Marc Daniels: Urban's Biggest Challenge, The AAC's Expansion Problem & More


Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual - Washington v Ohio State

Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual - Washington v Ohio State

At every place Urban Meyer served as a head coach he won and he won big. At every place he got the most out of players. At every place he controlled the program in every way.

That will now be challenged in the NFL. 

I don't doubt for a second that Urban Meyer knows the game of football. I also think Meyer will continue to play the role of CEO and try and hire a great staff to help him turn the Jaguars into winners. But I do wonder how Meyer will handle a locker room that at some point will include a group of players who will make as much or even more than Meyer himself. Those same players, and many who are not making as much as their coach, will want to win. But life in the NFL can be short for players and every player's personal goal is not to win the hometown team, it's to stay healthy and perform well enough to get a bigger contract. 

In college, many of Meyer's players knew they were going to get drafted. But Meyer ran programs and Florioda and Ohio State with an iron first. It was his way or the highway. His word was the law and players knew that. That doesn't work in the NFL until you've earned a certain level of respect usually reserved for a select group of coaches who earn player's respect over a period of time.

At some point, Urban Meyer's left tackle will make more than him. The motivation factor is different for the veteran defensive end with three kids who knows free agency is on the horizon. The mind games Meyer may have used in college to control his players don't work in the NFL the same way. Professionals are their own corporations and their own brands and their priorities are different from the sophomore wide receiver looking to add more followers in Instagram.

Don't get me wrong. I think Urban Meyer can and will likely win in Jacksonville. He will win because he is a great football coach. He will hire a solid staff. He will get young players to buy in and the Jaguars have a ton of draft picks and cap space and are about to land a generational quarterback in Trevor Lawrence.

Meyer will need to adapt to the business of the NFL. But Urban Meyer has won at Bowling Green, Utah, Florida and Ohio State. Will he win in Jacksonville? We will see how he uses power and control to run his team and that may determine whether he sticks around for many seasons...

As the college football season ended, many are talking about the playoff and the need to expand. The story is tiring to me. Not because the playoff should not be expanded, but we do the same thing year after year and the powers who can change the system rarely do anything about it. But there are also some whispers about an expansion to the college football playoff may be part of the next round of conference expansion or realignment. I don't see any P5 conferences adding anyone anytime soon. But some have speculated that the AAC has talked with Boise State and possibly San Diego State.

Any thought to expand by the American would only make sense if ESPN is willing to pay to make it worth it. The current media deal, in year one of a 12 year contract, will pay schools about $7 million a year. Well short of any P5 league, but well ahead of any other G5 league. 

The AAC currently has 11 teams that play football. Adding Boise State gets you to 12. Adding San Diego State gives you 13 and then you need a 14th team to balance divisions, if you wanted to stay with divisions. What about BYU? Air Force?

What about none of them?

Boise State in the AAC tomorrow improves the quality of the league. The Broncos have been a top 25 team for over 20 seasons. But if they don't increase the yearly payout for current members, why add them? Why add anyone?

And any idea to add a new school in all sports, particularly anyone west of Colorado, is insane. The additional travel costs for your non-revenue sports would likely wipe out any new media money you'd make.

If the college football playoff is expanding and the AAC is going to get a guaranteed spot for its champion and that spot is predicated on expanding your league and ESPN is willing to pay more for your expansion, well that's a different story.

For now, ESPN is not in a spending mood. Adding Boise State doesn't improve the AAC champion of making the playoff. So I would hold off on any expansion plans until it's worth it...

Why didn't the Rockets trade James Harden to a bad team or just keep him? Because who wants to trade for James Harden knowing he would not care about playing for your team? Anyone think James Harden would have been excited to play for the Magic if they swung a trade? No. That made the pool of teams for Houston to deal with come down to Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Miami. Why? Because those are the teams Harden wanted to go to and therefore the Rockets had no choice. Is it fair? Life is not fair but it's the reality of the NBA...

Final thought: The human body contains enough fat to make seven bars of soap.

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