On the Approaching Traditions

NOTE: This post is about college football in the U.S., but there is something here for everyone!

Saying that college football is big in the U.S. is an understatement. Not only is it popular, it is also big business – actually ginormous! Nonetheless, with the 2012 season starting toward the end of this month, fan excitement is building.

I like the traditions of college football – and oh my, there are many – but one post cannot capture them all. Much like politics, one’s favorite traditions stems from their loyalties. Simply put, here are some of my favorites.

Colleges have their collection of spirit songs, fight songs, and alma maters. Here’s mine – a song that I played many times in my time as a member of the BGSU Falcon Marching Band – Forward Falcons. (Yes, that’s me on the album cover here.) BTW – Here’s a site where one can find a plethora of college spirit songs.

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From the Michigan’s “Big House” hosting 110,000 to the small stadium holding 4,000, fans file into colossal venues across the land to watch their gladiators. One of my favorite venues is also one of the oldest in college football. Nippert Stadium , located in the center of campus at the University of Cincinnati, is a cozy place with great site lines for fans. Given a full house and a raucous crowd, it’s a tough place for opponents. (My past post on Nippert) The band racing down the old concrete steps is always a risky venture, but a traditional pre-game entrance.

More on Nippert

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Avid fans help create an atmosphere that seems unique to college football. Some say that game day in Madison is the place to be because those fans know how to have a good time while intensely supporting their Wisconsin Badgers. I’ve been there once, and what an experience – and witnessing their eruption in song was both a surprise and a treat!

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Teams have nicknames (my past post) and mascots, such as Herbie Husker, Bucky Badger, Freddie Falcon, Puddles the Duck, Tommy Trojan, Benny Beaver, Buster Bronco, or single names as Smoky, Cocky, Testudo, just simply The Bearcat … animals as Bevo (longhorn steer), Uga (bulldog), Ralphie (Buffalo), Tusk (bore hog), Traveler (horse), and many more.

Before you get to the video, here are a few other links about mascots: Wikipedia list of mascot names , a photo gallery of mascots , a video of bad mascots, and my post on nicknames. Meanwhile, I gotta love this short video about Puddles, the Oregon Duck.

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As the home team finally enters the field shorting before kickoff, fans erupt! I’ve never been to Clemson University, but someday I want to be in the stands as their Tigers enter the famed field known as Death Valley.

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Pregame and halftime is for the college bands, which add to the atmosphere and have historic traditions of their own. I may live in Ohio, but that does not mean I root for Ohio State. Nonetheless, as a former band member, I respect their long-standing tradition of Script Ohio.

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Meanwhile, the college football season starts by the end of this month. Good luck to your favorites, and if my team plays yours, I wish you the best with the other games.

They’ve Earned It Rankings: Week 2 2010

Two weeks into the season and a few surprises have notched knots on the heads of many pundits. Meanwhile, I continue to base rankings on the old fashion way – they earn it by playing someone noteworthy and winning.

From Last Week

  • Up – Michigan
  • Down – LSU, Utah
  • Out – Boise State, TCU, Maryland, BYU, Fresno State, Notre Dame, Kansas State
  • New – most of the list

What? How can Boise State be out? It’s simple: last weekend they did not play and Va. Tech lost to James Madison. Maybe they’ll return in a few weeks.

They’ve Earned It Rankings: Week 2

  1. Michigan (2-0) (UMass)
  2. South Carolina (2-0) (Furman)
  3. LSU (2-0) (Mississippi St)
  4. Ohio State (2-0) (Ohio U)
  5. Oklahoma (2-0) (Air Force)
  6. Utah (2-0) (@ New Mexico)
  7. Alabama (2-0) (@ Duke)
  8. Oregon (2-0) (Portland St)
  9. Auburn (2-0) (Clemson)
  10. Texas (2-0) (@ Texas Tech)

Good news for the week 3 weekend as only five games involves non-D1 teams. The games below are some of the more interesting out-of-conference games.

  • Cincinnati @ NC State
  • Maryland @ West Virginia
  • Air Force @ Oklahoma
  • USC @ Minnesota
  • Nebraska @ Washington
  • Tulsa @ Oklahoma State
  • Clemson @ Auburn
  • Iowa @ Arizona
  • Houston @ UCLA
  • Notre Dame @ Michigan State

On College Football: Week 1 Rankings

College football is a great game and it will bring many of us much excitement over the next four months. On the other hand, count me in as one who can’t stand the scheduling antics of the athletic departments. These pompous occupants within the sacred college campus continue to appall me by scheduling games against Oscar State, Rodney A&I, and Bobs from AccountTemps. Plus, as the statistics clearly show, it’s getting worse!

I base this ranking on an old fashion method – they earn it! Hype, tradition, and countless of other drivel don’t matter – it’s who you play and who you beat. Therefore, with many of the teams in the list below venturing next week into the smaller division, this week may be the only time they make their presence known on this list. Heck, this year’s out-of-conference scheduling is so pathetic I wonder if 10 teams exist to earn their way to this list.

They’ve Earned It Rankings: Week 1

  1. Boise State (1-0)
  2. LSU (1-0)
  3. TCU (1-0)
  4. Utah (1-0)
  5. Maryland (1-0)
  6. Michigan (1-0)
  7. BYU (1-0)
  8. Fresno State (1-0)
  9. Notre Dame (1-0)
  10. Kansas State (1-0)

On College Football Scheduling Trends

I started tracking out-of-conferences games of BCS conference teams five years ago when the NCAA expanded the regular season to 12 games. The statistics show the following:

  • Number of games against BCS conference teams is relatively constant.
  • Number of games played against nonD1 teams is increasing.
  • Number of games played against D1 teams is decreasing.

The table below displays cumulative statistics, while the graph below illustrates percent games against nonD1 teams yearly by conferences. Note: In 2007, the Big 12 value is the same as the SEC (thus hidden).

On 2010 College Football OOC

Five years ago the college football regular season expanded to 12 games. Since then, I have monitored the out-of-conference games played by the BCS conference teams.

Some points about the study

  • Only out-of-conference (OOC) games are counted
  • It has nothing to do with determining “the better” conference nor designed to favor one conference over another
  • I classify teams as Division 1 (D1) and nonD1
  • D1 teams are subdivided into BCS and nonBSC
  • Quality of teams is not a factor; thus playing Indiana counts the same as playing Ohio State; thus equally count as a Big 10 opponent
  • The 2010 schedule has 259 OOC games

The Basic Facts
Fact 1: Of the 259 OOC games, better than one-fifth (22.4%) are against nonD1 opponents and slightly more than one-third (33.4%) are against BCS teams

Fact 2: 56 of 66 (84.8%) play at least one game against a nonD1 opponent, including two playing two games (Virginia and Arizona State).

Fact 3: 10 of 66 (15.2%) play a full D1 OOC: Cheers to Colorado, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Texas, UCLA, USC, Washington, and Vanderbilt (even though schedule quality is a different question)

Fact 4: Using the 2010 averages (orange) as a baseline, Big 12 clearly has the highest rating of D1 games and the ACC the lowest; the other conferences cluster around the average.

Fact 5: Six teams fail to play any BCS Conferences opponents in their OOC. Shame to Baylor, Indiana, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, and Va. Tech.

Below are the numbers for yourself. What about the five-year trends? Well, that’s tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned.

On College Football 2010 Preseason Poll

The start of college football is upon us, meanwhile the pundits are proclaiming a lot with their preseason predictions and preseason polls. I must say this, and not necessarily to brag,  but I’ve been doing preseason polls for the past four years and I seem to have the knack for hitting the nail on the head every time. But before the pre-season rankings, let’s establish the criteria.

Ranking Criteria

  • Last year doesn’t count
  • Nor does the year before that
  • Nor any other year
  • Traditions don’t count
  • Expectations don’t count
  • Power Conference membership doesn’t count
  • Band program doesn’t count
  • Hosting ESPN Game Day doesn’t count
  • Storied history doesn’t count
  • Home attendance doesn’t count
  • Number of times on TV doesn’t count
  • National Anthem singers don’t count
  • Number of alumni doesn’t count
  • Famous mascots don’t count
  • Fight and spirit songs don’t count
  • Number of issued press passes doesn’t count
  • Played in fabled game doesn’t count
  • Hype doesn’t count
  • Famous alumni don’t count
  • Media market doesn’t count
  • Bowl history doesn’t count
  • Number of 5-star recruits doesn’t count
  • Famous celebs in the stands don’t count
  • Amount of school clothing sold doesn’t count
  • Past legendary coaches don’t count
  • Number of players in the NFL doesn’t count
  • Loving or hating Notre Dame doesn’t count
  • Preseason predictions don’t count
  • What ESPN says doesn’t count
  • Preseason predictions by magazines don’t count
  • Number of returning lettermen doesn’t count
  • Tailgating attendance doesn’t count
  • Number of research grants doesn’t count
  • Number of past and current All-Americans doesn’t count
  • Number of televised games doesn’t count

PreSeason College Football Top 10

The only thing that matters is who the team played and did they win or lose. Nothing else and nothing more – and no games have been played.

On Random Cincy Sports Thoughts

On the Reds
The Reds are in the pennant race! The Reds are in the pennant race! No matter if they make the playoffs or not, the Reds are currently in the mix.

  • Although they don’t have a hammer at the top of the rotation, the starting staff is deep.
  • Although middle relief is improving, Francisco Cordero continues to create restlessness.
  • In my preseason thoughts, I mentioned the importance of productive hitters from the right side. They have done well, but can Jonny Gomes come close to his first half numbers?
  • Although only a few Reds occupied the DL during the first half, second half injuries are starting the happen.
  • Most of the offense has been from infielders, thus why Orlando Cabrera’s injury is significant.
  • OF continues to struggle at the plate. Will Jim Edmonds be able to help? Well, at least he’ll make more contact. Health is his key question, so is he worth 1-2 starts per week?
  • On the other hand, the Reds are one of the better defensive teams and now improve defensively with SS Paul Janish.
  • No problem from this fan that the Reds stood pat at the trade deadline.
  • Joey Votto is one heck of a player.
  • By thought, and I hope I’m wrong, I see the Reds falling short of the playoffs. But, stranger things have happened, thus that’s why they play the games.

On the Bengals
The Bengals’ passing game last year was poor, and no question, Bengal brass addressed the issue, including signing TO. For sure, he has created a buzz – but only time will tell what the results will be. Since the team has the potential to exceed the expectation than any Barnum & Bailey Circus could ever imagine, I hope the Brown family considers hiring Sarah Palin.

On a visit to Bengals training camp we learned that Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari’s favorite teams are the Steelers and Bengals. I wonder if he’s also a Red Sox and Yankees fan. Sure he is.

Congratulations to Dick Lebeau on his induction into the NFL Hall of Fame. This was long overdue, as Canton Crazy Cuts noted on October 20, 2008. This is a great read.

On UC
College football season is around the corner. I’m still a Cincinnati Bearcats season ticket holder, thus look forward to David’s Oklahoma Sooners coming to town. Nevertheless, I fret over the distinct possibility of coming out of the gate with a losing record. The first five games include away games at Fresno and NC State, plus the Sooners at home.

Again this year I will analyze the out of conference schedules of the BCS teams. I’m looking forward to the numbers because on first glance, this doesn’t look pretty.