Three and Out: Reason No. 9,815 why college football is good for the economy
1. SEC football games are in high demand, even for visiting teams. SEC schools allot more seats for visitors than any other conference because SEC fans travel like a group of hippies following a Phish tour. And the economies of Tuscaloosa, Auburn, College Station and the like have that to be thankful for, as the Wall Street Journal's Rachel Bachman pointed out Tuesday. Hotel prices shoot up like fireworks in SEC locales on game weekends - 144 percent in Tuscaloosa, 120 percent in Auburn and 89 percent in College Station. In fact, nine of the league's 14 cities see hotel prices rise more than 40 percent on game weekends.
2. People rolled their eyes last fall when Nick Saban said that the spread (pardon the pun) of no-huddle, up-tempo offenses were unfair and even dangerous for defenses. Now Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema has come out in support of Saban. "Not to get on the coattails of some of the other coaches, there is a lot of truth that the way offensive philosophies are driven now, there's times where you can't get a defensive substitution in for 8, 10, 12 play drives," Bielema said. "That has an effect on safety of that student-athlete, especially the bigger defensive linemen, that is really real."
On the other side stands Gus Malzahn, Butch Jones, Kevin Sumlin and Hugh Freeze. "No, I'd say that's probably more of an in-shape issue than anything else," Malzahn responded. Both sides have their reasons, but good luck getting the offensive coaches to give up what has clearly become a competitive advantage. We think you'd have a better chance getting the SEC to play 12 conference games than change the rules to slow down offenses.
3. Last month we showed you the options under consideration for the Atlanta Falcons' new home. Option 1 and its multitude of retractable roofs was approved earlier today. Work of art, state of the industry, yes, but to us it looks mostly like the greatest origami project in the history of the world.
Photos: Nebraska unveils their new Adidas cleats
Last week Adidas released Texas A&M's "Gig 'em" style cleats, and today the shoe company unveiled their new look for Nebraska.
The new look pays respect to Big Red nation on the insole and also has a nice touch on the heel of the cleat to Nebraska's winning tradition.
10 Questions With: Kansas head coach Charlie Weis
Charlie Weis is nothing if not brutally honest. Whether it's assessing his team's 2012 season, his own experience and the best and worst things about college football, the second-year Kansas head coach calls them like he sees them. We caught up with Weis to talk about college vs. NFL, adjusting to the Big 12, his social media habits and more in Tuesday's edition of 10 Questions With.
To view past installments of 10 Questions With, please visit the archives.
1) In what ways will your team improve after last year's 1-11 campaign?
We better be better in a lot of ways to be perfectly honest with you. There wasn't one area of our team, other than our running game and our running back position that I could say played winning-level football. We weren't good in the kicking game, we weren't good in the passing game, our quarterback play was poor. We've gone through a total revamping of our team. We brought in a bunch of junior college players that we intend to get into the mix quickly.
In my case, unlike a lot of other teams that can start with a lot of positives, other than the running back position that I thought was our best by far last year - I think even that position should be deeper and better than it was last year. So there isn't any area where I wouldn't expect an improvement.
2) I thought you looked much better than a 1-11 team at many times last year. Do you think your team fell victim to a historically deep Big 12 that sent nine of its 10 teams to bowl games?
I think we were a victim of not being able to close out close games. I think when you answer your question "yes", you're making excuses. The bottom line is, we were in a half-dozen games that we had a chance of winning at the end of the game that we didn't win. I think that part of the learning process to go from a losing mentality to a winning mentality is when you're in those close games you close them out and win. We had opportunities to hold leads that we didn't, and we had opportunities where we were down less than a score where we didn't make that key play to win the game. I've always been grilled you are what you are. You need to win the close games, but the first thing the team needs to do is to learn that when you're in those close games that something good is going to happen, not something bad.
3) You employ a sport psychologist on your staff. Is that something you installed once you took over?
When you're talking about 18-to-22 year old men, a lot of times they don't open up completely of things outside of just football to you. I think that having a venue to go to to talk about life and talk about home and talk about school, talk about pressures, talk about those things, I think that to have an availability to kids is a very, very good, positive resource.
4) What do you prefer about the college game over the NFL?
I don't prefer the college game over the NFL. I like them both the same. They're different, now. They're very different. I don't prefer one over the other. I like them both. The one good thing about college, I'll give you the best thing and the worst thing.
The best thing and the worst thing about college are both related to the amount of hours that you have a week to spend with the players. You only get 20 hours a week with the players. So what that means is when they're going to class til 2:30 in the afternoon, you have from five o'clock in the morning to 2:30 in the afternoon where you can be studying tape and game-planning and preparing for practice. In the NFL, you don't have that time because the players are in by seven o'clock in the morning. All your work has to be done at night time when you're tired. At night time when the players have left and you've finished watching practice, now you're game planning for the next day. It's 12 o'clock at night and you're making decisions on things that you have to have prepared by the time the players come in the next morning. It's nice to be able to be fresh in the morning and be able to come up with your ideas while the players are in class. Simultaneously, that 20 hours is also the worst thing because you have a limited amount of time you can spend with the players, whereas in the NFL there's no limit to how much time you can spend with them.
5) You've embraced Twitter and Facebook pretty enthusiastically. How much of a learning curve did you have with social media?
I'm still way behind the eight-ball on that one. Fortunately I have a 20-year old son that has an office down the hall from me that is light years ahead of me as far as that goes. But I do my own Twitter and I do my own Facebook so when I make a mistake it's me making a mistake, or if I say something stupid it's me saying something stupid. I'm not one of those coaches who has somebody else manning the site for me. I actually do the stuff on my own.
5a) We enjoyed this tweet from you the other day about how you stayed up watching the Stanley Cup Finals while Facebooking recruits. How much time do you spend doing that?
When I get home, I make sure that my kid already had dinner and everything like that, I flip on (TV) - last night it was the hockey game, tonight it will be the basketball game - I flip that on, I open up my laptop, I go to Facebook and sit there and legally communicate with recruits that you can't call. It happens every day.
6) How do you use the Kansas basketball program to benefit Kansas football?
There's two different ways. One is just by having our players watch how their team plays not with just passion but how they play such team basketball. Coach Self and his staff have done a wonderful job of getting everyone to buy into the team concept and it's pretty obvious when you watch them play. It's a great example for our players to see how a bunch of guys can mesh together and mesh so well. Another way, if I had my druthers every Saturday in January there'd be a home basketball game so when you had official visits in you could bring them to Allen Fieldhouse. I've been to Cameron, I've been to a lot of those places, there's no better environment to watch a basketball game than Allen Fieldhouse. When we bring recruits in for a weekend that there's a game on Saturday it doesn't make a difference who they're playing, that place is rocking and rolling and it sends a very good message.
7) You brought in Dave Campo last year as assistant head coach for defense and defensive backs coach. How quickly did he become re-acclimated to the college game after a quarter-century in the NFL?
He's still adjusting, to be perfectly honest with you. I've done it a lot more recently than him, obviously, both at Florida and at Notre Dame. X's and O's are X's and O's, that really doesn't change. But the speed of the game that the offenses play in the Big 12, that's one thing that you adjust on the fly because in the NFL very few teams play at the pace (of the Big 12). Not just no huddle, but as quickly as they snap the ball. That's something that is probably the biggest things from going to the NFL from all those years to coming to college.
8) With the experience you two have in the NFL, how much is the league brought up in your program on a day-to-day basis?
We don't talk about it in the program other than when you're involved with recruiting players. Every player really wants three things. They want to get a good education, they want an opportunity to play and, God willing, they would like an opportunity to play on Sunday. Every player you recruit wants those three things. Now, some of them don't want them in that order, if you know what I'm saying, but they all want those three things. Between the head coach and the assistant head coach, you take the two guys and add up their years of 39 years in the NFL and seven rings, that's a pretty enticing fact.
9) What do you like to do when you get away from football?
When I'm not working, I'm usually doing something with your family or for your family. Most of our time away from football is spent doing work with people for special needs. I have a daughter with special needs and we have a charity for people with special needs called Hannah and Friends and I spend as much time as I can doing things with my wife for people with special needs when I'm not working.
10) Speaking of your family, how much are you enjoying having your son as part of the program?
You know that American Express commercial, "Priceless"? Usually when your kid goes to college they go away and you hardly ever see them. My kid walks in the office 10 times a day. Just to be able to do that one fist bump to start off the day when you see him, it really makes you feel good about being able to spend quality time even though he tries to avoid me like the plague most of the time.
Photo: Leach and his staff reel in a 500 pound fish on staff retreat
It goes without saying that when Mike Leach does something, he prefers to do it big.
Earlier today we came across this picture of a massive fish that Leach and his staff caught while on a staff retreat.
A 500 pound fish is very impressive. We'll use that as the benchmark for coaches across the country to beat before the season kicks off. Good luck matching that in your local rivers and lakes!
(It should go without saying that pictures will be needed to prove what you caught)
Who will win the 2013 national title? One of these 14 teams
According to college football magazine publisher/data miner/expert Phil Steele, there are 14 teams that have a shot at winning the national title. And before you ask, no, not all 14 teams hail from the SEC.
Steele examined common statistical threads from the season before each of the last 21 national champions, runners up and controversial No. 3's (2003 USC, 2004 Auburn) and compared them with 2012 stats to determine which schools meet the criteria to hoist the crystal ball at the Rose Bowl in January.
For instance, each of the last 21 national titles lost no more than five games in the previous season, scored at least 23.1 points per game and allowed no more than 27.5 points per game. Those three metrics alone whittled the list from 125 down to 38 eligible teams.
Next, Steele looked at offensive and defensive yards per game which, due to the large-scale offensive revolution and the pourous 2010 Oklahoma State defense, eliminated only Kent State (410 yards per game allowed in 2012) from contention. Six more teams were eliminated after failing to beat the 1995 Florida team's 160 rush yards allowed per game, bringing the total down to 31.
Six more teams were eliminated when looking at first downs allowed, yards per carry allowed and completion percentage allowed. Steele looked at five more offensive categories and was only able to eliminate one team so, after 20 statistical metrics and 24 teams still remaining, he decided to examine some trends.
No team from a non-power conference has a realistic chance to play for the title under the current system, thereby knocking the pool down to 16 teams. Steele then eliminated Penn State (due to NCAA sanctions) and Oregon State due to its 3-9 record two years prior, a mark no national title team has duplicated in the two years before its championship over the past 21 seasons.
After applying 23 different measuring sticks, only 14 teams passed the bar on each one:
Alabama is going to have a waterfall in their locker room?
Just hearing that Alabama is upgrading their locker rooms inside the Mal M. Moore Athletic facility prompts your imagination to run a little wild. There's no limit to the types of things Alabama could do with their locker room. More often than not, what the Tide want, they get.
Apparently, something like a waterfall isn't out the question, as five star quarterback commit David Cornwell revealed that Bama's weight room will feature a cascading wall of water in the updated locker room.
That waterfall in Bama's locker room is about to be legit! C'mon who has a waterfall.. No one!— DC5 (@DavidCornwell5) June 17, 2013
According to AL.com, who reached out to sports information director Jeff Purinton, the waterfall will be coming from a "system that can flow from from a few feet above the hot and cold tubs, which are located near the showers of the new area's first floor".
The waterfall will be one of the more impressive finishing touches from the $9 million that the University has pumped back into the facilities, most of which went into the new look weight room. The updated facility will also have new lockers, updated graphics, new meeting rooms and a theatre-style meeting room where the old weight room used to be.
We don't know about you, but we're really looking forward to seeing what the updated locker room looks like.
Video: Dave Doeren gets coached up on the golf course
The first part of the "Dare Coach D" series took NC State head coach Dave Doeren a little out of his comfort zone hitting with the softball team. The last episode (with the bass fishing team), and the latest installment with the women's golf team have seemed more like vacations.
Doeren hits the course and goes through a few drills around the green with the girls in this episode, learning the flop shot and the art of hitting out of the bunker.
We can't vouch for coach Doeren off the tee, but his short game on and around the green should be improved after these lessons.
Video: The cornerstones of Northwestern's program
Pat Fitzgerald and his staff led Northwestern to a 10 win season last fall, which was their first ten win season since 1995. With the team returning 8 starters on offense, and 7 on defense, outside expectations are higher than they've been in a long time up in Evanston.
Here's a well done video from the guys at Northwestern highlighting the beliefs and cornerstones of their program accompanied with a highlight from their 2012 season. The seven traits that they've highlighted are the ones that they believe will help them bring home a Big Ten title.
The video ends with coach Fitz breaking it down with an acronym, "three simple letters, one magical word - W.I.N".