Monday, September 11, 2006

Media Sets BCS Game, Season Over

At least this year they're being honest about it up front:
The rest of the slate from here on out should provide some mild amusement and perhaps even token conflict. But it will also be anticlimactic, because if all goes according to form, No. 1 Ohio State will play the winner of the Nov. 25 USC-Notre Dame clash in the national championship game on Jan. 8.

What’s that? Too soon to make such a proclamation? What about all the other teams with a legitimate crack at the top two BCS spots?

Well, what about them?

So, that's it. USC will play a bunch of cupcakes on the way to destroying Notre Dame, Ohio State will romp through a weaker-than-normal Big 11, and that'll be that. With the full blessing of ABC/ESPN, the three SEC teams in the current Top 10 will be kept out of the running by virtue of, "Yeah, but Ohio State-ND/USC is the game we"--meaning the media--"really want to see."

ESPN, no doubt directed by its corporate parent, has dropped a blanket of silence on SEC coverage thus far. Late Saturday night, ABC's Brent Musburger actually scolded Kirk Herbstreet for mentioning the Auburn-LSU game, telling Herbie he needs to learn how to promote his own network's games instead.

Ever-obedient to the Mouse's directives, Gameday will attend USC-Nebraska (which will be over before the second quarter) next week instead of the #3-#6 Auburn-LSU matchup or the #7-#13 Florida-Tennessee game. The only real question is, how will ESPN work in their required dose of hot, sweaty man-love for Notre Dame while still slobbering over all things Trojan?

And so it goes.

For College Football News' Matt Zemek, you can go ahead and quit with all the endless navel-gazing columns about the relationship between fans and sportswriters. I can answer your dilemma in one sentence. The reason people get so irate about what's written and broadcast about their teams is, what the press does actually matters in college football.

That's not true in any other sport. Nobody with an objective playoff gives a serious rip about how they're covered by ESPN. Dick Vitale couldn't stop Florida from ripping through the NCAA tournament, but bad or non-coverage of media non-darlings can damn sure contribute to how they get ranked in a popularity contest determined by newspaper employees and sports information directors.


Jeff A. said...

You got that right. They were just waiting for ND to get past their bad years. No waiting period. No having to prove oneself again. Even Nebraska is having to prove itself again (just look at their ranking). It didn't used to be that way. Maybe Nebraska isn't good enough to compete with USC. We'll know this Sat. But let's say they do compete. Even if they lose a close game, they will lose in ranking (despite being expected to lose), and USC will stay the same. Tennessee went down 2 spots in the AP after a close win.

So it does seem ESPN has too much power. They tout the games ESPN & ABC cover. Hyping all the players involved. Telling how great a match up it's going to be. Blah, blah, blah. And there will be some word of the SEC games, but not much. So the non-SEC teams get more coverage, which affects the writers and coaches votes (voting with the little information they've got). I hope I'm proven wrong. I hope bias is minimized.

It's too bad too. I really like watching ESPN and ABC for their HD coverage and some of the announcers (not Lou Holtz, not Lee Corso, not Bob Davie).

Golfintiger said...

I actually had a friend (Georgia Tech fan) say the other day that he hoped AUburn would go undefeated and get left out as it would lead to the destruction of the current system. It might almost be worth it...

Stan said...

ESPN and ABC have a long history of trying to manipulate voters. E.g. MVP races and Heismans. Unfortunately, voters matter in determining college football's championship berths. It would be a better BCS, if the computers alone chose the two teams.