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July 1, 2008

TV News: Contracts and Scheduling

Speaking of non-conference games (Image: Hipple)

Josh Kendall of the Macon Telegraph has a couple of articles of interest. The first discusses the SEC's TV contract talks and the role that TV plays in scheduling games.

You Talk a Lot for an Irrelevant Program
I think it's laughable for Bill Curry to act indignant about the role that TV plays in scheduling. (Note: I don't know that he has another emotion beyond indignation and self-righteous condescension, but that's a topic for another post) The reason I think Curry's blustering is silly is simple. The most proven, modern model for rapidly growing a football program (particularly in a more "urban" setting") is by embracing non-traditional TV start times...and winning (obviously).

Emerging programs have to gain exposure somehow and competing for eyeballs and ticket dollars on Saturday is a tough swim up stream. Louisville, South Florida, Boise State (although obviously not as metropolitan), Rutgers, etc. have all heavily leveraged Thursday, Friday and Sunday games to grow the program. Many of those games would've otherwise been ignored.

Not Always a Bad Thing
The networks were traditionally big drivers in helping arrange marquee inter-regional match-ups like great Alabama vs. Penn State series in the 70s and 80s. Today, they help create home and home series like UGA vs. Ok State or Auburn vs. Kansas State. They aren't always a force of evil. They can create better games if teams will work with them.

In hoops, I know basketball programs work the phones heavily with all the networks in hopes of helping facilitate the scheduling of non-conference games. It's simple
Coach A: "Will you play us?"
Coach B: "No."
Coach A: "Will you play us if I line up a TV partner?"
Coach B: "Well, that's different.".
Going Forward
If I'm CBS and ESPN, I would be willing to go much deeper into my pocket financially for the new SEC TV deal if the SEC would commit to more competitive non-conference scheduling. Imagine a scenario where every SEC program commits to scheduling an average of 1.3-1.5 BCS non-conference teams per year for the next XX years.

That would force schools like Arkansas, Mississippi State and LSU into stepping up and broadening the TV inventory for the betterment of the league. It's outrageous that you have schools like UGA now scheduling 2-3 non-conference BCS teams per year for the next 10+ years while Arkansas (last year) and LSU (this year) have years where they don't play *any* non-conference peer schools.

If the SEC did that deal, there's no reason that ABC couldn't use the same philosophy in renegotiating with the Big East, Big 12, Big 10, etc. All for the betterment of college football, fan interest and yes....TV ratings.

The real problem with college football isn't the lack of a playoff. The real problem is the exceptionally high inventory of non-competitive games across the board. This problem is caused by:
    1. Too many Div I-A programs
    2. BCS teams scheduling 1-2 Div I-AA teams per year
    3. Too few BCS vs. BCS match-ups
How can you truly know which teams are best if the best don't play each other?



ChiliDawg said...

And when I thought it couldn't get much worse....

TCDevildawg said...

For once I agree. Why not take the first game of year and put last years #1 vs. the next highest team (not in their conference or already on their sch), last years #2 vs the next highest team (not in their conference or already on their sch),

For Example...last years top 10..

2 Georgia
4 Missouri
5 Ohio State
6 West Virginia
7 Kansas
8 Oklahoma
9 Virginia Tech
10 Boston College

The sch. would be.

#1. LSU vs USC
#2. UGA vs Missouri
#3. OSU vs WV
#4. Kansas vs. VT
#5. OU vs BC

You can even do it with Pre-season rankings.

I'm not sure it would work...but It would be make for hell of a week in college football.

Fisheriesdawg said...


The reason you wouldn't want to do that is because it would be unfair to the good teams. You'd end up with some team who was ranked low early in the season that played a Big Ten schedule going undefeated while a UGA or LSU with one loss to USC or Missouri would be penalized. The NFL has this problem...the better you do in one season, the tougher they make your schedule in the next.

Doing such a thing doesn't make a lick of sense to me. All that would end up happening is the top teams would knock each other off and undeserving teams would slip into the title game on the basis of not having to play comparable games.

Anonymous said...

Amen Paul. I am in the minority and am against a college football playoff. Games like WVU vs Pitt 07, USC vs UCLA 06, ect. would lose their luster if there was a playoff. I love college football because you feel like you got gut kicked everytime you lose no matter when that loss occures.

What I would really like to see is all BCS teams be required to play 2BCS non confernce games as you mentioned. People say "settle it on the field" all the time. Then they sit in the stands and watch their team play 2 D2 schools , directional La. and a MAC school. The SEC for the most part is getting much better at non conference scheduling, but still LSU dropped the ball this year.

Anonymous said...

any word on this

Anonymous said...

Anderson,Lemon and Strudivant (sp) need to get it together. Do they not realize that this team will be in the public eye until 30 August?

These guys need to have a personal handler. I am sure that there is more to it then what is being reported but thats two key offensive lineman and a defensive lineman. I am sure CMR is on top of these guys in the off season but what gives?


Hunkering Hank said...

Player arrests are getting to be a serious problem for the program. That's six this offseason. I don't know if they are all scholarship guys, but assuming they are, 6 out of 85 is 7%. That's a pretty high rate getting clipped for something - be it major or minor. With a president as "university image conscious" as Adams, this could be Richt's achilles heel in his eyes.

I'm not sayin' it's fair or that Richt is a bad guy or any of that shit, I'm just sayin' watch it, it could happen. Although I hope it doesn't.

Anonymous said...

They got arrested for touching a pregnant woman's belly? Really?

Anonymous said...

Per Online Athens:

In separate affidivats, it is alleged that Sturdivant and Anderson each "did intentionally make physical contact of an insulting nature with (the alleged victim), who he does not know, when he approached her and touched her stomach."


Andrew said...

This is a bad day. I wonder where this puts us in Fulmer Cup points... sad.

skidawg1985 said...


Your idea is really silly. For one thing, college teams can take dramatic swings from year to year. So just because a team finished high in 2007 does not mean it starts out high in 2008.

Such a match up was once tried with the old Kick Off Classic. I recall games with 2 of the top finishers from the previous year and it was a bad game because both teams lost a lot of players to graduation (okay, maybe not graduation but eligibility).

Actually such scheduling makes perfect sense in the NFL where "parity" is a desired product.

Also, the recommendation about scheduling 2 BCS non-conference games is not really needed as much as reducing how often a team can play 1-AA teams. Maybe allow 1 game every 2 or 3 years.

Of course playing Duke might be easier than Appalachian State so the idea that just because a team is from a BCS conference does not mean it will be much of a game.

Anonymous said...

In separate affidivats, it is alleged that Sturdivant and Anderson each "did intentionally make physical contact of an insulting nature with (the alleged victim), who he does not know, when he approached her and touched her stomach."


AMAZING INDEED. The ACC Police need to get a f*cking CLUE!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Amen Paul Anonymous - we don't need a playoff. The regular season is fantastic as it is and going Bowling is fun. People just need to accept that the whole 'who is number 1' thing will sometimes be subjective. C'est la vie!

Anonymous said...

Could be worse, looks like GT's CB Tarrant Choice wanted to touch as little more than a belly.;_ylt=AjXk8fc4s7ErjwpvdNmNssUcvrYF?slug=ap-gatech-rapecharge&prov=ap&type=lgns

KY_Dawg said...

IN the words of Lewis Grizzard, a great American, tell it all brother! Let's cut back on some of the "cream puff" games where a DI plays a DII (or even DIII) and get some games between REAL teams. Like TCDevilDawg said, can you imagine the first two weeks of the season with all top 10 teams playing each other?!! I('m getting wood just thinking of it!

Anonymous said...

I think the BSC (Big Crock of Stool)is a joke. Maybe these Mid majors should have there own Playoff system like 1 AA, DII and DIII. I see nothing wrong with it. Lets say the MAC, WAC, Mountain West, Sunbelt, and C-USA banded together to form there own NCAA sanctioned playoff system. So perhaps there should be further separation between competitive tiers. BCS as 1A, Mid-Majors as 1AA, and current FCS as 1AAA.

Xon said...

People have already hit on part of the problem with having all the good teams from the year before play each other. If all the teams remain good from one year to the next, then you're actually 'punishing' them relative to the less-good teams by having them play such amazingly hard matchups. No good team should be afraid to play another good team, of course. But the reality is that there is no way to have EVERY team play every other team in football (duh, captain obvious!), and so all this owuld do is make sure that the good teams had to play a hard schedule but the lesser-tier teams would just be more likely to play the part of Cinderella when the better teams fell. This is contrived drama, not actual "settling it on the field."

It's not much different in principle than if we made a "super conference" every season made of the top 12 teams from the previous year. And those 12 teams all play an 11 game schedule against the others. The rest of the country somehow goes on like normal (obviously, this is logistically impossible; it's just a "philosopher's" thought experiment).

In the superconference, some REALLY good team is going to end up with a really crappy record. Simple probability makes it likely that at least one team will go 4-8 or worse (and two or three of them might do so). Yet they could be deserving, high rank caliber teams. But if all the best teams play each other, someone has to lose. And then the boise State's look "better" simply b/c they didn't have to run that gauntlet and so their record is prettier.

End of the day, there is no magic rainbow that will take us to "national champion" utopia. It just ain't gonna happen. I agree with the earlier commenter that the regular season is unbeatably wonderful in our current system, and the bowls are fun, too. Screw with that over my dead body, I say.

A "plus 1" or even MAYBE a top 8 wouldn't completely ruin everything, but the Senator argues convincingly (I think) that "bracket creep" would likely rear its ugly head eventually if we tried such a limited playoff format. So I'm in favor of just leaving it all be like it is.

TCDevildawg said...

Like I said you can do it with pre-season rankings.

The point is, it forces teams ranked that have played a weak sch. to play somebody tough.

We aren't getting a playoff anytime soon or even a Plus-1. So either force ranked teams to play each other or get used to seeing teams with cupcake schs. slide through the year with 1-loss or unranked like Hawaii.

Dante said...

"and so all this owuld do is make sure that the good teams had to play a hard schedule but the lesser-tier teams would just be more likely to play the part of Cinderella when the better teams fell. This is contrived drama, not actual "settling it on the field.""

I hate to break this to you but football IS "contrived drama." How is giving a football team a higher quality game to participate in a punishment? Hey, you were going to have to play Directional Michigan but now you get to play Oklahoma. In my mind that should be a plus, not a minus.

All of these "Oh NOES! My team might actually have to play someone good." arguments are making me think more and more that every-week-counts isn't such a good thing after all.

nemov said...

Completely unrelated question... The Dawgs are going to play 6 coaches in these season that have won National Championships. Has that ever happened before?

TCdevildawg said...

nemov...its actually 5. AU didn't win in 2004....They should have played USC for the National Championship...But they didn't. Now, they did take a Hay ride and make up some NC rings for theirselves but they still didn't win the crystal football.

But Arky actually plays 5 coaches that won a NC also.. Like us.


they also play AU....

Hmmm...wonder what the odds are that Bobby Petrino quits again mid-season with that sch.

Paul Westerdawg said...


it's 6. you forgot erickson when he as at miami.

Tcdevildawg said...

Dang...I forgot him being the coach of ASU. Well..Sorry about that, Nemov.

nemov said...

no problem tcdevil... I doubt many teams have ever had to play that many national championship coaches. Just imagine if we had to play Ohio State or USC in a national championship game. That would be 7.


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