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Azzanni: The right or wrong personality can change your program

With the Vols staff finally getting settled in together down in Knoxville, a couple of the coaches, including receivers coach Zach Azzanni met with the media to talk about philosophies on the recruiting trail from his perspective as the recruiting coordinator.

Azzanni noted, that like every other coach in the country, he wants a whole lot of talent and speed in his group, but he also added that he wants some different personalities as well.

"After 15 years of doing this, I want personality. I want guys with different personalities that bring a different edge to the field." he explained.

"Personality is big these days. If you bring in the right or wrong one it could change your program."

If you don't have personality on your checklist already, right up there next to talent and size or speed, it may be something worth keeping in mind as you hit the recruiting trail.

 

 

Bowl attendance down, TV ratings up

The 35-game bowl season wrapped up Monday night and, with the season officially complete, attendance figures and TV ratings are now fully available. The conclusion: much like the regular season, fans are buying fewer tickets in favor of the couch and flat screen. 

Jon Solomon of the Birmingham News reported Tuesday that, for the second straight year, bowl attendance has hit a record low. The bowls averaged 49,222 fans, down slightly from last year, and the lowest total since 1978-79. 

Meanwhile, ESPN recorded its best bowl slate of all-time. The BCS Championship was the second-highest rated telecast in cable TV history, and the five-game BCS package averaged more than 15 million viewers, up seven percent from last year. Additionally, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and Outback Bowl were the network's second and fourth most watched non-BCS games in ESPN history, respectively. The 28 non-BCS bowls were collectively averaged a 2.3 rating, up from 2.2 in 2011-12.

What conclusions should we draw from this?

The BCS commissioners, who wrangled control of the bowl system over the past year, are going to take an even tighter grip on college football's postseason. 

"Since we've made such a significant change with the playoff, it's a perfect time to look at the bowls and how they work," SEC commissioner Mike Slive said this week. "This is a very good time to take a hard look at how we do our bowl relationships and see if there's a better way."

According to Stewart Mandel of SI.com, that means conferences will have more of a say in where their teams play. 

"According to one source," Mandel writes," the conference collaboration... may consist of a format like this: Over a six-year cycle, the Big Ten and Big 12 might share spots in the Holiday (San Diego) and Kraft Fight Hunger (San Francisco) bowls, with each league playing three seasons in both."

There's also talk of changing the way tickets are sold in bowl games. For years, participating schools have traditionally been required to purchase a large number of tickets (often 17,500 for the bigger games) at prices well above street value and be forced to eat the losses. For instance, Florida State reportedly sold less than a third of its allotment for the Orange Bowl, and Nebraska moved only 4,000 tickets to the Capital One Bowl. 

Now, that risk may get transferred may become shared between the schools and bowls. 

"Everybody wants the ticket allocations to be managed differently," said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby. "Bowls feel one way about it and schools and conferences feel another way. We'll have to hit on some middle ground."

Now with only one season standing in the way of sweeping reform to the way college football conducts its postseason, it's imperative to be aware of what those changes will entail. 

Kentucky announces plans to upgrade facilities

Back on Tuesday, Kentucky launched a fundraising website (kfundonline.com) that laid out some plans for a new stadium.

The plans for the new stadium include up to $125 million dollar in upgrades meant to "reinvent Commonwealth Stadium". During the Courier Journal's interview with athletic director Mitch Barnhart earlier today, he noted that state leaders support $110 million in agency bonds for the stadium.

Part of that reinvention is aimed at the fans, with plans to upgrade concession areas, restrooms, and the video boards. The addition of up to 2,500 new club level seats and up to 15 new suites are being considered as well.

The overall seating capacity is not going to be added to, and the University would like maintain or even slightly reduce the overall capacity in an effort of increase the value of the existing seats.

Kentucky has been viewed by many as not being entirely committed to football, because many of their projects (seven total over the past decade) are in places that aren't necessarily visited by the public.

"We’ve always been committed to football," Barnhart maintained. "People view it differently and they’ve got measuring sticks and I get that.

"For us, we’ve completed 10 projects in football in the last seven years in different ways and shapes and forms, and unfortunately no one (notices). Sometimes, they just can’t see them because they’re places that people just don’t go. This will be something that everybody can see. So for the critics out there, they’ll have to make their own judgment, but we’ve always been committed to football and I’m absolutely comfortable going forward that this, in a large way, indicates how important football is to the University of Kentucky.” 

The stadium renovations are part of a campus-wide $275 million renovation that received approval from Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and the state's legislative leaders.

"This is critical," said UK president Eli Capilouto. "The success of our football program is how athletics remains one of the handful of financially self-sufficient programs in the country. It's how athletics funds millions of dollars in academic scholarships and other University needs each year."

A ranking of all 125 FBS head coaching tenures

Patrick Stevens of D1scource.com published today a very interesting ranking of the tenure for all 125 FBS head coaches. With 30 of the 125 jobs changing hands over the past year, the study produced some pretty surprising results. 

We're not going to post the full list (which can be found here), but here are the top 10 longest-tenured coaches in FBS:

1. Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech - hired Dec. 22, 1986
2. Larry Blakeney, Troy - Dec. 3, 1990
3. Mack Brown, Texas - Dec. 3, 1997
4. Bob Stoops, Oklahoma - Dec. 1, 1998
5. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa - Dec. 2, 1998
6. Gary Pinkel, Missouri - Nov. 30, 2000
7. Gary Patterson, TCU - Dec. 8, 2000
8. Jim Grobe, Wake Forest - Dec. 11, 2000
9. Mark Richt, Georgia - Dec. 26, 2000
10. Mike Riley, Oregon State - Feb. 19, 2003

A few notes...

- Miami (Ohio) head coach Don Treadwell represents the median of this list. He was hired Dec. 31, 2010. 

- Nevada head coach Brian Polian, presently in his fourth day on the job, holds only the second-youngest tenure in FBS.

- There are only three coaches left from the hiring class of 2006 - Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and Air Force's Troy Calhoun.

- There are no coaches left from the hiring classes of 2001 and 2002.

Here are a handful of Stevens' observations...

- Kentucky's Mark Stoops, the first hire of the post-2012 season wave, has been on the job longer than 22.8 percent of his fellow FBS coaches. He was hired Nov. 27.

- West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen, promoted in the summer of 2011, has been on the job in Morgantown longer than 54 other head coaches.

- Kansas State's Bill Snyder ranks 33rd on the tenure list ... and that only counts his second stint with the Wildcats.

- Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald is almost two years shy of his 40th birthday. He still ranks 20th in active tenure at his current gig.

Once again, here is the link to Stevens' full post. 

2013 Pac-12 schedule released

The Pac-12 released its 2013 schedule on Thursday. We're not going to run through all 100+ games here (visit the Pac-12 website for the full schedule) but here are some interesting tidbits that jumped out to us:

- All 79 games originating at Pac-12 sites will be broadcast on national TV. 44 games will be split between ESPN/ABC and Fox, and the other 35 will be picked up by Pac-12 Networks.

- For the first time in its brief history, the Pac-12 Championship will be played on a Saturday. The Dec. 7 title game will be shown by ESPN or ABC. 

- Clear Your Schedule, Part I: Oregon will visit Stanford on Thursday, Nov. 7.

- Clear Your Schedule, Part II: Stanford will close the regular season at home against Notre Dame on Nov. 30.

- Sonny Dykes will open his Cal tenure at home versus Northwestern on Aug. 31.

- Mike MacIntyre's first game at Colorado will take place in Denver against Colorado State on Aug. 31.

- The Pac-12 will play a fully national slate on Sept. 14. Arizona State hosts Wisconsin, USC hosts Boston College, Oregon hosts Tennessee and Cal hosts Ohio State. Meanwhile, Stanford goes across the country to visit Army, UCLA travels to Nebraska and Washington meets Illinois in Chicago. Unlike some other leagues, the Pac-12 isn't cheating its TV partners this week. 

- Dykes faces his old boss Mike Leach for the first time when Cal hosts Washington State on Oct. 5. 

- Rivalry week is split over two days: Oregon State at Oregon and Washington State at Washington will be held Friday, Nov. 29. The next day, Arizona will visit Arizona State, UCLA will meet USC, Utah hosts Colorado and Stanford hosts Notre Dame. 

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