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January 09, 2007

All That is Wrong with College Football

Gonna get off topic for a bit since Boise State got exactly ONE FIRST PLACE VOTE in the AP Poll and none in the ESPN/USA Today Poll despite finishing 13-0 and beating powerhouse Oklahoma. Boise State finished 5th in the AP and 6th in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.

Who won the National Championship? Utah... Wait, that is Utah's former coach who could not get a whiff of the title at Utah despite running the table, but is the best coach in the world despite losing a game. So called Mid Majors are little more than proving grounds for coaches to inflate their paychecks before heading to a BCS conference school. They have no chance to compete and as soon as they have a great year, their coach gets offers for several times more money at a powerhouse. For instance, Utah paid Meyer approximately $700,000 to coach there and take the Utes to the Fiesta Bowl in 2004, but Florida offered him over $2M per year for 7 years to come to Florida. How can Utah ever build a reputation and therefore get some National respect if they cannot afford to keep a great coach? This talks about BYU and Utah competing to hire Meyer's old DC as their head coach:

Monday and Tuesday, Utah turned its job search into a miniature Florida-style hiring effort, throwing money in hopes the lure of gold would land its man.

In a paper chase that began Friday, sources say Utah's first offer to Whittingham Sunday started at $500,000, a figure that clearly outdistanced a BYU offer first put on the table Friday. Utah then pushed that to $750,000 a year for five years by Tuesday afternoon, a figure unheard of in the Rockies for a first-year unproven head coach.

In contrast, according to the Coloradoan in Fort Collins, Colo., Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick has a base salary of $350,000 and total package of $500,000 per year. Estimates at the Air Force Academy put Fisher DeBerry's compensation package on par with Lubick.

A far cry from the $2M per year Florida paid. And expect a contract extension and several million dollars more. Why does Florida have so much more money? Because LSU and Florida played in BCS Bowls this year. The major conferences are guaranteed to divy up the pot of $140M ($14M per team for the 4 BCS Bowls and National Championship game) amongst themselves. Sure, they might have to take a Boise State or a Utah every couple of years, so they only divide up $126M instead of the whole pot. What did BYU get for winning their conference--a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl and $1.5M bucks. Boise State would have gone to the Liberty Bowl and gotten $2M had they not finished undefeated.

So how do you gain a national reputation as a "Mid Major"? You play major conference schools. Only problem is that they won't schedule you unless it is at their home. Boise State played Oregon State (the team that beat USC) at OSU and throttled them. 42-14, I believe. Yet USC loses two games and finishes above BSU. You think a team like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Oklahoma, etc., wants to play Boise State? Maybe, and only if it is at home, certainly not on the Smurf Turf (their blue field). So every year, the knock on Boise State, Utah, Fresno State, etc., is that they don't play anyone. This allows the Major Conferences to keep them out of the BCS Bowls so that they cannot beat someone like Oklahoma, ensuring that an upstart cannot compete for a National Title or bring in enough money to keep their coaches like Urban Meyer, Dirk Koetter (Boise State), Dan Hawkins (Boise State), etc. Even Arizona State stole a Dennis Erickson from Idaho by throwing money at him.

I love underdogs. I love Gonzaga. I love Weber State beating North Carolina. I love Wichita State (but mostly for the name the Shockers and for the cool hand signal). I love a tournament of 64 teams and seeing a team like George Mason go to the Final Four. Boise State deserved more than they got. They deserved to play for a title. Going undefeated is difficult and should be rewarded. Instead, expect more of the same and if BSU goes undefeated next year, expect them to finish 5th again and their coach to get an offer of $3M per year to coach somewhere else.

Posted by Justin at January 9, 2007 11:24 AM

Comments

appreciate your rants on college football. BSU v. Florida would have been a kick to watch. As a BYU alum, I'm glad they didn't decide to throw more money at Kyle Whittingham. Bronco's giving us a great show and at some point, you have to think that an institution of higher learning has better things to do with its money than overpay a football coach when I'm scrambling to figure out how I'm going to educate my four children. This isn't the first time--they could have had Norm Chow as head coach after LaVell retired, but chose not to match the PAC 10 money. BYU did the principled thing by deciding too much is too much and gained a lot of my respect when they did. I wish more programs would do the same. Myer's teams were just as fun to watch when he was only making half a million a year.

On the subject of snowboarders vs. powder. I don't mind the ones who can ride and carve nice sinuous tracks down the mountain or through the trees. What I hate are the gomers who get on to a nice uncut slope, freak out and bulldoze a four foot wide sideslip all the way down. A pack of such knuckleheads can really ruin an other wise nice, tight powder shot. Alta should never change.

Well back to work. I'll be up on the last saturday in January and Feb. 8-10.

Posted by: Dan Curriden at January 12, 2007 02:56 PM