Tag Archives: CBS

The Oversaturation Killing the NFL is Good for College Football

All this time, the NFL has seemed so bullet-proof, but we’re seeing vulnerability in the armor. People aren’t watching as much, and they don’t like the way the product is being dispersed.

What plagues the professional game actually seems to aid college football. While we understand Saturday remains the best day to see the best games, we don’t feel like the occasional Thursday or Friday games are scheduled to do us dirty.

You want to play one of these games on the moon at 4 o’clock on a Tuesday, College Football fans will adjust. Just tell them when/where the tailgate is, and they’re cool.

Tell an NFL fan that Sunday Ticket is only offering a game that his antenna won’t in the late spot on Sunday, and they’re livid with London and Thursday Night Football. The presentation of the NFL game is too clean for fans to adapt to these random game-time windows.

College Football fans see Thursday, and now also Tuesday and Wednesday, as an opportunity to showcase a game that might be buried on ESPNU or some dreaded streaming option at noon on Saturday.

Western Michigan is the “Other” Team

Last Tuesday, the nation’s “other” unbeaten team had the undivided attention of the College Football diehards in Muncie. Maybe a 32-point win over Ball State isn’t that sexy on paper, but did you see what Corey Davis did?

Do you feel anything was flukey about Western Michigan’s 9-0 start? Maybe you understand the pecking order, and where the Mid-American Conference gets pecked. Maybe there’s an obligation to qualify the two road wins over the Big Ten by reminding everyone that Illinois was one of those wins. Maybe you wonder if the MAC juggernaut deserves to be on the field with a mid-major darling like Boise State.

Friday night, by the way, a nationwide audience was given a chance to watch the other Broncos bounce back from their first loss of the season, which happened on October 29.

Remember the 80s?

Just for kicks, you could have watched games involving Oklahoma and Colorado last Thursday. Maybe something like that would have excited you more 25-30 years ago, but those games affect the outcome of the Big 12 and Pac-12, because the present is weird.

You love it, and it takes nothing away from Saturday afternoon or evening.

Election Threads and Football on the Diamond

This coming Tuesday, Eastern Michigan will continue a semi-annual MAC tradition of paying homage to democracy with Election Day uniforms, back in Muncie–for #MACtion. Speaking of everyone’s favorite non-defense-playing conference, you’ll be sure to see Cubs fans from DeKalb to Northern Ohio trolling Guaranteed Rate Field on Chicago’s south side this Wednesday.

It’s football at a baseball stadium. Yeah, Northwestern and Illinois got Wrigley on a Saturday, and GameDay went to Wrigleyville. This next chapter in the great Toledo-Northern Illinois saga might get Roy Philbott, Rocky Boiman, and an ESPN2 production crew to urban Illinois on a school night.

Does Anyone Get Pac-12 Network?

Thursday, we get Utah in the Valley of the Sun, for the FS1 weekend preview. It’s up to the Utes to prove that anyone other than Washington is worth a damn in that conference. This game isn’t being stolen from ABC at 3:30, but more likely from a channel you don’t get, even if you live in Phoenix or Salt Lake City.

NBC is Glad It’s You, Not Them

CBS gave you three games on Saturday, just as they would when they have London and the 1 PM/4 PM doubleheader on Sunday. They got Notre Dame because they have Navy rights. Notre Dame lost again; great moment for Navy. Is College Football worse off for the Irish’s 3-6 campaign?

I doubt CBS or Navy care. They’re going to care about records a lot more in December when they’re selling some lousy SEC East team’s upset potential against Alabama in Atlanta.

Hurts Donut?

Speaking of the Tide, Jalen Hurts may have provided the only offensive spark for Alabama in a 10-0 win in Death Valley at night. There’s a joke to be told including Alabama’s quarterback’s last name and a breakfast food that looks like a zero, but I’m striking out.

The networks are hitting it out of the park though and in doing so, they’ve won us over with quantity over quality. More may mean too much on Sunday, but we love it on Saturday, Thursday, and sometimes Tuesday.

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Seeking a Friend for the Worst NFL Game Ever

If you were watching the NFL Network, it was right there at the top of your screen, counting down and tormenting you. In all fairness, some of the players families and a few sad souls in Northern Florida and the state of Tennessee might legitimately be looking forward to this mess, but I can’t say I’m acquainted with any of them. Of course, I’m nothing if not human, so I pity everyone that’s obligated to watch the Titans and Jaguars on Thursday, unless they’re doing so from one of the poolside cabanas at Everbank Stadium. Then again, it’s mid-December and it’s going to be around 56 degrees at kickoff in Jacksonville, so I feel sorry for them, but I mostly just feel sorry for myself.

If I’m forced to sell this game to the public, and keep in mind that I’m not, I don’t know where to start. Both teams are 2-12, and you’d say both teams would be in tank mode, if only Jacksonville didn’t have a somewhat promising future with Blake Bortles and less of a need for Oregon’s Marcus Mariota to save the day. Only the Bears have allowed more points this season than the Titans, and no team has scored fewer than the Jaguars, so something has to give.

The more I’ve thought about wasting three hours of a Thursday night with this thing, the more I think about the final minutes I’ll spend on my death bed, wondering why I didn’t make better use of my healthy years. I know, if I were to watch this one, I’d be watching it alone. Seriously, how do I convince someone to spend the time with me, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, and Tracy Wolfson…on a Thursday?

I’ve thought about women. I’ve thought about beer. I’ve thought about “making it interesting”. I’ve joked, as comedian Larry Miller did long before me, that the female presence dictated where I went and how long I’ve stayed places in the past, but what female is going to spend any night within a week of Christmas watching the tandem of Ken Whisenhunt and Chas Whitehurst on a Thirsty Thursday?

Aside from Blake Bortles partner, I’m not sure these are the type of ladies with whom you’d want to share their company. Unless your beer is laced with the type of substance that turns Allen Hurns into a rejuvenate Keanan McCardell, literally every gin-joint from Chula Vista to Fairport, Maine is a better option. And, have as much fun as you’d like with the wagers in this one; the home team is favored by a field goal and the over/under is 40, but I’m not sure any amount of money is going to be a worthwhile return on the 180 minutes or so of your time. Unless, “trick-shot quarterback”, yes that’s a thing, Alex Tanney gets on the field, the NFL Network will bring as much interesting content as three hours of dead air.

Still, I find myself facing the Family Circus Dilemma from the movie “Go”, admittedly a guilty pleasure of mine.

“Okay. You sit down and read your paper, and you’re enjoying your entire two-page comics spread. Right? And then there’s the Family fucking Circus, bottom right-hand corner, just waiting to suck.”

-Timothy Olyphant (as Todd Gaines in Go)

So, the game is on National TV, as if that means something. There might be alternatives. Big Bang Theory is running a repeat from December, so that’s out. The NBA is featuring Oklahoma City and Golden State, so that’s got some promise. Ditto for the Habs and Ducks on the ice, but these are sports that play 82-game seasons and start their post-seasons in about four months. This is my last chance to see a meaningful professional football game until after Labor Day. Alright, I most definitely could not type that last sentence with a straight face, but the bottom line is that I can’t not watch this game.

CraigsListTitansJags

Escape From the S-E-C

Simple, little events can do so much to change the way we see things and how we feel about them.  We might not appreciate how good it feels, after being antagonized by something for so long, to be past that albatross.  A little reflection upon the 2013 College Football season has left me grateful the enlightenment I experienced in the wake of the most recent Championship Game.

It’s hard to believe the days before the BCS were a half a lifetime ago, literally half of my life. Granted, we were all victims to the limited coverage we were offered way back then, but I don’t exactly recall the national networks picking up the SEC games very frequently. It’s not a slight on them; they usually had a Top 10 team in the Sugar Bowl and lord knows Ohio State couldn’t hang with any of their teams on New Year’s Day, but it goes to show that the Southeastern Conference was never anything special in my formative years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDoZ0Nf5nbw

I’d never personally heard anyone refer to a team by the pedigree of their conference before that night in 2005, just minutes after Vince Young and Texas upset Ohio State in Columbus. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, LSU was playing a “home game” against Arizona State at Sun Devil Stadium, a game the Sun Devils let get away in the end. That’s when I heard it.

“You can’t do that against an S-E-C team.”

Then, I heard it again.

“The S-E-C is going to make you pay for that.”

Really? The whole conference? When the game ended in defeat for ASU, it was more of the same; I eventually had to look and make sure that it was still Louisiana State playing in Tempe, and not some compilation of all-star student athletes from the Gulf region.

I guess it was more of a warning shot than anything else, something that should have prepared me for the hype machine that would steam-roll the world of College Football for nearly an entire decade. It wasn’t quite that long, six full seasons of College Football, plus a day that brought in this new age in January of 2007. I have to admit I was a little bit surprised, by everything.

I expected Florida to have a similar showing to what Miami brought to the desert four years earlier, which was a weak showing. And though Ohio State was playing in Arizona in January for the fourth time in five years, I still expected an overwhelming delegation of Scarlet and Gray. Things were different this time around, the schools had more of a 50/50 representation, and this SEC tidal wave had hit the Valley of the Sun.

It didn’t just hit the local area; it hit the Buckeyes on the field, where they suffered a 41-14 defeat. It was the third BCS Championship for the Southeastern Conference in the series’ nine-year existence, but Florida’s first since 1996. The fans sang that, “it’s great to be…a Florida Gator,” but throughout the game the dominant chant was, “S-E-C, S-E-C, S-E-C.”

It didn’t add up for me. Why give your league credit, when it’s your school, not the other eleven you erroneously include with that nonsense, that deserves the glory. I thought about it; maybe I don’t have a good perspective on this because Ohio State’s distaste for Michigan is so intense that I’d never want another Big Ten school have the glory. But, then there’s Arizona State; Pac-10 rival USC had claimed two consecutive AP National Championships, but the jubilation was more in tune locally when Texas denied them a third at the 2006 Rose Bowl. In every professional sport I take interest in, the teams I desire the worst things for happen to be in the same division as my favorite teams.

A year later, almost to the day, Ohio State ends up on the field with the Southeastern Conference’s champion once again; this time it’s Louisiana State in the state of Louisiana. I didn’t take the trip to New Orleans, but I heard it was more of that chant in the atmosphere around the game and saw a similar result on the field. LSU had won their second championship in five years, coincidentally on the same field. A week earlier, Florida lost to Michigan in Florida, but those Florida fans were happy for their conference foe, and it was if Ohio State losing was more important in Gainesville than the Gators winning.

In the following years, it became less about Ohio State and more about getting one team from the league into the big game. While the Buckeyes were forced into a consolation game with Texas, the Gators were back at it again, taking down Oklahoma for the second title in three years, while Alabama lost to Utah in the Sugar Bowl. It was all good in Alabama though; their mighty SEC brother kept the championship in the conference, and the chants continued.

Alabama got theirs the next season, besting Big 12 Champ Texas in Pasadena, giving the conference their 4th straight title, but Alabama’s first since Bear Bryant put them atop the College Football World in 1979. The next season, the conference and the state of Alabama were back at it, but this time it was Cam Newton and Auburn against Oregon in Glendale. The Ducks gave the best effort we’d seen in SEC’s 5-year run, but it was not to be in the end.

A sixth title for the conference was inevitable when the final poll had the SEC West Division Runner-Up at #2, behind the conference’s champion. LSU, the SEC Champion, became the first league champion since Georgia in 2005 not to bring the title home, but that’s really only a matter of a technicality since it was Alabama who took them down, avenging their November loss to the Tigers at home, their only loss of the 2011 season. In 2012, Alabama made quick work of previously undefeated Notre Dame in Miami for back-to-back championships, leaving only one more season for the conference to put a stamp on the BCS era.

It seems so silly, to want it to end. At this point, it had become like rooting for the Washington Generals. I felt like Gary and Ace’s nemesis on TV Funhouse’s Ambiguously Gay Duo; all he ever wanted was concrete confirmation that these faux superheroes were gay, leading him to become increasingly frustrated, which inevitably made for his demise. Of course, this 2013 season coincided with my first at More Than A Fan, dedicated to covering College Football; so, I did my best to put my feeling aside in the name of objectivity.

If I allowed myself to be giddy with a down year for the SEC, I did it quietly. Georgia lost to Clemson, then South Carolina lost to Georgia. Florida lost to Miami, Texas A&M took a home loss to Alabama, Auburn lost to LSU, then LSU lost to Georgia. It wasn’t even October, and most of the SEC had been crossed off the list, not that I was happy or sad about it in any way. Missouri stuck around the ranks of the unbeaten longer than most had expected, until they lost their quarterback in October, and we all knew Alabama would be a tough nut to crack.

When the other shoe would fall for the Tide, all it did was elevate Auburn. It elevated Missouri as well, even though they both lacked a 0 in the loss column. They’d enter the SEC Championship, for the first time in ages, without a berth in the BCS National Championship assured to the winner. They needed help and they got it; Auburn despite the loss to LSU and the need for miracle finishes against Georgia and Alabama got the bump they needed from Michigan State, who pushed Ohio State into the loss column for the first time on the year, and it would be Florida State versus Auburn for that last crystal football.

As the game went to intermission, with Auburn up 21-10, I remember saying to myself, “I’m over it.” The best team in the country should win the title. With thirty minutes left in the season, I couldn’t make an argument for any other team. Stanford laid an egg at Utah, Oregon lost to Arizona, the Buckeyes may shown their true colors in Indianapolis against Michigan State, and Clemson was destroyed at home by this Florida State team that has no answers for Auburn on either side of the ball.

Eight straight titles were inevitable, and it was time to take my hat off to those eight teams. I’d done plenty of that in the past. I can’t think of any year where the title game ended, and thought the winner didn’t earn it, or that the winner wasn’t the best team in the land, even if it did take me a couple of days/months/years to accept that the 2006 Ohio State team just wasn’t that good. The only knock I had on this Auburn team was that nobody paid attention to them until mid-November, but that’s more on me and everyone else than it is about these Tigers, who couldn’t beat a single team they played in-conference in 2012.

Then, the second half happened and Florida State won the football game. They won the final BCS National Championship, and I finally got an answer to the question that I’d been asking for about five years. How will I feel when this streak is over?

I think the answer falls somewhere between feeling nothing at all and being free of the burden. What I’ve learned is, the hype machine wasn’t nearly as I ever made it out to be, even if it was completely overdone. It isn’t like I took any joy in Auburn losing or Florida State winning; it just happened, two good football teams took the field and the better team might have won in the end. I don’t think the result told us much about the ACC and SEC in 2013, let alone what’s happened over the last 8 or 16 years.

They play good football in the SEC. The league’s better teams do anyways. I think it’s possible that Kentucky was just as bad as Kansas or Cal; we really don’t know. I think it’s possible that a middle-of-the-road team like Vanderbilt could have taken down the Pac-12 runner-up; even though Arizona State was embarrassed by Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl, they had the best regular season record in the conference that was almost granted as the consensus #2 conference in the country. The underlying truth to all of this is that it’s difficult to compare two teams that don’t play on the same field.

What I think we get caught up in is, if Team A or League A is good, then Team B or League B must suck. This logic, or lack thereof, also works in reverse. It takes the lowest common denominator to accept this idea as gospel. Take Oklahoma, for example; had they lost to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, it would have somehow made Oregon better and worthy of Oklahoma’s spot in a BCS game after the fact. And since Oklahoma won, Alabama must have been overrated all year.

Damien and I preach it all of the time on the College Football Roundtable podcast, just because a good team loses to another good team, they don’t suddenly become a bad football team. Clemson isn’t terrible for losing to Florida State or South Carolina. Ohio State doesn’t become overrated garbage for losing 4th quarter leads over Michigan State or Clemson. I think we tend to get so hung up on what one or two people say about something, and there’s this panic to overcome the perception.

As fans, especially those who have nearly made it our life’s work to discredit the SEC as a whole, disprove their quality as a conference and dissent from the status quo, we have our own far-fetched views that don’t make any sense. There is some logic that we ignore; if your conference doesn’t win any of their bowl games, it means something, and if the crown jewel of the conference has never won a bowl game against an SEC team, it’s okay for fans of any of those school for keeping that streak intact.

If an analyst is critical of a team with real facts to back it up, he’s not a “hater”; he’s just doing his job. I know that it goes too far sometimes, but not so much from the people we might first suspect. CBS, who does their due in promoting their SEC product, tends to be very balanced. ESPN, another broadcast partner of the Southeastern Conference, has a very large staff, and many of them can be honest when something’s awry south of the Mason-Dixon. Obviously, there are exceptions; some people who shouldn’t have a voice are given one.

So, if we can ignore the likes of Mark May, Clay Travis, and Dan LeBatard, I think I can make my point. The thesis of this whole thing is the ability to have an open mind. The sunset of the BCS, as well as the parity offered with Florida State’s title, cleans the slate. I think we can go back to watching games without any preconceived agendas because of conference affiliation, sans the high-major versus mid-major element, which is hard to deny. I was getting tired of the half-baked theory that Team Y was better than Team Z because one was in the SEC and the other was in the Big Ten; it never made sense to me.

Going forward, I hope to see some quality football from the Southeastern Conference, but I’d prefer it if the logo were just a patch on the uniform and a marking on 14 football fields. It doesn’t need to be a way of life, in fact, it’s better for everyone if it isn’t.

If My Wife Divorces Me, Blame College Football

by Ryan Isley

Thursday night marked the beginning of yet another college football season. And it sent me to Google to see if there was any way possible to block searches for “divorce attorneys in Akron, OH.” While I was watching Jadeveon Clowney and the South Carolina Gamecocks beat North Carolina 27-10, my wife was undoubtedly trying to figure out how many boxes it would take to pack up all of my stuff.

Let me explain…

Everyone knows my passion for sports, including my wife. In fact, she knows it better than anyone. While we were touring reception halls to prepare for our wedding, one of the first things I looked at was to see if there was a television near the bar in the room. Why? Because our wedding was on March 24, 2012 and I had a feeling even over a year in advance that Ohio State would be playing in the NCAA Tournament that day.

I was right. And during our wedding reception, we had a big screen television to watch as the Buckeyes defeated Syracuse to advance to the Final Four. When we left for our honeymoon, the first stop was in Columbus so that I could purchase some Final Four gear for our cruise. Of course my wife found an Ohio State purse that she bought and loves, but I digress.

But as much as I love college basketball, baseball, NBA, NHL, NFL and NASCAR, it has to be college football that probably drives my wife the craziest. And while I enjoy watching the NFL on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays, it comes nowhere close to my obsession for college football.

I am addicted to college football. I am addicted so badly that even my phone knows it. When I type “Jad” into my phone, it completes it to “Jadeveon.” I watch every game possible that is televised, which becomes a lot of games when you factor in that we now have Fox Sports 1, CBS College Sports Network and the PAC-12 Network to go along with NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, Big Ten Network and the multiple ESPN channels.

The season kicks off with games on five consecutive days, starting with Thursday and culminating with the annual Labor Day game, this season pitting Florida State against Pitt. The next six weeks will feature college football on just three days – Thursday through Saturday – before Tuesdays start to get taken over by college football on October 15th. Starting with that week, there will be no less than four days a week in which college football games will be on my television.

I don’t care who is playing on those days – I will be watching. My wife has sat through numerous games between teams she has never even heard of, but that I seem to know way too much about. Louisiana-Lafayette against Western Kentucky? Yeah, I will certainly be watching the Ragin’ Cajuns as they take on the Hilltoppers. And I will watch the next week as the Ragin’ Cajuns battle Arkansas State, even if the Red Wolves are missing Gus Malzahn and Ryan Aplin.

As if it isn’t bad enough that I have to watch every game on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, my Saturdays are even more ridiculous. Unfortunately this year, my routine will be changed a little as I will be working until about 1:00 pm on Saturdays for right now. In years past, I would wake up to watch as much pregame stuff as I could find until College Gameday starts on ESPN.

After that, it was on to the games.

Last year, I went up to our bedroom and became oblivious to anything other than football for the next 10 hours, watching bits and pieces of each and every game on television, thanks to picture-in-picture. And if we had an extra television, it would have been set up in the bedroom to help out with the schedule.

I watch with my Phil Steele college football magazine and my remote control, flipping channels at each commercial. I also have my laptop open to the ESPN and CBS Sports scoreboards so that I know when there is a crucial moment in any other game in order to be able to flip to that game when needed.

I only leave the bedroom to take a bathroom break, grab a drink refill or maybe a snack. I have been known to watch football straight through the evening hours without even thinking about dinner. In fact, there was a Saturday last season where I received a text message from my wife (who was in the living room) that dinner was here. I didn’t even know she had called and ordered pizza and wings.

I know some of you are thinking “but football lasts more than 10 hours on Saturdays.” And it does. I only spend 10 hours in the bedroom because I move down to the living room when my wife goes to bed. That is when I watch the end of the primetime game and any west coast games that might be on later, which is where the PAC-12 Network was so clutch last season. When all of the live games are over, I will watch replays of games if any of the networks are showing them.

And then a few days later, the vicious cycle repeats itself.

Somehow, my marriage survived this ritual of ridiculousness last season and I can only hope that it continues to survive again this season and for seasons to come.

So if any divorce attorneys in Akron or Canton or the surrounding areas see the name “Isley, Melanie” pop up on your caller IDs in the next few months, please don’t answer – I am just watching another football game.

Comments? Questions? You can leave them here or email Ryan at [email protected]

NASCAR Needs to Fix TNT Coverage

by Ryan Isley

After watching the first part of the NASCAR season on Fox, I could not wait for the coverage to switch to someone else. I guess I should have been careful what I asked for because no matter how bad Fox might have been, they are leaps and bounds ahead of the garbage that TNT has called coverage for the past two weeks.

When TNT took over at the Party in the Poconos on June 9th, the first thing that everyone noticed was the new ad banner that was running across the top of the screen. Add that banner to the running scroll of the race order, and it took up a good portion of the screen. This cut down considerably on the amount of racing viewers could actually see because there were plenty of times that only one car was visible on the screen. And just like at the Poconos, TNT used the ad header on the top of the screen for the race at Michigan this past weekend as well {thanks to Lori Gurka (@followthatband) for confirming this}.

As if that wasn’t annoying enough, TNT has a bad habit of going to commercial just as anything is about to happen. Of course this only happens because TNT is ALWAYS going to commercial. In the race at the Poconos, TNT was at commercial when the first caution of the race came out. Instead of coming back immediately, they waited until the commercial block was finished, came back and said they were at caution and then went to commercial again. No explanation of what the caution was for or when it happened. Just a simple statement that there was a caution.

Just to add to the terrible coverage, TNT also didn’t let people know via Twitter what the caution was about. Their tweet:

Fox Tweet

Then at Michigan this past weekend, more people saw just how bad the coverage on TNT had become. I was not able to watch the race, so I kept up with it on Twitter which is where I saw the tweets from Jeff Gluck of USA Today. Gluck covers NASCAR but was trying to watch the race on television. He finally saw just what the tweets sent his way the week before by fans were all about.

Jeff Gluck Tweets

I understand that NASCAR coverage for a live event is a different animal than MLB, NFL, NBA or NHL games and that the station must sometimes go to a commercial break while there is action still ongoing. But why are Fox and ESPN able to do it while TNT has yet to grasp how to go about it? And why are CBS and NBC able to figure out their commercial breaks during PGA Tour events without missing much of the action?

If TNT needs to continuously go to commercials after a few laps, they need to implement the side-by-side coverage that other channels have been able to use. ABC/ESPN used this for the Indianapolis 500 a few weeks ago and it works great for fans and sponsors. The commercials get shown, but so does the racing. And if something happens, the station can go full screen with the race until things are cleared up before going back to commercials. Of course, you wouldn’t need the side-by-side for every commercial break – you would just need it for the breaks while the race is under a green flag. If the race is under caution, the station can go full screen with commercials.

Someone at NASCAR needs to be made aware of how fed up the fans are with this abysmal coverage provided by TNT. There have been some fans threatening to not watch another race on TNT and while those may just be empty threats, anything that might take away viewership needs to be addressed with haste.

If NASCAR really wants to show their fans that they care about them, now would be a good time to step up and do so.

Comments? Questions? You can leave them here or email Ryan at [email protected]