Olin Buchanan is a fool - updated!

Olin Buchanan is a fool - updated!

Submitted by pasadenablue on June 24th, 2009 at 3:46 AM

So I saw this article: http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=957359&PT=4&PR=2, on yahoo sports the other day. I noticed a nice picture of Charlie the Hutt there, and Mr. Buchanan was praising the domers for not scheduling a 1-AA (yeah I'm old-fashioned) team. So at once I thought, Notre Dame might not play a 1-AA team, but with the exception of a few games, their schedule is pretty soft. So I did some research, and typed the following response to Mr. Buchanan:

"Ah yes, stalwart Notre Dame, never scheduling a 1-AA team. They only play such powerhouses as Purdue, San Diego State, Washington, Syracuse, and Stanford. Those teams were a combined 14-46. And true, they did play a couple of decent teams and regular power programs, the overall W-L of their opponents was 79-86. Number of wins against teams with a +.500 record: 1, at Navy. Had it not been for the patsies on their schedule, Notre Dame wouldn't have come close to making a bowl game. Just remember that the domers don't need to schedule 1-AA opponents because their schedule is already chock full of cupcakes."

On the submission form, it has one list their name, city, email, and, most importantly, favorite college football team. Even though I had a gut feeling that it might look bad and corrupt the message, I decided to be honest and type in Michigan.

I checked my email today, and this is what I saw:

"Didn’t Michigan play Miami, Ohio (2-10), Toledo (3-9), Purdue (4-8) and Illinois (5-7)? Those teams were a combined 14-34. And by the way, didn’t Notre Dame destroy Michigan? Just because the cupcakes are in conference play doesn’t mean they’re not cupcakes."

Strange! Not a word about Notre Dame's weak schedule! Nothing but him trying to distract me from my original argument. Never once did I say that Michigan played a strong schedule last year (though they did - SOS was top 30 by most metrics I believe, definitely all greater than ND). Yet all he talks about is Michigan. Yes, Michigan had a tough year last year, yes we lost to ND, and yes we played those teams. But how come he didn't list the rest of Michigan's schedule (like I did with ND). Let's see, there's Utah (13-0), ND (7-6), Wisconsin (7-6), Penn State (11-2), MSU (9-4), Minnesota(7-6), Northwestern (9-4), and OSU (10-3). That's 8 bowl teams combining for 73-31. Including the weaker third of Michigan's schedule, you have a total of 87-65 (ND's opponents played more games because ND played Hawaii in their bowl game). All in all, it's a cowardly and bitter response from someone who's original argument has had a hole poked in it.

I sent him back an email stating such:

"While you've stated true facts in your email, it doesnt change the fact that you've been lauding Notre Dame for scheduling "tough, non 1-AA" opponents. All you've done is point out weaknesses of my team over the past year, not address the faultiness of your own arguments. Instead of trying to come with clever ways to protect your own arguments, how about you address the facts?"

At this point in time, I'm not sure what to expect from him. Maybe he'll send a gracious apology back, realizing that he got caught in the act. Maybe he'll send more diversionary emails. Maybe he'll resort to ad hominem attacks. He probably won't respond at all (it's the easiest way to duck out of a difficult situation).

I'll be honest, I'm a Michigan homer. Previous diary posts will show that. However, I also present facts to back up what I say. And while I may have a conflict of interest when I criticize schools like ND and USC (see my last diary post), it doesn't mean that I am wrong.

What do you all think? Thoughts? Comments? Rebuttals?

Update! As of 12:40 PM (CST). A new email for Buchanan

New email is as follows:

"I did not just laud ND. I applaud any team – Tennessee, USC, UCLA, etc. that did not schedule schedule FCS opponents.

I just thought it was ironic that you were ripping ND for its weak schedule, while your team’s schedule wasn’t much different. And I think pointing that out is rather clever."

Notice in my original emails, I didn't say anything about the other teams. There's a reason for that - because for the most part he was right about those other teams. While I really dislike USC, I respect them for playing a tough non-conference schedule. Also notice that he still hasn't addressed the original point about Notre Dame.

Thus, my response:

It might be ironic, but it doesn't change the fact that your original argument was wrong. It was a clever distraction, but it was nothing more than that - a distraction. I never mentioned the other teams, because there was no need to criticize you on them - you were right about them. However, Notre Dame doesn't deserve the same veneration. You still have not addressed the original point that I brought up, and at this point. The only reason I can think of for that behavior is that you know that your original point (about ND) was weak, and you're trying to throw up a smokescreen to distract me. It won't work.

I wonder how differently that email would have been received if I'd said that I was a Utah or a Tennessee fan. While I am a Michigan fan, I am making these observations as a college football enthusiast. I wonder if he realizes this.

End update

Also, for reference, link to comment on the article linked above: http://collegefootball.rivals.com/drawform.asp?form=943
Olin Buchanan's email address: [email protected].

Also (way OT), what the heck are mgopoints for?

A price-based solution to the scheduling issue

A price-based solution to the scheduling issue

Submitted by UMaD on June 18th, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Inspired by Brian's idea to replace lost revenue from home games against a 1AA school with a higher priced marquee matchup every other season (e.g. Alabama , Oklahoma, Texas) it occurred to me that cupcake-scheduling can be blamed on fixed-cost ticket pricing. Under this accounting, a ticket for a 1AA opponent earns the same revenue as all others. Every home game earns the same revenue, so revenue is maximized by maximizing home games. But in reality, the true market rate for a bad opponent is less than the face value of a ticket, while for a good opponent, its much more. (We see this in black market resale rates, especially on campus. e.g. OSU: $100+, MAC teams: $25, 1AA: even less). Season ticket holders subsidizes the unattractive matchups because they're getting a great deal on the more attractive ones. But if a pseudo-market-driven variable pricing scheme was in place you’d sell tickets at prices depending on the opponent and have a more realistic assessment of where revenue comes from - games that interest fans, not just the Michigan Stadium experience.

A marquee matchup every other year, with tickets selling for $70-150 (or more), would make up the lost revenue of a $15-35 1AA opponent very quickly. The key is to stop comparing potential revenue from one marquee matchup to the face value of two home games at the season-ticket-average-price. Instead compare a bad matchup to the closer-to-true market value of marquee matchups: pretty likely less than half of a marquee matchup.

MLB has introduced variable pricing for “premier games” – interleague play and rivalries. Its just a few dollars but why can’t Michigan do the same on a bigger scale? The total cost for season tickets in the short run could be maintained, just allocate the total to games with a distribution that is closer to the market rate. If you did this, I can’t believe you wouldn’t come to a very different revenue-maximizing scenario. Better accounting leads to better decisions.

This is a revenue opportunity for NCAA football as a whole and, in my eyes, a systemic problem (at least for the power-house teams.) Variable pricing for non-conference games (if not the whole season) would create incentive for more attractive matchups and people would be willing to pay a lot of money to see more of them.

Under Canham , Michigan Athletics was a marketing leader. They can do it again and it really wouldn't be as dramatic as it sounds if phased in and marketed correctly (via keeping the total cost of a season ticket unchanged for a year, or implementation for just non-conference games while upping the cost of big ten tickets). More revenue without raising prices on the core schedule is a win-win.

Secondary benefits – another national TV game most likely, and another thing to pitch to FL, CA, TX recruits. Michigan is again viewed as a leader rather than playing catch up to OSU and other powerhouses. More TV revenue and marketing opportunity (though I know these are less tangible and benefit is split to other Big10 schools).

One flaw in this analysis: Impacts to local businesses and residents for parking/restaurants/etc - lose one home game every other year. That is not insignificant, but I think the revenue gains for the school would outweigh the community impacts especially since the U calls the shots. A second potential flaw is that ticket revenues would vary from season to season with the “off” away game year having a lower season ticket price than the “on” years. Perhaps there are some accounting troubles that irregular revenue streams create, but again, nothing that the $$$ shouldn’t be able to smooth over. Also you could just agree to split gate 50/50 (or close to it) with your opponent to create a more consistent revenue stream… Once every major program catches on to this everyone continues to benefit. We get better games, more attention, and more money generated by NCAA football in total. (Yes, I realize the same rationale applies for a bowl playoff and its still not happening, but there are entrenched interests with the bowls actively preventing change. No such hurdle exists for pricing, to my knowledge.

Is there a good reason for the flat pricing scheme that exists? Is it just because its easier for the University to do it this way? What am I missing?