Thursday Playcard

(Spring) Football is Back

FOOTBALL IS BACK! Well, football practice, in the spring, is back in Denton. 

North Texas kicked off spring ball yesterday, the earliest entrants into the spring football schedule as they prepare to defend the CUSA West Crown. No word on whether Mason Fine performed drills with a championship belt over his shoulder, but let's hope he did. 

The Mean Green get fifteen or so practices in, leading up to their March 24th spring game. 

Bill Connelly Previews Rice

The great Bill Connelly is in full rotation on his season previews. He previews all 130 FBS teams, running from February to right around August. Connelly hit on the Rice Owls this week and new coach Mike Bloomgren. 

Connelly is the king of college football's advanced stats revolution, his thoughts have become more mainstream, and coaches give his stuff a read and his podcast a listen. You can check out Connelly's stuff here, including the Rice preview. He's knocked out two other Texas schools as well with Texas State and UTEP in the books as well. 

A UTEP Mountain West Rumor

We hesitate even to address this, but maybe its got some traction, a Twitter user posted a tweet that "rumors" were circulating that the Mountain West would expand and likely candidates included UTEP along with Idaho, Arkansas State, and Grand Canyon. 

Most UTEP fans would welcome a move to the Mountain West; the Miners culturally have more in common with most Mountain West squads as opposed to their current CUSA peers. UTEP spent most of the modern era competing in the WAC, where most of their former rivals absorbed into the current Mountain West Conference. 

We'll keep an eye on things as CUSA looks to be slipping into a sinkhole, leaving a lot of Texas schools scrambling. 

Every Freak Out About Attendance!

The college football offseason runs in cycles. This week the topic seemed to focus on attendance and how college football's failing at the box office. Everyone and their dog is writing about how no one is coming to college football games. Hey look at us, we're doing it too. 

A quick thought, for universities now creating buy-in from new and future alumni, is future is critical - nothing is more important. That's why Athletic Departments should be doing anything they can to cater to these folks so they can create lifelong support and family culture. How you do that isn't simple or formulaic, but you have to tap into those cultural signposts that matter to your base. 

For some schools it'll be a tailgating experience, for some it'll be suites, for most it'll be a winning product. The challenge is making Saturdays sacred and using it to connect an increasingly fragmented population to your university. That's why I think the MAC model, moving games to weekdays is a terrible idea. Your fan base can't travel for a Tuesday night game. The ESPN exposure is great, but what happens when it goes away? Culturally you've gutted yourself. 

We wrote more about that and other ideas for ADs in the 21st century here. 

The Roundup...