College football commentator Paul Finebaum doesn’t understand how Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is operating the way he is.
Scott said in a recent press conference that there were no plans to expand the College Football Playoff field for 2020. The Pac-12 historically has struggled to make the field, so only playing seven games this season may make it even harder to be included in the playoff.
Scott acknowledging there won’t be plans to expand did not sit well with Finebaum, who didn’t understand why Scott wasn’t fighting harder for what would seem to be the best interests of his conference.
“The most embarrassing thing for the league from yesterday is that Larry Scott didn’t even argue for it [CFP expansion],” Finebaum said on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Friday, via Chris Rosvoglou of The Spun. “Look, if there was ever anyone who should ever stand up for his league — they’ve only had two teams make the CFP — it should be him. But he was ‘oh, we’re happy. We’re not really looking to change.’ That’s the problem with college football, they can’t change anything.”
The 2014-15 Oregon Ducks made the CFP in its inaugural season and are the only Pac-12 team to win a playoff game. Only one has made it since. Teams from the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, and especially the SEC have been preferred by the selection committee.
There has been some consternation about the Pac-12’s status among power conferences. There has even been chatter about Scott being pushed out by school administrators. Perhaps some of them agree with Finebaum’s assessment.
As the NCAA’s Power 5 close in on a decision on the future of college football in 2020, one key name has been missing from the conversation: Mark Emmert’s.
The NCAA president has remained in the background as conferences deliberate regarding whether or not to play in 2020. That led ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum to dismiss Emmert as a “complete embarrassment” in an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Monday morning.
“It’s easy for Mark Emmert to pass the buck. But he’s the single most influential person — at least image-wise and perceptively — in the system of intercollegiate athletics, and he hasn’t offered one thing,” Finebaum said, via Riley Gates of 247 Sports. “He has been a complete embarrassment. And part of this is his fault. He has not spoken out, he has not said anything but passing the buck.”
Emmert has essentially left the decisions on the season to schools and conferences, and none of the Power 5 are particularly eager to be either the first or the last to officially cancel fall sports. The reality is that it looks increasingly likely that college football season will at least be postponed, but it does not appear that Emmert has been front and center in those discussions at any point.
It’s a good thing Paul Finebaum has a sense of humor, because Will Muschamp burned him pretty good on Thursday.
The South Carolina head coach appeared on Finebaum’s radio show Thursday and was asked about keeping players safe. Muschamp’s response was that players needed to live “boring lives” in order to reduce their chances of infection — and that, apparently, means living like Finebaum.
Nasty burn. On the man’s own show, too.
Jokes like that probably aren’t a bad way to get through to players. They definitely pay attention to what Finebaum says. Maybe he can be a good sport about it and endorse the sentiment.
Paul Finebaum has been central to ESPN’s coverage of college football and the SEC for years, but he added to speculation that his time at the network may be ending.
Finebaum said Monday during an interview with radio station WJOX that he isn’t sure about his future with ESPN, adding that the network does not like speculation without a formal statement.
“I’m not really sure,” Finebaum said when asked about his ESPN future, via Brad Crawford of 247 Sports. “Obviously, everything depends on what happens. But I’ll probably be the last to know. Here’s the problem and you guys know me pretty well. The company doesn’t like us talking about things until they issue their formal statements.”
In contrast, Finebaum told Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports earlier this month that he has “no interest in doing anything else” and has “never enjoyed working for this company more.”
It would be fair to say signals are a bit mixed right now. People have been paying attention to Finebaum’s future when it was reported that he may go independent when his contract expires next summer. His departure from SEC Network’s “SEC Nation” only fueled the speculation, and these comments won’t silence any doubters either.
Is time running out on Nick Saban? Paul Finebaum thinks so, but not for the reason you might expect.
Finebaum made comments about Saban that quickly made the rounds earlier in the week, saying “time is running out on a national championship” for Saban and that other programs “catching up” have made it no longer inevitable that Alabama wins multiple titles in the coming years.
What Finebaum meant by that became the subject of some speculation, which he clarified on Thursday in a radio interview on WNSP 105.5.
“I think he needs to win soon,” Finebaum said, via Mark Heim of al.com. “My argument was his age. Age is relative. It’s not like I’m 25 years old, and I’m still holding on for dear life. Everyone knows Saban turns 69 (in October) and he still looks great.
“I think he has a fairly narrow window. … I think the clock is ticking, and I think that is obvious.”
Saban seems set on coaching for a while, and one former assistant thinks the Alabama coach has another decade in him. Will that decade be as successful as the previous one? You wouldn’t bet against it, but Finebaum is right that the gap seems to have narrowed a bit in recent years. Still, there’s something to be said for being a perennial contender, which the Tide still are. Time does not seem to be running out on that.
College football analyst Paul Finebaum seems unimpressed by Taulia Tagovailoa and the family as a whole in terms of their decision-making.
After it was reported that Taulia, the younger brother of Tua, would be transferring from Alabama, Finebaum said recently on Alabama’s WJOX 94.5 FM that he felt Taulia never should have gone to Alabama and listened too much to the rest of the family when making the decision.
“Well, there’s an old line in journalism that’s called follow the money, in this case, it’s follow the family,” Finebaum said, via Michael Wayne Bratton of Saturday Down South. “I don’t think it’s hard to figure out. I think it was doomed from the beginning. He should have never gone to Alabama, he did for reasons which I’ll let his parents explain – and it didn’t work out, and good for him. He’ll probably go to South Florida or somewhere down there and play football and I hope he does better than he did at Alabama.”
Finebaum thought Taulia should listen to himself over his family in deciding where to transfer.
“I don’t understand all the inner workings of that family,” Finebaum said. “I’ve read enough articles, as you guys have, and I don’t know them, I know Tua. I don’t know Taulia, I hope he goes wherever he wants. I mean, I think he had to have learned that following the family didn’t work at Alabama.”
Taulia Tagovailoa has entered the transfer portal. He looks destined to leave Alabama due to having little path to playing quarterback there, and ultimately won’t have made much of an impact there — certainly nowhere close to his older brother.
Paul Finebaum’s tenure with ESPN could be coming to an end.
The radio host and college football analyst could leave ESPN to start his own sitcom. According to Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal, Finebaum is pitching a show about his life and his call-in show to all four major networks, and there is interest. If that show were to come to pass, Finebaum would leave ESPN and the SEC Network, with his contract expiring next summer. There is some belief that Finebaum could leave the network at the end of the 2020 college football season.
In addition to a sitcom, Finebaum is looking at other opportunities. Those include Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports, and DAZN. DAZN is run by John Skipper, who originally hired Finebaum at ESPN. Finebaum has also been spoken to about a startup akin to Bill Simmons’ “The Ringer,” which would put Finebaum at the top of a podcasting and editorial endeavor.
Finebaum has become highly influential, and his call-in show is a huge deal in SEC country. His takes have been noted and used as bulletin board material by various teams. Clearly, that high profile has given him options, and it certainly sounds possible that he may move on from ESPN quite soon.
The College Football Playoff committee is going to have some difficult decisions to make after the conference championship games conclude this weekend, and Paul Finebaum may play an indirect role in how things play out.
After some comments he made about Dabo Swinney drew a strong reaction from the Clemson coach early in the week, Finebaum decided that the next program he wanted to insult was Utah. During an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up” Wednesday morning, Finebaum bluntly stated that Oklahoma will get into the CFB playoff over Utah if all of the favorites win this weekend because “the country does not want to see Utah in the College Football Playoff.” Utah Football responded on Twitter by thanking Finebaum for the motivation.
Finebaum isn’t wrong. Most fans would much rather see a one-loss Oklahoma team get into the CFB Playoff over a one-loss Utah team, and a lot of that probably has to do with East Coast bias. That said, Utah is currently ranked No. 5 in the College Football Playoff, which might suggest they will be the next team in if they beat Oregon this weekend and Georgia loses to LSU. Or, perhaps the committee will argue that the winner of the Big 12 Championship Game between No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 7 Baylor had to defeat a much tougher opponent than Oregon, which would allow them to justify putting the Big 12 champion in the playoff over Utah.
No matter what happens, a very tough call will have to be made after Saturday. We’ve already laid out how a number of crazy scenarios could play out, and some of them would rightfully leave either Utah (assuming they beat Oregon) or the Big 12 champion feeling slighted.
Paul Finebaum had some very unflattering things to say about Dabo Swinney when discussing the College Football Playoff picture on Tuesday, and the Clemson head coach didn’t exactly take the high road when reporters asked him about it.
During appearances on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and “Get Up,” Finebaum criticized Swinney for complaining about the rankings and accusing everyone of disrespecting the Tigers. Finebaum called Swinney the “most annoying winner in all of sports.”
Finebaum was referring to the comments Swinney made after Clemson’s 38-3 win over South Carolina on Saturday. Swinney said the victory was enormous for his team, which he believes can’t afford a loss since voters want them out of the College Football Playoff.
“The win is huge from a national standpoint, because obviously if we lose this game, they are going to kick us out (of the playoff),” Swinney said, per Tony Crumpton of TigerNet.com. “They don’t want us in there anyway. We’d drop to 20, you know? Georgia loses to this very same team, and the very next day, it’s, ‘How do we keep Georgia in it?’ We win to the team (North Carolina) that beat South Carolina, and it’s, ‘How do we get Clemson out?'”
Swinney fired back by saying Finebaum is great at what he does, which is working for the SEC.
Clemson was left out of the top four of the first playoff ranking of the season, and Swinney probably loved it. It’s not every day you get handed bulletin board material after winning a national championship, but that is exactly what has happened with the Tigers. Swinney is almost certainly going to use that to his advantage again heading into the ACC Championship Game against Virginia on Saturday.
If you remember, Finebaum actually paid Swinney a huge compliment last year. Ruffling feathers is simply what he does, and this was an easy opportunity for that.
ESPN college football analyst Paul Finebaum thinks Notre Dame’s College Football Playoff privileges should be revoked.
Finebaum, a longtime SEC personality, was on “First Take” Monday to talk about the Fighting Irish’s upcoming game against Louisville. He was part of a panel asked whether Notre Dame could return to the College Football Playoff for the second straight year and said no.
“I think they’re a really good team. I think they can be 10-2, but they are not going back to the playoffs. And frankly, they should never be allowed back to the playoff after their embarrassing loss to Clemson. They should be given a five-year probation,” Finebaum said while laughing.
Do you feel Finebaum was being serious or was he joking at all with his remarks? Maybe his penalty proposal was a laughing matter for him, but it seemed like he was being serious.
Recall last year many in college football thought Georgia deserved a spot in the CFP despite having two losses because of how well they played Alabama. The supposed evidence against Notre Dame is that despite going 12-0 in the regular season, they got spanked 30-3 by Clemson in the playoff.
Someone should tell Paul that might not be the best indicator of how undeserving Notre Dame supposedly was of the berth last year. Clemson went 15-0 and beat Alabama by 28 points — an even greater margin of victory than their win over Notre Dame. Maybe Notre Dame wasn’t undeserving of a berth last year; maybe Clemson was just that good.