Update [2007-10-29 18:53:38 by SMQ]: I couldn't be happier for a post to be rendered moot so quickly:
Originally scheduled to be televised locally in Oregon and Arizona, the matchup of Top 10 teams will be televised to a national audience through the agreement of the two networks. FSN will air its production on FSN Arizona, FSN West and FSN Northwest in the state of Oregon. The Oregon Sports Network will distribute the game in the state of Oregon. ESPN will originate its own production to air in all other U.S. television markets not covered by the FSN telecast, including the state of Washington and Northern California. ESPN College GameDay also will originate from Eugene.
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You may still enjoy this morning's diatribe...
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|ESPN||Georgia Tech vs. #11 Virginia Tech||7:45 ET Thursday|
|ESPN2||Nevada at Fresno State||8:00 ET Friday|
|ESPN||Purdue at Penn State||Noon ET|
|ESPN2||Iowa at Northwestern||Noon ET|
|Fox Sports||Nebraska vs. #8 Kansas||12:30 ET|
|VERSUS||Kansas State at Iowa State||12:30 ET|
|NBC||Navy at Notre Dame||2:30 ET|
|ABC/ESPN||Cincinnati at #18 So. Florida||3:30 ET|
|ABC/ESPN||Oklahoma State vs. #15 Texas||3:30 ET|
|ABC/ESPN||Michigan State vs. #12 Michigan||3:30 ET|
|ABC/ESPN||UCLA at Arizona||3:30 ET|
|Fox Sports||Colorado vs. #9 Missouri||6:30 ET|
|ABC||Florida State at #2 Boston College||8:00 ET|
|ABC||Texas A&M at #6 Oklahoma||8:00 ET|
|ESPN or ESPN2||Oregon State at #19 USC||8:00 ET|
|ESPN or ESPN2||South Carolina at Arkansas||8:00 ET|
|Fox Sports||Wash. State at California||10:00 ET|
There are two games between ranked teams. One is LSU at Alabama, which can be seen nationally on CBS at 5 p.m. Eastern. The other is a top five matchup with direct implications on the Pac Ten championship, the Rose Bowl and in all likelihood the mythical championship game, Arizona State at Oregon, which can be seen...if you live in Arizona or Oregon...on Fox Sports Arizona or Fox Sports Northwest, neither of which, unless you live in Arizona or Oregon, you have probably ever heard. Otherwise, you can order the game on pay-per-view through ESPN Gameplan.
This wouldn’t be a big deal in 1974, when there was no such thing as cable and basically no way viewers couldn’t miss the biggest game of the weekend – and, based on the records, rankings and potential implications here, one of the three or four biggest games of the season – if it wasn’t in their particular region. Cable TV more than anything else has made the sport a truly national game over the last two decades, has found a way to get the best teams and best games in front of consumers, yet still finds itself in a situation that somehow gives us the three mediocre, of-regional-interest-only Pac Ten games highlighted above instead of the one that might draw and hold a national audience. Which will instead be watching USC and Oregon State jockeying for Sun Bowl position.
Dennis Erickson wants you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
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Dave is also right that this isn’t only a matter of getting consumers the best games, but getting voters the teams they’re casting ballots on. This is, unfortunately, still a sport that makes postseason decisions based on prestige, and more than voters simply not being able to watch the Pac Ten’s contenders very often (or, in Arizona State’s case, at all), it’s simply not prestigious to play all of your games on Fox Sports or one of its regional sentinels. The biggest games have always been on the networks or, these days, at least ESPN, for everyone to watch. These games are shown in press boxes, where writers can pay some attention (and they do). Everything else is extraneous, a luxury for the diehard fan who can’t miss his mediocre team or doesn’t mind watching the chaffe, as long as it’s football. But these games don’t matter in the national picture, they’re just scores, grist for the mill when it comes time to submit the ballot. The real contenders, you don’t have to guess or search for them – networks clambor to put them in front of any set of eyes that care to see. How many voters subscribe to ESPN Gameplan? How many of them give a second thought to any of the games on it?
It will help this week that Gameday is going to be on hand at Autzen, so it will be that much harder to ignore. There’s still no reason anyone who might be interested should have an excuse for ignoring one of the games of the year to begin with.