So, um, who is watching Fox Sports Live?

Every week the folks over at Awful Announcing put out articles showing the ratings of ESPN, NBCSN and FS1 & FS2. 

For whatever reason, I find the numbers fascinating. I think we all know (and expect) that ESPN has a huge lead over everyone else; but I continue to be surprised that Fox Sports Live, the show they pour tremendous resources into, hasn't seemed to be able to gain any traction at all. Allow me to share some of the numbers (as compiled and presented by the team at Awful Announcing).

I won't bore you with the massive lead that all of the ESPN properties (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, etc...) have over everyone else because the margin is ... well yeah, you get it.

Instead, let's look simply at SportsCenter vs. Fox Sports Live.

Last week, the most watched SportsCenter drew a 2.8 (HH) rating with over 4.6 million viewers

On July 11th (the day the LeBron news broke), the 11am SC saw 512,000 viewers, noon SC 880,000 viewers, 1pm 1.3million viewers, 2pm 1.1million, 3pm 865,000, 4pm 732,000, 6pm 988,000, 7pm 756,000, 8pm 691,000, 9pm 497,000, 10pm 488,000, 11pm 646,000 and 12am 684,000. That looks like an average of nearly 1 million viewers for every single hour that day. 

Now, let's take a look at Fox Sports Live... not one broadcast of the show cracked FS1's top ten list for the week...meaning that not a single broadcast recorded more than a 0.1 (HH) rating and not one had over 300,000 viewers. AA didn't list out each show so I really don't have any idea if any of the broadcasts even came close to those numbers.

AA did point out that Fox Sports Live averaged (for the week), 62,000 viewers for their "most-watched" telecast per night. 

Most-watched of 62,000. That's a head scratcher. 

To try to wrap my arms around that, I took a look at how many cities there are in the US. Good ole Google tells me that per the US Census bureau there are about 19,000 cities in America.  62,000 viewers in 19,000 cities, yeah, that's a little over 3 viewers per city. Well, perhaps that's not fair, so I asked Google how many cities there are with over 100,000 people...293. So, if we just look at cities with over 100,000 people in them, that means that on average, about 211 people in each of those cities watched the "most-watched" Fox Sports Live each night. 211 people, that's about how many people live on my block. 

I'm blown away by how small this number is. 

I recognize they are building it for the future; but man I sure thought that the collective pull of all of the talent they have amassed and marketing spend they have invested would have paid off larger than this by now. 

Photo: This FCS program has put jaguar spots on their unis

Southern University (FCS - Baton Rouge, LA) showed up to SWAC Media Day showing off their latest uniform addition, complete with jaguar-spotted numbers. They actually released them earlier this year, but this is the first time the new look has made its way out in the public eye.

Southern will wear these when they open up the season against Mark Hudspeth and Lousiana-Lafayette on August 30th.

Chalk up this idea in the "interesting, but I think I'll pass" category for me. 

June Jones says the "have-nots" should start playing their seasons in the spring

June Jones got his start coaching professional football in the United States Football League as the wide receviers coach for the Houston Gamblers, and then as the offensive coordinator for the Denver Gold. If there's anyone that would copy from the strategy of a long-defunct minor league football operation and call it revolutionary, it would be June Jones.

Appearing on Tampa's WDEA-AM on Friday, Jones argued that the "have-nots" of FBS - the American, Mountain West, Conference USA, MAC and Sun Belt - should eschew their traditional fall football schedules and instead play in the spring. "I'll go ahead and say it right now," Jones said, "I think the have-nots should go ahead and move to the spring just like the USFL did. I think that there's an opportunity to do a complete other side of that division, and I think that if we don't think that way as a group of have-nots, we're going to get left behind. I can see in five-to-seven years, possibly, the public would demand to have the two leagues play, just like I think the USFL had in mind, originally, of the winner of the USFL playing the winner of the National Football League."

Ignoring the fact that this would never, ever happen for a multitude of reasons, let's understand the reality that the have-nots are arguably in a stronger position now than they've ever been. While the Power Five schools will undoubtedly scoop up the lion's share of the revenue from the College Football Playoff, the Group of Five (as the conference commissioners like to call them) will split $75 million annually amongst themselves, more than five times what they earned in 2013, according to USA Today. This is to say nothing of the fact that those Group of Five schools now have a guaranteed spot in a CFP bowl, and a greater (although admittedly still remote) shot at playing their way into the four-team playoff. While that isn't likely to happen, especially now that former mid-major superpowers TCU and Utah have crossed borders into the Power Five, it's much easier to claim one spot amongst four than to absorb one of two spots, as in the BCS days, or earn an outright No. 1 vote, like in the pre-BCS poll 'n' bowl era. 

Combine this with the fact that Group of Five conferences are now creating and maintaining ownership in their own bowl games - how does Christmas Eve in the Bahamas sound? - and it's apparent that Jones is out of touch with the reality in which he's living. 

Second, let's look at the second part of Jones' statement above. "I can see in five-to-seven years, possibly, the public would demand to have the two leagues play, just like I think the USFL had in mind, originally, of the winner of the USFL playing the winner of the National Football League." The public would not demand to see the Power Five champion and the Group of Five champion, because it already knows what would happen if those two teams met and has more than a century of evidence to back it up. Notice how Jones said that the USFL "wanted" its champion to play the Super Bowl champion, but the public didn't. Thus, in the three seasons in which the USFL was able to draw breath, it never happend. 

The USFL may be long dead, but its delusional line of thinking lives on inside Jones' mind. 

Let's keep going.

The host challenges Jones with just one of hundreds of logistical issues this move would create: that playing in the spring would create an obvious conflict with NFL Draft preparation that occurs during that same time. "All those things would have to be figured out," Jones said. "You make your own rules at that point." 

Ah, the old "we'll figure it out when we get there" method of planning. Would schools playing in opposite seasons operate on the same recruiting calendar. Would schools playing in opposite seasons operate on the same recruiting calendar? Would recruits even want to play football in the spring? Would university presidents support moving football to the spring, and then hope volleyball will be enough to bring people to campus during the fall? Would TV networks even fork enough extra cash to make this migraine of an idea worthwile? We'll figure it out when we get there.

"Football is the number one sport on television right now, and the advertisers want live programming," he says. "They don't want Hollywood shows because you can TiVo out the commercials. Live programming is a hot topic right now and I think there's a market for bigger numbers for the non-BCS teams."

Advertisers want live programming, yes, and there's enough of it in the spring to allow Madison Avenue to fatten up and hibernate straight through the summer. How, I wonder, will SMU at East Carolina compete against March Madness, the NBA and NHL playoffs, the start of the Major League Baseball season, the NFL Draft, NASCAR, the PGA and people's general desire to go outside and enjoy the scenery for the first time in months? 

Perhaps it's because he got out of the USFL before the roof caved in, but there's a reason every minor league football endeavor has failed, and it's the same reason the WNBA battles test patterns and 3 a.m. infomercials for ratings. Sports aren't like potato chips or automobiles, where any number of competitors can survive. Consumers gravitate toward toward the highest level available, and anything else gets ignored. 

And, finally, the reason the Group of Five can coexists (quite fine, I might add) is because the Power Five conference subsidize the lower half of FBS through the College Football Playoff thanks to their collective desire to avoid as many antitrust suits as possible. Strike out on their own, though, and the Power Five have no reason to cut their mid-major siblings in to the tune of $75 million a year. 

"I think that if we don't think that way, there's going to be a whole lot of schools that are going to start dropping football," Jones says.

The only way mid-majors would ever drop football is if they followed nostalgic thinking not supported by reality to bet their athletics departments on a plan that's been a proven failure time and time again for decades on end. 

Jones was absolutely dead on about one thing he said Friday, though. "I know it's out-of-the-box, but I said it, and it's probably going to go national off the Todd Wright Show."

(Clip starts at 4:30)

Ralph Friedgen describes his three years out of football in three powerful words

Ralph Friedgen won a total of 75 games during his ten years at Maryland as the head coach, including an ACC title and a 5-2 bowl record with the Terps. In five of those seasons, Friedgen won at least 9 games. The man can flat out coach.

Those kind of accomplishments make an impression in the coaching community. So much so in fact that even three years after Maryland he was still getting calls from some major college football programs, before eventually landing with on his feet at Rutgers, a place where he had never met the head coach (Kyle Flood), and knew no one on staff.

The Big Ten Network's Tom Dinehart sat down with Friedgen to talk about other coaching opportunities he interviewed for, his three years away from the game, and what he missed most about being away from coaching.

Speaking of opportunities that came up while away from the coaching profession, perhaps the most interesting note in the piece was the Friedgen interviewed with Will Muschamp for the Gator's offensive coordinator job. "I interviewed with Will Muschamp for the Florida offensive coordinator job; didn’t get it." Friedgen noted of the experience. "He had called me a couple times and told me to come down for two-a-days."

When asked how he spent his time away from college football, Friedgen explained, "I played a lot of golf. I fished a lot. I read a lot. I watched college football a lot. I enjoyed myself, if you want to know the truth."

While he certainly enjoyed himself, he noted that the biggest thing he missed was the interaction with the players, and coaches and their families. It's a part of the profession that every coach who has been away from the game (for any period of time) can sympathize with.

"I missed the interaction with the players. Not just on the field, but off the field, too. That always has been the hook for me as a coach. I also missed the relationships with the coaches and the players’ families, too. I have gotten close to a lot of players. When I came back, I was surprised so many people reached out to me with emails, texts, calls, letters to say how happy they were that I was back.

"I must have touched a lot of people. I was surprised."

There's a ton more quality content in the Q&A, so read the whole thing here.

Video: Les Miles breaks down soccer in a way only he can

SEC Media Days are over, but this is too good to pass up.

The World Cup swept many of us up over the last month, including the family of LSU's head coach. Thanks to Saturday Down South, here are Les Miles' thoughts on the World Cup and FIFA.

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