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UM football to face more Bulls, less Gators in scheduling future


Brad

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UM football to face more Bulls, less Gators in scheduling future

By BARRY JACKSON

bjackson@MiamiHerald.com

University of Miami fans won't be seeing any more football games against Florida after their final scheduled meeting in four years. But Canes fans will see plenty of UM-South Florida, and not everyone inside UM is happy about that.

On the UF front, UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt said the Gators informed him they have no interest in playing again after their one remaining scheduled game (2013 at Land Shark Stadium). UF previously expressed willingness to play twice every six years, but changed its mind.

UF athletic director Jeremy Foley said the decision was based on a desire to play seven annual home games. Why can't UF play at UM during a year it plays host to FSU? Foley said that wouldn't work because they would still have four conference road games and the Georgia game in Jacksonville. Hocutt said he's disappointed: ``Miami-Florida is good for college football.''

Meanwhile, with Miami playing USF in Tampa on Saturday -- the first of five consecutive late-November meetings -- there's some sentiment inside UM that playing USF annually isn't the best idea.

The thinking is this: Why add a difficult late-season matchup every year (three of the five will be in Tampa) against a school that is formidable? What if UM goes through a year in national championship contention but has its chances ruined by a nonconference school it doesn't need to play? (Remember, FSU lost at home to USF this season.) And why not schedule seven home games annually instead?

Former UM athletic director Paul Dee said UM and USF planned to play the next three years, but he added two more games because ABC/ESPN wanted another Thanksgiving weekend game.

``They are a worthy opponent in a BCS conference and other teams in our conference play them,'' Dee said. ``Fans can get to the game. There are a lot of positives. When we were a growing program, we wanted people to play us, too.''

Hocutt said he likes ``that your last game is guaranteed in warm weather'' and won't try to escape the contract. But Hocutt also said USF wants to extend the series beyond 2013, and ``I'm not convinced it makes total sense for us.'' Hocutt said he wants to begin scheduling seven home games some years, beginning in 2011 or 2012.

Rest of column



Doesn't sound like the series is built to last..

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I would say it's too bad Miami doesn't want to extend our series, but we're kinda in the same boat.  Why play any tougher schedule than we have too?

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After next year's game in Miami (if Bulls make it a sellout), the economics of the series may be compelling enough that UM will want to continue the series. 

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i wouldnt mind if the series doesnt get re-newed.  as long as USF adds a similar caliber opponet to replace them.  i wouldnt mind being able to play some pac-10 or big 12 teams every once in a while...maybe even a big 10 team but those pansies dont like to schedule too many games with teams from the south.

something that helps us branch out into other regions.

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I think that's what he might really be saying.  "Let's wait a year or two and see how it goes."  

From a geography standpoint, there's a chance that USF-UM could make more sense for UM than FSU-UM.  Also, FSU-UM could move back to a late season matchup and have USF as the early season matchup.  Miami doesn't have a lot of strong draws within in the ACC.  We could possibly help solve that problem.

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Guest Scherdin

I would say it's too bad Miami doesn't want to extend our series, but we're kinda in the same boat.  Why play any tougher schedule than we have too?

Because we keep having to schedule cream puffs at the beginning of the year.  We need a tougher team to help with our SOS to catch the voters attention (only if we keep winning).  The BE still gets no respect, but if we can beat some of the better schools in other conferences like the ACC, Big 10, SEC, Big 12 and the PAC 10 it will help us out in the long run.  

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 Also, FSU-UM could move back to a late season matchup and have USF as the early season matchup.  Miami doesn't have a lot of strong draws within in the ACC.  We could possibly help solve that problem.

i dont see that happened.  based on his comments he liked the USF series cause it would always be a warm weather game to end the year.

if FSU replaced us as the late season game there is no way it would be the last game of the year due to the FSU/UF game.

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After next year's game in Miami (if Bulls make it a sellout), the economics of the series may be compelling enough that UM will want to continue the series. 

SRQ, the "economics of the series" are not going to be compelling to Miami.

First, Miami has chosen to "permanently" reduce the seating capacity at Joe Robbie by putting tarps over certain sections in the upper deck.  While the tarps are not a TRUE permanent seat reduction (they are removed for Dolphins games), they will not be removed to sell any additional tickets at "high-demand" games such as FSU or UF.  Therefore, even if USF fans were able to spur additional demand for the cheapest seats in Joe Robbie, those seats are no longer available.

Second, you are putting way, way too much emphasis on the number of seats sold, and not enough on WHICH seats are sold.  Quite frankly, a "sellout" will be a bigger benefit to STADIUM revenues (parking, concessions, etc.) than to the University of Miami, which does not own JRS and pays rent (which is higher for bigger games).  The ONE thing that is beneficial to UM is when we are able to sell more BOOSTER-CONTRIBUTION seats, which are almost exclusively in the lower bowl and the club level.  The problem that we are having in a bigger stadium is that, while we know what our conference schedule is going to be, we do not have a compelling OOC schedule (at least to OUR fans).

The "best" scheduling years for Miami, as far as the revenue that we get to keep (including booster contributions) relate to years when we have games that OUR fans want to attend.  This is why it is in OUR best interests to pursue games against USC/UCLA, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Penn State, any of the Texas state schools, etc.  It is not about whether any of those schools "travel well", as we don't really care if we sell an away-team allotment of 10,000 or 25,000 tickets (we actually end up doing poorly if we give a large allotment to a school such as UF).  We do much, much better when OUR fans feel compelled to join the Hurricane Club and/or purchase season tickets.

Bottom line, the economics of "attendance" have changed.  With websites such as StubHub and RazorGator, we now can wait until the last minute to purchase tickets to one particularly compelling game, as long as we choose to pay a premium.  But to get OUR fans to pay a premium for both Hurricane Club and season tickets, we have to offer them what they want, which is compelling HOME-AND-HOME games against out-of-state BCS opponents, so that our Hurricane Club members are willing to pay the price both home and away.  For instance, I have already been contacted by many of my non-Hurricane Club friends asking if I would be willing to help them with the Ohio State game next year, and I politely tell them to make their own HC contributions.

As it stands, the desirability of the USF game is exceedingly low at UM.  Our fans know that they can easily get tickets (for either Miami or Tampa), and this is not an attractive road trip (Tampa on Thanksgiving weekend?).  While we may have fallen short on our efforts to get to Tampa in December, it looks like we should be competitive for the ACC-CG in future years, and championship/bowl game trips always take precedence over an in-state game against teams that are not UF or FSU.

Simply stated, it wouldn't matter if USF offered to buy 50,000 tickets to the game in Joe Robbie Stadium.  Whatever "economics" that YOU perceive on that transaction are not really beneficial to UM.  Think about it:

--TV rights that are able to be negotiated on OOC games (since our conference games are all contracted for in advance) are usually enjoyed by the home team, with a minority cut to the opponent.  So with 5 games that hold any interest (I'm sure we didn't get a big payday for the UM-USF game a few years ago), three of those games are in Tampa.  Even if these games net a moderate payday from ESPN, Miami only benefits twice.

--The UM allocation for this game did NOT sell well, we returned several thousand tickets.  Clearly, nobody joined Hurricane Club this year to purchase USF tickets (the Oklahoma game was at home), but I assure you that many people will be joining next year to buy Ohio State tickets.

--The fact that an in-state team has enough demand to sell a bunch of our cheapest seats is not a huge economic factor that benefits UM.  One of our biggest problems over the last couple of decades was when UF demanded an allocation of 25,000 seats.  Over 10,000 seats that Miami couldn't sell to its own Hurricane Club at a premium.

So, unless Kirby Hocutt sees a sudden and sharp increase in Hurricane Club membership from non-UM-alum fans with Tampa mailing addresses, there is nothing in the "economics" of this series that makes USF a better home-and-home opponent than about 50 out-of-state BCS-league schools.  Those are the teams that Miami needs to schedule, and based upon my conversations with Kirby Hocutt, those are the teams that he knows that Miami fans want him to schedule.

I have no problems with a twice-a-decade series with USF, but this will not be an annual game.

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I hate to be the first one to bring this up... but if Miami doesn't want to make a Rivalry series and does not renew then UCiF would by default be our rival, not because they are good but because we hate each other and we unfortunately share the same state with them.

Right or wrong  ???

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After next year's game in Miami (if Bulls make it a sellout), the economics of the series may be compelling enough that UM will want to continue the series. 

This would be a big help.

And USF winning helps make their argument null.

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