This new feature on DawgPost will highlight the fortune and misfortunes of the college football world. While mainly focusing on Southern pigskin politics and play, the column will at some times discuss issues that are affecting the national scene.
Mountain West, WAC, and MAC conferences
The NCAA approved controversial legislation this summer that allows football to be played on Friday nights. These three conferences have been set up to reap the benefits of television on those nights because the major conferences are not likely to take advantage of the new policy. The SEC has outlawed its members from participating in Friday night games.
Georgia fans that love night games
ABC and ESPN have already picked up two of Georgia's most important games for the upcoming season. The South Carolina and Georgia Tech games will be carried by these networks with both kickoffs schedule for after dark. Many Georgia fans enjoy the night games, however it is television that almost always dictates the start of games. Any SEC game that is on TV is subject to kickoff time regulations that have been set the summer before the season. Because Georgia's games against Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Arkansas are likely to be picked up by TV as well, night-Dawgs should be encouraged by the possibility that more games will be picked up with the lights on.
The Seminoles are not strangers to the "winners" category, but this time it is for something that happened last season, something that happened this week, and something that will happen in a few weeks. It was announced through several media sources that had the BCS calculations for 2001 been in place for the 2000 season, it would have been Miami, not Florida State that would have played Oklahoma for the national title. The Noles are also winners because of the ACC Coaches' Pre-Season Poll that placed Florida State at the top of the ACC heap once more. While Georgia Tech and Clemson have "closed the gap" (as much as you can without beating a team) on Florida State, clearly the coaches of the ACC feel that FSU will win yet another conference title come November. The final reason that the Noles are winners is that they open up with perhaps the worst team in the South, Duke, to start the season. While the game is a road trip, it is very possible that Florida State fans will outnumber their Duke counterparts. Duke lost every game last season and has lost 14 straight. Incidentally, the Blue Devils have been picked last by the ACC coaches.
Florida Bowl Games
Florida Governor Jeb Bush slashed funding for several Florida bowl games this summer when he decided veto legislation that would have made a $1 million appropriation to Florida Bowls, $200,000 for each non-profit bowl. Bush's refusal to help fund the bowl games will drive the Micron PC Bowl from Florida to Charlotte, NC. The Gator Bowl and all other bowls in the state will not receive state help this year. This is the second year in a row that Bush has vetoed money to at least one bowl in Florida. The multi-million dollar industry that is bowl games has a huge inpact on Florida's ability to gather taxes from out of state spenders.
The Cotton Bowl has been scrambling for the last decade. First the loss of its long time partner, the Southwest Conference, and now pressure from the Big 12 to move the game time of the Cotton Bowl, a 10 am local start in Dallas, to later in the day. The problem for the Cotton Bowl is that the other partner, the SEC, has a contract with ABC that will not allow other bowl games to interfere with the start of the Citrus Bowl. With the start of the BCS Bowl games later in the day, the Cotton is stuck. The SEC has proposed the Cotton move from its traditional New Year's Day start, but the Cotton has stood firm and has rejected that suggestion from the SEC.
High School Games
The NCAA has decreased the importance of high school athletics with its legislation that allows Friday night football games. Many think that there will be few high schools affected by this policy. But the allowance of Friday night games opens the door to future legislation that could hurt high school sports even more.
Up: The tuition of the University of South Carolina and Clemson
These two rivals finally have something in common, a problem with money. South Carolina's State Legislature voted to increase the tuition at both institutions in order to help pay the cost for poor state budgeting in the past. The State Legislature increased Clemson's tuition by over 40%. Parents of students that attend Clemson are outraged. IPTAY means I Pay Thousands A Year, looks like it could be another thousand more, in less than a month.
Tennessee Ticket Prices
Vol ticket prices are out of control. In an attempt to gain even more revenue from their massive stadium, Tennessee has raised single ticket prices for home games to nearly $40 a seat. Tennessee has been, and will continue to have one of the largest athletic budgets in the nation, due mainly to ticket revenue from home football games.
Down: Behavior of SEC Football players the past few months
Some seem to think that summer equals trouble for football players, however SEC players have taken their shenanigans to a whole new level this summer. From Charles Grant to Derek Watson to Jabar Gaffney, it seems that every program has had at least one black eye this summer. Even Vandy is getting in on the act.