SEC coaches ranked on entertainment value? Sure, why not

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It’s late in the offseason, so that means it’s time for newspapers and blogs alike to stir up some manure and/or feces ahead of the start of a new season.

The latest example? The Montgomery Advertiser‘s Josh Moon.

Ahead of the start of SEC Media Days this coming week, Moon posted a ranking of the coaches in that conference based on what’s described as “entertainment value.” His No. 1? South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier.

Based on any metric you could possibly devise, Moon is absolutely correct. Spurrier is easily the most entertaining head coach in the SEC — and (ever-so-slightly) ahead of Mike Leach in the whole of college football. In fact, he’s so far ahead of the rest of the conference pack, at least No. 2 and possibly No. 3 should’ve been left blank in deference to the Ol’ Ball Coach’s intrinsic ability to entertain fans and foes alike.

For the most part, Moon’s list is what it is: a lot of fun and really well done. I will, though, for the sake of argument (and a weekend post on a slooow day) take exception to the slotting of two of the coaches.

First, Nick Saban is at No. 8 in the 14-team league. Here’s Moon’s rationale:

“Whine if you want, Bama fans, but you know it’s true. Watching Alabama football games is slightly less boring than C-SPAN’s coverage of a Congressional hearing on interest rates. I’d rather watch soccer. There’s more scoring.

And then Saban strolls to the mic for interviews and acts as if he’s working towards solving world hunger. Other than the occasional news conference tantrum and two watchable games per year, it’s dreadful. It’s like “Boardwalk Empire”: all the pieces are there, and they usually work OK, but it’s so boring your eyes bleed.”

Maybe it’s just me, but I love just about everything about Tuscaloosa Saban. Love watching Saban’s Tide football team play on the field, love listening to Saban any time off of it, love the ofttimes condescending nature of Saban’s tone with the media.  His views on fast-paced offenses are self-serving, but nobody’s perfect.

To me, Nick Saban is THE most fascinating person/personality in all of college football — yes, above Spurrier, Leach, Delany, Slive and the whole lot of them. Does that equate to entertaining? No, especially not if compared to the OBC or The Pirate. With all due respect to the esteemed Mr. Moon, though, No. 8 is just way too low for my tastes.

Even more “indefensible?” Les Miles at No. 4.

“The guy eats grass, wears a hat that’s a minimum two sizes too small, makes funny videos of himself, once invited me to ride along to the airport with him so we could finish an impromptu interview and routinely says some of the craziest nonsense you’ve ever heard. He also wins. His teams can be a tad boring at times, even a bit Bama-ish. But Les … oh, Les is never boring.”

OK, this slotting shouldn’t and won’t stand without some (lighthearted) push back.

Behind Spurrier? Absolutely; every other current head coach in the country stands in line behind the OBC. Behind Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (Moon’s No. 2) and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin (No. 3)? Nope.

Les Miles rappelling down a building… Les Miles butt-tweeting… Les Miles making out with a pig… Les Miles exalting and basking in swatting away the basketball dreams of a child… Les Miles clapping like a seal that got kicked out of the rookery for said clapping… Les Miles just being Les Miles is infinitely more entertaining than anything anyone not named Spurrier could ever hope of putting on the table.

A solid offseason list and good fodder for discussion, but Miles at No. 4?  C’mon now Mr. Moon.

(Writer’s note: excellent work, good stuff.  Just having a little weekend fun.)

A&M, UCLA both add New Mexico to future schedules

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Texas A&M and UCLA announced Wednesday that their 2017 opener had been moved from Saturday to Sunday.  As it turns out, that wasn’t the only scheduling news connecting the two football programs.

As part of a release announcing seven games being added to its future schedules, New Mexico confirmed that two of those contests will include A&M and UCLA.  Both of those games, obviously, will be on the road, with the Lobos traveling to College Station Sept. 18, 2021, and to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl Sept. 13, 2025.

In its release, the school wrote that “[t]he game in College Station has a guarantee of $1,100,000 and 450 complementary tickets,” while “[t]he game in Pasadena has a guarantee of $1,200,000 plus 2,000 complementary tickets that UNM can sell for extra revenue.”

The last and only time New Mexico and UCLA squared off was in the 2002 Las Vegas Bowl, a 27-13 win for the Bruins.  UNM and A&M actually completed a home-and-home series relatively recently, with the Aggies winning both games played in the 2008 (28-22) and 2009 (41-6) seasons.

In addition to the future Power Five games, a continuation of the long-running rivalry with UTEP will be extended.  UNM will play in El Paso in 2021, then host UTEP in 2022.  Those two games will mark the 79th and 80th contests in the regional rivalry.

Michigan State, Washington round out future schedules with Utah State

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Needing to fill a single spot in some future schedules, both Michigan State and Washington have come calling to the Mountain West for an opponent. Utah State was happy to oblige.

Michigan State will host Utah State on September 1, 2018. The Aggies will travel to Washington on September 19, 2020. For their travels, Utah State will collect $2.9 million between the two games, according to FBScheduels.com ($1.4 million from Michigan State, $1.5 million from Washington).

The Big Ten and Pac-12 each use nine-game conference schedules, leaving three spots open for non-conference games. The Big Ten requires all conference members schedule one game per season against another power conference opponent (the Pac-12 has no such requirement of its members at this time), although exceptions are made. Utah State, as a member of the Mountain West Conference, would not satisfy that requirement for the Big Ten, but the Spartans already have a road game against Arizona State (Pac-12) on the schedule in 2018. Michigan State and Arizona State will play again in 2019 in East Lansing. Michigan State also has future power conference matchups with Notre Dame (2017, 2026, 2027) and Miami (2020, 2021). Michigan State will also play BYU in 2020 in Provo.

Washington has future power conference matchups with Rutgers (2017), Auburn (2018, in Atlanta), and Michigan (2020, 2021). The Huskies will also face Mountain West Competition from Fresno State (2017), Hawaii (2019), and Nevada (2027).

Utah State will face power conference opponents on the road in 2017 (Wisconsin, Wake Forest), 2018 (Michigan State), 2019 (Wake Forest, LSU), 2020 (Washington), and 2021 (Washington State). Utah State will also host Washington State in 2020 as part of a home-and-home deal. Utah State also has an annual series against BYU running through 2020.

Old Dominion hopes to “hit the ground running” on new stadium project

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Some fans of the Old Dominion football program may be getting a little impatient with the progress (or lack of) in the development of the football stadium, but Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig says things are coming along nicely and progress will start to be seen soon enough.

“Once we get the architects engaged, we’ll figure out what $55 million will buy in 2019 dollars,” Selig said, according to The Virginian-Pilot. “Then we’ll have an idea for how much additional money needs to be raised to support the project.”

Old Dominion is planning on tearing down Foreman Field at the end of the 2018 season and rebuild it with modern seating and amenities. The $55 million project remained on the books in the Virginia budget in February, allowing the university to move ahead with their plans. The first step is finding an architect to take on the job.

Because Old Dominion’s football stadium is among the smallest in the nation and will remain so even after the rebuild and renovations, the entire project is expected to move fairly swiftly once the work actually begins. Old Dominion isn’t building a grand football palace, so any concerns over the lack of updates on the stadium should be calmed.

If nothing else, the concerns raised about the lack of updates on the stadium renovations may just mean Old Dominion has some eager fans excited about the future of the program.

Baylor interim president to Texas senators: “We were not trying to cover up what happened at Baylor”

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Texas senators are taking aim at Baylor University and are hoping to persuade the university to be more open and transparent despite being a private university.

Baylor interim president David Garland faced criticism from senators during a hearing with the Senate Higher Education Committee on Wednesday regarding the coverup of rape accusations found throughout the football program in recent years.

“We were not trying to cover up what happened at Baylor,” Garland said to the committee. Unfortunately for Garland, that was far from enough to sway the senators on the committee from playing nice with him and Baylor University.

I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that for a minute,” Senator Kel Seliger replied, according to The Texas Tribune. “I don’t buy that for a minute. I think that is exactly what was going on.”

The exchange between the interim president at Baylor and the senator came during a hearing regarding a state bill that requires any school receiving more than $5 million in Tuition Equalization Grants from the state to comply with open records and open meetings laws in the state of Texas. Baylor, being a private university, believes it should not have to comply with the bill, which would open up the doors to more information regarding Baylor’s handling of vile accusations within its university and athletics department.

The exchange comes a day after Baylor moved to dismiss a lawsuit claiming 52 rapes over a three-year period occurred at the university.

If you thought the ugliness around the Baylor situation was going to be limited to athletics, you thought wrong. This is clearly a state-wide concern and battle now. And things are always bigger in Texas, right?