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Gas, Grass, or A**, nobody rides for free…unless you’re a P5 Bottom Feeder

P5 teams in abundance in the lower echelons of football. Power? Really?
P5 teams in abundance in the lower echelons of football. Power? Really?

Let’s set context…I do not hate Wake Forest…I respect them, but…they are an example.

I was reading an article about former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe and his regret that he turned down the Nebraska job while coaching the Demon Deacons and it dawned on me that in the wake (no pun intended) of the autonomy decision for the Chosen 5 conferences, teams like Wake actually could benefit the most. That’s right, the bottom feeders in the Chosen 5 conferences could stand to become the most rewarded collection of ineffective teams in the country simply because the squat in a chosen league.

One quote that jumped out at me was this:

When asked if he regrets not taking the Nebraska job, Grobe doesn’t hesitate. “I do now, I didn’t at the time,” he said. “I honestly took great pride in Wake Forest. I had some really good friends there. I trusted some people there. I thought Wake was a little different than other schools. I really, at the time, felt we were going to get a bigger commitment in terms of facilities and support for the program that never really materialized. We loved all 13 years we were in Winston-Salem, but I’m not real happy with the way things ended.”

The fact that Wake Forest has been raking in the big BCS pay checks and doing nothing in terms of major re-investment in the program really underscores how ridiculous the whole narrative on this P5 thing is. Think about it, Wake will benefit from the P5 membership in terms of money flowing into the coffers, they need not do anything in the way of improvements to their facilities, and if they continue to SUCK, that will be a bonus too. Think about it, if the P5 schools all go the route of only playing other p5 schools…well who do you think they are going to play the most in the short term??

That’s right. Wake will be part of a group including Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Indiana, Duke (they will suck again), Maryland, Virginia, Cal, N.C. State…you get the picture…who can command big checks from other top-level P5 teams to be the road team. Imagine that, Wake already counting on its millions from the Playoff system could negotiate more from being the homecoming opponent for teams like Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, and Oregon – the water always runs to the lowest point. All the while, the Central Floridas, East Carolinas, Boise States, Cincinnatis and Marshalls of the world will be talked about as being less than the Wake ilk simply because they do not fly a p5 banner. It’s laughable if it wasn’t so real. And the selection committees will consider a win over Wake more impressive than a win over UCF or ECU…sad but true.

No, it never was about on-field performance. It is not about ensuring the best two teams play for a title – sure, each P5 league has some of the best teams on the field – no, this is and will remain about money. And exclusion means more money for those in the circle. Right now, for the Wake Forests of the world, there is absolutely ZERO incentive to do a damn thing to get better. They know they will never be Alabama and they know that ECU, UCF, Boise, and others are being artificially kept from taking their place. It is a windfall that keeps on coming and if they ever get kicked out of the FSU (and the little dwarfs) conference, they will probably be paid handsomely to be kicked out. Over time, of course, if the raters determine that playing the P5 bottom feeders is not good enough, then the top teams in each P5 league will end up playing each other and leaving the Rugers-Wake, or Virginia-Kentucky, or the Cal-N.C. State match-ups dominate the Thursday night schedule (creating a two tier system even within their own P5 club. And still, Wake will collect big checks.

Look…I like Wake and applaud their commitment to both academics first and recruiting real student-athletes (mostly). But, this is about football and they simply do not deserve to be in the conversation. In fairness, most of the ACC doesn’t either, but particularly the bottom 4-6 in each of the leagues. That’s 20 teams that really are riding for free. Think about that.

Unbelievable. Schools like Wake offer nothing (save an easy win) and yet are able to hop on the back of the bike and ride for free.

6 comments on “Gas, Grass, or A**, nobody rides for free…unless you’re a P5 Bottom Feeder

  1. Wake Forest is a basketball-first school. That is their identity in the basketball crazy ACC.

    Plus, hoops is much cheaper to fund than is football.

    • Hi Paul…great to have you drop in.

      I know that hoops drives their value, but in the big rev machine that football is, Wake is a non-factor and needn’t be but will continue to reap exponential benefits for where they squat. Surely they are not Power football and deserving to be in the club.

      I like Wake and pull for them any time possible against other ACC teams.


  2. Your really nailed it here. This is the perfect description of the Greedy Five and the joke of their bottom feeders. WFU is perhaps the perfect example of the hypocrisy of it all. They are a small, private school in a conference whose football is dominated by large publics. WFU will have a good season once or twice a decade on average just like Duke, where I also share your opinion that they will return to their mean quickly. Every time a FSU or Louisville is added to the ACC, the mediocre members just sink one step lower.

    Agree that the top Greedy Five football teams will want to play the bottom feeder Greedy Five if forced to play only Greedy Five OOC teams so the same financial bonanza for those weak sister teams that FCS teams get now for playing Greedy Five teams who have the big fan bases and money. Eventually, weak sister fans will tire of those beatings and demand that their bad team play another bad team. So each weak sister will have to decide if they want a big payday along with yet another loss and perhaps a crushing, embarrassing one, or a chance to win another game against one of their few peers. If they all play each other exclusively, the math is simple. For every winner, there is a loser so on average for every ten win team there has to be a ten loss team on average. The only way for the bad teams to win six games is to play six other bad teams or five with an upset. Losing records get coaches and eventually ADs fired so this is a formula for career disaster.

    The ACC is an easy example. FSU, V. Tech, Clemson, Miami and Louisville are likely to dominate. WFU, Duke, UVA, BC and Syracuse are likely to form the bottom along with NCSU unless they can get it together. That leaves dUNCe, G. Tech and Pitt in the middle along with NCSU if they can rebound to mediocrity. Teams like NCSU and the bottom feeders accepted growing irrelevancy each time they voted in a new power member, especially for MBB. But I digress.

    So if the top five each go 6-2 or better on average in conference and the middling teams go 4-4 that leaves 2-6 for the five bottom feeders on average. Simple math. Now throw in the four OOC games against Greedy Five opponents if that becomes a requirement. The only way a 2-6 team can break even is to sweep their four OOC games. That is the formula now but they play FCS opponents and weak Greedy Five in an effort to get to break-even. Would then have to be four Greedy Five who they would have to sweep. Highly unlikely so will they even try or just take the money games as you write?

    WFU is building an indoor practice facility for the new coach. Is that a fig leaf or the beginning of some kind of commitment that they never gave to Grobe? Can they even become relevant in Winston-Salem. Lived there for years and few people care about their football or anything else sports wise but MBB. People know they cannot compete so why bother. What did Grobe expect them to to do re the stadium? They built the Deacon tower trying to emulate NCSU and the Pruitt Football Center. Simply no reason to add seats when they have trouble filling the 31,500 seats they have.Go here to see and read about their facilities. They seem pretty nice and complete.

    They try to play the arms race with facilities but are carrying a knife to a gun fight. If you are an elite black athlete and visit their campus, you may well wonder who your date will be on Saturday night unless you fancy white girls. Small and few minorities, again simple math. If 5% of their student body are black females, that is 372 black females on campus given their recent student body size of 7,432. Not a lot to go around for say 70 or so black football players and another 10 black MBB plus the other 300 or so black male students. Just another way their size plays against them. Bottom line, you nailed their plight and future. And the hypocrisy of the Greedy Five members who are driving and will continue to drive the bus.

    • Thanks Factoid…this analysis is fantastic and right on, IMO.

      I hate that all of this is happening, but since it is, I will take a very keen interest in watching how this plays out. Time, IMO, is the only factor before those in power repeat the process and narrow the club again.

      Enjoyed reading your comment…

      Go Pirates!

  3. Thanks for this Ron, as I have said in the past the greatest power the media has is the power to ignore and the take over of college athletics by 5 corrupt greedy conferences is a prime example of an agenda driven media.

    My reference point with this began back in 1983 when our top 20 ranked, 8-3, program was left out of a bowl game for fear it would not travel well. We were told to forget about our record, our ranking, and the fact that we had the 2nd highest number of players drafted out of one school into the NFL that season. Those things did not matter the only thing that did was could we travel.

    Over the next decade the Pirate faithful made every effort to do just that when the Big East came calling to expand in the early 90’s. Despite having equal success as Virginia Tech they were selected over us reason given not enough people in the seats. Imagine that coming from a league that had Temple in its conference who could not draw 10K to a contest. (BTW I will make an effort to be there this year to help their attendance)

    As time we on DFS was expanded with ECU drawing the 40th largest crowd in the country and second among all non AQs. Once again we were told that had no bearing, it was now all about media markets. Well how is it that Virginia Tech can count Washington DC as part of its market yet ECU cant? I know many will think VT is close to DC however if you do the math it is not. From my front door VT is 275 miles away while ECU is only 290 so for 15 miles they are in and we are out? Charlotte is like 240 miles from Greenville closer than VT is to DC yet we cant count that either. How does this add up exactly. If you look nearly all the P5 schools how many exactly hail from large markets? Other than those in Texas or LA not many. If we were to open a Campus in NYC would we then get an invite? How about in Philly we could be ECPC.

    Over the years I have been a huge supporter of non P5 programs that have successful programs. I think back to Utah who were going to be left out of a Bowl when Senator Hatch wanted to take a hard look at the NCAA. Once Utah eventually was admitted to the PAC 12 what happened to the senator?

    I think there was a period there for more than 3 years in a row where the non AQs had more teams ranked in the final top 25 than the BIG 10, PAC 12, and ACC combined yet somehow we a told these programs do not belong.

    I have made this point over and over why should any P5 program make an effort to compete when they get paid no matter what. The example i always go to is Washington State yet you could pull any 4 schools that bottom feed in the P5 conferences. Washington State draws roughly 26,000 per game, They hail from a very small media market. Their record of recent times is 18-55 yet they hall in 10 times the revenue than say a Boise State who has gone 145-23 under their last 2 coaches. So lets do the math Washington State is getting 20 million for their efforts while Boise only gets 2? Compound that out over 10 years and we are talking 200 million to 20. Yet not one single report about this, that somehow the Indianias, Wakes, Dukes, and WSU’s of the world have earned that revenue stream for drawing 15K while going 2-10.

    Now that I think about this I was well aware of this as an out of state Frosh at ECU. I wrote an English paper on how disgraceful I thought it was that fellow Pirates were parading around campus in their favorite ACC schools gear. The only way I thought we could grow as a program was to fully support our own university not the one that their Daddy attended or the one they failed to be admitted too. I remember confronting some of these kids and telling them that ACC will never allow our program to get to the place it earned on the field and yet here you sit continuing to support their institutions especially come basketball season. I remember pissing quite a few people off with this including the professor who gave me a D or F for my efforts but looking back at it I was 100% correct,

    I give our program credit it addressed each and every objection the so call big boys had about us and we overcame each and everyone despite the huge obstacles thrown before us. The Pirate story is a great one too bad nobody in the media chooses to report about it or the 15 or so other non AQs who earned a seat at the table. America was labeled the land of opprotunity unless of course you try to field a competitive athletic program at your university. Your in the club or not and don’t ever ask how one got their invitations.

    Sorry for the endless rant I could go on and on.


    • Hi DCP…enjoyed that rant and would love to re-post it to the fans (LMK)…

      Singing to the choir, but a couple of items to add here…on the TV market, I think as the onion continues to peel over on Cheater Hill, we will all finally admit that like the controlling powers there have done for decades with the NC media, judiciary, and legislature, they have also controlled how ECU is viewed. Our governor actually joined in with Virginia’s governor to ensure Virginia TEch was added to the ACC, but wouldn’t lift a finger to help ECU in either the ACC or the Big East at the time. What motivation is there for that…I smell UNC. Same with the markets. Raleigh-Durham is PACKED with Pirate alums and yet, we can share that market…really? I smell UNC. If UNC ilk went to the lengths we know they did on the med school and dental school…on engineering undergrad and so forth, why would anyone be surprised about efforts to reign in ECU’s potential athletic growth?

      Also, in terms of the bias our 1983 team experienced, there was more of that in 1991, IMO. While it is exciting that we finished 9th in the two major polls at the time, ahead of us sat a 10-2 Florida team that lost to Syracuse (who we beat) and a 11-1 Alabama team that was crushed by Florida 35-0 and barely got by Memphis 13-10. By all standards that the pollsters use to use against teams (late season losses hurt worse than early, teams beat by other teams with similar records should not be ranked higher, etc.), and yet, when it all shook out Alabama was ranked ahead of Florida and both ahead of an 11-1 ECU team that lost its 1st game of the season on a blown call that the officials admitted was an error.

      And now, they say that the because of the members of the playoff selection committee ALL being biased, it negates the chance of bias. REally?

      Anyway…thanks as always for sharing your thoughts DCP…love reading them.

      Go Pirates Go!

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