Robert Louis Stevenson….“The Monterey Peninsula is the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world.” – Now…That’s the Damn Truth! – Why the Monterey Peninsula Is So Special….The Beauty, The Golf, The Weather…Or Maybe the….Air? – College Football…..Playoffs? – No….It Will Never Be Members of the Media and the College Football Poo-Bahs Screamed For Years….OH, IT BE! – Why Has the NFL Grown In Popularity So Much More Than College Football Over the Past 25 Years? – “It’s the Bogus and Un-American BCS STUPID! – The American Soul and the Rise of Football In America – The Coaches Hot Seat Recommendation For the Next College Football Postseason – How To “Fix” College Basketball…..As Coach C. M. Newton Says….Make College Basketball A One-Semester Sport – Nick Saban, Noonan and the Philosopher Basho
Whether Robert Louis Stevenson actually said it or not there is no denying the truth that…
“The Monterey Peninsula is the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world.”
In one our handful of annual get-togethers there are several Coaches Hot Seat members on the Monterey Peninsula this week to do some business with our clients and to watch the AT&T National Pro-Am which beyond the golf is really just a week of some golf being played with lots of fun, parties and debauchery thrown in for good measure.
Yes, there is something magical about the Monterey Peninsula that transfers visitors to some kind of idyllic state and the running conclusion for what happens to people when they spend some time along 17-mile drive, beyond the sheer beauty and grandeur of the place, comes from a conversation that we had many years ago with a doctor friend of ours who said very casually at dinner one night at a restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea:
“You know….the Monterey Peninsula area has the highest percentage of oxygen in the air of any place in the Western Hemisphere.”
Doctor friend: “It’s true. This place is right by the ocean on a peninsula that is sticking out into the Pacific Ocean with the entire area being constantly cleaned by new storms and weather fronts and practically no pollution at all equals some of the best air to breathe in the world.”
For years now the common refrain for Coaches Hot Seat members when on the Monterey Peninsula after hitting a great golf shot, strolling along a street in Carmel-by-the-Sea on a stunning night and having some great looking woman walk by, having a drink on the back deck of the Spanish Bay Resort, playing the Pacific Grove Golf Links (a public golf course and the best bargain on the Peninsula), pulling off the road along Highway 1 in Big Sur south of Carmel or anything else that strikes one as being much better on the Peninsula than in other places we frequent is always followed by…
“It’s the air. It’s the air my boy.”
Whatever “IT” is there is no other place on Earth like the Monterey Peninsula and Thursday at Spyglass Hill Golf Course following Tiger Woods and some other golfers around was one of the a few hundred in a lifetime days that can only be properly capped by dinner at one of those tiny but jammed during AT&T week restaurants in Carmel-by-the-Sea where the waiters never let one’s cup or glass runneth empty which is never a bad thing when the hotel one is staying at is just down the hill a couple of blocks towards Carmel Beach (If you end up at the beach you walked too far but there is also a 50/50 chance that there will be a group of people drinking on Carmel Beach at night so stop-in, introduce yourself and see if they have an extra beer on hand for a thirsty sailor!)
A great and very entertaining book about the Monterey Peninsula that does a nice job of capturing what makes this place so special is…
…by Zachary Jack who spent a year on the Peninsula in the run-up to the 2010 US Open at Pebble Beach and lived to write about lots of tales that any lover of the game of golf, fan of Clint Eastwood and anyone curious about just what the Hell is going on when the professional golf tournaments are not being staged on the Monterey Peninsula will find Jack’s book to be terrific and funny read.
Today (Friday) we are planning to take in some golf at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in the morning with the Bill Belichick – Nick Saban group going of at 10:01 AM which should give us a chance to size-up Saban’s game which ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski’s reports is pretty-good from tee to green but then Nick evidently falls to pieces the closer he gets to the flag…..kind of like that Alabama offense in that first game against LSU!
College Football Postseason…..Playoff?
Evidently the Big Ten Conference looked up and saw Engine 6 National Championships and Counting and the College Football Postseason Playoff is Coming train barreling down on them which led to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune driving out to the suburbs of Chicago to speak with Big Ten commish Jim Delany which produced the following story….
which is either…
“Damn, I hope we can slow this Damn train down.”
“Hell, if we might as well get the best deal possible so someone get Greenstein out here and let’s get something on the record.”
….article and “Wa-La” what hundreds if not thousands of people in the media and across college football said was “never going to happen” is now rolling down the tracks with a fire inside of it that cannot be put out (most only want the fire to get bigger!) which means that when the current Bogus BCS contract ends college football will join EVERY other sport in America and have both a legitimate regular and postseason for their coaches, players and…remember us…the people that pay ALL the bills….the FANS?
As the Grand Poo-Bahs try to figure out what the future College Football Postseason is going to look like whether it be a 4, 8 or even 16-team Postseason Playoff Tournament with ALL being better than the current Bogus and Meaningless Exhibition Games BCS, there are larger questions the Poo-Bahs need to think about and those questions cut right to heart of American Society and what is driving the rising popularity of the game of football in America.
In late January Sports Business Daily along with the Harris Poll organization put together a fascinating poll and story on the Favorite Sports in America…
….which is a MUST read for the Grand Poo-Bahs of college football because this story reveals TRUTHS about where American Sports is going and where the people running college football should be looking to take the sport of college football if they hope to keep growing the game into the future.
In that Sports Business Daily article they included the results of the Harris Poll on Favorite American Sports along with the following table which even for the big college and NFL football fans here at Coaches Hot Seat is something we cannot help but keep staring at in amazement:
Pro Football has seen a 12 percent gain popularity since 1985 and is now the Favorite Sport of….
36 Percent of Americans
….which forever destroys the Idiocy that a Postseason Playoff would somehow hurt college football since the NFL has always had and has today a GREAT regular season AND Postseason Tournament and yet….
The Popularity of NFL Football is Booming and its’ regular season games are now regularly the Most Watched TV Shows on Television and in 2011 NFL Regular Season Games were the 10 Most Watched TV Programs on Television.
Once one gets past the 10 point drop for baseball since 1985 which surprised no one here at Coaches Hot Seat since the MLB Baseball Poo-Bahs are about as anal as one can get about “their” sport and that is coming from people here at CHS that love the game of baseball almost as much as we do football, the next thing that jumps out is…..
College Football is the Favorite Sport of 13 Percent of the Population
Now that 13 Percent number seems low to us here at Coaches Hot Seat, but then we live in a very college football-centric world where all the other sports including NFL football revolve around so we do bring a bias to the table, but then how does one explain that as College Football has exploded in our eyes over the past 25 years it has only increased in popularity by…
…while NFL Football has increased in popularity by 12 points?
Now that is a Damn good question.
Our opinion on the above question: College Football is a BIG sport in America and a BIG Business in America but it has not yet penetrated into the American psyche like the NFL Football regular season, NFL Postseason, Super Bowl, the World Series, the Daytona 500, The Masters, The NCAA Basketball Tournament, NBA Playoffs and Finals, etc. have over the years and the Very Damn Obvious reason why College Football has not grown in popularity like NFL Football is that College Football has a great regular season like the NFL but then at the first of December College Football disappears from Planet Earth for several weeks only to reappear in early January with a series of Exhibition Football Games often being played on weeknights after the New Year that when you get right down to it….Mean Nothing At All.
In 1985 there was a…
14 point gap in the favorability between the NFL and College Football
In 2011 that favorability gap has grown to….
Why has College Football even with all of its success and large TV contracts fallen so far behind the NFL?
The answer to that question is as plain as day and it has nothing to do with the college basketball regular season and the popularity of the NCAA Basketball Tournament which is the old fall-back BS for people that could not see the Pacific Ocean if they were standing on the 18 th green at Pebble Beach.
The TRUTH is that just when College Football should be building to an annual crescendo in the month of December each year the game of College Football goes…
…and when it remerges in late December and early January there has been in the past and is nothing today something compelling enough to watch that will attract the numbers of Americans that would be interested in the game if College Football settled their National Championship on the Field of Play which would have already turned College Football into a Mega-Sport that would be an incredible promoter of OUR colleges and universities and could fundamentally reshape how Americans view higher education in America.
In other words the reason for the favorability gap between college football and the NFL is…
“It’s the Bogus and Un-American BCS STUPID!”
The other very important question that lingers over drinks now and again here at Coaches Hot Seat is….
“Why is football becoming more popular in America while baseball is declining in popularity and some sports are stagnant at best?”
We have lots of opinions on the above question but a recent dinner in San Francisco with a top executive at a video game company that makes both sports games and war/violent games for the Playstation, Xbox and Wii consoles opened our eyes about some of the things that are going on in the American Republic in the early 21 st Century.
For those of us that were in the US military and saw combat during Desert Storm in 1991 the attraction of the video war games and overly-violent movies glorifying war has always been lost on us because killing other human beings is not a “fun or pleasant” thing to do and is something most Americans and especially the folks that have never been in combat would probably find repulsive if they ever had to leave the comfort of their living rooms and video games for REAL combat, but our personal disinterest in killing other people in video games does not mean those games aren’t huge in America today with even Louisville head coach Charlie Strong blaming the video game Call of Duty on a loss last season:
The success of video games like “Call of Duty” and the John Madden football games are a cultural phenomenon though and with millions of video games being sold in America that are either football or war related it brings up a comment by a high school coach of ours many moons ago who had played football in college and had served in Vietnam in the Marines who said to us youngsters out of the blue one day….
“Football is the closest thing to battle in America today.”
Let that thought turn over in your head for a few minutes and then think about the reality that for almost the first time in American history we have three generations of men who are over the age of 18 at the same time that were not forced to serve in the US military either in peacetime or in war and one can start to come to conclusions to why the popularity of football is growing so much in America because all of that male testosterone has to go somewhere which brings us back to our dinner in San Francisco with that top executive at a video game maker who said to us when discussing the popularity of violent video games (and he includes football video games as “mildly violent’) in America today:
“There is something deep in the soul of Americans that loves the fight and the battle and certainly the game of football speaks to that love of battle and our video games give people the opportunity to put themselves right into the game of football which includes not only the fight but strategy as well which is an elixir that many Americans cannot resist.”
Wow, now that is a deep statement about the American psyche, but at that dinner that night a member of Coaches Hot Seat also made the very salient point that one of the filmmakers that knows Americans very well, Francis Ford Coppola, was the screenwriter for the movie of movies for those Americans that love a good fight which was Patton starring George S. Scott.
In that great monologue by George C. Scott playing General George Patton to open the movie Patton Francis Ford Coppola cobbled together several of General Patton’s actual speeches which ended up being one of the most dramatic openings to a movie ever which included the following lines:
“Americans traditionally love to fight.
All REAL Americans love the sting of battle.
When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, big league ballplayer, the toughest boxer.
Americans love a winner.
And will not tolerate a loser.
Americans play to win all the time.
I wouldn’t give a Hoot ‘n Hell for a man that lost and laughed.
That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war.
Because the very thought of losing his hateful to Americans.”
And now the opening to Patton the movie….
So what does all of the above mean getting back to the game of football in America?
It is our opinion here at Coaches Hot Seat that football is growing in popularity (as are violent and mildly violent video games) in America because as American men have become further separated from serving in the US Military and real battle American Men’s interest and even love for the fight and for battle is still there and thus they along with their spouses and children have naturally embraced the game of football and its’ violent nature and if one throws in the borderline genius marketing by the NFL of their product over the past 25 years the increased popularity of football over that same timeframe beings to make a Helluva lot of sense.
What does all of the above mean for the game of College Football and a potential playoff in the College Football Postseason which as a game has seen its popularity grow over the past 25 years albeit at a much slower pace than NFL football?
A College Football Postseason Tournament as envisioned by us here at Coaches Hot Seat (which you can read about here from a December 5, 2011 CHS Blog entry) would fundamentally change the sports landscape in America because it would end what December has become for College Football….
….and would instead just like the NFL follow a great regular season with an even greater College Football Postseason Tournament that would in the first year be the second biggest sporting event in America behind the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl.
Not only would a Postseason Tournament in College Football fundamentally change the sports landscape in America it would have a BIG impact on how Americans view OUR colleges and universities and here we are talking about parents and their kids that are way beyond the people that even before birth have already had their parents decide for them that they will be heading off to college when they turn 18, but much deeper into American life which we believe would over time have the REAL World impact of helping to double the current bachelor’s degree completion rate of Americans over the age of 25 which is now around….
….to 60 percent or more 25 years from now.
That deeper connection between America’s colleges and universities that those schools’ sports teams now create among a segment of the population would be a very powerful lever to fundamentally reshape the American Republic and its People in the coming years and it really is too bad that instead of the college football powers-to-be “protecting” the bowl games in the mid-1990s that they didn’t move then to a 4, 8 or 16-team playoff because we are confident that college football with that December to Remember or December Delirium or whatever you want to call it would have had College Football nipping at the heels of NFL Football for the most Favorite Sport in America and over these past 15 years there would have been Thousands more students earning bachelor’s degrees at American colleges and universities that were first attracted to those schools there by the great game of football.
Scoff if you want, but sure the Hell don’t scoff if you have given little thought to the American psyche, American demographics, American video game buying habits and how America has already been fundamentally reshaped by so few Americans serving in the U.S. Military and thus in battle, because you don’t have a clue to what you are talking about then and certainly the Idiots that one hears comparing the relative obscurity of the college basketball regular season to college football’s regular season which has been and will always be more popular than basketball in America which checks in behind Auto Racing in popularity and would in the case of college basketball be even less popular if the NCAA Basketball Tournament didn’t already exist and be one of the biggest sporting events in America (more on how to fix college basketball in a moment).
What then would be the Coaches Hot Seat suggestion if we were tasked with making a presentation on the College Football Postseason at one of the Four-Star Resorts that the Poo-Bahs of College Football seem to gather at several times each year?
Well, we would start by saying….
“Here is what the College Football December looks like to most Americans…
….and here is what the College Football Postseason would look like with a Postseason Tournament….
….which would make College Football into one of the Biggest Sports on Planet Earth and still leave it with an incredible regular season (see December 6, 2011 CHS Blog entry for what the College Football Postseason could look like here).
We are realistic enough here at Coaches Hot Seat to understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day nor was our Revolutionary War won in a afternoon, so our recommendation would be very simple and it would follow pretty closely to the suggestion of Arizona State president Michael Crow as outlined in the Arizona Republic:
8-Team Postseason Playoff in College Football
The 8 Teams in the Postseason Playoff would be chosen by a committee similar to the NCAA College Basketball Committee
8 Teams in the Postseason Playoff means…
4 Games in the First Round
2 Games in the Second Round
1 National Championship Game
The First AND Second Round Games would be played on the Home Field of the Higher Seeded Team as determined by the CFB Selection Committee
The National Championship Game would be played at a stadium/city that would bid for the game just like the Super Bowl is bid out each year
What about the bowl games?
The bowl games would continue to be played and filled with teams not among the Top 8 Teams in the CFB Postseason Tournament
Teams would have to win 7 games to be bowl eligible
Whatever organization that ran the College Football Postseason would announce the 8 Teams in the College Football Postseason Tournament at a predetermined site where all of the bowl game executives would also be gathered and then the Top Tier bowl games would select their teams first which would probably be from pre-determined contracts (i.e. highest ranked Big Ten and Pac-12 teams not in the tournament would go to the Rose Bowl) and then the bowl games, cities, communities, etc. that would offer the biggest payouts after a sealed bidding process not counting any kind of guaranteed ticket sales that are now forced on schools would then select the two teams they wanted to play in their game and all of the teams that won at least 7 games would be selected for postseason bowl games.
What then would the College Football Postseason have looked like in the 2011 – 2012 College Football Season?
First Round Games
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wisconsin at LSU
Arkansas at Oklahoma State
Oregon at Alabama
Boise State at Stanford
Second Round Games, Saturday, December 31, 2011
National Championship Game, Saturday, January 7, 2012
Major College Football Bowls, January 2, 2012
Rose Bowl – Michigan State vs. Virginia Tech
Sugar Bowl – South Carolina vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl – Clemson vs. Nebraska
Cotton Bowl – TCU vs. Kansas State
Fiesta Bowl – Baylor vs. Houston
The other College Football Bowls would be played throughout the month of December on weeknights beginning around December 20 with one or two bowl games being played each afternoon/evening.
What about the “bowl experience” for the players on the 8 Teams that are playing in the College Football Postseason Tournament that don’t make it to the National Championship Game you ask?
Please, NO REAL American would trade a week at a bowl site for the “bowl experience” for having a chance to win a Legitimate National Championship on the Field of Play which an 8 Team Postseason Tournament would most certainly produce while that College Football Postseason Tournament would at the same time be fundamentally reshaping the sports world in America and turning College Football into one of the Biggest Sports on Planet Earth (and raising the profiles of America’s colleges and universities even more both in America and overseas).
There’s our two cents on what the College Football Postseason should look like and as anyone knows that reads the Coaches Hot Seat Blog on a regular basis….there is plenty more from where that came from!
Fixing What Ails With College Basketball
If one looks again at that poll done by Sports Business Daily and Harris Poll one can see that….
…college basketball’s popularity have pretty much stayed the same over the past 25 years and it is the NCAA Basketball Tournament that has become an American institution and one of the biggest sporting events each year in our country, but college basketball’s regular season is pretty much the same although with so many games on TV today there are a lot more people watching games than there were in 1985.
If one did want to make the college basketball regular season more relevant the very first thing they would probably do is just play fewer games, but along with former Alabama and Vanderbilt head basketball coach C.M. Newton we believe that what college basketball really needs is major reform and we agree with Coach Newton that college basketball needs to become a “one-semester” sport which except for maybe a few Holiday tournaments around the Christmas season means that college basketball shouldn’t really get up and running until January of each year AFTER college football has completely finished its season.
No doubt there will be lots of people howling about starting the college basketball season in January and moving March Madness by to April and the Final Four back to the first week of May, but as Coach Newton has pointed out many times and did so again this week on Paul Finebaum’s radio show…
Listen to Coach Newton on these podcasts on Finebaum’s radio show:
…it makes no Damn sense to have college athletics only two money-making sports in football and basketball competing against each other for entertainment dollars and TV viewers eyes and that means if the Presidents, Athletic Directors and Conference Commissioners along with the TV folks really want to raise the awareness and increase the attendance/viewership of college football games then it is time to make college basketball a “one-semester” sport that begins in January and ends in early May of each year.
Now that we have the College Football’s Postseason and the problems with College Basketball solved let’s have a great weekend of golf on the Monterey Peninsula and if Nick Saban hears someone yell out…
….when he is putting he might just look around and Coaches Hot Seat in his gallery!
Memo to Nick Saban on your short game: The Zen Philosopher Basho once wrote, “A Flute With No Holes…Is Not A Flute”….