We need a better definition of college football autonomy

During Day 1 of SEC Media Days, Commissioner Mike Slive , who would be the most effective NCAA commissioner if he wouldn’t show so much favoritism to the SEC, but more likely will control a potential de facto organization of the Power 5 conferences behind the scenes when this possibly happens, had this message according to ESPN.com to open the gathering in Hoover, Alabama to send to Dr. Emmert, the puppet President of the NCAA: “If we do not achieve a positive outcome under the existing big tent of Division I, we will need to consider the establishment of a venue with similar conferences and institutions where we can enact the desired changes in the best interests of our student-athletes.”

Slive indicates the group including only the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, PAC 12, and Notre Dame would make its own set of bylaws, offer full cost four-year scholarships, provide long term medical coverage, and consider other ideas currently being bandied about by the NCAA. Most of that sounds pretty good for the players. And why should these benefits be limited to these five conferences?   However, we find it interesting that a major piece of autonomy that he doesn’t address is game scheduling.

Would the 65 teams of the five power conferences play only amongst themselves, or would Alabama still play Western Carolina to exchange a big pay day for a lopsided win? Will Auburn still host Samford? Or UT-Chattanooga? Or Furman? Will Florida host Eastern Kentucky? Georgia host Charleston Southern etc., etc.?

Do you mean that Arkansas may now schedule Rutgers since they are in the Big Ten, a conference among the five supposedly elite conferences? Oh wait a minute; The Scarlet Knights of the American Athletic Conference defeated these Razor backs the last two years! Florida could play Miami and Florida State for annual in-state rivalries! Oh wait, they lost to both of them last year. Georgia can play Clemson annually to continue their old rivalry. Oh, maybe they can extract revenge in Athens from last year this year. Let’s see, they already have Georgia Tech on their slate annually. They could play Colorado and Oklahoma State like they did in 2010 and 2009 respectively, but if they lose to both like they did then, that could be three or four losses before even playing in the SEC! Kentucky can play cross-state rival Louisville and eventually three others out of conference since the SEC will only play eight conference games among the SEC. What would the result be if all four non-conference games only be played among the five conferences with the autonomy? They lost to Louisville, but what would the final record be if they played Michigan State, Arizona, and maybe TCU as the other three all in one season? Two o those games would the to be played away. Tennessee lost at Oregon last year. Maybe they will beat the Sooners in Norman this year just like Alabama did in the Sugar Bowl.  Oh wait, my mistake.

Man, if SEC teams can only play these power fivers during the regular season, there may be fewer SEC schools going to bowl games to share the profits. Three losses out of conference and four losses in conference make for an overall losing record. Are we going to see the criteria change for bowl games again? Four wins and you’re in? Why should anybody care to watch?  Bowl games used to mean something special because they are supposed to be played by winners, not just to fill TV air time.

I wondered why Slive didn’t address autonomous regular season scheduling as part of his overall plan for the power five. Maybe he has to be sure how this autonomy will affect scheduling first. If the power five won’t share the money, it doesn’t seem to make much sense for the other conferences to share the playing field. Does it? As a matter of fact, it may be the best thing for the other teams from the “lesser” conferences in the long term. Let the cream of those teams rise to the top amongst them.  And don’t listen to June Jones‘s idea about spring ball for the others. Grant the elite five autonomy, and let’s see who’s interested in a bunch of losing teams finally exposed during the regular season.

Things could get ugly for college football if this autonomy takes place from this perspective. I may just go back and enjoy going to FCS games where the playoff system they have already determines a national champion on the field.  Did I mention that there are a lot fewer TV time-outs. too?

 

Audio

Favorite Our early preseason interview on Spadora on Sports

On July 5, Pete Spadora invited me for a little early college football season preview on his Saturday morning radio show, “Spadora on Sports” on WNER on Watertown, NY broadcast live in Boston, Vermont, and Canada as well as in upstate New York.

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In case you missed it live on July 5, click on the link below to hear about our plans for the upcoming season and about a little tailgate cuisine.  Pete has us on his show regularly on Saturdays before some of our games during the regular season.  We’ll let you know when right here on our blog so you can join in to listen when you can.

 

Big Tailgate announced for October 18

During the past two seasons, Collegefootballfan.com and the Boonton (NJ) Walter J. Barrett Knights of Columbus hosted 50+ fans at our annual Big Tailgate Party held at West Point, NY where we watched Army pull of an exciting 34-31 last minute victory over Boston College in 2012, and saw Wake Forest defeat the Cadets last season, 25-11, followed by another memorable tailgate party. This year on October 18, we will change the venue for a 1 pm kickoff at Princeton Stadium where the Tigers of Princeton will host the Brown Bruins in a traditional Ivy League clash.

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The Tigers will be in the hunt for a second consecutive Ivy League titles shared with Harvard a year ago after they dropped their season finale in an upset by Dartmouth to finish their season at 8-2 overall, and 6-1 to share the Ivy title. Brown finished the season at 6-4 overall and 3-4 among the Ivies. Against Princeton at home in Providence, RI, the Bruins took a 17-0 lead into the second quarter before the Tigers stormed back to a 39-17 win led by Junior QB Quinn Epperly who threw for 272 yards while rushing for 114 yards and three TDs.

Epperly returns to PU as the winner of the Bushnell Cup awarded to the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year. He completed 68% of his passes for 2,137 yards. He passed for 25 TDs and ran for 18.   In the win over Cornell, he broke an NCAA passing mark completing 29 consecutive passes. He was the League’s Offensive Player of the Week six times last season. In 2014, he is on the watch list for the Walter Payton Award which goes to the top offensive player in FCS football. Former winners include Steve McNair, Tony Romo, and Brian Westbrook. His HC Bob Surace is a Princeton grad in his fifth year at the helm after coaching as an assistant with the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL.

Brown HC Phil Estes has a young squad returning. His 67 wins are the most ever achieved against Ivy League competition at Brown. His Bruins have won three Ivy League titles since 1999. Key returnees this year include RB Andrew Coke and WR Brian Strachan. On defense, LB Dan Govacchini returns at LB as the leading tackler from a year ago. The Bruin defense will have to be primed to keep the Tiger offense in check as they averaged 43.7 points per game last season returning with Quinn and other key players on offense. It should be an entertaining Ivy League contest.

Prices for the game will include a game ticket, the bus ride, a donation to the Knights fundraising, and other goodies to be announced. Prices and other information about the game will be announced shortly here on Collegefootballfan.com. It should be another fun football tailgate at this annual tradition.

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What the Old Ball Coach was really saying

Link on to ESPN below and then let us interpret what the South Carolina Coach was really saying to the spin doctors who work for the organization responsible for controlling more of college football than they should.

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Despite what the “experts” from ESPN said today at the SEC Media day regarding Steve Spurrier’s comment about Nick Saban’s recruiting prowess at Alabama, with that patented smirk on his face , the Old Ball Coach was more than admiring what a fantastic recruiting job Saban has done since he’s been at Tuscaloosa. Remember our blog two nights ago: “USC Hall of Fame? Or Hall of Shame?”

I believe he’s insinuating that someone, Mr. Slive and Dr. Emmert, should now be looking a little closer at the recruiting practices at Alabama. As stated in our article, wherever Lane Kiffin goes, “where there’s smoke, there is fire. “ Why take a risk at hiring this guy who is an unknown entity as an offensive coordinator, but yet a key cog in two programs that were put on sanctions following his direct involvement? He hasn’t proven that he can win on the up and up. I think Spurrier’s basically saying keep a closer eye out for what’s going on behind the scenes at Alabama.

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