2013-14 Bowl Schedule Officially Finalized
It's the end of an era for the bowl business.
We all know the BCS is gone after this year, but the rest of the bowls will change the way they do business as well as new contracts get signed. After, oh, about seven decades, the schools and conferences have finally realized that the bowls could not exist without them, and not the other way around. With that in mind, conferences are taking more control of the process, dictating which teams will play where while also demanding higher payouts and lower ticket guarantees. (To see an educated guess about how the bowl lineups will work beginning next season, check out Stewart Mandel's column from Tuesday.)
But all that is a conversation for another day. Before the clock hits midnight on the current state of affairs in the bowl business, the guys in oddly colored jackets will celebrate the last year before the College Football Playoff.
As is the norm, "bowl week" encompasses 35 games across 17 days, with every game except the Sun Bowl (CBS) and the Cotton Bowl (FOX) on the ESPN family of networks.
|New Mexico||Dec. 21||2 p.m.||ESPN||Pac-12 vs. MWC|
|Las Vegas||Dec. 21||3:30 p.m.||ABC||Pac-12 vs. MWC|
|Famous Idaho Potato||Dec. 21||5:30 p.m.||ESPN||MWC vs. MAC|
|New Orleans||Dec. 21||9 p.m.||ESPN||C-USA vs. Sun Belt|
|Beef 'O' Brady's||Dec. 23||2 p.m.||ESPN||C-USA vs. American|
|Hawaii||Dec. 24||8 p.m.||ESPN||C-USA vs. MWC|
|Poinsettia||Dec. 26||9:30 p.m.||ESPN||MWC vs. Army|
|Military||Dec. 27||2:30 p.m.||ESPN||ACC vs. C-USA|
|Texas||Dec. 27||6 p.m.||ESPN||Big Ten vs. Big 12|
|Kraft Fight Hunger||Dec. 27||9:30 p.m.||ESPN||Pac-12 vs. BYU|
|Pinstripe||Dec. 28||12 p.m.||ESPN||Big 12 vs. American|
|Belk||Dec. 28||3:30 p.m.||ESPN||ACC vs. American|
|Russell Athletic||Dec. 28||6:45 p.m.||ESPN||ACC vs. American|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||Dec. 28||10: 15 p.m.||ESPN||Big Ten vs. Big 12|
|Armed Forces||Dec. 30||11:45 a.m.||ESPN||MWC vs. Navy|
|Music City||Dec. 30||3:15 p.m.||ESPN||SEC vs. ACC|
|Alamo||Dec. 30||6:45 p.m.||ESPN||Big 12 vs. Pac-12|
|Holiday||Dec. 30||10:15 p.m.||ESPN||Big 12 vs. Pac-12|
|AdvoCare V100||Dec. 31||12:30 p.m.||ESPN||SEC vs. ACC|
|Sun||Dec. 31||2 p.m.||CBS||ACC vs. Pac-12|
|Liberty||Dec. 31||4 p.m.||ESPN||C-USA/AAC vs. SEC|
|Chick-fil-A||Dec. 31||8 p.m.||ESPN||SEC vs. ACC|
|Gator||Jan. 1||12 p.m.||ESPN2||SEC vs. Big Ten|
|Heart of Dallas||Jan. 1||12 p.m.||ESPNU||Big Ten vs. Big 12|
|Capital One||Jan. 1||1 p.m.||ABC||SEC vs. Big Ten|
|Outback||Jan. 1||1 p.m.||ESPN||SEC vs. Big Ten|
|Rose||Jan. 1||5 p.m.||ESPN||BCS vs. BCS|
|Fiesta||Jan. 1||8:30 p.m.||ESPN||BCS vs. BCS|
|Sugar||Jan. 2||8:30 p.m.||ESPN||BCS vs. BCS|
|Orange||Jan. 3||TBD||ESPN||BCS vs. BCS|
|Cotton||Jan. 3||7:30 p.m.||FOX||SEC vs. Big 12|
|BBVA Compass||Jan. 4||1 p.m.||ESPN||SEC vs. American|
|GoDaddy||Jan. 5||9 p.m.||ESPN||MAC vs. Sun Belt|
|BCS National Championship||Jan. 6||8:30 p.m.||ESPN||BCS No. 1 vs. BCS No. 2|
Video: Great look at how Zach Azzanni gets the most out of his players
One of the biggest coups for Butch Jones' staff at Tennessee was undoubtedly nabbing wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni out of Wisconsin. The pair worked together at Central Michigan from 2007-09 when Azzanni was Jones' assistant head coach and wide receivers coach. When Jones departed for Cincinnati, Azzanni made stops at Florida (passing game coordinator/WRs), Western Kentucky (offensive coordinator/WRs) and Wisconsin (wide receivers).
Back together again, Azzanni follows Jones' lead in pushing his players every single time they step inside the building.
"I always tell them, at the end of the day if I were to walk out of here and not be able to come back tomorrow, if I passed out and died, whatever it was, you'd be able to say, 'Hey, Coach Z every day kept it 100 percent real with me.' I can live with that. They're never going to leave here and go, 'Man I wish he would have pushed me harder.' I promise you they won't," Azzanni said.
Through a decade and a half of coaching, Azzanni has collected six conference championships at his now seven stops. "Trust me, man. I know what I'm doing, I've got a lot of rings," he told a Vols wide receiver.
Even if he has to push, pull or prod it out of them, Azzanni is determined to turn the Tennessee wide receivers into an entirely different unit.
"I think if you invest in their lives and you show them you care, you geniuenly care, you're going to get more out of them," he said. "When we're in the fourth quarter of an SEC game and it's 3rd and 8, I know that they're going to look over to the sideline, open their chest up and give me their heart, and they're going to look over, see me and know I'm going to do the same for them. That's the only way I know how to do it."
Florida's "the stare" ticket promo is hilarious
Here's the setup. Will Muschamp's kids, Jackson and Whit, are playing catch at The Swamp.
While they toss the ball back and forth, they're also working on their best impression of "the stare". Moments later, Muschamp walks in... and the rest is pure genius.
This is one of the best ticket promotions yet. Excellent strategy.
Video: Marcus Satterfield drops a few verses before the spring game
Temple offensive coordinator Marcus Satterfield debuted a new pregame ritual before the Owls' Cherry and White spring game, by dropping a few verses of "Too Hype".
No word yet on if a recording deal is in the works.
What better way to start off a Wednesday morning that seeing an FBS coordinator dropping a few lines in the locker room? By the way, we've entered double digit territory in the college football kickoff countdown....just over 98 days left.
Photo: The OSU rivalry lives inside every inch of Michigan's program
Here's what we know: Michigan's Rifle footballs, made by Adidas, were made inside the United States.
Which of the 50 states, we're not sure, but we do know one place the Wolverines' footballs were not made: Ohio. Brady Hoke and co. made darn well sure of that.
SEC network finds its voice: Paul Finebaum
Less than three weeks after its birth, the SEC Network has already secured its first chunk of programming. After taking a sabbatical from the airwaves, radio lightning rod Paul Finebaum will hop aboard ESPN for a multi-platform role with the network.
"It would be the understatement of my life to say I wasn't thrilled," Finebaum told the Wall Street Journal. "It is incredibly exciting to be part of a new adventure, particularly one that involves the premiere brand in sports along with the pre-eminent conference in sports."
Finebaum will continue to host his radio show, which will simulcast on SEC Network to help kill the mid-day programming wasteland that often beffudels 24-hour sports networks. He will also make 100 television appearances a year on ESPN's various college football channels. Finebaum and ESPN are shy on specifics at this point, but one would think that means College Football Live, ESPNU's The Experts and even College GameDay.
It will be interesting to see if Finebaum's "stir the pot and let callers handle the rest" format will migrate with him to the SEC Network studios in Charlotte. We'll get an answer starting Aug. 1, when Finebaum joins the ESPN roster.
"What is striking is he is such a great moderator-slash-provocateur of the emotion that lives within the fan base," said Justin Connolly, the senior vice president for programming who will oversee the SEC Network for ESPN. "To be able to bring him aboard onto the team here is significant."
Translation: college football, meet your very own official Worldwide Leader-branded Skip Bayless.
Mic'd up with Wazzu outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons
Washington State receivers coach Dennis Simmons worked with Mike Leach for ten seasons at Texas Tech, helping to coach up some of the most prolific passing attacks in college football.
With production from guys like Michael Crabtree on his resume, bringing Simmons on board at Washington State was a no brainer for Leach. Last season his unit didn't disappoint, racking up the second most receiving yards in school history and they ranked 9th nationally in passing yards per game. Simmons managed all this with four of the Cougar's top five receivers as underclassmen...including three freshman.
Simmons has also coached the outside receivers at East Carolina, and also served as Leach's chief of staff prior to his on the field promotion. It's safe to say that the Air Raid system is in his blood.
In this mic'd up session with Coach Simmons, filmed during the tail end of spring ball, you'll get treated to some quality coaching points and gain some insight into why Simmons is such an instrumental member of Leach's staff.
Super Bowls 50 and 51 are awarded to....
In news that will surprise no one, the heavily-anticipated 50th Super Bowl was awarded to the Bay Area by NFL owners at the league's annual meetings in Boston on Tuesday.
Super Bowl L will be held at the newly-christened Levi's Stadium, scheduled to open in 2014 at a price tag of $1.2 billion. Located in Santa Clara, the game will be the Bay Area's first Super Bowl since Stanford Stadium hosted Super Bowl XIX in 1985, a 38-16 San Francisco win over Miami. Super Bowl L is tentatively set for Feb. 7, 2016.
“The Bay Area has been waiting for a (title) game since 1985. We have a stadium now … we are just thrilled and couldn’t be happier about this,” said Daniel Lurie, a leader of the San Francisco bid, told the Associated Press.
“We are going to get to highlight the best the Bay Area has to offer.”
Speaking of Miami, the South Florida area lost bids for both Super Bowl L and Super Bowl LI on Tuesday. The 51st Super Bowl was instead awarded to Reliant Stadium in Houston. It will be the third Super Bowl for Houston and second in Reliant Stadium. The venue previously hosted New England's 32-29 win over Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Super Bowl LI is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 5, 2017.
This season's big game, Super Bowl XLVIII, will be held Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium, in the New York metropolitan area's first shot at hosting the Super Bowl. The following season will conclude with Super Bowl XLIX (tentatively set for Feb. 1, 2015) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. It will mark the greater Phoenix area's third Super Bowl and first since the New York Giants' 17-14 stunner over New England in Super Bowl XLII in 2008.