#college football

The Harbaughs believe in Brady Hoke. He’s a great coach. He believes in Michigan. I believe in what they’re doing there. I think they’re going to turn it around.
John Harbaugh, the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens (not to be confused with his brother Jim, the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers), addressing the rumors swirling that he (or his brother) could be heading to Ann Arbor (where both grew up) to fix the Wolverines any time soon.

Saturday Morning Quarterback

Usually, a variation of the term found in my title is reserved for pundits second-guessing the previous day’s NFL games (especially when all but the Monday Night game were still on Sundays) — but rather than focus on any NFL game, I wanted to focus on the college football game I watched on New Year’s Day: The Rose Bowl.

Looking at the box score, it looked like a good game, a close game, in which Michigan State grinded out a win against Stanford. But watching it, I had a different sense. Put simply: when Stanford had the ball, it was one of the poorest examples of play-calling I’ve ever seen.

I know, everyone says that when their team loses. But that’s the thing: Stanford isn’t my team. I enjoy watching them now for a few good reasons (girlfriend is an alum, proximity to where I live, and respect for what the program has been able to accomplish), but I don’t really care if they win or lose in the same way I care when Michigan wins or loses.1

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Eric Chemi on the Alabama “mistake” that led to the Auburn loss:

Consider this grim reality: A college football player is far more likely to die in a game than ever see a missed field goal returned for a touchdown.

In numerical form, just how against-the-odds was that return? On the FG-try, Alabama was facing these odds:

• 36 percent chance of winning

• 64 percent chance of going to overtime

• 0.007 percent chance of losing

Bond, James Bond wins again.

Ben Cohen:

The school accounted for $9.7 million in football ticket sales on its 2012 annual report. The four teams ranked above Stanford in the latest Bowl Championship Series standings averaged $27 million, with Ohio State topping the list at $41 million. In merchandise sales, Stanford ranked 42nd this year on the Collegiate Licensing Company’s list of top-selling schools, well behind not just Texas but also Texas Tech.

The normal revenues Stanford receives from football are so low, in fact, that its 36 varsity sports teams depend on something no other school has, or would dare rely so heavily on: an athletics-only endowment worth between $450 million and $500 million that pays out at 5.5% each year, people familiar with the matter said.

Against all odds, Stanford has become a great college football program. I went to my first game last night (the 26-20 shocking of Oregon); amazing atmosphere.

James Andrew Miller, Steve Eder, and Richard Sandomir:

Underscoring ESPN’s special relationship with college football is the fact that it created and owns the software used for scheduling games. The online portal, known as the Pigskin Access Scheduling System, or PASS, is now used by virtually all conferences and colleges, as well as competing networks. Generally, the colleges work together to set up nonconference matchups, but sometimes they reach out to ESPN for a suggestion, or even to play matchmaker.

In January, Bob Arkeilpane, the deputy athletic director at Cincinnati, sent an e-mail to an ESPN executive, Dave Brown. Mr. Arkeilpane explained in the message, which was obtained by The Times, that Cincinnati would be opening a new premium seating area and press box in 2015 and needed a top-tier opponent.

Mr. Brown, who is well known for his thick Rolodex, wrote back that morning, “Will do — let me look and see what’s out there for ’15.”

Smart on the part of ESPN, but sad on the part of these universities. Though hardly shocking.



Ever wonder what it’s like to run out of the tunnel and touch the banner at Michigan Stadium? Redshirt Sophomore QB Alex Swieca shows with Google Glass. That’s right, Google Glass.


Go Blue.

Michael Weinreb for Grantland:

I am writing this on Monday afternoon, with the Big Ten Network muted in the background. There is a press conference taking place at the University of Maryland, and every time I turn up the sound someone is copping to a wholly cynical point of view. For both the Big Ten and a cash-strapped Maryland program, it is so completely about the money that no one can even lie effectively enough to cover it up. “It is not only about money,” says one Maryland official, and then he follows up immediately with: “Somebody has to pay the bills.”

Even though the Big Ten has more or less sucked for the past decade, they’re great at making money off of college football. And as long as that keeps happening, the teams will never be able to compete. Just look at those charts in the post.