October 09, 2005

I Tell You, the Programmers Are on Crack

ON SATURDAY, the University of Minnesota’s football team beat the University of Michigan’s football team for the first time since 1986, when I was a student at Woodward Elementary School in Kalamazoo, Mich. Despite it being the middle of the season – when many blah games are played – the Minnesota-Michigan match was one of many amazing college football games played this week. Texas finally pounded Oklahoma into the dirt, for the first time in five years, and Northwestern University shocked the Wisconsin Badgers in a 51-48 upset – in which the teams scored TEN TOUCHDOWNS in the second half alone.

Unfortunately, due to the wretched scheming of various television-programming executives, I didn’t get to see those fabulous games. Oh no. I got stuck with barnburners like Marshall v. Virginia Tech and Wake Forest v. Florida State. As if that wasn’t bad enough, my proximity to Boston meant that, when I wasn’t on the horn back home getting updates about Northwestern, I was watching Brent Musburger call the Virginia v. Boston College game. Yes, that’s right. Virginia v. Boston College.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh.

I mean, come on. Not even Boston College fans cared about that game, which they easily won, 28-17. The other two games had similar results, and they ended up as one might expect. Both Marshall and Wake managed to perform decently for a little bit, and then got crushed when they eventually ran out of steam. Anyone with any knowledge of football could have predicted those results. Yet, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, these games were televised to a significant portion of the American public.

What made it even worse were the also-ran games being broadcast: after all, here was perfectly good bandwidth being wasted on games like Central Michigan v. Army or, God help us all, Illinois v. Indiana. This was just insult to injury. Things got so bad that later, I actually found myself watching Bucknell v. Penn on the CN8 network, along with dozens of other enraptured fans. Sadly, Penn triumphed. All in all, it was a bad afternoon for the college game.

Now, despite my argument above, I suppose there are folks out there who actually root for Marshall and Wake Forest, even though I’ve never met anyone who attended either of those institutions. Still, couldn’t the TV folks only broadcast games like those in the south? I mean, that way, people down there would get to watch the football games they want to see, and I wouldn’t have to deal with Florida State. Because I hate Florida State. Of course, I’m not partial to most of Florida, which is muggy and attracts real-estate speculators, but I'm especially not partial to Florida State. And don’t get me started on the University of Miami.

While we’re at it, would it be possible to get some decent football commentary? I don’t know if it’s just me or what, but I’m really starting to get annoyed with the truly awful play-by-play out there. I’d like to see some simple rules instituted, such as, “If the announcer doesn’t agree with an official’s call on the field, he’ll shut up about it after two plays.” Other good rules would include: “Field producers should value actual play on the field over stupid feature segments,” and “It’s a team sport, so quit the rapture when This Week’s Star Player touches the ball.”

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at October 9, 2005 11:22 PM | TrackBack