We're sure this is Houston Nutt's fault
No one will ever call Renee Gork intelligent. In fact, it's pretty dumb for a Hog Sports Radio employee -- again, that's Hog Sports Radio -- to wear a Florida cap to a Bobby Petrino press conference. But there's stupid, and then there's reacting to stupidity with an even more massive act of stupidity.
Enter 99.5 FM in Arkansas, which responded to the hat miscue and Petrino's reaction to it by firing Gork. The station might not have had much choice; this is Arkansas after all, and Arkansas fans acted like Arkansas fans.
Fans online were upset by Gork’s hat choice. She spawned numerous threads on message boards and, according to posts, sparked an e-mail and phone campaign to the station and its advertisers.
There's apparently no truth to reports that a plane flew overhead the stations calling for her to be fired or that her cell-phone bills were requested under the state's open-records laws.
Arkansas Expats is resigned to its fate.
Breaking news: the sun rose in the east this morning, the sky remains blue, and the hyper-intense fringe of Razorback fans has embarrassed the rest of us by demonstrating a general lack of perspective on the importance of college football vs real life.
Again, Arkansas fans -- that's your blog on SB Nation, not TSK and not a liberal ESPN mainstream media conspiracy.
And how much ever anyone might not like what Gork did, remember that this ended up costing her a job -- i.e., her livelihood. In the worst economy in any of our lifetimes. (Apologies to any readers who were around for the Great Depression.) This is one of those classic "walk a moment in her shoes" situations: Everyone makes mistakes at work, and this relatively minor one (in a more sane universe) got this woman fired. The only person who deserves to be out of a job in this case is whoever was stupid enough to fire her.
Secret Agent Men: South Carolina officials preparing -- gasp -- a letter!
The Department of Consumer Affairs in the Palmetto State is taking action with regards to AgentGate. That is, if you count firing off a strongly-worded letter action.
"I would say it’s fairly likely that at least a letter would be sent out to our registered agents regarding gathering information on the player that the media reports have been circling around, and any agent activity surrounding that," [Carri] Grube Lybarker said Monday.
Actually, there's a chance that agents who know something but followed the law might comply; what better way to outmaneuver your competition than by helping investigators levy a $100,000 or throw him in jail. (All of them should be in jail if this is true, but that's another post.)
That's one reason the much-hyped SEC ESPN contract was overblown: when you're locked in that long the contract is shiny up front but by the end of it looks ragged. The BTN is excepted because the conference owns half of it and gets a revenue share, so that 112 million now won't be 112 in 2031. The SEC's deals will still be 150 and 55 in 2023.
All of which is true, except a few things: First of all, get used to 15-year contracts, because they're the future. Both the SEC and the ACC deals will be for 15 years, and my bet is that the Big XII's new "Save Our Conference" contract will be along the same lines. The reason for this has nothing to do with the economic of college football and everything to do with the economics of cable television. Part of how ESPN pays the bills for these contracts (aside from advertising) is the subscriber rates that cable providers pay to Bristol; as those rates have climbed, some cable providers have waged protracted wars with ESPN while some analysts have floated the idea of kicking sports channels into a separate tier.
Neither of those things is in ESPN's interests, which is why Bristol is trying to lock in fixed costs for years at a time -- it keeps the subscriber rates low (perhaps artificially low) in the out years and makes the battles with cable providers less frequent. What the Big Ten Network will do if it decides to ask for more per subscriber in the future and cable providers balk is an open question.
The other problem with this chart is that it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. SEC teams retain many of the rights that now go to the Big Ten Network, and the league also kept some of the digital and other rights that the ACC signed over to Bristol for the extra $5 million annually in that deal.
Finally, while I'm not a fan of the 15-year contracts or conference expansion, the latter will destroy the former in the long run. At some point in the next five to ten years, most people believe the Big XII and / or the Big East will spin apart. That will bring on the next round of realignment, and we'll be right back to the SEC trying to get Texas A&M -- a move that, if successful, will open the TV contracts up to renegotiation (there's reportedly a clause dealing with this) and put Texas on the table in addition to any inflation factor the SEC wants to incorporate. In the meantime, the SEC can try to get Virginia Tech (locking in the DC market) or another team with a market or fan base to offer and get the deal it needs.
Finally, there's a publicity premium that comes with a guaranteed league game on national broadcast television every week and ESPN having a vested self-interest in putting SEC games in some of the best places on its schedule. Attention drives merchandise sales with licensing fees that ultimately flow to the schools as well. Do I know what that is? No, and anyone who tells you that they do is a liar. But until someone knows how to calculate things like that with some degree of credibility, there's no way to know the value of any of these contracts.
Pessimism in Tuscaloosa?
That might be too much, but outsidethesidelines outlines for Roll Bama Roll one of the problems with the idea that only offensive improvement will be able to offset the defensive and special-team losses for Alabama.
So, while it's easy (and accurate) to say that the Alabama offense needs to improve to compensate for expected declines with both the defense and the special teams units, the problem is simply that the offense generally played at a high level in 2009 and it is thus very difficult to significantly improve further, regardless of how many starters return.
That's buried deep in a thorough post on the one area for improvement that the Tide might have: vertical passing. I'm not as sure that I'm as skeptical about the possibility of an even better offense in 2010, but as OTSL points out, it's hard to hope for too much improvement when you're already averaging more than 32 points a game.
'Probation Bowl 2011' is off
Tennessee is trying to negotiate its way out of a series with North Carolina. The Vols wanted to move the home-and-home with the Tar Heels back a few years, but UNC never misses a chance to drop a series with an SEC team.
If somebody offered you $5 million to $6 million to play baseball, you would do the same thing
Zach Lee will get that much as a signing bonus for agreeing to a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is surprising, but really shouldn't be, as Frank McCourt has made one reckless decision after another with his money. Here's hoping Lee isn't another one of those.
Joker Phillips thinks grayshirts are ...
Elliott Porter joins Kentucky after the Great Grayshirt Controversy of 2010 at LSU.
Two defensive prospects don't qualify at Tennessee
Josh Brown and Marcques Dixon will have to find somewhere else to play football.
Ja'Juan Story knows some mean women
Story was arrested Sunday night after breaking up a rather intense fight -- battle might actually be a better word for it -- between his brother's girlfriend and three other women.
"When I turned around, her and a woman and her two daughters was about to fight," Story said in a text message. "So I came over because there was knives and I took a box cutter from my brother's (girlfriend), but one of the other girls had two knives. I tried to tell her to leave but she wasn't listening."
Story said he tried to keep the women from fighting and got cut and his knuckle -- not to mention the arrested part -- for his trouble. Even if that part's not true, he should fit right in in Gainesville.
Well, he's colorful if nothing else
Mike Leach is going to be a game analyst on CBS College Sports Network, which means there are at least two chances for him to be in the booth for SEC games: Mississippi State at Houston on Oct. 9, and Tennessee at Memphis on Nov. 6.
This still makes no sense to me
Maybe it's because I'm a college football fan and not a college basketball fan, but, really, who's going to stay up until 4 a.m. to watch Central Michigan play Hawaii? In any case, ESPN is going to once again show 24 hours of basketball to kick off the 2010-11 season on Nov. 16, with SEC games including Ohio State at Florida at the far more reasonable hour of 6 p.m. ET on ESPN; Belmont at Tennessee at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU and South Carolina at Michigan State at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN.