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  • UCF bringing the beach to Bright House Networks Stadium

    The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t set many trends on the field, but they have inspired at least one college program to copy them off of the gridiron. Following the success of the Jags’ two-level party suite at EverBank Field, Central Florida unveiled plans on Monday to install a “Florida themed social area” at Bright House Networks Stadium called the East Side Club.

    Located between the 30’s on the east side of the stadium, the ESC will attempt to provide a VIP experience that last from pre-game tailgating to the final whistle.

    Here’s an artist’s rendering of what the ESC will look like inside the stadium:

    UCF1

     

    And outside:

    UCF2

     

    And from above:

    UCF3

     

    For the architects among us:

    UCF4

     

    Check out the full site here.

  • FootballScoop’s best prediction of the year

    PokerChips

    Last night on FootballScoop Radio we opened up the lines and Twitter to questions. Most were questions came from fans wanting to know about candidates for the remaining openings on college football, but the best one we got was a text from a coach asking what we felt was our best prediction of the year. We didn’t have time to get to that one on the air last night so I figured I’d put it out there this way today.

    The first thing that came to mind was the very day that June Jones announced he was stepping down at SMU way back on Sept. 8, I wrote that Chad Morris would be hired:

    I expect Chad Morris to be offered and to accept the position.  I also expect Morris to deny interest in the position until he is offered the job. Morris has quietly sought out other jobs, most recently he pushed for the Vanderbilt opening which went to Derek Mason, and this is one he will push hard for. Morris would love the opportunity to return to Texas and the bravado that comes with being a head ball coach in Dallas. Morris would thrive in this environment and would interact well with Mustang boosters. In my opinion, Hart has plenty of time and will perform his diligence but I believe Morris is likely on top of the list already and won’t be surpassed.

    But after thinking it through due to the complexity of the variables involved, and the precision with which we nailed this one like a laser-guided bomb dropped from 50,000 feet…

    In August, USA Today’s Dan Wolken (who does a very good job covering the sport) offered this piece:

    10 college football coaches poised to emerge as hot hires

    Wolken listed:

    1. Mark Hudspeth

    2. Pat Narduzzi

    3. Tom Herman

    4. Rhett Lashlee

    5. Matt Wells

    6. Matt Campbell

    7. Brent Venables

    8. Tony Levine

    9. Joey Jones

    10. Mike Norvell

    After reading Wolken’s piece I tweeted:

    I went on to tweet that he had a list of very good coaches, but my perspective was that some of those were in the right spot for them for a while. (Example: Rhett Lashlee – an excellent offensive mind but is in a very good place with Gus in this capacity for a while.)

    Fast forward to today and, yep, seven out of 10 are in the same spot they were. Tom Herman and Pat Narduzzi moved up for head coaching positions at Houston (took Tony Levine’s spot) and Pitt.

    After Wolken and I exchanged some public tweets about our wager and thoughts we continued the conversation via DM where I took it a step further and told him that I thought Tom Herman and Pat Narduzzi were the two most likely to get jobs, and I told him that the buzz within the profession was the unless Tony Levine had an incredible season at Houston…that he would be out.

    That, my friends, is called 10 for 10. Like a bald eagle, often discussed, rarely seen in public.

     

  • The College Football Playoff’s big dilemma

    Daily Emerald

    Daily Emerald

    The inaugural College Football Playoff was perfect. Semifinals at the Rose and Sugar bowls, the title game a week and a half later at football’s most spectacular modern venue, it was the epic conclusion the greatest regular season in sports deserved – and had the ratings to prove it.

    After 145 years in waiting, college football finally had its postseason figured out. Surely the new schedule will continue into perpetuity, right?

    Wrong. It’s never that easy with this sport.

    The great underreported fact of the new College Football Playoff system is that the semifinals are only slated to be on New Year’s Day every three years. Because they are God’s gift to football, the Rose and Sugar bowls signed contracts with ESPN locking them into the New Year’s Day evening and night time slots before the CFP came into existence. Either unable or unwilling to negotiate them out of those slots, the CFP semifinals will rotate around the Rose and Sugar bowls and not the other way around.

    Here is this season’s schedule, via the CFP’s official website:

    Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.23.52 AM

     

    Playing the semifinals on New Year’s Eve rather than New Year’s Day has always been a terrible idea to everyone except CFP executive director Bill Hancock and the bowl executives involved. These were the same people that refused clung to the lie that a playoff would ruin the bowl system right up until the BCS’s dying day. Visionary thinking isn’t a collective strength.

    New Year’s Eve isn’t the football-and-couch cultural holiday that New Year’s Day is. Many businesses treat it like a regular work day. Imagine the crisis Oregon fans would have felt three weeks ago when the Rose Bowl kicked off at 2 p.m. PT while they’re still at work. Similarly, picture the conflict at many households along the Eastern portion of the country when midnight strikes and the Sugar Bowl is in the beginning of the fourth quarter.

    - Honey, get over here. The ball’s about to drop!
    - Hang on, it’s 3rd-and-6!

    That is the scene the College Football Playoff’s leaders envisioned when they debuted the new system a year and a half ago. It’s one of the things Hancock is most proud of about the new system. “It will be interesting for the next two seasons with the semifinals on New Year’s Eve,” Hancock told Bleacher Report. “It will absolutely change New Year’s Eve in this country. When we go to New Year’s Eve parties, they better have a television because we’re going to have to be watching college football.” Again, relying on him for visionary thinking was our fault, not his. One of the people who sees a crisis ahead is John Skipper, the most powerful man at the most powerful media company in sports. In today’s Sports Business Journal, John Ourand and Michael Smith outline the pressure ESPN is putting on the CFP to move its semifinals from Thursday, Dec. 31 to Saturday, Jan. 2. “Sources say that senior network executives as high up as ESPN President John Skipper are pushing for the change as a way to get better television ratings, but the CFP is unwilling to make such a move because it is committed to the original plan to hold tripleheader bowl games, including the semifinals, on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day,” they write. “We’ve started a new tradition and we don’t want to back away from it now,” Hancock retorted.

    ESPN signed a 12-year contract paying nearly $500 million a year for rights to the CFP a little over two years ago, a fact the Worldwide Leader is likely to remind Hancock and his cohorts of in their negotiations.

    According to SBJ, the Playoff is also battling on another front, and this time it’s with the NFL. The league has eyed the possibility of expanding its playoffs from 12 to 14 teams for a while, and many within the media believe that expansion could come as soon as 2015. Since expanding to 12 teams in 1990, the NFL has staged its Wild Card weekend with two games on Saturday (one evening, one night) and two on Sunday (one afternoon, one evening).

    There is room in the schedule to play a third game each day, but the SBJ writes the league would rather extend Wild Card weekend into Monday night, which, for next season at least, would be a direct conflict with the Jan. 11 College Football Playoff championship. “Sources say NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell initiated a series of high-level meetings with some of the CFP’s most influential commissioners, including the SEC’s Mike Slive and the Big Ten’s Jim Delany,” Ourand and Smith write. “Goodell approached the commissioners to discuss the potential impact an NFL playoff expansion would have on the CFP championship game.”

    As foolhardy as the CFP is to cram its semifinals into New Year’s Eve, it is in the right on this issue. “We picked Monday night because it was open and it was the best night for our game. We announced that in June 2012,” Hancock said. “We established that our game was going to be on Monday night for 12 years.” Expanding the playoffs is nothing more than a ploy to line its coffers with more television money.

    Sunday night is the most valuable piece of real estate in television, so an extra Wild Card game in that time slot feels like a lock. The only reason the NFL would push into Monday night – and create a competitive disadvantage for the winner, with one less day to prepare for a divisional game the following weekend – would be to drive a higher price from the networks.

    College football and the NFL have for decades enjoyed a symbiotic relationship as two halves of America’s favorite sport. But with more money at stake than ever, and with a stated goal of driving annual revenues to $25 billion by 2027, the NFL has shown there is no toe it won’t step on in its chase for a dollar.

  • Butch Jones is close to hiring his new offensive coordinator

    When Mike Bajakian accepted the opportunity to go back to work for Lovie Smith and likely work with the number one pick in this year’s draft as the quarterbacks coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it presented Butch Jones with an opportunity to reevaluate and adjust his staff. Sources in the profession tell FootballScoop that Butch will wrap up a small number of interviews, likely three or four, early this week and we expect a hire to occur in the next 48 hours.

    Last night, Butch joined Scott on FootballScoop radio to discuss his search, the opening at Central Michigan (where Butch won 27 games in 3 years….losing only 3 total conference games in three seasons) and how he mentors young coaches and who he has looked to for professional guidance.

    Although Butch doesn’t get specific about particular names, what you do hear him say is he’s looking for best fit with his staff. Things are already moving in the right direction at Tennessee, this is a time to add on to that, not to rock the boat. We expect the hire to be someone Butch is very familiar and comfortable with.

    As always, we’ll keep you posted on The Scoop as more develops.

  • NFL signs video partnership with YouTube

    YouTube

    There is no more valuable property in television than the National Football League, and there is no bigger video hub on the Internet than YouTube. Now, the two have agreed to join forces to take over the world – or something like that.

    The NFL has announced a partnership with Google that will give the league something of a preferred status on the world’s most powerful search engine. Users that search, for instance, “Ravens Steelers” into their Google search box will be taken to game highlights on the NFL’s official YouTube channel. This allows the league to take the driver’s seat in terms of its own copyrighted content being posted on YouTube, and gives fans a reliable source to find highlights on YouTube – rather than waiting for “steelersfan1997″ to post highlights.

    The new partnership will also allow the NFL to share in ad revenue that Google generates on YouTube videos. Google has also agreed to promote the NFL on YouTube and elsewhere, and provide expanded search results on the all-important Google search bar.

    Packers screenshot

     

    The new partnership makes the NFL the most accessible entity in American entertainment today. The league now has partnerships with Disney (ESPN), NewsCorp (Fox), Viacom (CBS), Comcast (NBC) and Google. It doesn’t get any bigger than that.