Friday, February 19, 2010

Wrapping Up the Week

Some musings on the week that was...

Adam Rittenberg reports that the Gophers hired Steve Watson as wide receivers coach. Shockingly, yet another Tim Brewster "nation wide search" to replace a coach led to someone he worked with or who people on his staff has worked with. In this case, probably not a bad thing at all, as Watson should be very familiar with what the Gophers are trying to do on offense, as he's familiar with the Denver Broncos pro-style Mike Shannahan ran that Jedd Fisch failed miserably to emulate last season. Watson worked with some receivers who had very, very good seasons including Rod Smith, Brandon Marshall, and Ashley Lelie. Lelie, who is out of the NFL, certainly sucked since leaving Denver in 2006, but had two pretty solid years with the Broncos, including 2004 when he had 1084 yards and 7 TD's. Hopefully Lelie's success in Denver, and maximum sucktitude the last three seasons, is a testament to Watson's coaching, and it'll translate to our talented youngester with the Gophers. If he can make a 1000 yard receiver out of Lelie, maybe he can teach Troy Stoudermire how to catch?

Andy Staples of says to forget talk of Big Ten and PAC 10 expansion: the top 64 revenue-producing athletic departments need to leave the NCAA and for four 16 team super conferences that play for their own national title. While I don't love this idea, his chart on the second page just reinforces how freaking rich the Big Ten and SEC are compared to everybody else, and why that, above all else, is why you're not going to see his idea happen. Those two conferences have the most control right now because they have BY FAR the most money, and even a 64 team super division doesn't necessarily guarantee them more than they're getting now. Texas is far and away the most profitable athletic department, but after that the Big Ten has Ohio State (2nd), Penn State (6th), Michigan (7th), and Wisconsin (9th) in the top ten, while the SEC has SIX teams in the top 11! This also made me wonder where Minnesota ranked in all of this, and how close we were to being left out of the top 64 (by the way, Iowa State and Mississippi State were the only BCS conference schools NOT in the top 64). The answer? You might be surprised, or maybe you wouldn't: Minnesota finished 27th, as their athletic department reportedly made just over $70 million in 2008-2009 school year. Wow. Definitely doing a lot better than I thought, and while a lot of that is thanks to the ridiculous Big Ten Network contract and the BCS bowl cashouts, the Gophers are still doing quite well thank you very much. And to again speak to the strength of the conference, the Gophers were still the 7th highest earners (Iowa was 15th, and Michigan State 17th).

I'm still surprised at the number of people engaging in the Big Ten expansion debate who do not realize that money and academics are the two most important factors. The conference will NOT accept schools with crappy academics and they will NOT accept schools who aren't going to add a lot of revenue by bringing in a new TV market. It's why Texas and Notre Dame are the only two who make sense to add, and that if you can't get one of those two then it just doesn't make much sense. Any combination of anyone else, even MIssouri by adding the St Louis TV market, likely doesn't increase the total revenues for each school enough for it to make sense. As much as I LOVE the thought of Nebraska joining (their athletic department finished 18th in the NCAA with almost $75 million), and while they would bring a lot of TV viewers, they would not bring many new homes for the BIg Ten Network to be added to. The Huskers have a large following outside of the state, sure, but I'm willing to bet most are already living where they already can get the Big Ten Network. Nebraska's sell job (there's been a lot of speculation that Big 8 homer Tom Osborne won't want to leave because of his loyalty, but he strikes me as a much, much smarter man than that) is going to be to convince the Big Ten that it's national popularity can get the network added to other new markets outside of Nebraska that the BTN is not currently in.

Tiger Woods wants you to know he's really sorry. Sure he is- sorry he got caught! I don't believe Tiger owes me or anyone else an apology, but then again, I'm not someone who uses athletes as role models. He's the world's greatest golfer, and apparently quite the ladies man off of it. Why should I care? Certainly it should cost him the sponsorships it has, but why else should Tiger apologize? He should take Bill Simmons' suggestion and just admit that he got married too young, doesn't want to be tied down because he's so rich and famous that he can apparently sleep with any woman he wants any time anywhere, and that while he's getting divorced he's going to support and love his kids as well as he possibly can. Then he should just concentrate on doing two things he seems to do really, really well: bang golf balls and hot chicks.
If he wants to finish if off with a Shooter McGavin-esque finger point and "let's go play some golf", all the better.

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