissioners dug in their heels at any mention of a playoff for so long. The four-team model won’t do away with the bowls and pretty much keeps the status quo. About the only thing that will change is the playoff revenue, which Matt Hayes of Sporting News reports will be $6 billion over the 12 years of the contract.

    5. WILL CLEVELAND TRADE UP TO ENSURE IT GETS BRADLEY BEAL?: Rumors are swirling that the Cleveland Cavaliers are ready to make a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats for the #2 pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft, ensuring that they will be able to draft Florida’s Bradley Beal. This is a win-win solution for both teams. Charlotte would be very happy with either Thomas Robinson or Michael Kidd-Glichrist, one of whom would still be available when they drop down to Cleveland’s former #4 spot, and the Cavs would have the guard they feel will be the perfect complement to point guard Kyrie Irving. Moving up to #2 would also mean about $1 million more for Beal. Last year’s #2 pick (Derrick Williams) made about $4.7 million while the #4 pick (Tristan Thompson) got about $3.7 million. That’s nice work if you can get it.

    6. TWO CHANCES FOR TIGER TO GET IT GOING BEFORE THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP: Tiger Woods will play at Congressional this weekend and then at next week’s Greenbrier Classic in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia (Sam Snead’s old stomping grounds). When Tiger melted down at the US Open in the final two rounds, he looked like a golfer who is no longer tournament tough. You can practice the game every day on a terrific course, but there is no way to simulate the pressure of a tournament with legions of fans hanging on your every shot. Who knows what’s been missing from Tiger’s game or if playing tournaments on consecutive weekends will sharpen him up for the British Open, but it certainly can’t hurt since we only see snippets of the golfer he once was.

    7. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE: Will Muschamp says the SEC is a line of scrimmage league and nothing emphasizes that more than the average yards per rush and per pass for the Gators over the last five years. In 2010, the Gators averaged 4.3 yards per carry and 6.3 yards per pass attempt. In 2011, it was 4.0 per rush and 7.5 per pass. Those numbers are very pedestrian. Now compare to the three previous years. In 2007, the Gators averaged 5.3 per running play and 9.3 per pass attempt. In 2008, the Gators ran the ball for 5.9 yards per play and threw it for 9.1 In 2009, the averages were 5.6 and 9.1. What the stats tell you is that Florida’s offensive line got the job done from 2007-09 and didn’t control the line of scrimmage in 2010-11. The Gators are 15-11 the last two years. They were 35-6 from 2007-09.

    8. A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS: When you think of the best multi-sport athletes of all time, the first names that typically pop into the head of southern football fans are Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders. Bo won a Heisman at Auburn, then played in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and was the 1989 MVP of the Major League All-Star Game when he was playing for the Kansas City Royals. Deion is in the pro and college football halls of fame. He won Super Bowl rings with the with the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys and played in the World Series with the Atlanta Braves. Bo and Deion were great but tmy pick for the all-time multi-sporter is Jim Brown, who makes everyone’s short list of the greatest players ever in the NFL. While at Syracuse, Brown was an All-America selection in football, averaged 15 points per game in basketball, made All-America in lacrosse and also ran track. He also boxed AAU Golden Gloves on the side.

    PARTING SHOT: As many as 8-9 one-and-dones could be selected in Thursday’s NBA Draft. It’s still a mystery to me why the NBA Players and the NBA don’t join forces to put an end one-and-done. When kids stay in school longer it means a few older veterans will get an extra year or two in the league. One would think that the NBA Players would be all about protecting the jobs of its veterans.

    Email: franzbeard@gmail.com/Twitter: www.twitter.com/@franzbeard247

  • Great stuff. When considering multi-sport athletes, don't forget Charlie Ward, who won a Heisman at FSU and then enjoyed a long career as starting point guard for the Knicks. This led to a long-running joke up this way saying that the best quarterback in New York plays for the Knicks.

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    Billy the Kid, age 48, 450 victories, 5 SEC Championships, 2 National Championships... and counting!

  • First, I fully agree the one and dones should come to an end. However, help me understand how this keeps the older players in the league around a year or two longer after the intials year of integration. Seems that if we require 2 years (or 3 years) it will only help for that short transition period and then you will be back to having these folks enter the league; in other words only a small group of older players will benefit. While most of the one and dones have been successful, it would seem an extra year or two would help them develop some life and academic skills which will assist them after their glory days are only a memory. Too many have not made that trasition.

  • Why was this ever evan an issue? I'm not sure I follow the logic.

    The reason they are incorporating the bowls, at least in my opinion, is because there is just too much money and power in those BCS bowl games for them to be relegated back to secondary bowls. I've said all along that any playoff would almost surely incorporate the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta and Orange Bowls and maybe the Cotton Bowl.

    And what does this have to do with the 15 extra practices? You lost me there. I understand that teams in bowl games get the extra practices, but I don't understand how incorporating the BCS Bowls into the playoff or even having a playoff affects this in any way, shape or form. In fact if anything, I would have thought that if extra practices was a consideration, moving the playoff games to neutral sites would have freed up more spots for additional bowl teams and allowed even more teams to have those extra practices.

    I remember a few months back when you were pushing for what I think was a 16-team playoff and questioning whether the bowl games would cease to exist. Has there ever been any thought that if they did a playoff that all the other bowls would disappear or something? I don't think the remaining bowl games will ever go away, no matter how big of a playoff they create. They will always be a consolation prize to those teams with a .500 record.

  • A. The four team model was chosen because we end up with the same number of games, same amount of time, etc.

    B. Expanding the playoffs to eight or 16 teams means those teams involved in the playoff don't get the benefit of the current bowl system because the extra weeks and weekends put them in perpetual game week preparation while a team that simply goes to a bowl essentially takes 10 practices that are just like spring and devotes just five days to game preparation.

    C. Losing the benefit of extra practices was and is a big deal to the coaches which is why so many talked about incorporating the current system and not adding weeks of game preparation because you're too focused on opponents to have practice time for developing fundamentals, young players etc.

    D. We are at the saturation point on bowls. They have expanded to the point that we end up with UCLA last year getting a waiver to play in a bowl with a losing record. It's getting increasingly difficult to find enough 6-6 teams to fill the bowls.

    E. The reason the bowls were incorporated into the playoffs was their experience in running games, pure and simple. They have everything organized already for fans, for teams etc. and that's stuff athletic directors don't have staff or time to do. The bigger the bowl the more organized and efficient. I spent five minutes a few years ago listening to Jeremy Foley talk about this point and this is the reason he would only support playoffs that were tied into bowls.

    Email: franzbeard@gmail.com/Twitter: www.twitter.com/@franzbeard247

  • A - Except for the one extra championship game. Makes sense.

    B&C - Seriously? I would have thought most teams, bowl game or otherwise are going to be using ALL the practices preparing for the upcoming opponent as opposed to focussing developing young players.

    While what you say may be true, that sounds like a pretty bogus reason to me. Certainly there are many other better reasons they didn't want an 8 or 16 team playoff. If extra practices for developing players was the primary concern, it seems like there are much easier ways to go about it that this.

    D - I agree but what does this have to do with what we're discussing here? Also, every year there are more team being added to FCS, so inevitably, as more teams end up with 6 wins, there will continue to be bowl games added.

    E - The experience and efficiency in running games like this is certainly a factor, but there's no reason a city like Detroit, Indianapolis, Houston, Tampa or St. Louis (or several other cities) couldn't do the same thing.

    I still think the much bigger reason they are incorporating the BCS Bowls is that the BCS Bowls provide way to much money and would have fought for the games. Those 4 bowl games have way too much power and influence to be relegated to common bowl games at this point.

    There's no way the Sugar Bowl is going potentially let itself get no better than 2nd or 3rd best team in the SEC each year. And there's no way the Rose Bowl would take a chance on not having at least one of the winners of the Pac-12 or Big-10 each year.

    Bottom line is that without using those BCS Bowls, I'm not sure they'd have been able to do a playoff. The really had no choice.

    This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by AtlantaGator86 22 months ago

  • You give far too much credit to the bowls. As Matt Hayes of Sporting News reported, a deal is being worked out for $500 million a year X 12 years that will come complete with escalation clauses to account for growth, etc. from the networks. That's for three games ... which is nearly double what all 35 bowls paid out combined last year. The way things worked out, the commissioners and presidents got the bowls to kowtow and got their playoff, too. it's the best of both worlds for them.

    In answer to your other points.

    The way teams ready for bowls now is 10 practices devoted to fundamentals and player development with some pre-bowl preparation and then a five-practice bowl week that doesn't differentiate from regular game week preparation all that much.

    You mentioned adding extra bowl games in your first point. That's why I brought up the saturation point. If anything they need to contract the system and that is actually being discussed.

    The bowls already have the committees, etc. in place and typically they are in places where fans would actually like to go in December.

    Email: franzbeard@gmail.com/Twitter: www.twitter.com/@franzbeard247

  • What about Jim Thorpe as best muiti-sport Athlete?

  • Of course. He's a no brainer. I feel like an idiot for not thinking of him.

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    Billy the Kid, age 48, 450 victories, 5 SEC Championships, 2 National Championships... and counting!

  • First of all, I believe I read that last year, the revenue of just the BCS Bowls was close to $250 million. Not sure how much of that is just TV. But if you're adding $500 million of playoff revenue (which I'll believe when I see it), you have to deduct the BCS revenue that will be lost. I've been over my other opinions of the TV deal. I think the genius who negotiated the Longhorn Network for ESPN must be working on this deal. :)

    I didn't say anything about adding additional bowl GAMES. I said if playoffs were on neutral sites as you had previously suggested, that it could open spots for additional teams in the existing bowls so they could have more practices too ... if that was their concern.

  • The payout from all the bowls was $281 million last year. The four BCS bowls plus the championship game paid out $175 million (10 teams X $17.5 million). The other bowls combined to pay out $106 million.

    The contract that is being negotiated right now -- and there are three networks bidding for it -- will be $500 million for THREE games. The other bowl games will continue their payouts but college football will have a guaranteed $6 billion over the next 12 years.

    Email: franzbeard@gmail.com/Twitter: www.twitter.com/@franzbeard247