Week One FBS Preview - A new blog is born

Hello World!

Peter asked if I would resume my defunct blog “block of granite” from worldpress, which was in German and did not receive much attention.

Well, who am I to not take the chance?

“block of granite” was a college football blog, basically focusing on the FBS (Football Bowl Series), which is the highest level in college football.

So here it is, my first English BLOCK OF GRANITE post.

Today starts the season of the FBS programs and I always like to put some special games into the spotlight and (as you might guess) like to give a personal expectation on the outcome of those games.

The off-season was very much dominated by realignments of the conferences and the Penn State child abuse scandal. For me, the realignments were nice to read and fine. Some Americans probably have more concerns regarding traditions (like Texas A&M went to the SEC, so no regular games with the Longhorns out of Texas anymore) but for me, this is only a business decision, which can be solved in those non conference games.
The Penn State scandal was much more intensive for me and I’m still stunned how many people did screw up this situation so badly.
I’m curious if at any time in the next future Joe Paterno will get into the line of Coaches to admire and will lose the “you did it wrong!” stigma. Based on the information I got here in Germany, it’s had to think about that happening ever.

But let’s look forward and have a view on the next season, which will be exiting. USC seems to be back as contender; Florida State also looks like the Seminoles of old days and the Big 12 probably will bring in Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to compete for the big dance. And don’t forget the SEC, where Alabama as reigning national champion, LSU, Florida and Georgia are looking for a seventh consecutive national title winner out of the SEC.

The first week of the season is normally not that exiting, since most teams are looking for a nice start in the season with an easy win (at least the teams from the big BCS-conferences, the weaker ones have to provide the sparing partner ….) and so there are not many national title impact games. Still, some teams are there to prove they are contenders from week one on and this week it looks like this:

#2 Alabama vs #8 Michigan
I’m not really a fan of Nick Saban, but I have to admit, he brought the Crimson Tide pack on track and if he stays in Tuscaloosa, I sure he will have some more dates put into the little wall behind his statue on the campus of Alabama (meaning more national titles). Facing off against Michigan on the first game day is a bold move, but this one is played on a neutral site in Arlington Texas and this could be enough to get Michigan in trouble. The Wolverines are also back on track. Brady Hoke did win 11-2 games last season and expectations are high in Ann Arbor. If they want to have a shot at the national title, they better win this game. I’m not sure, if they are ready for that, but if not this year, then maybe not for the next few, since their QB Denard Robinson is in his last year and when he is gone, it might take a few years to build another great one.
As said, I think the neutral site will be enough to give Alabama the edge. If this would be a Wolverine home game, I would have picked Michigan, but now I have to pick the Crimson Tide.

#24 Boise State @ #13 Michigan State
The Boise State vs BCS-Opponents were always fun to watch in the last years. How often did the give their opponents a kick into the family jewels and went home with a juicy “W” in their luggage and the defeated team could bury all hopes for a national title run after the first week? Well, the last 3 years they did win their opener vs BCS-opponents on the road. But can coach Chris Petersen win against a Spartans team? Without Kellen Moore? I’m in doubt, since this is not a Spartans team in rebuilding mode. Still some think they will fall behind Nebraska and Michigan. We will see.
Mark Dantario did a good job at East Lansing and I think all Spartans fans are curious about the upcoming season.
In this game I see the Broncos not in the favourite role, but that’s not uncommon for them. Still, this year will be the year the Broncos will get a defeat on opening day.

#14 Clemson @ Auburn
The Tigers-Matchups! Love it. Last year, the Clemson Tigers did win at home against the Auburn Tigers snapping a 14 game winning streak of Auburn against Clemson. This year will be fun, since Clemson is ranked higher than Auburn and it is played in Auburn. If the press ranking would be true (the normally are not on the season opener, but let’s assume so) the home factor will probably even the matchup. Both teams have their weaknesses, and I think the team which is able to exploit such weaknesses on a season opener the most will win.
I’m counting on the Tigers! Lol. Sorry. I’m counting on Auburn, since they have the home advantage and Clemson is not that good on openers outside of Auburn.

Kentucky @ #25 Louisville
Ha, the battle for the Governor's Cup trophy in the state of Kentucky. I love rivalries and I’m just starting to understand this one. Largest and second largest schools in Kentucky having a game against each other? How can this not be a great rivalry? I’m missing some insides here, but I’m sure the hate each other to the bones.
They played a lot of games in the past, but the trophy did only come into the game since 1994! All time matches since 1912 are in favour of Kentucky (14-10) but since the cup was started, Louisville leads 10-8.
So how will it go this year?
Louisville did win last year and now they play at home, so I can’t see the wildcats topping the Cardinals this year. The cardinals will win the trophy again.

Georgia Tech @ #16 Virginia Tech
This one is not that special on paper, since Virginia Tech is dominating the ACC since ages and Georgia Tech did loose more games against VT than the won. But I love the yellow jackets game and I also love VT, so for me this is a great machtup.
Georgia Tech and Virginia both have the same problem this year, which goes by the name of North Carolina. Many people see the Tar Heels ahead of both Tech programs, and so THIS game here will probably give a hint for the contender against the Tar Heels.
I would love to see a VT getting upset, but I can’t see VT loosing at home such important game.

Well. That’s it. Let’s see how this will work out and Let’s see, what the software does with this little text. LOL.

‘Til next time


Change: Selling players marked as retiring

Some days ago we asked you, if we should change the way of selling retiring players. We gave you different option to vote for, and the majority of our community made a decision.

We are glad to see such a clear result, and therefore we announce the change:

It is not allowed to sell players marked as retiring!

We will give you some days to clean your rosters, and will apply the change on August 25th, during the day.


HR Department, Youth Academy and the Season-Rollover

After the last Season-rollover happened, we received many complaints about leaving Youngsters and Seniors due missed contracts. Therefore we added an additional warning - beside the one in the "Hints"...

Some days before Season-rollover each manager will receive an additional warning via PM and Pin board, if Youngsters are leaving the Youth Academy due their age, or if the manager missed to offer valid contracts for the upcoming season to his Seniors.

We hope this solves the situation.


Press releases for the Mag

Under each Press release you will find a rating option. The Top 5 rated PRs will be showed in the Mag, as long as there are at least 2 votes given on that Press release...

Happy voting!


Change on Transfers - Coaches and Players

Might be you read the forums and the confusion caused on Transfers during the season-rollover...

We changed some small things to avoid such confusion in the future.

You should remember days 71 and 74 of the season from now: On day 71 we will stop putting Free Agents or new Coaches on the Markets. Managers won't be allowed to sell players from this day on. On day 74 we will close the Markets completely, so you won't be able to buy or sign Coaches and Players. These restrictions are valid until the season-rollover was finished.

We will add these changes to the manuals within minutes.


New screencast available - Gamesettings

There is a new screencast available in our Help section.

This video describes how to create proper gamesettings für your upcoming games. This screencast is brought to you by canonico, it is 9:35 long.

Thanks a lot, canonico!


Changes for season 6

As announced already here:

- Impact of "Team Form" highered on attendance - 3% loss of attendance per game loss - compared to 1% in the past

- less income from sponsors based on league level - lower level = less money (15% er league level based on the level above)

- less attendance based on league level in regular season league games (15% er league level based on the level above)

The manual will be changed within the next few hours.

Another change in the engine, but for friendly games only:

- Changes for better pass/rush-expectation and more balanced pass/rush play. Higher "penalties" on exploit-tries like "all rush left end"...in Friendlies only, will be activated for all gametypes by the end of season 5


Coaches Corner - No.2 - Sfniner08

To aid understanding of the love for the red and gold, can you explain the significance of "Sfniner08" , I thought it was because you were born in 1908 :lol:, but apparently it's not, so what is it all about ?

Growing up as a young boy in the state of Washington one would think I would be a Seahawk fan. I lived in a family that didn't watch football so there were no allegiances to worry about. So I ask you, if you had to choose the Dave Krieg led Seahawks at 7-9 in 1989 or the Superbowl bound 49ers of 1989 who would you choose? I chose a winner, and stuck with them. That was towards the end of the Montana era and the beginning of the Young era, Young being jersey number 8.

Right, let's get straight down to the nitty-gritty, I know what's coming next from you, so I'll just put my earplugs in. OK, hearing successfully blocked-up, so ...... What are your views on MOTY ?

I like it the way it is. In the past it didn't make sense to have it in the playoffs as everyone in the playoffs is already pumped up to play. In the regular season though it is not uncommon for a team to rise up and pull off an upset of a perceived better team. The better team may indeed not play at that 100% level. But they are professionals is what I hear from opponents of MOTY, yes but they are also human beings.

Ahhh, now that onslaught is over, a follow-up question to MOTY (difficult to do a follow-up question, as I don't know your answer yet ! .... but I can guess) ..... so, if MOTY is good because it simulates the 'motivational effects' of a head coach, can you answer me this one .............I've heard in the past (from you and others) something along the lines of "I used MOTY against Team A because I thought they were going to use MOTY against me" ..... so how does this fit into the "MOTY is like motivation in real-life" scenario ? ..... because it seems extremely artificial to me.

If you are equating it to coaches motivational effects isn't it plausible, and even likely that in a big game both coaches are giving those kind of motivations?

In fact, a further question .... What do you say to people (like me) who think MOTY is more Poker than Football ? Why do you think MOTY is NOT artificial ?

First, I don't see poker and football as all that different. Perhaps that analogy isn't what you're looking for? As an avid poker player (and pretty darn good) and football watcher I notice the following the same about the two. The mental side of football is huge, there is psychology in it as in poker. In football you are trying to create misdirection to gain advantages, do you not also in poker do the same? In poker you sometimes use your power of chips to force your opponent into a bad play, how is it different in football when you take your "strength" and force your opponent to change their tactics?