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Vandy Fans, Once Again, Let’s Talk About Bowl Selections (And SEC TV Ratings)

yelling-hard-drive-latencyYa try to explain something to folks and they just get mad.  Yesterday we tried to explain how Vanderbilt — with an 8-4 record — wound up in the SEC’s very last bowl slot.  Allow us to summarize:

 

*  The bowl selection process has never been fair and it’s never been about “rewarding” teams.

*  Bowls pick teams for tourism purposes.

*  Goal One is to bring in a large group of fans for a week in December or January.

*  Goal Two is to reach as many television viewers as possible in an attempt to woo more tourists throughout the year.

 

Seems pretty simple.

But a couple of VU fans didn’t like that.  You can check the comment boxes here.  And the ol’ MrSEC.com inbox got a few nastier notes that our “curse” filters wouldn’t have allowed in the comment areas.  Apparently we at MrSEC have an “anti-Vanderbilt agenda.”  One person informed this writer in particular that I’m “jealous of graduates of the only true University in the Southeastern Conference.”

Ahoy, polloi!

So what… the bowls all share our “anti-Vanderbilt agenda?”  Either that or what we stated as facts yesterday are, ya know, correct.

We’re going with the latter and here are a couple of reasons why:

 

1.  The Liberty Bowl — which chose 6-6 Mississippi State over the 8-4 Commodores — posted on the game’s Facebook page a photo of the Bulldogs playing in the 2007 Liberty Bowl.  That game set an attendance record for the game at 63,816.  Vandy’s game in Memphis two years ago drew 57,103.  And while VU fans continue to spout numbers like 30,000 as a true attendance figure for their Liberty Bowl appearance, the reality is the school did sell out its allotment of tickets (13,000) with everything else being a guesstimate.  The Nashville City Paper wrote at the time: “(James) Franklin was impressed with the Commodore contingency that accounted for nearly 60 percent” of the crowd.  Cincinnati wears black just like Vanderbilt, so trying to decide which team black-clad fans were rooting for would probably be a bit difficult from a pressbox.  But even if VU did take 30,000 to Memphis, MSU’s game with UCF in 2007 still drew more folks to the Bluff City.

2.  Television ratings haven’t helped Vandy’s cause, either.  As we noted yesterday, “Decades of losing have made Vanderbilt less than must-watch viewing for most national sports fans.”  If you want to sell your city to millions of television viewers you need — wait for it — a game that will draw in million of television viewers.  The Commodores’ last two bowl games have ranked last and next-to-last in SEC game viewership.  Vanderbilt’s Music City Bowl matchup with NC State last season ranked 29th out of 35 holiday contests last year.  More national viewers tuned in to watch Central Michigan/Western Kentucky in the Little Caesars Bowl, UL-Lafeyette/East Carolina in the New Orleans Bowl, and SMU/Fresno Sate in the Hawaii Bowl to name a few.  Oh, and Mississippi State’s Gator Bowl date with Northwestern drew in 200,000 more viewers as well.  (The Bulldogs also drew more TV eyeballs than he Dores the season prior.)

 

Much has been made of the Gator Bowl selecting a rematch of last year’s Capital One Bowl between Georgia and Nebraska.  It’s been pointed out to us (in both the comment areas and in emails) that UGA didn’t sell out their bowl allotment last year.

But if you check the top table below you’ll find that Georgia/Nebraska was last year’s 5th-highest rated bowl.  Hmmm.  Still wondering why the Gator Bowl would pick the Dawgs and Huskers over say Vanderbilt and Nebraska?

Once again, none of this is to say Vanderbilt didn’t get a sca-rew job.  It did.  But the reasons are fairly obvious to anyone who doesn’t sign his emails, “Anchor Down!”  Vandy doesn’t have a reputation (yet) for selling out bowls or its regular season games (in a 40,000-seat stadium).  The Commodores are also a poor TV draw when it comes to their last two bowl games.  VU fans may hate those facts.  They might not like someone sharing those facts.  But they just sound silly if they continue to try and argue those facts.

Below are the television ratings for all the SEC bowls over the last two years…

Read the rest of this entry »

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SEC Headlines 12/2/2012

Coaching News & Rumors

1. Names linked to Auburn search: Gus Malzahn, Jimbo Fisher, Gary Patterson, Kirby Smart, Chris Peterson.  Introduction of new coach could come early in the week. All of those names except Patterson were on the winning side Saturday.

2. Auburn’s search committee – the four names at Auburn that matter most.

3. Names linked to Arkansas search:  Gary Patterson,  Mike Gundy, Art Briles,  Chris Petersen,  Kirby Smart, Bo Pelini. One week ago today, A.D. Jeff Long said Arkansas would have its new coach in 10-14 days.

4. Names linked to Tennesssee search: Mike Gundy, Charlie Strong, Jimbo Fisher, Al Golden. Search moves to New York City.

5. New Kentucky coach Mark Stoops left the field last night for the final time as Florida State’s defensive coordinator.  “Thank you, coach!”

6. Stoops lands in Lexington today. Deciding on a starting quarterback will be at the top of the agenda.

7. Pat Dooley: “I was a little puzzled by the hiring of Mark Stoops at Kentucky.”

8. North Carolina State has its new coach.  Northern Illinois coach Dave Doeren accepted the position Saturday.

Bowl Projections

9. High level Georgia source: Bulldogs headed to Cotton Bowl or Capital One Bowl.

10. Late word Saturday was that Capital One wanted Texas A&M.  Cotton Bowl to decide between Georgia and LSU. Are Tigers the favorite?

11. This Louisiana writer agrees- Cotton for LSU. This Louisiana writer didn’t get the memo – he says Chik-Fil-A for the Tigers.

12. SI’s Stewart Mandel’s complete bowl projections has Vanderbilt slotted for the Chik-Fil-A Bowl. Jerry Palm has the Commodores in the Gator Bowl.

13. Why Mississippi State could be headed to Music City Bowl.

14. Alabama fans know where they are headed: “I respect the heck out of Notre Dame.”

15. Jeremy Fowler: “These two are meant for each other, and even SEC elitists should acknowledge it.”

SEC/College News

16. The Internet troublemaker known as the ampersand - and why it has Texas A&M officials worried about the Heisman vote.

17. Ole Miss receiver Donte Moncrief and the Internet sensation known as “Feed Moncrief.”

18. One writer’s players of the year and other informal postseason honors for the Florida Gators.

19. Some stadium renovations at Missouri may be completed a year earlier than planned.

20. One man’s AP Top 25 ballot.  Here’s another one.

21. Man falls 4o-feet at ACC Championship game. Transported to hospital with “life-threatening injuries.” 

 SEC Basketball

22. Baylor 64 – Kentucky 55. Baylor snaps UK’s 55-game home winning streak. John Calipari now 54-1 at Rupp.

23. Cincinnati 58 – Alabama 56.  Tide lose game on a buzzer-beater.

24.  Missouri 72 – Applachian State 56. Laurence Bowers matches his career-high with 23 points as Tigers move to 6-1.  An insufficient punishment for coach Frank Haith?

25. Ole Miss 80 – Rutgers 67.  Murphy Holloway and Reggie Buckner post double-doubles as Rebels move to 6-0.

26. Providence 73- Mississippi State 63. State now 0-5 in games away from Humphrey Coliseum.

27. Villanova 62 – Vanderbilt 52. Commodores now 2-4, worst start since the 1988-89 season.

28. Texas A&M 70 – Houston 59. Aggies go to 6-1 behind 26 points from Elston Turner.

29. South Carolina plays Clemson today.  Fifth-year senior LaShay Page is a steady influence for the Gamecocks.

30. LSU is hitting its free-throws when it matters most.

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Alabama Returning To BCS Championship Game, Beats Georgia 32-28 In Classic SEC Title Bout

1. Alabama ground-game dominant. Tide set SEC Championship-game record with 350 rushing yards.

2. 270 of those yards came in the second and third quarters.

3. What did Mark Ingram tell Eddie Lacy on the field moments after the game? “He said that’s the best I’ve ever seen you run.”

4. Georgia rally ends at Alabama 5-yard line as time expired.  Why didn’t Bulldogs spike the ball?  Mark Richt: “Well, spiking the ball takes time.” Aaron Murray: “I wasn’t calling the plays.”

5. “Someone asked me just a second ago what I thought the difference was (in the game),” Richt said. “All I could think of was, we just ran out of time.

6. “Several guys came back to be deemed SEC champions, to play for a national championship,” Georgia senior receiver Tavarres King said. “Those dreams were crushed tonight.

7. Kevin Scarbinsky: “Nick Saban’s teams have won bigger games…but one of his Alabama teams has never won a bigger game from a bigger hole, against a better foe, on a bigger stage.”

8. Dan Wetzel: “In many ways Saturday could be called Saban’s greatest victory…”

9. Saban on Georgia: “If you got in this game, you should be in a BCS game.”

10. Dennis Dodd on Quintin Dial’s shot to the head of Aaron Murray:  ”Dial may not get the luxury of suiting up for Notre Dame when SEC officials examine the film.

11. Mark Richt’s testy exchange with a media member after the game.

12. Richt post-game news conference video.

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Scout.com Posts Early Bowl Picks

Ready to make your holiday travel plans?  Scout.com has posted its analysts’ predictions for 2011-12 bowl season.  You may want to hold off on booking those hotels and flights just yet, however.  A year ago, no one would’ve expected Auburn to spend the 2011 holidays in Arizona gearing up for the BCS title game.

Below are the SEC teams that Scout’s forecasters expect to go bowling at season’s end.  For the full list, here’s Part One and here’s Part Two.


Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Scout.com’s Take: Georgia vs Boston College
Our Take: If UGA finishes the season in a third-tier bowl, it will be interesting to see if Mark Richt is the man coaching in that bowl or not.

AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Scout.com’s Take: Tennessee vs Tulsa
Our Take: Considering the lack of depth when Derek Dooley took over, reaching back-to-back bowl games in his first two years would be a solid accomplishment.

Chick-fil-A Bowl
Scout.com’s Take: South Carolina vs Virginia Tech
Our Take: Columbia isn’t far from Atlanta, but it’s hard to see the Chick-fil-A taking the Gamecocks two years in a row.

Outback Bowl
Scout.com’s Take: Florida vs Nebraska
Our Take: Okay, we’re starting to see a trend of Scout just pushing teams into similar level bowls. 

Capital One Bowl
Scout.com’s Take: Arkansas vs Michigan
Our Take: Sugar and Capital One payouts in consecutive years would help to cover the cost of Bobby Petrino’s most recent salary bump.

Gator Bowl
Scout.com’s Take: Mississippi State vs Michigan State
Our Take: Yet another SEC team picked to finish right where it ended the 2010 season.

AT&T Cotton Bowl
Scout.com’s Take: Auburn vs Texas
Our Take: Anything’s possible, but how anyone can expect Auburn to replace Cam Newton, Nick Fairley, 15 other starters and reach a January bowl is beyond us.

BBVA Compass Bank Bowl
Scout.com’s Take: Ole Miss vs Cincinnati
Our Take: It ain’t the Cotton, but the BBVA Compass Bank Bowl would beat another holiday spent at home.

Sugar Bowl
Scout.com’s Take: LSU vs Wisconsin
Our Take: Of all the faux matchups so far, this one is the most appealing.

BCS Championship Game
Scout.com’s Take: Alabama vs Oklahoma
Our Take: Alabama has the homefield advantage over LSU this year, but the Tigers will have a veteran quarterback who — as much as he struggled last year — led LSU to an 11-2 record.  Therefore it’s hard for us to say that a pick of Bama or LSU in the title game is wrong.

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Hogs Not Going To The Cotton Bowl

Arkansas
Content provided by Razorback Expats.

Reports are that Texas A&M has accepted an invitation to the Cotton Bowl, January the 7th. Since the Hogs played them earlier in the year and will play them again next fall, you can count on the Cotton Bowl not offering the Hogs if Auburn (gasp!) should lose in the SEC Championship game. LSU or Alabama would be more attractive for a game against the Aggies. The Capital One Bowl could choose Alabama over the Hogs, for it would put Saban against his old Michigan State team and would bring the Tide to a bowl they haven’t been to since 1995. Though the Hogs have a better record than the Tide, the Capital One people could point out that the Tide beat the Hogs and that they are the former National Champions with a Heisman winner on the team. So where would that put the Hogs? The Outback bowl in Tampa is a possibility. It is a January 1st bowl game, and the Hogs would get a Big Ten team, possibly Iowa. And the Hogs have never played in that bowl. Of course, if we don’t get the Sugar that is going to be a big let down for all of us. Dropping even further below the Capital One to possibly the Outback Bowl (I hate these corporate names!) would even be more of a downer. I am sure he is not feeling it, but from a Razorback point-of-view, more pressure on that son of a preacher man to get the job done in Atlanta for all of us Hog fans.

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