College Football In July …

Earlier this week, I wrote about college basketball in July; today I want to lead off with news about college football. Anyone who has read these rants for any period of time knows that one of the things I do not like about college football is the “cupcake scheduling” that many of the power schools set up. I do not care how rabid a fan of Humongous State anyone might be; it cannot be “exciting” or even “entertaining” to watch a game that is 52-0 at half time and 69-7 at the end of 3 quarters. The fewer of those sorts of games that there are on the college football landscape the better.

A few of the big schools are starting to move in that direction and I think that is a good idea. Auburn and Penn State have agreed to a home-and-home pair of games for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Kudos to both of the athletic directors at Auburn and Penn State for making that happen. This meeting between solid teams in two major conferences should be the model for out-of-conference scheduling for all the schools in the major conferences. I am certain that someone somewhere will complain about this saying that this will deprive two smaller schools the opportunity to go and “get a payday” from Penn State and/or Auburn so that the smaller school can lose a game by 50+ points. I can imagine that some folks will suggest that this is a way for the “big guys” to make sure that the “little guys” are squeezed to a point where they will not rise up to challenge any of the “big guys”. To that argument, let me use one of H.L. Mencken’s favorite words:


There are also reports that Notre Dame and Michigan will renew their rivalry with two games scheduled on a home-and-home basis for 2018 and 2019. This too is a positive step for college football and those two athletic directors should be applauded for making that happen.

There are also reports that the Big 12 is looking to expand by 2 and perhaps by 4 teams. The Big 12 coaches seem to be onboard with the idea of expansion and Bill Snyder at K-State said that he hoped that the conference would not “get spread out all over the country” and that he hoped the footprint of the expanded Big 12 would be similar to the footprint of the old Big 8 conference. That is probably a good idea. Obviously, speculation on which teams would be under consideration for an invitation to the Big 12 began as soon as the announcement of the intent hit the streets. Here are the usual suspects – with my off-the-cuff commentary on what I think about each one:

    Boise State: Good football program but remotely located and a small stadium.

    BYU: The second most logical choice on the list

    Cincy: Interesting market

    Colorado St: Good location but program would need a major upgrade

    Houston: The most logical choice on the list

    Memphis: Meh

    Tulane: Kansas would no longer be the conference cupcake

    UCF: Remote location and no ties to any existing schools

    UConn: Seriously…?

    USF: See comment for UCF above.

According to a report in the Birmingham Business Journal, anyone attending a home football game at Alabama this year will need to get some new tote bags. Starting this year, anyone planning to enter Bryant-Denny Stadium will have to be carrying their stuff in a clear plastic bag with the size limited to 12” X12” X 6”. As usual, when a team makes an announcement about a change of this type, the PR folks get to weigh in. Here is part of what Alabama said about this new policy:

“This is about both safety and improving the overall fan experience…”

So, somehow my overall fan experience is enhanced based on the size of tote bags brought into the stadium and based on the transparency of the walls of that tote bag. This is a security and safety issue primarily and if the school wants to say that a secure environment in the stadium adds to the fan experience, that would be fine. This is also likely a way to make it more difficult for folks to “smuggle” contraband food and drink into the stadium thereby increasing the take at the concession stands; somehow, I doubt that sentiment would find its way into a roll-out announcement.

I have never been in Las Vegas while the Olympics were ongoing so I did not realize that the sportsbooks there did not take action on the Olympics. That must have been the case because reports say that for the Rio Games in 2016, there will be betting action on the Olympics for the first time. Proposition bets are already up; here are samples:

    Country to win the most gold medals:

      USA: 1/5
      China: 5/2
      Great Britain: 20/1
      Russia: 50/1
      Germany: 60/1
      The Field: 50/1

    Total gold medals won by USA:

      Over 41.5: – 110
      Under 41.5: – 110

I suspect that Baron Pierre de Coubertin did not have this in mind when he “resurrected” the Olympics at the end of the 19th century…

Finally, here is a comment about Nebraska football from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:

“June is being called an ‘important month’ for Husker football. In a nutshell, this has been the problem with Nebraska football recently. Too many important Junes, not enough important Novembers.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………