Marcus Lattimore’s decision, will Chad Morris have a decision to make? (re: Texas Tech), another reason to like Morris (hint: Heisman winner), and college football attendance on the decline

NORTHWESTERN COMMAND – I unveiled the Chad Morris Confidence Meter last week to great fanfare.

It’s fluctuating more than the Nasdaq.

After all the SEC and ACC jobs had been filled, after coaching carousel¬† trickle down had not come from Morris’ native state of Texas, I suggested that Clemson’s chances of keeping Morris had increased substantially, from 54 percent to 67 percent.

Well, that was before Tommy Tuberville decided to leave Texas Tech for Cincinnati.

Texas Tech is a very natural fit for Morris as we know. Moreover, Morris’ agent is based out of Houston so he’s well connected and influential in the state. My Morris confidence meter now reads it’s only 59 percent likely he returns to Clemson.

(Sorry, I can’t give you my secret statistical sauce).

Morris refuted reports today that he has been in contact with Texas Tech, but of all the openings out there this offseason the Texas Tech vacancy makes the most sense for Morris and the Morris makes a lot of sense for Tech.

I’d imagine Chad Morris – seen coaching Lake Travis HS (Texas) – would have a hard time turning down Texas Tech … if the Red Raiders call.

Mike Leach gave Texas Tech an offensive identity. Chad Morris would bring a similar high-octane identity to Lubbock. What is as critical is Morris has ties to Texas recruiting, he has relationships with many coaches because of his long tenure there as a successful high school coach.

Now, I imagine Kliff Kingsbury is No. 1 on the list. He did amazing things as a Texas Tech quarterback and remarkable things as Texas A & M’s offensive coordinator this fall. He would be embraced by the fan base.

But if Kingsbury says no?

Then I imagine Morris is not too far behind. And maybe he should be ahead of Kingsbury. Why? While at Tulsa. Morris offered Texas A & M quarterback Johnny Manziel a scholarship before any other program, including Texas A & M.

Morris was the first coach to offer Johnny Manziel a scholarship, a three-star prospect in 2010. I’d say Morris is a pretty good evaluator of talent.

With Manziel, Morris proved he had the ability to identify talent in Texas and had the coaching network there to help him find talent.

Texas Tech shouldn’t overlook Morris. But Clemson is hoping the Red Raiders do just that.

LATTIMORE’S DECISION

I can’t blame any running back for wanting to leave early for the NFL if they are talented enough. Players like Lattimore and Adrian Peterson were NFL-ready they day they stepped on campus and by staying for their senior season they would only be eroding their relatively short shelf lives as running backs.

By leaving early, as ESPN reported Lattimore will do, the South Carolina back might be mirroring the Willis McGahee plan. McGahee was a first-round pick despite a severe injury similar to Lattimore’s. But the difference is McGahee was a much more explosive runner before injury. He was a rare, rare running back prospect. Lattimore is not in the category. Lattimore might at best be a mid-round prospect. ESPN’s J.C. Joyner said “he would not be surprised” if Lattimore goes undrafted.

Should he have stayed, redshirted, and tried to come out for the 2015 draft? There are pitfalls with that decision, too. For starters, if he does stick on an NFL roster for the next couple of seasons, gets healthy, and performs, he’ll be two years closer to a lucrative free-agent contract than had he stayed at South Carolina. Rookie contracts have been depressed. He also figures to have access to the best medical care possible with an NFL team.

At the end of the day, Lattimore unfortunately did not have any good choices. Let’s all wish him the best and hope we see him have a McGahee-like career.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL ATTENDANCE DOWN

We’ve addressed this in this espace before, and we’ve spoken to new Clemson AD Dan Radakovich about the topic, but here it is again: college football has a growing ticket-selling problem.

College football attendance is down 3 percent this fall from its historic peak in 2008.

Why? Writes John Solomon …

As higher ticket costs continue to price out average spectators, many fans can watch more comfortably and cheaply from home on their HDTV.

Attendance was up 2 percent at Clemson this season, rebounding from a slight decline in previous years that Clemson CFO Katie Hill believe was more recession related than HD-related. But Hill, too, fears what HDTV means for the future of ticket sales.

The at-home, or at-the-sports-bar HD experience is so good eroding ticket sales should be a primary concern of every AD in American. It’s especially important at ACC football schools like Florida State and Clemson, which are at a TV revenue disadvantage compared to their SEC neighbors. ADs have to make the game experience better than the at-home experience.

ADs are going to have to be creative in continuing to compel folks to come to games, particularly young people If this trend continues it will first affect the non-revenue sports as we’ve seen football coaches don’t appear headed for paycuts at any time soon.

4 thoughts on “Marcus Lattimore’s decision, will Chad Morris have a decision to make? (re: Texas Tech), another reason to like Morris (hint: Heisman winner), and college football attendance on the decline

    • Some ADs shared/share your viewpoint but the Texas Tech position is unique because of Morris’ relationships in Texas and prep coaching experience in the state. I believe he is in play for Red Raiders

  1. I think the susceptability to the HD viewing depends on the campus and alternatives. I could see GT having trouble, as the tailgating is lousy, Atlanta traffic, the Falcons, Georgia, etc (although the sheer size of Atlanta should compensate). Clemson on the other hand has wide open tailgating space, aside from noon games traffic is pretty manageable, and it makes for a nice relaxing day. I’m guessing alot of the rural SEC schools, VT, etc. have the same advantages.

    • I spoke to Dan Radakovich about this subject and he thinks this is a bigger issue for basketball because there are no set dates/times for events and there are simply more games.

      I agree that the I think the human element, the tailgating, seeing friends, etc. helps football. But I also think the in-home experience has never been better, TV timeouts are absurd, and ticket prices are not going to suddenly collapse.

      There seems to be a growing portion of people who show up and tailgate but never actually go in the stadium.

      It’s going to be interesting to watch this play out.

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