The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 20, 2019

Special Editorial–Vanderbilt Football Conundrum

American University, Boston University, Long Beach State University, The University of Denver, the University of Detroit, George Washington University, Marquette University, New York University, St. John’s University, Saint Joseph’s University, The University of San Francisco, Santa Clara University, Seton Hall University, and Xavier University are smaller colleges that at one time fielded intercollegiate football programs and then saw Pro Football support chip away just enough of their fan base to make football too expensive to continue to finance at the major college level.

The University of Chicago was once a member of what is now called the Big Ten Conference, and their star back Jay Berwanger won the first Heisman Trophy.  The Maroons won the Big Ten Conference (then called The Western Conference) seven times under legendary coach Amos Alonzo Stagg.

The University of Dayton was a division 1 football program into the mid 1970’s, and as late as the 1960’s, the Flyers were beating Louisville and Cincinnati.  They played a lot of teams from the Mid-American Conference and won a good share of those contests.  Dayton is in the Cincinnati market for those not geographically interested.

The University of Denver won three championships in the Skyline Conference, which is the league that sowed the seeds for today’s Mountain West Conference.  As late as their final season in college football, 1960, the Pioneers were beating Washington State and Colorado State.  DU once dominated programs like Brigham Young, Utah, New Mexico, and San Jose St.  When the Broncos were born in 1960, the Pioneers football program ended.

The University of Detroit played Big Ten and SEC opponents into the early 1960’s, and the Titans beat teams like Boston College, Cincinnati, Tulsa, and Oklahoma State in the 1950’s.  Support for UD football waned as the Detroit Lions’ support increased.

Duquesne University played teams like Alabama, Florida, Clemson, North Carolina, and Mississippi State into the 1950s.  The Dukes finished in the top 10 in 1939, having beaten former number one Pittsburgh in a battle of the Steel City.

George Washington was a member of the Southern Conference when that league was still Division 1 and included teams like West Virginia.  The Colonials went to the Sun Bowl, beating home town favorite Texas Western (UTEP) 13-0.  GWU played SEC teams into the 1960s and competed in some of those games.

In the late 1950’s, Marquette’s schedule was more difficult then than most FBS teams today.  The Golden Eagles, then known as the Warriors, played teams like Oklahoma State, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin, Boston College, TCU, Arizona State, and Penn State.  MU actually went to the Cotton Bowl in the mid 1930’s.

Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara, and San Francisco all played Division 1 football into the early 1950’s.  SMC was strong enough to play a bowl-bound Georgia team to a tie in 1950.  The Gaels also beat Oregon that year.  Santa Clara went to the Orange Bowl in 1950 and beat a Bear Bryant-coached Kentucky team that had the great Babe Parilli at quarterback.  They had recent wins over Oklahoma and Stanford prior to beating Kentucky.  San Francisco had one of the greatest players of all time in Ollie Matson, who enjoyed a lengthy pro career with four NFL teams.  USF was 9-0 in 1951, their final year playing football.

All of these programs were once major college teams.  Most of these schools are private and small.  Another thing all of these schools have in common is they are located in cities where pro football eventually became the dominant sport in town, and these small, private schools lost too much of their support to sustain their programs.  

The Washington Redskins were in Boston before moving to the nation’s capital.  After they arrived, American University  and George Washington University lost a lot of their support, as fans chose Sammy Baugh over the old college try.

The University of Chicago lost most of its support when the Chicago Bears became the Monsters of the Midway and began winning big in the NFL.

The University of Detroit stopped getting support when Bobby Layne made the Detroit Lions the hot ticket in the Motor City.  Duquesne stopped getting crowds when the Steelers took over the market, and even though the Steelers were not good until 1972, DU couldn’t compete with the much larger University of Pittsburgh in town.

Marquette lost too much support when Vince Lombardi became head coach of the Green Bay Packers.  Back then, Green Bay played half of their home games in Milwaukee’s County Stadium.

The San Francisco 49ers were part of the upstart All-American Football Conference.  When the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts, and 49ers merged into the NFL in 1950, it marked the death knell for the smaller private college football programs in the Bay Area.  California and Stanford survived but lost a lot of fans, but Saint Mary’s, Santa Clara, and San Francisco could not survive.

Denver and Dayton, along with Xavier, were cities where the American Football League came to town and in a couple of years had become as popular as the NFL, maybe more popular to younger football fans like me, who chose the pass-happy AFL over the conservative NFL.

What am I getting at by this long introduction?  As someone that has lived in Nashville for most of my six decades, I have watched Vanderbilt University struggle to compete in college football for the last 60 years.  The Commodores have never been a factor in the SEC since I was born.  Vandy had been a dominant program in the South through the 1920’s, and as late as 1937, the black and gold came within minutes of winning the SEC and going to the Rose Bowl, only to lose 9-7 to Alabama in the final game.

In 1948, the great Grantland Rice, a Vanderbilt alum, wrote in his national column at the end of the year that Vanderbilt was the best team in the nation.  That Commodore squad caught fire at halftime of the Kentucky game.  Sporting a record of 0-2-1 and trailing Kentucky 7-6, then Coach Henry “Red” Sanders blew his top in the locker room at the half.  Vanderbilt came out in the second half and destroyed a good Kentucky team 26-7.  Vandy followed it up with seven consecutive wins, all of them blowout victories, to finish 8-2-1.  They were invited to the 1949 Orange Bowl to play Georgia, but the Bulldogs had the right to refuse Vandy as part of a contractual agreement with the SEC Champions being allowed to choose their Orange Bowl opponent.  Georgia voted to play a much weaker Texas team, and the joke was on the Bulldogs, as Texas didn’t take kindly to being considered fodder.  The Longhorns hooked the Bulldogs.

In the 1950’s, under Coach Art Guepe, Vanderbilt completed a 5-year string where their worst record was 5-5.  Included in that run, the 1955 team went 8-3 with a Gator Bowl win over Auburn.  The 1955 to 1959 record was a combined 28-16-6.  Their last game of the 1950’s was a 14-0 win over Tennessee in Knoxville that kept the Vols out of a bowl.

Something happened in 1960 that forever changed Vanderbilt’s chances to compete in the SEC.  Beginning in 1960, and becoming more liberalized for the next four seasons, the NCAA changed the rules on substitution.  Through the 1950’s, college football was one platoon football.  In other words, a team’s starting eleven on offense was also its starting eleven on defense.  Centers became linebackers. Halfbacks became defensive halfbacks.  Often, a team’s quarterback was its free safety and basically defensive quarterback.  The change in rules started with one that allowed teams to remove their quarterback from having to play on defense.  By 1964, football was 100% two platoon.  Nobody had to start on both sides of the ball any more.  Teams could basically substitute at will on every play.

At the same time, another rule changed the game.  With one platoon football, coaches could not send a player into the game with the play call decided by coaches.  They could not use signals to try to relay a play call, as this resulted in a 15-yard penalty.  Thus, quarterbacks had to be their own offensive coordinators while their team had the ball and defensive coordinators when their team was on defense.,   

Under the one platoon rule, a team with 15 to 20 good players and a smart quarterback, like Don Orr, who could be a coach on the field could compete and even thrive.  By the 1960’s, to compete in major conferences like the SEC, a team needed 40 to 50 really good players, because teams with just 10-15 good players would be worn down by multiple substitutions.  This allowed players to beef up by 50 to 100 pounds, because they no longer needed to play 60 minutes.  

Vanderbilt stopped competing at the end of 1959.  Starting in 1960, with all the rules changes, other SEC schools could dominate the Commodores in most years just by numbers alone.  Tennessee could send three sets of offensive and defensive linemen into a game and see very little reduction in talent.  Georgia could send three sets of running backs into games against a Vanderbilt defense that did not have the depth to counter the move.  Thus, in many games over the next 25 years, Vandy could keep games close for a half and even into the third quarter, before they wore down and lost.

In the 1977 season, Vanderbilt led number one Oklahoma into the fourth quarter in Norman.  They were in a tossup game with Alabama.  They led LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Kentucky for large parts of the games before falling apart in the second half.  They lost all of those games and finished 2-9.

Brief interludes allowed Vanderbilt to post a couple of winning seasons overall.  Thanks to playing five “out of conference” games and just six conference games, the Commodores were able to go 5-0 outside of the SEC in both 1974 and 1975 and enjoy winning seasons.  The 1975 team went 7-4 but was outscored by almost two to one overall and more than three to one in conference games.  Only in 1982 did Vandy compete for the SEC championship.  

Under the genius of offensive coordinator Watson Brown, the Commodores became the first SEC team in over a dozen years to pass the ball more than they ran the ball.  Vandy threw the ball 40 to 50 times a game, and other teams were not ready with planned pass defense, as most defenses were still trying to stop the veer and wishbone offenses.  A fourth quarter collapse against number one Georgia led to the Bulldogs coming back to win.  Had Vandy hung on to win that game, they would have been SEC Champions and would have gone to the Sugar Bowl rather than the Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham.

After 1982, Vanderbilt did not post a winning season until they went 7-6 in 2008.  They have only enjoyed one other winning record in conference play, in 2012.  With the 2019 season concluding in two weeks for this year’s Commodores, and with a last place finish in the SEC East already assured, let’s look at some facts from the last 60 seasons of college football in Vandyville.

In 60 years:

Vanderbilt has finished with two winning records in the SEC, and they have finished in the top 5 of the league once.

Vanderbilt has finished in last place 32 out of 60 years and in second to last place another 18, meaning in 83.3%  of the time, Vandy has finished in last place or second to last place in the SEC.

Vanderbilt has finished SEC play without a conference win 19 different times and with one conference win 22 times.  That’s 68.3% of the time that they finished with zero or one conference win.

I could go on and on and show you how many times Vanderbilt finished last in offense and in defense in conference play, and how they once lost 33 consecutive SEC games, and so on.

Since 1998, Vanderbilt has had to share Nashville with the Tennessee Titans.  The Titans won the AFC and came within a yard of winning the Super Bowl in February of 2000.  They followed that up with the best record in the NFL in 2000 and players like Eddie George, Steve McNair, Albert Haynesworth, Frank Wycheck, and others became as famous in Nashville as Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, and Babe Ruth were in New York City.

Once the Titans owned the Nashville market, Vanderbilt football attendance fell off by large numbers.  Even in the days when Vanderbilt was a perennial last place team in the SEC, Vanderbilt Stadium was full or close to full with Vanderbilt fans.  During the 1980’s, Vanderbilt public address announcer Frank Crowell would yell through the microphone for the fans in the stands to “stand up and show your gold!”  The deafening roar was so loud that the SEC opponents began to complain to the SEC that Vanderbilt held an unfair advantage, and their players could not hear their quarterbacks’ signals.  As unfair as the sideline benches were at Vandy’s Memorial Gymnasium, watching other teams jump and lose five yards for illegal procedure over and over led to the league banning Crowell’s calling for 35,000+ Vandy fans to stand up and show their gold.

As Nashville has become America’s “It” city, and 100 people began moving to town every day, the city became a new melting pot in America.  What was once a nice metropolitan area of about a half million people morphed into a major metropolis of two million in very little time.  The newcomers that came to town brought their former allegiances with them, and in a typical Saturday, you can find more people watching Big Ten football games on TV in Middle Tennessee than going to Vanderbilt games.  On a typical Saturday around Noon, if you drive to establishments showing football, you will see many out of state license plates, especially those from Illinois, Michigan, and Texas.  

Vanderbilt Stadium only sells out now when the opposing team buys 35,000 or more tickets.  At the Georgia and LSU games this year, the visiting crowd was so loud that Vanderbilt had to use silent signals in their home stadium to avoid jumping on offense and losing five yards for illegal procedure.  

As Nashville continues to become the new Los Angeles, and the majority of the sports fans in Nashville turn more and more to professional sports and continue to fill sports bars to watch their Big Ten and Pac-12 games on Saturday, Vanderbilt Stadium will continue to see fewer and fewer local fans coming to cheer the black and gold.  Even though Vanderbilt’s stadium seats 40,000, and the next smallest stadium in the SEC seats more than 61,000, there are not enough living alumni in the Nashville area to fill up Vanderbilt Stadium.  Only about 24,000 Vandy alums live within 90 minutes of Dudley Field.  At every other SEC school, there are more local alums within 90 minutes of their much larger stadiums than there are seats.  In Nashville, there are more than 5,000 Auburn alums living in the area, and most of these 5,000 will be in a seat at Vanderbilt Stadium when the Tigers make their infrequent visits to Vandy.  Obviously, the University of Tennessee dwarfs Vanderbilt in alums in the Nashville area, but there are also Nashville area alumni clubs for schools like Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky that outnumber membership of the local Vanderbilt club.  Only a small minority of Vanderbilt alumni “waste time on sports,” according to one distinguished Vandy alum I know.

Malcolm Turner has given Derek Mason a vote of confidence and a guarantee that he will continue to serve as head football coach at Vanderbilt.  What few fans that are left, and this could be as few as a couple thousand, were mostly opposed to this move.  Local media in Nashville reacted like the citizens of Nashville might have reacted had Governor Isham G. Harris stated in 1861 that Tennessee would stay in the Union. 

Coach Mason is not the reason for Vanderbilt’s 60 year inconsequential existence in the SEC during the Autumn months.  There are layers and layers of reasons why the program has failed with small peaks and large valleys through the decades.  Mason was spot on when he spoke of the program moving in waves.  In actuality, as I told a friend of mine who then posted what I said on another website, Vanderbilt has been caught up in a six-decade Tsunami, and only briefly was the football team able to poke its head above water.

There are other reasons why Vanderbilt football stands to suffer in the next decade.  The school is becoming more select when choosing its student body.  At the present time, Vanderbilt admits just one out of every 12 applicants.  That is more select than half of the Ivy League schools.  However, I have heard from faculty members that the figure of 5% has been mentioned as a future acceptance rate of applicants.

Vanderbilt does not have a Physical Education major or anything close to this.  Any student-athlete enrolling in the school is going to study more hours a day than he gets to devote to football.  Even though there are a couple of programs that athletes have been funneled toward, these are not the proverbial “basket-weaving” courses that public universities have offered for years. 

In a typical year, the top 350 high school football recruits are 4-stars with the top 25 qualifying for 5-stars.  The top SEC programs typically sign 20 to 25 players that are rated as 4-stars or 5-stars.  The next tier of SEC programs typically sign 10-20 of these top recruits.  The rest of the league, not including Vanderbilt, signs around 5 to 10 of these elite athletes.  In most years, Vanderbilt does not sign even one.  Only 16, 4-star recruits have signed with Vanderbilt in the 21st Century, according to  No 5-star player has ever signed with Vanderbilt, and the school’s historically top two recruits both transferred to other schools during their collegiate careers when they figured out that the academic load and the poor results on the field were greatly reducing their draft stock. 

This year, three Vanderbilt offensive skill players chose to remain in school for their final seasons, when they all would have been second day draft picks had they chosen to go pro, and they would have walked down Lower Broadway in Nashville to crowds of more than 200,000 football fans at the NFL Draft.  Keyshawn Vaughn, Jared Pinkney, and Kalija Lipscomb have all seen their draft status weakened.  If they had another chance, they all would have likely declared for the NFL Draft or if possible would have become immediately eligible transfers elsewhere like Jalen Hurts at Oklahoma.  All three could have chosen to finish their careers at a place like Clemson or Oregon, where a future legendary pro quarterback was leading the offense.  How many catches might Pinkney or Lipscomb made with Trevor Lawrence or Justin Herbert throwing them the ball?  Imagine Vaughn playing in the backfield at Washington State, where Mike Leach could use a 1,000-yard running back who can also catch 50 passes out of the backfield.

This next part is strictly my opinion, but as a former coach of junior high and senior high basketball programs, I have seen reasons for why Vanderbilt football has ridden the so-called waves that Coach Mason speaks of.  Rather than describe the varying degrees of lack of success sprinkled with little teases of success, I would instead refer to the generations of America.  I am no Gertrude Stein, so I don’t tend to agree with the naming of the generations from the GI Generation through today’s Generation Z youth.  I have seen changes that require more than the generational tags that are famous today.  For instance, the so-called Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1955 are not the same as those like me born between 1956 and 1964.  I was just young enough to miss Vietnam, but just old enough to remember Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald on live television.  My philosophy of life differs from my first cousin born in 1954 who saw many friends burning draft cards and leaving the US for Canada to avoid the Draft, or who fought courageously and then came home to be treated like they were coaches that went 0-12 on the football field.

For competition purposes, I separate this current young generation into two sub-groups: “Everybody Gets A Trophy” and “Every Competition Must Be Won.”   There was a time when Generation Z children competing in sports played on teams that did not keep score or standings.  Every child was a winner and nobody was a loser, and everybody received a trophy.  As a former basketball coach with a winning percentage over 80% over the course of two decades, when this became the norm, I left coaching.  Teaching our youth to play to win while playing fair and playing with sportsmanship was important to me.  Competition is important with some limits.

In recent years, as I neared the start of my golden years, I have been volunteering for a local group of kids that need organized athletic activity.  This includes basketball, baseball, and other sports.  In addition after dark during the late Fall and Winter, these kids conclude their late afternoons indoors playing air hockey, ping pong, chess, and other games.

Enough of today’s kids have gone to the other extreme from the “Everybody Gets A Trophy Kids.”   These kids play like every event is as important as the gladiators of ancient Rome.  They play for blood, and if anybody gets in their way, there is heck to pay.  If these kids I mentor were to form a basketball team, without any encouragement from me, they would play with the intensity that Bob Knight’s Indiana teams played between 1973 and 1987.  Just last week, one of these kids, a young girl, lost in a game of around the world basketball shooting for the very first time in her life.  This child has the potential to be a basketball star in high school and could have a college basketball career if she continues to grow to the height of her mother.

When she lost to a very athletic boy a year older than her, I thought she was going to destroy the building and bring it down like Samson.  She blew her top and accused the boy of cheating, which he did not.  She tried to throw a punch at him, and this is a boy that she has grown up knowing for all of their lives, as they couldn’t be any closer if they were brother and sister.

The psychology of being wrong with giving every kid a trophy has moved to the other extreme where every child believes he or she is the best and expects to win all the time.  This can only be viewed in generalities, as the term “every child” really only means that the needle has moved from 60% trophy and 40% win all the time to 60% win all the time and 40% trophy.

That 20% swing has been murder on schools like Vanderbilt.  Whereas a couple dozen of the top recruits in America might have been interested in finding out more about playing football for one of the finest academic institutions in the world, because just playing would get them a trophy, and in the meantime, that great diploma would lead to riches outside of football, today, the top recruits want to play the minimum three years and head on to the NFL.  They want to win, win, win, and appear on national television week after week where they can in the near future sell their likeness for top dollar.  Going to a top university where they would have to study many nights past Midnight and then have to worry more about that exam coming up next week than the All-American defensive end coming at them on Saturday isn’t something that appeals to enough of the top recruits that there are any left for the Vanderbilt’s of the world once the Georgia’s of the world have signed up their allotments.

The next Vaughn, Pinkney, or Lipscomb will look elsewhere to attend college.  Why ruin your chance to play in the NFL, where the backup quarterback on top college teams can become starters in the NFL?  Vanderbilt will be lucky to recruit 15, 3-star players in 2021.

Look at the rest of the NCAA FBS teams that are academic first schools.  Northwestern, Rice, and Stanford are not enjoying great years either.  Duke is on a downward spiral.  When Vanderbilt was enjoying its brief peak several years back, Stanford was making regular appearances in New Year’s Day Bowl games.  Northwestern was winning the Big Ten, and even Rice was enjoying a 10-win season.   In the past, when Vanderbilt was suffering through 33 consecutive SEC losses, Northwestern was struggling with three total wins in six years.  Rice was bringing up the rear in the old Southwest Conference.  

Vanderbilt cannot compete in the SEC in football, and the academic reputation is priceless; allowing athletes that might struggle at the high school across the street from Vanderbilt (my alma mater–University School) to attend would just not be prudent.  

Coach Mason has done a credible job in six years keeping Vanderbilt in contention to go to a bowl and he has taken the Commodores to two bowl games.  In 60 years, Vandy has been to eight bowls.  Mason has defeated Tennessee three years in a row.  The last coach to beat the Vols three years in a row was Dan McGugin in the mid 1920’s.  No other Vanderbilt coach ever beat Tennessee three times in their tenure much less three times in succession.

My belief is that eventually, Vanderbilt will not be able to afford to finance a football program at the Power Five Conference level and maybe at the FBS level.  Even with the SEC annual paycheck, the program struggles to stay solvent.  When other conference rivals enjoy $100 million annual revenues, and they have profits from $25 to $75 million a year, Vanderbilt struggles to balance their athletic books.

Basketball requires three scholarships per year to field a team of 12 players.  Vanderbilt can find three basketball recruits per year and compete against other Division 1 programs.  Of course, Vanderbilt cannot discontinue their football program and play in the SEC in other sports.  The obvious solution is to either eliminate football and play Division 1 in other sports while searching for another conference; or drop to FCS football and join an FCS conference that does not allow scholarships, while playing Division 1 in all other sports; or as an extreme de-emphasize sports altogether and go to Division III in whatever sports they need to field.

Without a football program, the football stadium can be demolished, and the property can be put to a better use, one that just might help the university move into the one top 10 that really matters to the school–The US News and World Report Top Ten of American Colleges and Universities.

There is a perfect fit for Vanderbilt in the Southern Athletic Association.  Schools in the SAA include Centre, Sewanee, Rhodes, and Millsaps.  These schools also have about the same number of dedicated football fans as Vanderbilt.


The average Vanderbilt fan may counter that Tim Corbin has given the school the best baseball program in the nation.  Corbin can recruit #1 classes year after year just like John Calipari does in basketball.  Baseball is a different affair, as only 11.7 scholarships are offered and spread among 27 students.  SEC baseball teams lose money by six-figures per season.  The sport cannot finance the rest of the athletic program.

More importantly is the loud rumor coming from Baltimore.  The Orioles’ lease at Camden Yards expires after 2021.  The long-time owner, Peter Angelos, has passed the age of 90 and is no longer able to participate in the operation of the club.  His sons have been attempting to sell the team to a local ownership group, but none have offered a reasonable price to keep the Orioles in Baltimore and renew the lease at Camden Yards.  The City of Baltimore has seen considerable decay within a mile or so of the ballpark, and night games at Oriole Park have seen fewer and fewer fans risking coming to the games to see a 100-game loser.  The Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1957 partly because Flatbush was not that safe at night.

To fuel the rumor that the Orioles might consider relocating to Nashville for the 2022 season, John Angelos, the son operating the team, recently purchased a mansion in neighboring Williamson County near I-65.  There have been rumors coming from Baltimore since May that Nashville is definitely in play to become the new home of the Orioles in 2022 if no local baron or baroness comes forward to buy the team and keep it there.  

About that same time this news began to leak, a group of heavy hitters, including Tony LaRussa, Dave Stewart, former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Starbucks CEO and briefly Presidential candidate Howard Schultz, and others have created “Music City Baseball,” with a goal of bringing Major League Baseball to the Music City and to construct a retractable dome stadium capable of also hosting basketball’s Final Four, adjacent to the Titan’s Nissan Stadium.  Among others involved in Music City Baseball are Tim Corbin and Malcolm Turner.   MLB Commissioner Ron Manfred publicly stated at the 2018 All-Star Game that Nashville was one of the cities on a short list for a future Major League team, be it a relocated team or expansion team when the league expands to 32.  Manfred explicitly stated that solving the issue of the league’s teams that do not have stadium deals in the near future would take precedence over expansion.  At the time, he referred to the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays, but now Baltimore can be added to that list. 

Oakland appeared to have its stadium issue finally solved, but recent developments have deep-sixed those plans, and the team does not have a plan in place for a new park.  The A’s could very well go with the Raiders to Las Vegas.  Tampa Bay is basically partially moving to Montreal and will play a good number of home games in Quebec.  This is a warning to the Tampa-St. Petersburg market, but the powers that be in West Florida are not listening.  The Rays will move to Montreal in the near future.

Manfred’s remaining short list cities after removing Vegas and Montreal are Portland, Nashville, and Charlotte.  If the Orioles move to Nashville, expansion teams can be placed in Portland and Charlotte, and the entire short-list mentioned by Manfred would get a team. The pieces fit in perfectly. 

If the Baltimore Orioles become the Nashville Orioles or Nashville Stars, Tim Corbin will no longer remain as head baseball coach at Vanderbilt.  He will be part of the management with the Major League team.  Malcolm Turner, recently the highly successful Commissioner of the NBA G-League, could easily slide into an upper management position or even become part of the Major League Baseball Front Office. 

It is time to move Vanderbilt’s Doomsday Clock to two minutes before Midnight.  The next five years may decide whether that clock strikes 12 or if Turner can perform miracles worthy of Sainthood and turn the clock back 60 years.

September 19, 2017

PiRate Ratings NFL Forecast For Week 3: September 21-25, 2017

This Week’s PiRate Ratings Spreads

Home Visitor PiRate Mean Bias Score
San Francisco LA Rams 3.8 3.3 3.9 41
Jacksonville (London) Baltimore -7.9 -7.8 -8.2 41
Indianapolis Cleveland 3.0 2.9 2.3 46
Chicago Pittsburgh -10.5 -10.3 -10.8 43
N. Y. Jets Miami -5.4 -6.1 -5.3 44
Buffalo Denver -4.1 -2.4 -4.4 41
New England Houston 12.0 12.1 12.4 38
Carolina New Orleans 6.0 6.0 6.4 58
Minnesota Tampa Bay -0.5 0.7 -1.1 41
Detroit Atlanta -0.7 0.5 -1.1 56
Philadelphia N. Y. Giants 4.0 2.5 5.3 36
Tennessee Seattle 2.9 2.8 3.0 43
LA Chargers Kansas City -3.5 -4.0 -3.8 48
Green Bay Cincinnati 9.1 9.5 8.7 44
Washington Oakland -2.5 -3.6 -1.9 53
Arizona Dallas -0.2 1.1 -0.2 48


The AFC West Could Have The Three Best Teams In The NFL
How could it be that the three best teams in the NFL might all play in the same division? Is it possible that Oakland, Kansas City, and Denver are the top three teams? You’d get a good argument from fans in New England, Atlanta, and maybe Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but through two weeks of the season, it is hard to say that any of the other teams outside of the AFC West are better than the top three.

Oakland owns a win at Tennessee, the team picked to win the AFC South by a majority of prognosticators. Kansas City won at New England, a team that many thought could go 16-0 this year. Denver blew Dallas off the field Sunday. All three teams are 2-0, and it is possible that all three teams will win double digit games this year.

Guess what? This isn’t the first time this division has been so strong. Let’s return to the golden age of yesteryear. Set the time travel clock back to 1967 and 1968. The old American Football League’s West Division had the same four teams as today’s AFC West–Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders (The Cincinnati Bengals would join in 1968).
Oakland had the incredible mad bomber Daryle Lamonica throwing lasers to Warren Wells and Fred Biletnikoff with bruising running backs Hewritt Dixon, Clem Daniels, and Pete Banaszak, and the Raiders’ offense was maybe one of the best of all time during that era. The Silver and Black attack topped 32 points per game in consecutive seasons. The Raider defense featured stars in all three units. Tom Keating and the inimitable Ben Davidson kept the FTD Florist company in business, as relatives of injured NFL quarterbacks frequently ordered get-well bouquets for their injured heroes. Dan Conners was one of the top middle linebackers in the game in an era where this position usually was the most important of all. The secondary was tough with stars Willie Brown and Kent McCloughan at the corners.

Kansas City played a more ball-controlled offense than Oakland, but their defense was just as dominating as the Raiders, and it made for the best rivalry in the history of organized football. The Chiefs offense was led by Len Dawson, the most accurate passer in the AFL. Dawson did not throw as many deep balls, but he had the arm and accuracy. With incredible run support from Mike Garrett, Robert Holmes, and Wendell Hayes, the Chiefs ran the ball more than the rest of the AFL during this time, and it allowed their great defense to stay on the sidelines for longer stretches. When KC’s defense took the field, it was a red storm. Tackle Buck Buchanan was the biggest defender in the league. Teams usually ran away from him, which funneled the ball carrier toward another star, end Jerry Mays.

The linebacker corps may have been the best trio of all time. Willie Lanier was the cream of the crop of middle linebackers. Bobby Bell and Jim Lynch manned the outside spots, and this group was responsible for stopping opponents from converting first downs on third and short. On the back line, Johnny Robinson was one of the top two or three safeties in the 10-year history of the AFL, if not the best. Emmitt Thomas was the equal of Oakland’s Brown on the outside.

San Diego had been the dominant AFL West team during the first half of the decade. The Chargers won the AFL West Five of the first six years. Beginning with the Chiefs-Raiders dominance in 1966 and carrying through the 1970’s, the Chargers continued to be a very good team, just not quite up to the standards of the big two. San Diego was known to get off to great starts and then fade in the last four weeks of the season. In 1966, San Diego was just a half-game behind Kansas City after eight weeks, but they finished 7-6-1 losing four of their last six. In 1967, the Chargers were 8-1-1 through 10 games, just a half-game behind Oakland at 9-1. The two teams squared off in the AFL Game of the Year in San Diego. The Chargers briefly looked like they had what it took to win that day, before Oakland wore them down and Lamonica tore the Chargers’ secondary to shreds. Oakland finished 13-1, while the Chargers lost all the rest of their games to fall to 8-5-1, good for third place. In 1968, through 10 games, the Chargers stood at 8-2, tied with Oakland and a half-game behind Kansas City, who had played 11 games and was 9-2. Once again, the Chargers crashed in December, falling to 9-5, while Oakland and Kansas City won out to finish tied at 12-2 (Oakland won in a playoff).

If we look at history in this division, two of the three current dominating teams should continue to dominate week after week, while the third team will eventually fall back. Having to play four games against the other two powers will take its toll on all three teams, and it figures that one team will have a tough time recovering from the beatings. Statistically, we could be looking at one team finishing 12-4, one team finishing 11-5, and the third team falling to 9-7. Of course, this could be totally off base, and all three teams could be on their way to finishing between 12-4 and 10-6. All three teams could easily make the playoffs, as it looks unlikely that the AFC East or AFC South will produce a wild card team this year.

Only Thrice in 62 Years!
Can you name the NFL team that has won its division only three times in the last 62 years? Obviously, 62 years back means this team has to be an original NFL team. That should make it easy for you. In the last 62 seasons, The Detroit Lions won their three Black and Blue Division titles in 1983, 1991, and 1993. They have been the bridesmaid more times than any other team during that period, finishing second 16 times through the years.

With Minnesota and Green Bay showing numerous liabilities through two weeks of the season, could this finally be the year that Matthew Stafford guides the Lions to the top of the NFC North? Might there be a playoff victory coming to Ford Field? The last time the Lions won a playoff game, it happened at the old Pontiac Silverdome. Detroit slaughtered Dallas that day in 1991 by a score of 38-6. It wasn’t the great Barry Sanders that did all the damage. Quarterback Erik Kramer had a career day against the Cowboys, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns, while the Lions’ defense picked off two passes and sacked Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman three times.

The Offense Continues to Rest
Through two weeks of play, the median NFL score is just 19 points, down four points from last year’s total. You have to go back to 1993 to find less scoring for an entire season. The NFL total TV ratings are down by a huge amount this year through the first two weeks of the season. While many in the political world believe it has to do with players refusing to stand for the National Anthem, we tend to believe that the average fan doesn’t really pay attention to that factor. The game has become boring. Teams no longer pass the ball down the field vertically. Quarterbacks rarely throw the ball more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. When it’s 3rd and 12, they throw a five-yard pass, hoping the receiver can run for another seven. Running games have come down to three basic types–a line plunge, a stretch, and a draw. All 32 teams look identical, like they must share one playbook.

Why do we believe that the ratings are down simply due to boring games and not due to political issues? There is a very simple explanation for our beliefs. Throughout the nation, there is unrest on the university campuses from coast to coast. Riots, vandalism, assaults, and the like are on the rise, and civil unrest is more the norm than the deviant behavior. Some colleges are redefining what is free speech. The same people that would theoretically have issues with this change of sociology and would be likely to turn off college football games just like they would turn off NFL games due to similar unrest have yet to turn away. In fact, college football ratings are on the rise, gaining about as much as the NFL is losing.

Therefore, it is our belief that total football TV ratings are about on par with their historical averages. The change is that more people are now watching on Saturday than ever before, while Sunday viewing is sinking. It is obvious why this is so. College football is quite a bit more entertaining.

In the college game, you have multiple offensive philosophies. Even when multiple teams run the identical spread offense, there are many variations. Arizona’s and New Mexico’s spread offenses are basically 21st Century wishbone offenses that have evolved. Ohio State’s and Auburn’s spread offenses resemble the old single wing offenses of way back. Oklahoma’s and Clemson’s spread offenses look more like the old NFL Shotgun offenses and the really old TCU Spread of the 1950s. You also have smash-mouth T offenses with Michigan and others. You still have standard triple option offenses at Army, Navy, Air Force, Tulane, and Georgia Tech. There is variety, and on top of the varying offenses, there are numerous philosophies on how to implement these offenses.

It also doesn’t hurt the college game that the average fan can choose between four or five games at 12 PM, 3:30 PM, and 7 PM Eastern time, while the NFL does not give that option to the fans. If you live in an NFL city, you get your team’s game, and if they are at home, you get only your team’s game. CBS and Fox have to take turns getting double header games, so if your team is at home when its regular network (CBS for AFC and Fox for NFC) doesn’t have a double header, you get just one Sunday afternoon game.

The NFL has to understand that just because somebody lives in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, or Jacksonville, it does not mean they have lived there their entire lives. Actually, in the rapidly expanding metropolis cities of the Sunny South, more fans have moved into this area from colder and less financially lucrative cities. Take Nashville for instance. The city gains 100 new residents every day. In the last three football seasons, 109,500 new residents have added to the Music City’s metro population. Of that 100K plus, a large number moved from New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Tampa-St. Pete, Detroit, Cincinnati, Washington DC, and Dallas. Of the football fans, many remain fans of their former city and have no ties with the Titans. Go to a local sports-themed eatery on Sunday afternoon, and you will find as many fans of other teams watching their former city’s team play than there are fans at LP Field watching the Titans.

If the NFL was smart, it would drop their holier than thou elite beliefs and realize that it might be today’s Walmart having to face the new reality that there is now a better option called Amazon, and the fans have discovered this option.


This Week’s NFL PiRate Ratings

East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
New England 106.4 107.0 106.3 106.5 24
Miami 99.6 99.8 99.3 99.6 23
Buffalo 97.5 98.2 97.7 97.8 22
N. Y. Jets 91.2 90.7 91.0 91.0 21
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Pittsburgh 105.9 106.1 105.8 106.0 22
Baltimore 103.4 103.5 103.7 103.5 18
Cincinnati 97.0 97.4 97.0 97.2 16
Cleveland 94.4 94.8 94.8 94.6 21
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Tennessee 101.0 101.1 100.5 100.9 25
Houston 97.4 97.8 96.9 97.4 14
Jacksonville 95.5 95.7 95.4 95.5 23
Indianapolis 95.4 95.7 95.0 95.4 25
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Oakland 105.4 106.0 105.1 105.5 28
Kansas City 105.2 105.4 105.6 105.4 22
Denver 104.6 103.6 105.1 104.4 19
LA Chargers 99.8 99.3 99.8 99.6 26
East PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Dallas 103.4 102.4 103.3 103.1 23
Philadelphia 101.3 100.1 102.2 101.2 22
Washington 99.3 98.9 99.7 99.3 25
N.Y. Giants 99.3 99.6 98.9 99.3 14
North PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Green Bay 103.2 103.9 102.7 103.3 28
Detroit 102.4 103.2 102.4 102.7 23
Minnesota 98.7 99.0 98.8 98.8 18
Chicago 92.9 93.4 92.5 92.9 21
South PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Atlanta 105.6 105.2 106.1 105.6 33
Tampa Bay 102.3 101.3 102.9 102.2 23
Carolina 101.4 100.5 101.7 101.2 25
New Orleans 98.4 97.5 98.4 98.1 33
West PiRate Mean Bias Avg Totals
Seattle 101.2 101.3 100.5 101.0 18
Arizona 100.2 100.5 100.1 100.3 25
San Francisco 92.5 92.3 92.5 92.4 23
LA Rams 91.2 91.5 91.1 91.3 18

To estimate a game’s total points scored, add both teams’ totals.



December 15, 2014

PiRate Picks–Conte/Dawn Are Champions Of Their League

Filed under: News & Views — Tags: , , , , , , — piratings @ 8:36 pm

If I told you today I was going to editorialize on a subject living in the San Francisco Bay area, and I gave you 100 guesses you would not figure out what this editorial would cover.

Some of you know my wife and me from our touring of Route 66, so you would maybe guess I was going to discuss the terminus of the equally famous Lincoln Highway, a trip we shall one day take from Times Square to Lincoln Park. You would be wrong.

Most of you that know me might incorrectly guess I was prepared to discuss whether Jim Harbaugh’s 2015 paychecks will be deposited in a bank in Oakland, CA, Ann Arbor, MI, Miami, or possibly East Rutherford, NJ, maybe even Storrs, CT, home of ESPN.

When given the clue to think professional entertainment and something that has meaning to me, you would quickly guess I was prepared to discuss either Festus Ezeli of the Golden State Warriors or Sonny Gray of the Oakland Athletics, two former Vanderbilt athletes that I covered as a Vanderbilt sports beat writer when I returned briefly for a three-year fling in print journalism following a career in construction.

If I told you this editorial would include something tied to the Stanford Cardinal, you would quickly but incorrectly believe this was an editorial dealing with Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason, who was the Stanford defensive coordinator prior to coming to Vandy.

If I further gave you the clue to think Stanford and music, you would still guess incorrectly, sure that I was going to discuss their infamous marching band, be it their numerous controversies through the years, or “The Play,” which prevented John Elway from ever appearing in a bowl game and the Cardinal from facing my Commodores in the 1982 Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham, AL.

Yes, this is definitely the last editorial you would ever expect me to publish. A certain place has indeed frozen over today. Many of you reading this know me, the founder of the PiRate Ratings. If you don’t, then here is a little something about me that is pertinent to today’s contribution.

I live in Music City, U.S.A., otherwise known as Nashville. I am the outcast of this burg, as I cannot play an instrument, not even a kazoo. Vocally, the song “Hot Cross Buns” is two musical notes outside my singing range. In other words, in a town with a metropolitan population of 1.9 million, I am number 1.9 million when it comes to musical talent of any kind.

I am a math-nerd, ex-coach, sports and financial “stathead,” and maybe number one when it comes to sports trivia prior to the year 1970. You won’t stump me on naming the starting lineup of the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, or even the 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates. I can look at a picture of any Major League baseball park taken between 1904 and 1960 and tell you the name of the stadium and the dimensions of the foul lines, power alleys, and center, even in a place like old Braves Field in Boston, which sometimes changed annually or weekly. When others hung posters of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, or other bands, I hung posters of The Polo Grounds, Griffith Stadium, and Forbes Field.

So, what am I doing writing an editorial about an independent music group based out of the San Francisco Bay area?

For starters, my wife is the polar opposite of me in musical talent and knowledge. She has a beautiful soprano voice and has played percussion and keyboard instruments in her past, performing on stage in some big-time locales. She once co-owned a punk rock record label, published a music industry newspaper, and studied sound-engineering in London with Nick Lowe, working in the studio while Elvis Costello’s band, The Attractions, recorded their solo album.

My sweet soul mate has also worked for some country crooner named Garth, so she knows what she is talking about when she comments on music. She also knows what goes into making it financially in the music business, “warts and all.” You could say she would qualify as an expert witness.

Let’s start in autumn of 2010. Autumn is the time of the year where you dare not turn a television set on if you loathe seasonal retail commercials being shoved in your face, even if you only watch news, weather, and sports. By December 1, it is enough to make the average person with a modicum of intelligence ill, or what I call Christmas/Chanukah “ad-nauseum.”

In the past 20 years, I can only think of two commercials where I did not mind being bombarded with seeing it repeated 10-20 times a week. One was the old Norelco Shaver ad where Santa Claus slid down the snowy slope riding on the shaver. The other was this very unique set of three Hyundai automobile ads with the cutest TV couple singing and playing instruments and showing incredible stage presence with Q-ratings that had to be at the top of the profession (unlike my Q-rating which was lower than the old test pattern.)

Three separate ads aired four years ago and featured different Christmas carols—“Up on the Housetop,” “Deck the Halls,” and “Jingle Bells.” Each ad was a breath of fresh air, the anti-establishment auto ad. Normally, both my wife and I would not glance at a TV ad, but we not only watched the 30-second mini-cinemas with total attention, we wanted more. We were sad to see the campaign end.

Thinking the two actors in this ad could not be so incredibly talented and also be the actual artists performing the music, we did what any inquisitive person does in the 21st Century; we did a search online and discovered that this couple was indeed a real couple and had performed the music. What a talented duo these two were!

Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn make up the band known as “Pomplamoose.” Pomplamoose is an Americanized spelling of the French word “pamplemousse,” French for grapefruit (see I did pay attention in Francais 404, Madame Stewart).

We discovered that the boyfriend/girlfriend duo had a couple other interesting videos and played in a few venues near their home on the West Coast. And, then we sort of forgot about them by January.

As the “season” returned again in October of this year, I turned to my wife and noted that it was sad that Hyundai did not use that cute young couple to do their Christmas ads again. So, being old enough that I could no longer remember their names, I searched online to discover Conte and Dawn again.

Here is where good ole PiRate bad luck struck yet again. I performed this search to rediscover Pomplamoose, mostly for my wife, only to find that Conte and Dawn had performed in Nashville the night before! Oy Vey, such a poor Schlimazel I am! It would have been the perfect early anniversary gift to bequeath to my utmost.

Nashville received a dose of early rotten weather soon after, and we stayed indoors a lot. My wife proceeded to find everything Pomplamoose and then what Conte and Dawn performed separately.

Her highly qualified opinion: Pomplamoose is a work of pure genius combined with supreme talent! Dawn’s voice has no equals in the genre. To be more exact, since she sings all her back-up music as well, Dawn has the five best voices in the genre.

Conte and Dawn are the 21st Century equivalent of a combination of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Their mastery of electronics gives their music a unique flair with this incredible ability to borrow from multiple songs and sew them together into what sounds like an original composition. Their own original music is even better than those they cover.

Conte is not satisfied with music alone. He is also part Mark Zuckerberg, part Perry Chen, and part Rob Kalin. He founded “Patreon,” the newest and easiest to use online crowdfunding site.

Let’s return to the present. Since re-acquainting ourselves with Pomplamoose, yours truly, the least musically talented and until recently the least musically knowledgeable resident of Nashville, has become as competent in “Pomplamusic” as he is with Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds.

I can recognize “Get That Body Back,” “Fight Back,” “Centrifuge,” and “Bust Your Kneecaps,” in three notes. Their songs are hypnotic; they dominate your subconscious, so much so that you might wonder if the two Stanford grads might know a bit about Neuro-linguistic Programming, as Stanford excels in all fields of psychology.

This 100% analytical-thinking PiRate normally arises most mornings wondering if the line on the Packers-Bears game needs to be adjusted by a half-point based on the weather forecast or whether Ted Williams was better than Stan Musial, or whether his aged bladder going on its sixth decade will hold out long enough to make the 30-foot dash to the bathroom. Since October, Ted Williams and Stan Musial have been replaced by all the exceptionally creative videos put out by Conte and Dawn.

How talented are these two? They create and construct all the props for their videos. They produce and direct themselves, showing you warts and all. They are incredible actors, better than most of the non-talents in Hollywood today. In fact, their videos are comparable with Silent Movies, and Conte and Dawn could be compared to Buster Keaton and Clara Bow, as Conte can pull off all facial expressions, and Dawn certainly has “It.”

This editorial is not an attempt to throw sugar all over the joint. I chose to write this not because Pomplamoose is a breath of fresh air in the music world; to paraphrase one of their mashups, “It’s all about the cash, no profits.”

As many of you know, I am all about the stats, and the business of music grabs my attention more than the music itself. When Conte recently published an account of their recent tour and how it financially lost money but could be treated as the best possible advertisement for their business as well as a gift to their fans, the music critics of the world piled on their contempt of his breaking down the fourth wall and letting the public know “the inside” of their business.

For what it’s worth, Pomplamoose is part of a new breed of performers relying on the Internet to generate revenue. This is their business, and they are in this business to make money, just like my wife creates and designs jewelry to sell in order to make money so she can then purchase songs online, among other things.

I find it an utter outrage that the music critics believe there is something wrong with letting your patrons know exactly where you stand. I believe it is a wonderful act on Conte’s part to reveal this. Whether they want to be or not, Conte and Dawn are mentors for hundreds if not thousands of aspiring independent artists wishing to use the same protocol to become successful at their craft. They are more than artists; they are also leaders by example. Conte and Dawn could easily put all their supportive information that the public can use into an e-book and charge $25 to learn what they are revealing as a courtesy, while also further placing themselves deeper in the hearts and minds of their fans.

Music critics differ from me in only one way. We both have no musical talent. However, I admit my insufficiencies in this realm, while most of the critics try to impress you with their knowledge and make you believe they know what’s what, when in reality, all they want to do is find whatever negative things they can find and retaliate against those that do have the talent they believe they deserved to have and didn’t have bequeathed upon them by our creator, while attempting to make the public believe they actually know what they are talking about.

Because I can in some offbeat way commiserate with Conte and Dawn, I will try to explain why I believe Pomplamoose received all this undeserved consternation from the negative nabobs of the meaningless part of the fourth estate.

Several years ago, while I was a working member in sports radio, I aired my ratings and picks against the spread, performing about as successfully as I do now—picking every college and NFL game and hitting around 75% winners and 55% winners against the spread. A couple of weeks in 1981, when I happened to hit a hot streak and extend that success to hitting around 90% straight winners and 75% against the spread, it was assumed that I was making money hand over fist and milking Las Vegas dry. In truth, I did not then nor have ever wagered actual money on any football game. The only sporting events I have ever wagered real money on were horse races—and then just claiming and allowance races, none of which would ever excite you the reader to develop an interest in reading.

So, in early 1982, I made a remark in passing on air that I loved radio but hated empty refrigerators. You would have thought I admitted to being the man behind the Grassy Knoll in Dallas on 11-22-63. It was just assumed that I was as wealthy then as Jimmy The Greek or today’s Billy Walters. How dare I claim poverty, when I was so successful giving out winners in advance on a clear channel flamethrower AM radio station that reached 28 states plus Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba at night and could even be picked up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, if conditions were cooperative? It was assumed I was making money as fast as Vegas could put out the odds.

To be like Mr. Conte, in 1982, I made exactly $5 an hour working in radio. I made an additional $35 per game serving as a spotter and statistician for the Vanderbilt University football and basketball telecasts, which in those days were on late at night on tape delay.

While I would soon leave the field which I loved to become a general contractor for the next two decades, when I made this quick reference on the radio, I was accused of laundering money, spending the money on a mistress, and many other options of vice. It was 100% truthful; my refrigerator was more empty than full.

The music critic ogres automatically assume that because Pomplamoose has a prior five-year track record that includes successful nationwide commercial advertisement success; millions of hits on their Youtube sites; a loyal following of thousands; and the creation of a large crowdfunding site, they must be quite wealthy.

Wealthy or not, why does it matter if Pomplamoose profits or loses 10 grand on a tour? Let’s look at some facts. First, tickets were quite affordable. In Nashville, I discovered that they only cost $12 for a really nice venue, where everybody in attendance was as close to the stage as the field box seats at Dodger Stadium are to home plate.

Let’s compare this to the cost of the Grand Ole Opry. This Friday, December 19, the Opry will make its annual trek back in time and return to “The Mother Church,” the historic Ryman Auditorium. The Ebbets Field of Nashville is equally cozy, and there is not a bad seat in the house. The special guest Friday night is Clare Bowen, the Australian muse who plays Scarlett O’Connor in the ABC TV show “Nashville.” Her voice is angelic, maybe second to Ms. Dawn’s voice. If you want a ticket to this show, the cheapest you could theoretically find if tickets remained would be $30. If you want to sit close enough to see Bowen’s eyes, it will cost $70. Bowen is quite an entertainer, but Pomplamoose is better.

Pomplamoose spent a lot of money on quality lighting for their show. In Youtube clips where I have seen their concerts, this lighting was an excellent addition, and it served as an excellent catalyst in the success of the shows.

Pomplamoose hired musicians and other crew members to work on this tour and paid them a weekly salary. What I cannot understand is why this caused the music critics to cry out like they had committed a major felony. I know nothing about operations of the music business, but wasn’t slavery outlawed by the 13th Amendment just prior to President Lincoln’s assassination (yes, I also paid attention in American History 505 Ms. Teaff)? The last time I checked, in this country, one is not allowed to contract labor and not compensate them. Yes, there are things called internships, but in reality, interns are compensated in non-monetary ways.

Still, what does it matter if the band profited or lost money on this tour? The critics should shut up and comment only on the performance, the only part of the business for which they are semi-qualified to judge. Maybe Bloomberg TV could break down Conte’s financing and Trish Regan could explain where the tour might have been able to eke out a small profit, but who is Bob Lefsetz to criticize anything in the financial world? His MBA and PhD from Harvard, Wharton, The University of Chicago, Stanford, or my beloved Owen School at Vanderbilt University does not seem to exist. Am I missing something? This bottom of the barrel critic with fewer readers of his blog than my no-frills sites has the chutzpah to try to denigrate the wonderful breaking down of the fourth wall that Conte has allowed us to enter and see the entire process, warts and all?

My conclusion: Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn are superiorly talented in multiple facets of the Independent music production process in the 2010’s. As Conte reports, Pomplamoose has not “made it,” but they are “making it.” There have been numerous successes in six years, and it has allowed Pomplamoose to tour and lose 10 grand without sinking their incredible ship. Think of it as a gift to their fans, or almost the price of one of those 2011 Hyundai Elantra’s that to this day, I can remember thanks to their most unique television ads.

I have but one piece of criticism to offer Mr. Conte—get thy right knee on the Earth and ask for Ms. Dawn’s hand in marriage. It is a myth that becoming betrothed to your beloved ruins the relationship. On the contrary, it takes something great and makes it even better. On this, I can attest to being the expert. I proposed to my soul mate 15 years ago, and it has now been 15 years of bliss. She is the 99.9% that completes me, and I am sure you feel that Nataly must do the same for you.
Find Pomplamoose at:

Reminder: The quarterfinal round of the computer simulated college football playoffs will be published Tuesday at this site.

The PiRate College Football Bowl and Playoff predictions, and the current NFL ratings and prediction for week 15 and the NFL Playoffs will be published at our website Tuesday afternoon—

Chanukah Sameach &
Merry Christmas
From the PiRate Family

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