Unverified Voracity Flew To South Bend

Submitted by Brian on September 12th, 2017 at 12:36 PM

Sea of red. Georgia played Notre Dame last weekend and this is what it looked like:

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Old friend of the blog Braves and Birds has an article about this remarkable screenshot, pointing out that this was literally a once in a lifetime opportunity for Georgia fans and they reacted accordingly. Somewhat similar scenes might play out if other fanbases were afforded an opportunity to go see a college football cathedral instead of a sterile NFL stadium that still smelled of Phil Simms:

...the reaction of Dawg fans to the chance to travel to South Bend is a reminder that there is huge, untapped demand among big college football fan bases to see their teams play other elite programs on the road and not at NFL stadiums.

One way to illustrate this point is to look at how the most popular programs have never visited one another. Here are the top 10 in attendance from 2016: Michigan, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Penn State, Texas, Georgia, and Nebraska. There are 90 potential home-and-home combinations among those teams. In over a century of football, 33 of these matchups have never happened. That’s a bevy of road trips that big fan bases have never gotten to take.

I say "somewhat" because Notre Dame is especially vulnerable to this kind of takeover because of the nature of their fanbase and ticketing. Large chunks of the fanbase merely put their names in a lottery for certain games annually. The proportion of season ticket holders is (probably) much lower than other schools due to the national nature of ND's fanbase. Also these fans have a lot to pay attention to, what with the Yankees, Duke, and Manchester United all existing. With Notre Dame at a low ebb it might make sense for a frontrunner in NYC to sell his tickets in a way that it doesn't for someone who shows up to every game every year.

Unfortunately irrelevant. Oklahoma took OSU to the woodshed in their own building on Saturday. This was fun, but as I was watching it I was struck by how irrelevant it was for Michigan's chances down the road. Oklahoma's offense is built to neutralize defensive line advantages by using a metric ton of misdirection and the threat of the QB's legs. Ian Boyd has a breakdown of what happened, nearly all of which is unreplicable by Michigan—at least as they stand now.

Boyd accidentally twists the knife a bit at the end:

It pays to have a senior QB going on four years of starting, with a knack for playmaking off the cuff, when you are trying to get after a top-five opponent on the road.

Michigan can't get their QB to the OSU game healthy about half the time and never when he's a senior.

If it doesn't make sense it's probably not true. Basic advice for basic columnists, but apparently necessary:

SB Nation did a fine job reporting the contents of Lewis' testimony to the NCAA a couple of weeks ago, but it may have buried the lead.

Within the piece, Lewis' mother Tina Henderson told a former Ole Miss assistant that LSU had offered $650,000 for the services of her son.

If even close to the truth, that amount of money changes everything we know about cheating in college athletics. If even close to the truth, this case isn't so much about Ole Miss cheating but the lengths any wrongdoer would be willing to go.

And there is reason to believe $650,000 is close to the truth. I checked with the story's author, Steven Godfrey, and he said confirmed the figure wasn't a typo on his part or the person transcribing the testimony.

Instead we are supposed to believe that Leo Lewis took barely more than 10% of that to play for Mississippi State. The inclusion of the LSU number throws that whole article into doubt, because it makes it look like Godfrey is just repeating what people tell him without sanity checking anything. IE, Godfrey is being Steven Godfrey.

If LSU genuinely offered over a half-million dollars for Leo Lewis, 1) he'd be at LSU and 2) LSU's hypothetical budget for their #5 2015 class is... what, ten million dollars? Of private money? Cumong man.

Some Speight numbers. Tom VanHaaren has some bins to put Speight throws in

Facing blitzes, Speight completed just over 33 percent of his throws, as opposed to completing 61.1 percent with no pressure. On the season, he's completing just over 51.9 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. ...

Through two games when Speight is passing in the middle of the field between the numbers, he has completed 76.4 percent of his passes for 396 yards. Outside the numbers on the left and right side of the field, when out of the pocket, Speight only has completed 10 percent of his passes for 6 yards.

The first paragraph above does help paint a picture of a guy who gets sped up and loses his mechanics; that latter bin is almost all last resort scramble drill stuff, I'd imagine. Also I see "10 percent" in a paragraph with "76.4 percent" and assume that's exactly ten throws. Still very limited data there.

Out. Donovan Jeter will miss the season with an injury. Jeter had bulked up to 290 and was pushing for time at three tech—3-3-5 nose 50% of the time now, I guess. That was the one spot on the front that could sustain a hit with Dwumfour and Marshall providing additional, non-true-freshman depth.

I guess it was the gunners after all. Harbaugh on the DPJ punt follies:

"We got some things fixed there," Harbaugh said. "It wasn't Donovan Peoples -- when we watched the film, these gunners got out too fast. And then they're making their block next to Donovan."

He didn't have an opportunity to field a couple of those punts because of his own teammates. The last one he had an opportunity on was very very bad and on him since there was no teammate in the area; in the stands we speculated that he'd lost it in the sun.

Harbaugh says DPJ will be back out there because he is not a "mistake repeater."

Another pronunciation note. I am bad at pronouncing things, but I can't be held responsible for "McCune" when it's not spelled like that. I am coping. Thank you for your cards and letters. Similarly, Tyree Kinnel:

"It's Kinn-ill," Kinnel said Monday night on the "Inside Michigan Football" radio show. "A lot of people say Ka-nell. It's been like that all of my life, so I'm used to it."

Life is a struggle, and never more so than when you're saying something out loud that you've mostly—or only—read before. Or trying to say Rod Gilmore's name more than once.

Etc.: The Power Rank on randomness. Harbaugh, decorous. Study Hall stat profiles up. Exit 2019 hockey commit Alec Regula to the OHL. He was a midround pick maybe, so not a disaster. Indiana's OL, on the other hand, is a disaster. Mason Cole on his decision to return. If you want some more fun OU-OSU numbers. Booing: for jerks. This isn't an NFL game, jerks!

Jim Delany is absolutely shameless and obviously published this during football season because I'm too busy to eviscerate this jackalope.

Comments

jmblue

September 12th, 2017 at 1:15 PM ^

2009 was the worst, but it wasn't to that extreme.  They were like 30% of the crowd.

In 2011, we were good and they were bad - it was a pretty normal crowd.

2013 was in between the other two.

 

DCGrad

September 12th, 2017 at 12:50 PM ^

About DPJ confuse me. He blamed the gunners then said DPJ isn't a mistake repeater. I guess they were both at fault but I still think DPJ needs to do a better job reacting to kicks so he can catch them in the air.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2017 at 1:36 PM ^

The blockers can be primarily at fault but DPJ could still likely do better. The last punt that DPJ fielded also was a mistake. But beyond that, it seems to me that Harbaugh is talking more big picture, as in, even if DPJ was at fault, you can correct those issues in a week of practice and he won't make a mistake again; meaning if he makes mistakes going forward you can bet he'll still be out there the next week when they have a chance to be corrected.

Space Coyote

September 12th, 2017 at 1:36 PM ^

The blockers can be primarily at fault but DPJ could still likely do better. The last punt that DPJ fielded also was a mistake. But beyond that, it seems to me that Harbaugh is talking more big picture, as in, even if DPJ was at fault, you can correct those issues in a week of practice and he won't make a mistake again; meaning if he makes mistakes going forward you can bet he'll still be out there the next week when they have a chance to be corrected.

dragonchild

September 12th, 2017 at 2:16 PM ^

MGoBlog can be primarily at fault but Space Coyote could still likely do better.  The last comment that SC sent was a double post.  But beyond that, it seems to me that MGoBlog is talking more big picture, as in, even if SC was at fault, you can correct those issues and he won't make a mistake again; meaning if he makes mistakes going forward you can bet he'll still be out here the next week when they have a chance to be corrected.

/ sorry, couldn't resist

reshp1

September 12th, 2017 at 2:00 PM ^

He can't if the other guys on Michigan are in the way. A fair catch signal only prevents the other team from hitting him, but they can block guys into him still. The blockers were slow to pick up the gunners which means DPJ had a bunch of traffic to work through and decided (probably correctly), it was safer to let it bounce than muffing the punt by running into his own guys accidentally.

UMAmaizinBlue

September 12th, 2017 at 12:58 PM ^

Is trash. I doubt Delany even wrote it - probably gave the site a napkin with bullet points, a smiley with dollar signs for eyes, and signed "Fuck You, I'm Jim Motherfucking Delany". He then proceeded to bare-ass fart in everyone's breakfast.

Image result for jim delany masturbator

trueblueintexas

September 12th, 2017 at 1:13 PM ^

I don't understand why this has to be a one side or the other issue. It's true student athletes get all or part of their education paid for which has a dollar value associated with it. It's also true there are very high demands put on student athlete's time to focus on their sport purely for the benefit of the program. 

I have yet to hear a very well stated arguement as to why student athletes should be paid other than "the money exists so they should get some".

If they are truly being exploited, please help me understand why there would ever be a walk-on at any program? If student athletes are being exploited then a walk-on is basically paying to be exploited. And the percentage of walk-ons who actually get scholarships is pretty small. For every Glasgow, Kovac's, etc, there are many more who will never get a scholarship. Look at the current roster and see how many names you don't recognize because they are not on scholarship or will ever play a down. 

trueblueintexas

September 12th, 2017 at 2:13 PM ^

The lead in your argument is where it falls apart. In essence, the only justification is because there is "eye-popping amounts of money". If there were not eye-popping amounts of money would there still be a movement to pay players?

The players have the exact same demands regardless of how much money is generated.  If you don't believe that, read Bo's Lasting Lessons. What he demanded of his teams starting back in 1969 is certainly equal to what coaches demand today and yet the mega TV and conference contracts did not exist then. 

If the argument is simply that the students put the work in so they should get a portion of the money, then that should apply to musicians in the orchestra and bands, med students who work in the hospitals, MBA students who work on corporate projects, etc. Do you support that?

gbdub

September 12th, 2017 at 2:39 PM ^

This makes no sense. The money does exist. It didn't in the 70s, which is why NFL players didn't make as much back then. Does that mean NFL players should go back to 1970s salaries with the surplus going to Roger Goodell?

The money is being generated, which means it's going to get distributed. Right now a huge chunk of that extra money is going straight to the pockets of Delany and other assorted mustard-colored sport coat types. Another big chunk is going to the athletic departments of course, who basically need to find excuses to spend the money. This does benefit the student athletes, but mostly by giving them palatial facilities. It's unclear that students prefer a marble waterfall in their locker room over a check for $1000 a piece.  

Roc Blue in the Lou

September 13th, 2017 at 12:30 AM ^

Exactly my daughter is earning a master's degree as a GA at University of Kentucky she's involved in event operations at all sports she works long hours and receives the joy of a free master's degree and a little bit of stipend money nobody worries about paying her for 14 hour days and I believe the University of Kentucky is doing quite well between basketball and football. She is banking on her education and her own skill and hard work paying off in the future as I would believe most student athletes are regardless of their sport, at least I hope so since only about 2% according to the article will ever make it to the next league

gbdub

September 12th, 2017 at 1:34 PM ^

A lot of it is the source. You're talking about a guy that just gave himself a $20+ million bonus for cutting a cable deal to air competitions between student athletes who have strict rules about what bagel toppings they are allowed to get for free.

The "student athletes have it pretty good, actually" argument is a lot more credible coming from a student buried in loan debt.  

Even if the argument is valid, Delany looks like a dick for making it.

bronxblue

September 12th, 2017 at 2:10 PM ^

I don't quite understand why walk-ons not getting scholarships matters to  the argument that those student athletes who are on scholarship, which comprise the vast majority of the players you see on the field, shouldn't be able to earn some financial compensation for the services they provide.  Walk-ons are basically volunteers, but they do receive some benefits (they do get some gear if the school is sponsored, access to workout facilities, probably access to some academic and food services), and in many cases these guys were preferred walk-ons or greyshirts.  They were recruited to some extent by the school, but got squeezed out due to a scholarship crunch or were told something may open up.  They also tend to be able to earn money from jobs and other means of legal compensation that scholarship athletes are denied.

But more to the point, there are a number of good arguments why players should be compensated in addition to their scholarship.  This site has pointed out a number.  It isn't all just about the money being available, but many point out that the NCAA and its member institutions are making billions of dollars off of their efforts and yet little of that flows back to the athletes.  Many of the "benefits" they receive are ones that are either given to them by private entities (Nike sends them gear as part of the larger sponsorship contract UM signed) or school services (a food plan is often included in a scholarship) that are, in a general sense, available to all (and yes, I know they have a different dining experience.  It's still basically dorm food).  So it's hard to see why a P5 program that gets millions on a TV contract can't peel off $1M, say, of that to give a piece to all athletes they have under contract.  There's also arguments that many of these athletes receive injuries as part of their involvement in the sport that linger well beyond their playing days, so a relatively small financial outlay toward ongoing medical coverage or insurance would be beneficial, even if over a limited timeframe.  Or simply because if you make it virtually impossible for many of the athletes to get meaningful employment during their years at the school, some alternative compensation to mitigate that limitation just makes sense. 

There's a reason issues like this go to court, why the O'Bannon case got as far as it does.  Why NW players tried to create a union.  It's a real issue, one that is more nuanced than "give me money",  

trueblueintexas

September 12th, 2017 at 3:00 PM ^

The second half of your sentiment is why I think the money that does exist should go into three primary areas which help student athletes.

1) Health Care.

For Short Term focus, I think every athlete should be insured against major injury paid for by the University or a central organization (I will not use the term NCAA due to their proven incompetence). This insures they receive some renumeration if they have a life impacting injury.

For Long Term focus there should be access to on-going health care for sports related issues (arthritis, joint replacement, etc - not Flu shots or a broken arm from a motorcycle accident) 

2) Level Playing Field

The majority of athletes are not getting illegal payments or taking steroids. The best thing to offer them is a level playing field. Create a central organization (again, NCAA caveat) with on campus authority to clean up all of the cheating. 

3) A voice

So many of the rules and regulations are implemented by Coaches, AD's and NCAA cronys. Ultimately they primarily care about themselves and not the athletes. The athletes need a strong voice on what recruiting rules they would like, what time restriction rules they would like, what health decisions they want to make, etc. They need to set up a process for athletes to have a voice and vote on what becomes a rule and what doesn't. 

I believe money poured into these areas would be received equally as well as receiving a larger stipend. It would also provide potential career paths for some of those student athletes who will not be moving on to professional sports. 

bronxblue

September 12th, 2017 at 3:30 PM ^

Those are all good recommendations.  I stand behind them.  I also know that setting up and administering them competently is a Herculean task and you'd ultimately need some mechanism like the NCAA to pull it off.  And you could provide all those benefits (most of which are relatively soft in terms of financial outlays) could and should be given to student athletes in addition to compensation.  You say you want them to have a voice; that's what the NW union attempt was.  And as part of that voice, they should be able to fight for a little stipend to help defray some of the every-day costs of being college students not covered by scholarships.

 

trueblueintexas

September 12th, 2017 at 4:12 PM ^

I agree, if given a voice, they very well may ask for a stipend increase. I have no problem with that. By being "part of" (through represenation) the larger institution, they will also have to make their case as to why they need the additional stipend. I think that is fair and moves it beyond a discussion of simply we want our fair share to we should receive X becuase.

Roc Blue in the Lou

September 13th, 2017 at 12:36 AM ^

Then I guess by your reasoning guys who get hurt before they ever play a game should forfeit their scholarship for the remainder of their career because they're not "earning income" for the school you can't have it both ways we have to carry those who produce income and those people who were injured and sports that don't carry their weight if it's truly a University.

username

September 12th, 2017 at 12:58 PM ^

I agree that it would be great to see a bunch of high profile home and home match-ups, but I have a feeling the huge number of Georgia fans at the ND game was helped by the fact that the Falcons played at Chicago the next day. There was a ton of Bulldog gear at the Bears game. This past weekend was one of those perfect storms (in a good way) for scheduling a very unique trip to an easily accessible city.

lhglrkwg

September 12th, 2017 at 1:03 PM ^

It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance because this was the weekend schedule for UGA fans:

Friday - Cubs home game at Wrigley
Saturday - UGA @ ND
Sunday - Falcons @ Bears

I know a guy from my area who's a Georgia alum and he and several of his family members all made the journey because a weekend like that probably will never happen again.

It'd be like if Michigan was @ USC Saturday and the Lions were @ the Rams the following day