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SEC Headlines 10/2/2012

SEC East

1. South Carolina has faced Georgia QB Aaron Muray before but the Bulldogs have never seen Connor Shaw.

2. Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree and South Carolina running Marcus Lattimore have never faced each other.

3. Georgia-South Carolina tickets are going anywhere from $150 to over $1,000.

4. Herschel Walker on Todd Gurley: “He’s an incredible back,”

5. Florida is confident heading into this year’s matchup with LSU: “It won’t be like last year.”

6. Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel on facing the Tigers defense without Tyrann Mathieu: “They still have a great secondary.”

7. Derek Dooley on the performance of the Vols defense against Georgia: “We need to be really upset at the way we performed.”

8. Mark Story on Joker’s job: “If the University of Kentucky is looking for a reason to retain Phillips, it now has one, independent of UK football’s final record in 2012.”

9. Maxwell Smith update.

10. In four FBS games, Missouri’s offense is averaging just 18.75 points a game.

11, “Call it the James Franklin Bowl”

SEC West

12, LSU depth “dwindling at an alaming rate.”

13. Nick Saban: “I in no way, shape or form feel like we have an invincible team in any way, shape or form.”

14. Alabama secondary coach Jeremy Pruitt on the Tide’s next five games – all against conference opponents: “We’ve got five games here in a row where we’ll kind of run the gauntlet in the SEC. It’s hard to win on the road in the SEC, and any win you get, you are thankful for it.”

15. One concern of many for Arkansas – Razorbacks running back Knile Davis averaging a fumble every 12.4 touches.

16. Davis: “I’ve never been a quitter. I’m not surrounded by quitters.” Arkansas coaching rumors.

17. Mississippi State is watching tape of high school games to prepare for Kentucky’s freshman quarterbacks.

18. On the other side of the ball, Bulldogs running back LaDarius Perkins and the Bulldogs offense are ready to run: ” The coaches know we can run the ball on these guys.”

19. Auburn tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen on the Tigers upcoming schedule: “(W)e have good things going with October with a lot of games we feel good about.”

20. Auburn defense facing a quarterback in Tyler Wilson who threw four TD passes the last time he played at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

21. Quarterback battle brewing at Ole Miss?

22. Bowl game in store for the Rebels this year?

23. Jackie Sherrill breaks down the A&M – Arkansas game. “The storyline around the country is Johnny Manziel, but the defense has contributed a bunch.”

SEC/College News

24. Dennis Dodd: “After five weeks it’s clear the season is boiling down to the SEC axis of Alabama/LSU/Georgia/South Carolina/Florida vs. everybody else. ”

25. College football attendance down 2% from last year. Can’s blame this guy – lands his plane in cotton field – still makes Ole Miss/Alabama game.

26. Twenty-four FBS teams remain undefeated heading into this weekend.

27. The Heisman buzz around West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith. NFL scout: “The kid is legit and better than either (Andrew) Luck or Robert Griffin III.”

SEC Basketball

28. Why one coach’s seat is cooler this year.

29. The one constant for Kentucky basketball under John Calipari? Good defense.

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If The BCS Standings Were Out Today The SEC Would Have 5 Of The Top 10

Jerry Palm has gone from basketball RPI guru to football BCS guru the past few years.  I eagerly await his computerized rankings of college crew teams.

Well, yesterday, the CBSSports.com numbers man posted his projections for what the BCS standings would be if they were released today.  Not surprisingly, the SEC is well represented at the top of the would-be rankings.

First, here’s a look at the Top 10:

 

Projected BCS Standings as of 9/24/12

1.  Alabama

2.  Oregon

3.  LSU

4.  Florida State

5.  Stanford

6.  Georgia

7.  South Carolina

8.  Kansas State

9.  Notre Dame

10.  Florida

 

Read the rest of this entry »

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MrSEC.com Stat Analysis: Slow Grind

What’s the opposite of a Quick Strike team that piles up points in the blink of an eye?  A defense-first club that forces its opponents to slowly grind out points over a large number of plays.  Thus… our Slow Grind measure.

Over the past five years we’ve found that a very efficient way of predicting a team’s success is to look at the number of plays said team forces its foes to run in order to score touchdowns.  This is not simply the opposite of our Quick Strike number (basically: points per offensive snap), but a totally different measurement (defensive snaps run for every defensive touchdown allowed).

Simply: How many plays must an offense run — on average — to score a touchdown against a specific defense?

We do not count special teams scores or interception/fumble returns in this equation.  This is strictly a look at touchdowns — not total points — allowed by a team as compared to how many snaps a defensive unit was on the field.  Still, however, special teams and offensive production do factor in overall.  A good special teams unit will pin an opponent deep in its own end, forcing it to string together multiple plays to score (and with each additional snap run, there’s a greater chance for a turnover).  Steady, grind-it-out offenses can also eat up clock and limit a foe’s time of possession.

Happily, the folks at ElevenWarriors.com studied our numbers and found them to be quite accurate at predicting Big Ten success just as we’ve found them to correlate nicely with SEC wins.  The more we see them applied elsewhere — and the more they work — the better we feel.

As we stated earlier in breaking down our Quick Strike measurement, we know that the season is young and that all teams have not played the same types of foes to date.  Once we get deeper into the season and are able to use numbers from SEC-versus-SEC contests only, this data will become more meaningful.

Still, with a quarter of the regular season behind us, we felt now would be a good time to take the lid off one of our old standards — the Slow Grind measure.  Have a look…

 

  School   Def. TDs Allowed vs FBS   Def. Plays vs FBS   Def. Plays/TD Allowed
  S. Carolina   2   209   104.50
  Alabama   2   177   88.50
  Texas A&M   2   139   69.50
  Miss. State   3   148   49.33
  LSU   4   178   44.50
  Vanderbilt   4   139   34.75
  Georgia   7   221   31.57
  Florida   7   220   31.42
  Auburn   10   241   24.10
  Kentucky   10   225   22.50
  Tennessee   7   143   20.42
  Missouri   8   134   16.75
  Ole Miss   9   148   16.44
  Arkansas   12   168   14.00

 

So what should you make of that?  That South Carolina is pretty darn good defensively.  Against Vanderbilt, East Carolina and UAB the Gamecocks have allowed just two touchdowns on defense in 209 plays run.  Jadeveon Clowney and crew are allowing a touchdown every 104.5 plays.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Arkansas.  Against Louisiana-Monroe and Alabama, the Razorbacks are letting their opponents score once every 14 plays.  That’s horrific.  The return of Tyler Wilson and a little bit of life on offense should help Paul Haynes’ defense greatly.

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MrSEC.com Stat Analysis: Quick Strike

For the past five years we’ve tried to bring you sets of numbers and statistics that provide a different glimpse into the world of SEC football.  One of the most telling stats we’ve come up with is what we call the “Quick Strike” measure.

The goal in football is to put up as many points as possible.  Obviously.  The fewer snaps it takes a team to do that, the less chance for errors like penalties and turnovers.  Quick Strike provides a simple look at how many points each offensive snap is worth to a given team.  Literally, it reveals the number of points scored per offensive play run.

But Quick Strike is not just an offensive measure.  Special teams scores and long returns can speed up how quickly a team piles up points.  Turnovers can provide short fields for offenses.  Defensive touchdowns are even more valuable as a team does not even need to run an offensive play and risk a turnover or penalty in order to put points on the scoreboard.

Turns out, we aren’t the only math geeks out there who like this stat.  A bigger math geek than we here at MrSEC.com — and we mean that in a good way — has tested our numbers, applied them to the Big Ten, and found that there’s a clear correlation between a good Quick Strike number and wins in that league as well.  You can find the analysis of ElevenWarriors.com here. 

Now, the deeper we get into the season, the more telling this statistic will become.  Eventually, we’ll begin using only numbers from SEC-versus-SEC games.  For now, however, we must use the points scored and plays run against all FBS opponents.

For those who wish to argue a certain point — someone always does — we already know that a) the season is in its early stages, b) some teams have played more FBS opponents than others, and c) some teams have played better FBS opponents than others.  There’s no need to make those cases.  Take the numbers or leave the numbers, we just believe that at the quarter-pole of the season, it’s a good time to start eyeballing them.  No one’s trying to inflate or deflate the work done so far by your favorite team.  The numbers speak for themselves.

So without further ado, here are the Quick Strike numbers to date for the SEC’s 14 teams versus FBS competition.

 

  School   Pts/Scored vs FBS   Off. Plays vs FBS   Pts/Off. Play
  Alabama   128   179   .715
  Georgia   142   199   .713
  LSU   145   205   .707
  S. Carolina   114   194   .587
  Miss. State   58   126   .460
  Ole Miss   59   133   .443
  Florida   84   191   .439
  Kentucky   92   219   .420
  Texas A&M   65   156   .416
  Tennessee   55   151   .364
  Auburn   60   186   .322
  Missouri   44   168   .261
  Arkansas   31   128   .242
  Vanderbilt   26   126   .206

 

So what does that mean all mean?  Well, against FBS opponents Alabama is scoring about 7/10ths of a point for every offensive snap the Tide runs.  In comparison, Vanderbilt is only scoring about 2/10ths of a point.  As a team, Vanderbilt — offense, defense, special teams — has to work a helluva lot harder than Alabama to score points.

The biggest surprise so far is Ole Miss’ ranking, but again, it’s early.  The UTEP game helped the Rebels’ numbers and once we get deeper into SEC play, we’ll dump those kinds of nonconference stats altogether.

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Mizzou’s Pinkel Talks Up QB Franklin’s Toughness; Time To Switch The Focus From Franklin To Painkillers

On Saturday, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel put his foot in his mouth.  By revealing that starting quarterback James Franklin had refused a painkilling shot in his bum shoulder, the coach laid the groundwork for plenty of people to take potshots at his QB.

Saturday’s comment from the coach came after Corbin Berkstresser had led the Tigers to a 24-20 win over Arizona State.  He was speaking of Franklin and explaining why he didn’t play:

 

“It was too painful for him and he didn’t want to play.”

 

That one sentence — even more than the painkiller bit — caused a stir in the Show-Me State.  Some said Mizzou’s QB must not be tough enough.  Others — and I’m one of them — said Pinkel stepped in it by making that kind of remark in the first place.

Apparently the coach now realizes how his comment was interpreted so he tried to walk it back yesterday:

 

“Anybody that questions James Franklin’s toughnesss, they have to have been in a coma that last two years.  He’s one of the toughest athletes I’ve ever been around.”

 

Better late than never.

Pinkel’s comments would not have been necessary if the SEC or NCAA decided to start putting out NFL-like injury reports on a weekly basis.  If that had been the case, the media would’ve known before Friday afternoon that Franklin was questionable or even doubtful due to a shoulder injury.  Any questions could have been answered by Pinkel with a simple, “his shoulder wasn’t up to it.”

Instead, the coach opened up more than most about his player’s injury and he paid the price for it.  Sadly, so did Franklin’s reputation with some fringe Tiger fanatics.  But the signal-caller told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he didn’t have a problem with his coach.  “I know he didn’t meant anything by it,” Franklin said.  Asked what the pain was like, he said: “like a 10-inch size bumble bee stabbing in there.”

A big bee with a knife?  Sounds pretty painful to me.

Franklin’s father spoke out yesterday and revealed that his family doesn’t believe in painkillers and that that’s how Mizzou’s starting quarterback was raised.  Turns out, Franklin ixnayed a shot to the knee last season, too.

While some have bickered over the desire and toughness of Franklin, the bigger issue that’s going unmentioned is the danger in giving college-age kids painkillers in the first place.  Yes, we know it happens all the time.  Yes, we know it’s gone on for years.  No, we don’t believe it’s a good thing.

Painkillers — shots or pills — can be very addictive and habit-forming in adults.  But with a person in his teens or early twenties, there’s even less history to use as a guide for who should and who shouldn’t be given painkillers.  Some players never have a problem them.  Unfortunately, some do.

We believe it’s time for the NCAA — with its desire to protect student-athletes — to start cracking down on the “take two of these” culture of college football.  That doesn’t mean painkillers should be outlawed altogether, but the meds shouldn’t be handed out like candy, either.  Talk to ex-jocks or their parents and you’ll quickly find out that often times that’s exactly how they’re doled out.

So perhaps some of those billions of dollars that schools will make from a new FBS football playoff can be spent creating a system that better monitors what players are given for pain, how much they’re given, and when they’re given it.

Until then, any fan questioning the toughness of a college athlete should probably zip it.  It’s the player’s body, not yours… not mine.  It’s his.  And Franklin took care of his body as is his right.

Good for him.  And good for Pinkel in finally coming out and trying to stop a debate that he inadvertently started.

We’ll say good for the NCAA if we see them take any steps at all towards studying or further regulating the use of painkillers on college campuses.

Update: Franklin spells out his thinking via Instagram.

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Saban Wants Bama To Be More Explosive In The Passing Game

Nick Saban was singing the praises of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron on with “Mike and Mike in the Morning” on ESPN radio today.  And according to the coach, his signal-caller will get more chances to shines this fall:

 

“AJ McCarron is the kind of quarterback that you can put the game in his hands.  I really feel like we need to be a more explosive team in the passing game.”

 

Last season, McCarron completed nearly 67% of his passes and had a 16-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio as he led the Crimson Tide to the BCS title.  However, with a strong running game in place, McCarron never threw for more than 284 yards in any single game.  In fact, he threw for less than 200 yards in seven of Bama’s 13 contests.

On a sidenote, Saban also said that believes the FBS level of college football should be cut down to 60-70 teams with those teams playing each other.  He also pushed once more for the SEC to go to a nine-game football schedule.  (Bravo.)

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SEC Headlines 8/14/2012

SEC News

1. Memphis high schools and the NCAA: “Memphis is on their radar.”

2. Transfers, fraudulent transcripts and player dismissals: “We’re barely two weeks away from opening weekend, and already I’m sick and tired of college football.”

3. Gene Wojciechowski: “South Carolina at Vandy? Never been happier to see the Head Ball Coach throw his visor.”

4. Dennis Dodd: “Thirty-four of the 124 FBS head coaches once were full-time SEC assistants. That’s more than a quarter — 27 percent — of major-college coaches having been taught in the Strength Everywhere Conference.”

SEC West Football

5. Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu to announce his transfer decision on Wednesday? Return to LSU “wouldn’t be happening.” 

6. LSU’s NCAA compliance officer: ”He’s permanently ineligible to play football at LSU.”

7. Not so fast.  LSU associate AD Herb Vincent: “To clarify: Tyrann Mathieu has the option to go to LSU as a student. #LSU is not speculating on his football future.”

8. Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope may be the go-to guy, but the Aggies believe they have other talent at the wide receiver position.

9. Mississippi State’s Cam Lawrence on fellow linebacker Deontae Skinner: “He’s a freak, in a good way, for sure,”

10. Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino says his side of the ball did better than advertised in Saturday’s scrimmage.

11. Between Fayetteville and Little Rock, more than 88,000 season ticket package sales for Arkansas.

12. Lot of question marks at wide receiver for Auburn.

13. Auburn freshman cornerback Joshua Holsey: “Our class is going to be the class that change everything around.”

14. Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace expects both he and Barry Brunetti to see playing time to start the year: “I think that’s what’s going to happen.”

15. Injuries starting to pile up for the Rebels.  Hugh Freeze: “It keeps me up at night.”

16. What was the intensity like at Alabama’s first preseason scrimmage? “Everybody was game mode.”

Update: The Nick Saban process could be coming to a school near you.

SEC East Football

17. If Georgia freshman John Theus starts at right tackle in the season opener, he’ll be one of only three true freshmen to do so at Georgia since 1973.

18. On the left side, Kenarious Gates will protect Aaron Murray’s blind side. Still no clear starter at tailback.

19. Florida coach Will Muschamp thinks his offensive line is much improved this year.

20. Derek Dooley liked the way his Tennessee team played in Saturday’s scrimmage.

21. Whether you call him “Shade Tree” or “Green Mile”, Tennessee lineman Daniel McCullers is a big man.

22. Heralded Mizzou freshman wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham is playing better; Gary Pinkel:  “I thought he really upped it a bit.”

23. The light never came on for wide receiver DeMarco Robinson at Kentucky last year, but that’s all changing.

24. After watching tape of Saturday’s scrimmage, Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Bob Shoop was not pleased.

25. Redshirt South Carolina freshman cornerback Ahmad Christian will have a role in the Gamecocks secondary this fall.

SEC Basketball

26. John Calipari as replacement for Mike Kryzewski as head coach of the Olympic basketball team? “Calipari is such a polarizing figure in basketball circles, would USA Basketball want the controversy that could come with picking him?”

27. Former Razorback Ronnie Brewer on current Arkansas guard B.J. Young: “He’s a phenomenal player,”

28. Florida fans should enjoy incoming freshman Chris Walker.  He may only be there one year.

29. Last game in Italy for Tennessee.  Tennessee freshman Derek Reese has a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

30. Mizzou guard Michael Dixon scores 31 points as the Tigers win in Belgium.

 

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Presidents Could Be Making A $5 Billion Decision Today

For the past few months, folks around college football have whispered that a new playoff television package would likely fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million per season.  Nice neighborhood, eh?  Well, if The Sporting News’ Matt Hayes has a good source — and he usually does — then that $500M number is very much real.

The BCS deal paid out $174 million last year.  That number could triple depending on the length of the new TV deal as well as how much value is assigned to the new semifinal games — something we’ve never seen before.

Ten years.  $500 or so million.  Yep, that could mean $5 billion going into college football’s pot to be divvied up among the conferences and schools.  To put that into perspective, if all 120-125 FBS programs got an even split from that $500 million payout on a yearly basis, that’d be give-or-take an extra $4 million per school.  (Of course, schools in the five big conferences will get more than that with the guppies of the world getting a smaller share.  But still.  Also, that’s not counting the money that the bowls will keep and other various expenses, but you get the point.)

We’ve noted many, many times before that the presidents have turned down enormous potential payouts from television for a college football playoff in the past.  But this time around — as Hayes’ source puts it — “They’d be throwing away $2 1/2 billion… at least.”

That kind of money could slow expansion down as the five biggest leagues might not need to add any more schools to their rosters and schools might not be forced to leap from one big conference to another.  Also, a 10- or 12-year TV contract could lock in the four-team system and prevent “playoff creep” and expansion until the current batch of presidents have departed from their current offices.

That’s three reasons — one of them potentially worth $5 billion — that for the first time ever the university presidents might just take the money and run when it comes to the dreaded P-word.  Then again, never underestimate the stupidity of people in groups.

Yeah, $5 billion makes it a slam dunk on paper.  But we’ll pop the champagne once the votes are counted.

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College Athletics Waiting For The Shot Heard ‘Round The World

Today, on June 1st, 2012, the state of college sports can best be described as a powder keg.  Hot-headed, stubbon, arrogant conference commissioners who are more interested in what’s best for their own leagues than they are what’s best for the whole will gather in Chicago later this month.

Might as well just meet at Lexington, Massachusetts.  The posturing’s been done.  Battle lines have been drawn.  And all that’s needed to blow college athletics all to Hell is just… one… shot.

In Chicago — first on the 13th and then on the 20th — the commissioners of the FBS conferences and the athletic director from Notre Dame will attempt to cobble together a new playoff system.  The only issue?  Everyone’s got a different take on what should be the result of said cobbling.  And representatives from the most powerful leagues are already letting everyone know that they won’t compromise.

As for the playoff itself, Matt Hayes of The Sporting News says the format won’t impact the amount of cash television networks are willing to bid for the rights to air the three new games (if there are three new games).  CBS, ESPN, NBC/Comcast and FOX are all expected to bid on a new playoff.  There will also be huge money rolling in from a process that will likely include bidding out the championship game site each year, a la the Final Four or Super Bowl.

“College football is hot,” one BCS source told Hayes.  ”Everyone wants a piece of it.”  For that reason — regardless of the format — the money will be the same.

As for that format…

The Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC are all in favor of systems that would give some sort of special consideration to conference champions (mainly because their leagues haven’t produced many BCS title game contenders in the past 14 years).

Meanwhile, the Big 12, the SEC and Notre Dame want the best four teams involved (mainly because the first two entities are more likely to land multiple teams in the field while the last one is just trying to secure a possible entrance point).  The Big 12 wants to see a selection committee do the choosing.  The SEC would apparently be willing to compromise on how the selection is done, so long as it means keeping the 1-2-3-4 system.  But according to Florida president Bernie Machen, that’s the only compromising his league will do.

 

“We won’t compromise on (1-2-3-4).  I think the public wants the top four.  I think almost everybody wants the top four.”

 

Strong words.  Especially from the chairperson of the SEC’s presidents and chancellors.  And Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said yesterday that he didn’t “see a compromise position,” either.

Is all this just a negotiating ploy like certain Big Ten and Pac-12 officials kickstarting talk of a simple post-bowl Plus-One?  Perhaps.  After all, according to Jon Solomon of The Birmingham News, Machen also said this yesterday:

 

“I’ve thought about this: Suppose everybody says they’re going to do this (playoff) and one or two say we’re nto going to to do this.  I don’t know what the next step is…

I think this has to be a consensus exercise.  I think that’s why the BCS has sort of worked is that everybody bought into it. I don’t know quite how they got everybody together back in the day. I just don’t foresee a strong-armed kind of solution. We’re all going to have to, if necessary, compromise and get something we can all live with.”

 

It seems a pretty far stretch from “we won’t compromise” to “a consensus exercise,” doesn’t it?

When the playoffs were first tossed out as a possibility, we wrote that the most likely solution would be a 3+1 compromise.  Take the three highest-rated conference champions and then the next highest-rated team.  Most network executives and media members seem to think that’s where things will go, as long as guys like Mike Slive, Larry Scott and Jim Delany are willing to find some common ground.

Andy Staples of SI.com writes that all this talk of not compromising shouldn’t be taken too seriously.  ”So don’t worry too much about the playoff falling apart, even if the rhetoric gets stronger in the next three weeks.  Cash is the ultimate consensus builder, and it hasn’t had its say yet.”

That’s a fair enough point aside from one thing — college presidents and conference commissioners have passed on the huge television dollars available through a playoff for years.  The economy is in a different state now.  There are more networks to bid now.  Yes and yes, but egos, arrogance, a lust for power and some already existing feuds — Big Ten versus SEC — could still win the day.  After all, if issues like ego, arrogance, lust for power and feuds can lead men and nations to war, they could certainly upend the momentum for a college football playoff.

Asked by The Birmingham News about how things might shake out, BCS executive director Bill Hancock had this to say:

 

“I really don’t know. It narrowed to the few four-team options we gave the commissioners back in April for them to take to their conferences. You saw there’s a little more interest (since then) in the plus-one. It would not be inappropriate for someone to have a new idea. But the time is coming that a decision has to be made and I hope that time is the end of June. I’m confident the group will come to a decision, but there’s a lot more work to do…

I don’t know (if there will be a playoff).  I think the will of the group is they want to do something different. But the question is can they come up with a format that everyone wants to participate in? I think they will, but I think it’s not 100 percent.”

 

Hancock also said that he believes “all the conferences will have to” compromise to get a deal done.  ”The BCS was built on collaboration and compromise.”  And the BCS evolved from the Bowl Coalition (1992-1995) to the Bowl Alliance (1995-1997) to finally the current model, though even the formulas and polls used to select teams have changed repeatedly since the BCS’ inception in 1998.

All that collaboration and compromise didn’t occur overnight, which is what’s basically needed now.  The Big Ten, Pac-12 and Rose Bowl did their own thing from ’92 through ’97.  Even though there was more money on the table in the BCS partnership that they eventually joined.

It could be that the Big Ten and Pac-12 hold out again.  After all, if X amount of dollars are available this year, Y amount or even Z amount could be available a year or two down the road.  (That’d be a risky gamble considering the teetering global economy.)

If or when the conference commissioners — including all those small conferences who’ll want any kind of cash they can grab for themselves — arrive at a playoff format, you can probably expect more shifting of the college sports landscape.  That’s the view of none other than NCAA president Mark Emmert who made a surprise drop-in at the Big 12 meetings in Kansas City yesterday.

 

“If there’s going to be significant movement by FBS institutions over the course of the summer, it will be driven by (the playoff and the gulf in finances it could create between the “haves” and “have nots”)…

When you go back and look at history, the financial differences have always been there, but some universities have huge competitive advantages through history and geography and decisions they’ve made over decades that are in some ways insurmountable.  It just reinforces some of those inherent advantages that some universities have had for a century.”

 

Emmert then pointed out that there is still “a laundry list of issues” to work out before a playoff is lined up and more realignment/expansion occurs.  ”Is it going to be part of the bowls?  Isn’t it?  How do you handle the allocation of money?  How do you pick four teams?  Do you play on campuses or not?”

Yes, and all that’s supposed to be settled by June 20th and then approved by the BCS presidential oversight committee on June 26th.  All by men who have their own league’s best interests at heart and who are currently talking about how uncompromising they will be in Chicago.

It’s a powder keg, folks.  The playoff, the format, the makeup of conferences, etc.  A first shot will be fired in a couple of weeks.  From there, things could fizzle out for a while or the whole darn system as we know it could go up in smoke.  At this point, it’s anybody’s guess as to whether there will even be a playoff.

Even with hundreds of millions of dollars on the table.

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Georgia Recruiting Is About To Get Tougher

Each February, more SEC football signees come from the state of Georgia than from any other state in the Union.  That includes Florida, despite the fact that the Sunshine State produces more NFL-caliber talent year-in and year-out than the Peach State does.  The explanation for that is pretty simple:

 

FBS Schools in Florida: Florida, Florida State, Miami, South Florida, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, and Florida International.

FBS Schools in Georgia: Georgia and Georgia Tech.

 

It’s easier for SEC schools like South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Alabama and Auburn to target Georgia kids because — face it — they can’t all stay in state.  That’s the reason Missouri is now aiming at Georgia and Atlanta, too.

Ah, but things could get a bit tougher in the years ahead for all those schools who mine Georgia for talent.  And don’t laugh too hard when you read this: Georgia State is moving to the FBS level this season and Georgia Southern is taking steps toward such a move down the road.  Remember, at one point South Florida and UCF were laughers, too.  Now they’re in a BCS league and can go toe-to-toe with SEC teams in football on occasion.  (Ask a Georgia fan about UCF’s Liberty Bowl win over the Dawgs two years ago, for example.  Then again, don’t.  You’ll get slapped.)

Bill Curry’s Georgia State program has potential.  This year they’ll move into the Sun Belt Conference.  The school is located smack in the middle of downtown Atlanta.  That means prospects and it also means a busy campus life to sell to those prospects.  The school’s enrollment is already 30,000 and it’s the second largest school in the University System of Georgia.  Now, there’s certainly the potential for the board of regents of Georgia’s system to handcuff and hold back GSU the way the power brokers in the Alabama system consistently undermine UAB’s football program.  Still, it’s one more program to compete with for all those out-of-state programs looking to raid the Peach State.

As for Georgia Southern — which is also in the University System of Georgia and under the same board of regents as UGA — the six-time FCS champion Eagles are now readying for a move to the big time, too.  According to The Statesboro Herald the school is trying to raise $36.6 million over five years to make the move up in class.  ”There’s no question it’s where we want to go,” said president Brooks Keel.

All of this is coming at a time when the NCAA is seriously looking at its current make-up.  For the first time ever even the NCAA president is openly talking about how hard it is to try and keep all schools — rich and poor, big and small — competing on an even level.  Obviously there’s a chance that both Georgia State and Georgia Southern could move up to the FBS just in time to see the biggest BCS portion of that group shift off into its own supersized subset of the FBS and NCAA, thus defeating the purpose of those schools’ moves.

But all things being equal, the potential doubling of FBS football programs in Georgia bears watching by Southeastern Conference teams.  If Georgia State or Georgia Southern are able to keep just one key recruit at home each year, that’s one less impact player who most likely would have landed at another SEC school in previous years.

For all the cracking wise done at the expense of programs like FAU and FIU in Florida, they have had an impact on SEC recruiting.  You can see it every February… when the league’s teams ink more players from Georgia than from the state just below it on the map.

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