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Sprints Has No Problem With Cold Football Games // 05.28.10

Playing in the cold
The Mayor handled some of this here, but as an SEC blog I can't let this go entirely unanswered.

First, we should point out here that Dr. Saturday is talking specifically about the reasons for a cold-weather bowl as opposed to taking an unnecessary shot at the SEC -- and is arguing about how to end Big Ten "whining" as much as anything else. That said, the quote:

For years, the Big Ten's comeback to the perceived dominance of Southern Cal and the SEC on Jan. 1 (in the latter case, it is only a perception: the Big Ten and SEC have split their annual dates in the Citrus/Capital One and Outback Bowls, 10-10, over the last decade) has been "Why don't you come play in the cold for a change?" Well, why don't they? SEC teams have traveled west for non-conference games in the Pac-10, but except for Kentucky's long-running "rivalry" with Indiana, have rearely ventured north of the Mason-Dixon line for any game -- certainly not a bowl game, because they haven't existed -- in a generation.

(Note: If we want to get really technical, Indiana University's main campus isn't north of the Western stretch of the Mason-Dixon line. This also ignores games north of the line in places like Washington State -- Pac-10 country. But I digress.)

It's certainly an interesting trick to focus on Jan. 1, non-BCS games -- conveniently leaving out those "other" bowls played after New Year's Day in Glendale in 2007 and New Orleans in 2008, to mention just two (overall, the SEC is 3-1 against the Big Ten in BCS games) -- even if you think that bowl games are the best measure of a league's strength (which I don't; it's just fun to joke about).

This also ignores the fact that some parts of the SEC do get cold -- perhaps not as frigid as Ann Arbor in November, but cold. Columbus, Ohio has an average high of 51 degrees in November and an average low of 34. Lexington, Kentucky has an average high of 55 and an average low of 37. But I guess it's that last three degrees that make all the difference, right? In Fayetteville, Arkansas, it's 57 and 37 -- a bit warmer, but still not worlds apart.

None of this is to say that the main point the Doctor is making -- that cold-weather bowl games should probably be looked at -- is a bad one. I happen to agree. And, as the Mayor is careful to say, Hinton is one of the best college football minds out there. (He's certainly many times better than almost all of the mainstream media guys you'll read.) But I don't see what he's proven here.

And the point about cold-weather games is where I disagree with Groo -- yes, I'm aware of how many intelligent people I'm disagreeing with in one post -- when he suggests that "Waxing nostalgic about the Frozen Tundra or the Ice Bowl is a nice way of saying that weather, rather than the players on the field, was the story of the game." There's nothing wrong with having a very cold game every now and then. The players on the field still decide the game by how they play in the cold. Football is meant to be played outdoors -- period. In most of the country, it gets cold outside in November and December.

Groo mentions a tornado as the only thing that could affect a championship game at the Georgia Dome -- which is exactly what happened in the SEC basketball tournament a few years ago. (And December tornadoes are rare, but not unprecedented.) Besides, why should football at either the NFL or college level intentionally make sure that the weather is okay for passing teams?

As for the notion that Atlanta might lose the SEC Championship Game -- brace yourself. If Texas and Texas A&M join the conference, neither is going to want to travel all the way to Atlanta every year to play the game. New Orleans is probably going to get added into the rotation, and probably Dallas. It doesn't matter whether the Georgia Dome is well-maintained or not.

Gene Stallings selected to the College Hall of Fame
Stallings is one of the first head football coaches I actually remember -- living in Alabama in 1992, it was impossible not to be familiar with him. A deserving inductee.

Because it worked so well last time ...
Actually, it did, unless you count the whole secondary violation part. In any case, Big Cat Weekend will return.

Answer Georges Clemenceau by annexing Texas
The Mayor also argues that Texas is the way to go for the SEC if the Big Ten expands. As always, well-written and worth a read, even if simply for the wide-ranging metaphors.

Why not ask Joe Pa about the future? He's seen so many of them
And what does he think about expansion?

"I think the future is probably going to be 16-team conferences," Paterno said. "I think that probably will be the future because of the television markets and the chances to have meaningful conference championship games."

He then added: "When I was young, we didn't have these conferences. In fact, we played football in the snow, and the field went uphill in both directions."

What am I missing?
I'm trying to figure out why anyone would want to put the guy who made the initial call (or was involved in the initial call) in charge of the review. Many of us -- self included -- have trouble admitting that we're wrong even when presented with overwhelming evidence. That's why I think the college system, which calls for someone else to make the final decision, is the best way to go. Leave it to the Big East to come up with a way to mess up one of the best things to happen to college football in a long time.

College World Series documentary set for debut
And it's buried on ESPNU. This is how you're growing the sport?