Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sadness Accrues: Guarantee Games

Here's a really interesting story about how BG ended up playing Georgia Tech at all.  Interestingly, this is how we got that Notre Dame game.

Moosbrugger was resistant.  He thought we could get to Notre Dame anyway and we don't want to prepare for the Tech attack.

Here's the key quote:

“But we needed Bowling Green to save the college football world and let Notre Dame and Michigan have their series,” Moosbrugger said, tongue-in-cheek, “and Georgia Tech and Bowling Green, we made it happen.”

There's an old African saying that when elephants fight, the grass suffers.  Well, when Michigan and Notre Dame need dates, Bowling Green suffers and in this case suffers a lot.

I will say this. Maybe the hardest thing about mid-major programs, and ours in particular, is the need to play these guarantee games.  Earlier this year in a Blade story, David Briggs made the point that BG has to play these games "to keep the lights on" in the athletic department.  Moos said this:

“Am I comfortable with it?” BG athletic director Bob Moosbrugger said. “I’m very uneasy about it. ... We put a lot on the shoulders of our football program.”

So, just for a moment, think about the physical beatings our young men take in these games, something we send them out to do because we need the money to keep the whole department afloat.  It makes me uneasy too.

And then you start to think about spending $800K to buy a coach out in a time when you're playing games like this just to make your nut?  Just making a point...the decisions being made here are a lot more complicated than they might seem.  In many cases, we are choosing among the best of all bad options.

For comparison, every team except for NIU and Miami played one non-FBS opponent.  Here are the number of P5 opponents played by each school.  Note:  BYU is counted as not P5 for this purpose.

P5 Opponents
Akron 3
BG 3
Kent 3
Ball State 2
Buffalo 1
Miami 1
Ohio 1
UT 1

Five teams played all their non-FCS non-conference games against P5 teams.  Five played only 1.  That's a pretty big difference.  Among the five playing 1 game, they include four of the richer teams in the MAC.  EMU is the clear outlier here, not sure how that happened, although they are currently embroiled in a Title IX lawsuit over sports being dropped.

Anyway, this is a tough time to be where we are.  The only long-term solution is to better develop our donor base, which we are counting on Moos to do.  Even that probably has a ceiling.  Anyway, I just think this provides some perspective on what the administration is facing.  On the football side of it, there's no question in my mind what needs to happen, but decisions aren't made in a vacuum.

People are pointing at Gary Anderson at Oregon State, who resigned and canceled his contract, forgoing any buy-out.  That's wishful thinking in my mind.  We made a deal--and not a good one--and Jinks has lived up to his end and he has a right to ask us to live up to our end.  If he gets fired for losing, he gets paid.

Last thought.  People talk about going to FCS.  But if we did that, the rest of the athletic department would suffer because we would no longer have access to this revenue source.  In a way, we're trapped in FBS.

No comments :