Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ask the Professors #2

Welcome to episode 2 of our "Ask the Professors" series. Joining us this week will be Kody Brannon of, Matt Chandik from the Delaware County Times, Utah Utes superfan Cory Hedin (follow him on Twitter @Ute_Red_Zone) and Sean Baker (@nittanylines). As always, I will be chipping in as well. Here we go with episode 2...

Question 1:
Former Florida Gators Head Coach Urban Meyer has joined ESPN. With his health and family issues, could Meyer be out of coaching permantley?

Matt Chandik:
Don’t bet on it. Meyer is still extremely young by coaching standards and isn’t likely to spend the next 20 years twiddling his thumbs and doing broadcasting work. While he was tremendous in his Signing Day spot for ESPN, Meyer will likely be back in coaching. It wouldn’t shock me at all to see him take over at Ohio State when Jim Tressel decides to call it quits. Another SEC job isn’t out of the question, either.

Kody Brannon:
After winning a couple national championships and the immense success in a short time at Florida, he has done just about everything you can do in College Football. It wouldn't surprise me to see him stay within the broadcasting field for the next 15 years or so, before he just fades away into the sunset.

Cory Hedin:
Urban Meyer will undoubtedly have some VERY difficult choices to make over the next few years. With his nearly unmatched ability to make a team competitive just by walking onto the field with them, AD's accross the country will have Urban's number on their speed dial as soon as they feel the need to replace their current head coach. Urban is a very competitve man with an unquenchable need to be the best at what he does. If he can somehow focus himself on being the best husband and father in the world while being the best college football analyst in the world, he may be able to resist the temptation to return to coaching. Given the health issues he has made public and the ones he has likely not made public and given his desire to be there for his daughters, I doubt Urban ever coaches at a major college football program again. That being said, I wouldn't put it beyond the realm of possibility that he one day takes a head coaching job at a division IAA school or Junior College just to quench his coaching thirst.

Sean Baker:
Wait, are there really people who believe Urban is done coaching forever? Because if so, those folks are from a different planet than I.

Look, I believe the guy has health problems caused by the stresses of being a head coach, and luckily for Urban, he found this out when he did (albeit with a little scare) and not as freakishly sudden as Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio. I’m buying that he’s trying to lay low to reduce whatever anxiety $4 million a year brings—running around rampant 12 or more hours per day for 11 months will take its toll.
What I’m not buying, however, is Urban’s “family” bait. He has a daughter in college at Georgia Tech (already away from the nest) and two teenagers who will be wishing dad was working again once he’s breathing down their necks at home all week. You remember that age, don’t you? Once the kids are out of the house, well, then what? Meyer will barely be past 50-years-old at that point. The itch to relive his glory days will return eventually.
My prediction: Urban Meyer, Ohio’s prodigal son, returns home to replace Jim Tressel in 2015... if he can wait out that long.

Scott Bilo:
There are a couple of different scenarios that can play out here. The one that I believe will take place has Urban Meyer coaching again, and doing so within the next couple of years. I don't think that at this stage of the game Meyer's ego will not allow him to sit in a studio for very long. Meyer is still one of America's great coaches, and there will be the constant questions from everyone, everywhere he goes, as to when he is going to come back. Those people will be relentless, and the minute that it even looks like Will Muschamp is starting to stumble a bit, the Urban questions will start to be whispered in Gainesville.
Scenario two has Urban going the way of John Madden. Madden was a very young head coach who checked out of the game and into the booth due to health and stress reasons and it worked out very well for him. Urban has just gotten started doing the broadcasting thing, so who knows, maybe it will fulfill him in ways that he didn't think possible. This seems to be the least likely of two scenarios, but in reality, either is possible.

Question #2:
2010 Heisman Trophy winner QB Cam Newton played in a shotgun, spread option offense at Florida and Auburn. Like Tim Tebow did in 2010, can Newton convince NFL GM's and Scout's that he can play under center in a pro style offense and be drafted in the 1st Round in the next couple of months?

Matt Chandik:
It’s hard to really prove that you can unlearn everything that you learned in the Auburn offense in the span of just a few short months. His play on the field in 2010 was nothing short of spectacular. He’s got great size, good arm strength and great mobility, all enticing qualities for a general manager. However, his lack of experience (14 starts), character concerns at both SEC schools that he attended where it takes something really special to be called out for character concerns, lack of consistent accuracy in the intermediate game and overall intelligence (Not quite Terrelle Pryor as a public speaker, but heading in that general vicinity) will be questions that need to be answered before a GM is comfortable with handing Newtown a boatload of cash and even bigger expectations.

Kody Brannon:
I think he can convince them to give him a shot, and he will probably be drafted by a team in need of someone who they can pin their future on. But the bigger question will be can he succeed?

Cory Hedin:
If Tim Tebow and his obviously flawed mechanics could get drafted in the 1st round, I don't see how Cam Newton could possibly find himself anywhere outside of the 1st round. Mechanically, Cam is much more polished than Tebow was and he brings a similar hype and aura to this years draft (although not quite at the level of Tebow). Cam is such a physical specimen he likely only needs to practice with the pro offense to for a short time to show GM's enough to make them think about taking him. If Newton is smart he will no doubt be working on taking snaps under center and three and five step drops for the next couple months and I have no question that he will do it well enough to get nabbed in the first round.

Sean Baker:
Like most people outside Lee County, Alabama, Cam Newton is on my naughty list. Scandal aside, however, the kid is a wonderful football player who I personally feel has better mechanics than Tim Tebow. He’s bigger, just as strong of a leader, and a wrecking ball when he’s outside the pocket.

I have no doubts that Cam will get the call to be an NFL quarterback in April in the early rounds. In fact, I think he’ll see more playing time in his rookie season than Tim Tebow did in his. I just hope the controversy of this past season at Auburn doesn’t jade Newton’s pro career, though, karma is a funny thing.

Scott Bilo:
If you liked Vince Young, then you'll LOVE Cam Newton. I think what we have here is two very similar talents, and two very similar mindsets coming out of the college game. Newton's ego just gets bigger and bigger, but the difference is, he won't be the star on the pro level for whichever team buys into the hype and runs with him, and someone will do so in the first round.
I have been very hard on Newton despite his immense talent in the COLLEGE GAME. I don't see his talent projecting to the NFL game.
Oregon was hitting Newton every time he got out of the pocket, and it was having an effect by the 3rd quarter. Imagine how he'll feel with guys like James Harrison looking to take his head off every down.
I am going to go on a limb and take the unpopular route here. The word for what I project Newton to be is this: FLOP.

Question #3:
The New ESPN/Texas Longhorns Cable Network is going to broadcast Texas High School football games. The Texas A&M Aggies are concerned that this well give UT an advantage in recruiting. Are they right to be concerned?

Matt Chandik:
Not really, since Texas crushes them in recruiting already. Sure, the added exposure can only help the Longhorns, but let’s not pretend like Mack Brown and company are struggling to snag recruits. The bulk of the state of Texas grew up bleeding burnt orange and kids fantasize about eventually taking their talents to Austin. Brown usually grabs about 90 percent of his players from inside the state and usually has 90 percent of his class wrapped up before the season even starts. It’s not like they really need help in dominating A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Nebraska and anyone else who wants to recruit Texas (read: everyone) for Texas recruits.

Kody Brannon:
Yes, there is a reason to be concerned. It will probably help sway some kids who are potentially on the fence about Texas. But as far as A&M goes, it wouldn’t affect their recruiting near as bad. Because they have a foundation of recruiting kids who have had family ties to the University.

Cory Hedin:
If there is one thing I have learned about the world that is College Football recruiting, 18 year old boys can be swayed by the most random things sometimes. However, in this case I can't figure out just how this could be a recruiting advantage. To me, this seems like a pouty little brother that is upset about the success of big brother and is trying to do whatever he can to sour the big occassion of big brother. I personally think the idea of a Texas network broadcasting HS games could potentially cause some trouble with the NCAA if the broadcast personel aren't ultra careful. Per NCAA rules, official representatives of a University are not allowed to talk about potential recruits by name until after a letter of intent has been signed. As the official Texas Longhorn Network, the network could potentially be viewed as being representatives of the University and therefore would not be allowed to talk about any potential recruits during their broadcasts. It will be interesting how Texas works out the legalities of this idea.

Sean Baker:
Texas A&M alumni and officials have every right to be discouraged by the new ESPN-backed University of Texas cable network. As a guy who has no rooting interest in either program, I don’t even like the deal. The fact that ESPN is involved rubs me the wrong way.

Will bipartisanism reflect in regular everyday ESPN programing? To dull Texas in gloomy times (such as this past season) only hurts their now acquired estate in Austin. We get enough of this right now with the SEC, and like the SEC, the Worldwide Leader isn’t going to shun viewers away from producing ratings.
By showing high school football games, the Texas Longhorn network immediately puts their program in the limelight. Any kid—which is exactly what these high school players are—is going to be amped to be on a major television network before the time they go to Prom. When the local communities tune in to watch live or the players go to their DVR’s post-game, they’ll be completely smothered in burnt orange. They’ll see a Longhorn logo here, an ESPN logo there, highly-produced video packages every commercial break. Mack Brown, who will be shown no less than a dozen times per three-hour game block, will be as memorable as any Lonestar gunslinger or legend they’ve ever learned about.
Before long they’ll be drinking the Kool-Aid and—like those trendy $125 sneakers their wearing—be completely submersed in the Texas Longhorn brand. This is Advertising 101. And it will succeed. If smut TV like “Jersey Shore” can captivate the minds of general 20-something-year-olds, a simple Longhorns sports channel (with a shiny ESPN logo sprinkled in here and there) showing high school games will thrive to any 18-year-old prospect.
So, yes, if I’m an Aggie (or any Big XII fan really) I’d be concerned about Texas having this station and peeved that ESPN is aiding it. Still, I’m curious to see what the station does with their weekday primetime slots. “Applewhite’s Majors” could be a pretty cool reality show name, no?

Scott Bilo:
Let's start with the obvious. ESPN is involved, so yeah, I pretty much hate it. I'll get to the Texas problem in general in a moment, but to me, this is just another move in ESPN's long and patient plan to monopolize the college football landscape. I had a problem before they got involved, and it's even worse now. ESPN should not be able to directly influence any single school, which means that yes, I have a problem with NBC and Notre Dame, and I always have. So based on ESPN's involvement all by itself, I think it's bad for the Big 12-2 and for college football in general.
Now I will get to the Texas issue. A&M and every other institute should be inferiated at this development. It is an unfair competitive edge in every way. No single university that is in a conference should be aloud to negotiate their own TV rights outside of the conference. If they insist on doing so, than the conference should be obliged to remove that institute from the conference to protect the competitive balance of its member schools. Pull a BYU and go independent, as that will be Texas' long term future anyway.
This Texas/ESPN network will be the decisive bullet that kills the Big 12-2 once and for all.

Question #4:
The TCU Horned Frogs are leaving the Mountain West Conference for Big East Conference in 2012. This will be TCU's 5th conference in the last 20 years. How long will they last in the Big East?

Matt Chandik:
Around four of five years. In that time, TCU will see that this was a moronic move based on acting now and thinking later. The Big East is a terrible league football-wise, but that’s not the biggest problem with the move. TCU is so far from the rest of the conference that the budget allocated for travel, accommodations, yadda yadda yadda will increase exponentially while the amount of revenue brought in won’t. TCU thought football-only with the move and didn’t think that no one’s going to attend a TCU-West Virginia women’s volleyball match in the middle of December. No one’s going to be able to go see the Horned Frogs take on Syracuse in a baseball game. It’s a brutal move that makes no sense, and quite frankly, it will blow up in TCU’s face.

Kody Brannon:
TCU may be able to find a home in the Big East. This seems like a good fit for them and the only reason they would leave this conference is for something with a more local feel to it. Such as an invitation into the Big XII.

Cory Hedin:
If the Big East continues to remain at their current level of football prowess, TCU may be interested in staying as long as they possibly can! In moving to the Big East, at least in terms of football, TCU gains automatic access to a BCS bowl game without the pressure of having to go undefeated. However, given the current state of the Big East, it may actually be easier for them to go undefeated than it ever was in the Mountain West. Of course, because TCU will be incuring some rather large travel expenses in the Big East, I would not be surprised if after a half dozen successful seasons, TCU might look for an invite to a conference a little closer to home.

Sean Baker:
As soon as the big boys in the Big XII want to be a twelve team conference again, TCU will be back to playing in their own region. I was surprised to see the school jump all over the Big East deal when they did because I felt like the Big XII could have came calling at any time. They’ll want that conference title game back sooner rather than later, and that’s when TCU would/should get their inquiry.

It doesn’t matter how expensive travel will be for the university yearly as long as the Big East has a guaranteed BCS venue—the prize offering that the Frogs can capture with a loss or two (or four in the case of this past year). An unbeaten non-AQ school gets no such commitment; a single loss and your hopes are wrecked. Critics of this move have been directed to USF, who also joined the Big East from afar.
TCU’s tenure in the Big East revolves around the Big XII suits in Irving. As soon as they want to see the Frogs, well, they’ll go 30 minutes down the road and get ‘em. It’s that simple.

Scott Bilo:
This is a bad idea in every way. TCU does not belong in the Big East. Much like New Jersey Tech does not belong in the Great West in hoops. I understand that TCU is sick of having to run the table to get a decent bowl bid, but this move actually weakens their strength of schedule and while shrinking potential revenue with excessive travel costs.
I spoke to Gary Patterson for about 20 minutes when TCU came to Vegas to play UNLV at the end of October. Amongst the things that we spoke on, one was the Big East. He seemed less than enthusiastic about the idea. I can't honestly think that he is any more amused by it now than he was just a few short months ago.
I look for TCU to make a move to a more regional conference the first time that they get a call. As long as it comes with BCS guarantees that is. That said, TCU will be a short term member of the Big East.

That concludes the second episode of "Ask the Professors". I hope that you enjoy this series, as we enjoy bringing it to you.
As always, if you have any questions for the panel, please email them to me at any time. We will use your questions in one of our upcoming episodes.

Thanks for reading!

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