Will Muschamp, Charlie Strong

Gators took financial bath in Sugar Bowl loss


Florida’s pride wasn’t the only thing to take a hit this past postseason; the athletic department’s financial bottom line did as well.

According to the Gainesville Sun, it was revealed during a university system budget meeting Wednesday that UF lost in the neighborhood of $840,000 on its trip to the Sugar Bowl.  The Gators lost 33-23 to former UF defensive coordinator Charlie Strong‘s Louisville Cardinals in a game that was 30-10 entering the fourth quarter.

As is ofttimes the case, it was the allotment of tickets that played a significant role the financial deficit.  According to an early-January report by the Orlando Sentinel, UF sold less than 7,000 of the 17,500 tickets allotted to them; the Sun wrote that the loss was “mostly due to unsold tickets.”

The Gators’ plight, mirrored by several other schools in the SEC, led to the ticket allotment issue to be addressed during the conference’s recently-completed spring meetings.  From the paper:

UF was one of several SEC schools that took a loss on bowl ticket sales this past year, something that the league addressed at its annual spring meetings in Destin last month. Commissioner Mike Slive said the SEC will be pushing for a lower minimum number of tickets that bowls can require league schools to purchase in the future.

The good news for Florida and others in similar situations?  The chief operating officer of the College Football Playoff, Michael Kelly, said today that  “the number of required tickets for schools in host bowls will drop from 17,500 to 12,500.”

Whether conferences such as the SEC will seek a deeper reduction in the ducat requirement remains to be seen.

Expect Oregon’s quarterback rotation to continue for the next two weeks

AP Photo

Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.

As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.

“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”

“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”

Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.

“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”

With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.

SEC shut out of AP top five for first time in half a decade

Stephen F. Austin visits Amon G. Carter Stadium to play the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs.
AP Photo

The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.

Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.

And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.

That group breaks down as follows:

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Baylor
  4. Michigan State
  5. Utah

An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Oregon
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Nebraska

Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.

None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.