And I don’t mean my bowl picks (not that they are doing great). Rather, I am referring to the first of the new year, when all cable subscribers in my area lose both ABC and FOX. That’s right, no ABC or FOX, two of the big broadcast networks, over cable even though we have affiliate stations just 30 miles away. This means that we will miss seven of the eleven bowl games that occur on or after January first, including the national championship game. Instead, we get to watch bowl games like the GMAC bowl, which pits Ohio University (9-4) versus Southern Mississippi University (8-5).
This whole problem stems from the recent acquisition of local cable provider Adelphia by Time Warner. The contract that Adelphia had with the company that controls the local ABC and FOX affiliates expires at the end of the year, meaning that Time Warner has to renegotiate. It ends up that, since Adelphia was small, the holding company actually provided the channels for free. However, since Time Warner has lots of money, the holding company has decided to make Time Warner pay for access to the channels. Time Warner refuses to do so because not only did the holding company previously offer the channels for free, but also because they can be had over the air for free.
Time Warner has admitted that it is very unlikely that the contract will be worked out by the new year, or even January 8th, the day of the national championship game. In fact, periodically on both ABC and FOX, they scroll a message across the screen (during scheduled programming) informing people that this channel will not be available starting January 1st and that you should switch to DirecTV or the Dish Network if you want to continue receiving the channels. Both satellite providers are also putting lots of advertisements up on the channels trying to get you to switch.
I really hope this situation is remedied quickly because the lack of ABC and FOX means that I am missing NFC football, college bowl games, 24, Lost, and House, just to name a few. It doesn’t help that broadcast antennas and satellite dishes (only the small types) must be well concealed in our neighborhood.
I never thought that I would see the day that I would be pulling for U of M to make it into the national championship game. Alas, that day has come. Now that USC has lost to UCLA and Florida has beaten Arkansas for the SEC championship, it looks like Florida might be the frontrunner for the opportunity to play OSU for the national championship. Heck, even the color guy who was doing the SEC championship game for CBS kept saying how much better Florida was than Michigan, even getting to the point of pulling out their schedules and comparing them side-by-side, a comparison that he said Florida won hands-down. (Chris is gonna love how he said how much better LSU was compared to Wisconsin. Don’t feel bad, I think Wisconsin could beat LSU too.)
It’s almost like no one is actually watching Florida play any of their games, even the TV announcers. They make claims about how good Florida is, but they look confused half of the time that they are on the field and it seems like they challenge themselves each week to see how quickly they can burn through their timeouts. For instance, today they burned through all of their second half timeouts before the six minute mark of the third quarter! Not only that, but Urban Meyer and his quarterback, Chris Leek, both seem to be unable to grasp the concept of clock management. Sure, they end up winning the game, but they sure as heck don’t deserve it. Also, I have never seen a team get so many bad penalties. Tonight, in a neutral stadium, they picked up at least five false start penalties and other stupid penalties.
Another point that the TV guys keep talking about is how Florida needs "style points" in order to get past Michigan. While I agree with this, they always go on to bring up the 2002 Ohio State team that won the national championship over The U (Miami University) while having a team that never won pretty the entire season. What they seem to forget was that we won all of our games that season. Florida lost to Auburn, and not by a little either. Please, stop comparing our team of destiny to this team of wannabes.
Michigan, on the other hand, only has a loss to OSU, the number one team in the nation. They also hold the credit of handing the only loss to Wisconsin, another top-ten team. In their loss to OSU, they looked much more impressive than Florida has looked all season, and this came against one of the best defenses in the nation. They have been impressive all season and are more than deserving to hold the number two spot, behind OSU.
I haven’t been looking forward to a rematch with Michigan, but at this point it would indeed be the best game that you could get. OSU would lay a Texas-sized smack down on Florida if they ended up as their opponent. USC would have been the ideal match up, but they went and screwed things up by losing to UCLA. At this rate, we will end up with a playoff, if only to just shut up Urban Meyer when he finds out how lacking his Gators really are compared to the top teams in the Big Ten.
You know what? I have a proposal. If Florida wants a go at OSU for the national championship, then they should have to go through Michigan first. When they get their butts handed to them by Michigan’s freshman class, then Michigan can bring out their first stringers for the real national championship game with OSU. Then the SEC and the rest of the country would be happy… Well, at least the rest of the country. The SEC would be too busy trying to reconnect with reality. (Yep, that’s right. SEC football is no better than any other conference. Just because you’re from down South where you can train outside year-round doesn’t automagically make you superior to everyone else in football. We grow athletes up in the Midwest too.)
If you thought Michigan was a crappy state just because U of M was located there, just wait for this. Osconda High School canceled their football season just because they were loosing! True, they may have been 0-4 and had not scored a point all season, but that is not a reason to cancel the football season. All I can say is that people in Michigan are inhuman and un-American to cancel a high school’s football season just because the team stunk. Football is America’s past time, and has been for many years, and it is just wrong to take that away from kids.
Continuing on the football theme, the state of Texas has proposed a college bowl game pitting a team of college football players that were raised in Texas versus a team of college football players from all the other 49 states. How can a state be so pompous to believe that they have a chance to win such a game? All I can say is that I hope that they get their butts handed to them so that they’ll be put back in their place. Even how, if a state were able to pull this off, I would think that California would have the best chance. Not that they would win either, but they would keep it the closest.
Lastly, I ran across a great quote made by The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, at ESPN.com’s Page 2:
You know what the biggest difference is between baseball and football, other than the ferocious hitting and the fact that you don’t actually have to be in shape to play baseball? TV networks are allowed to interview baseball managers as the game is going on. And we’re supposed to take this sport seriously? Can you imagine if the Redskins were driving against the Texans in the second quarter and Gus Johnson said, "Right now we have Joe Gibbs live on the sidelines … Joe, you must be feeling pretty good with your team driving right now!" Ridiculous.
Amen, my brother! Baseball is indeed a joke and should no longer be referred to as the American past-time for this very reason, among others.
A have a few things to talk about, so I figured that I’d take a quick break from writing my Comparative Economic Systems term paper to talk about them.
First, it looks like Columbus will finally be able to get the New York Yankees out of town. The team has announced that they will be ending their affiliation with the Columbus Clippers at the end of the season. The New York Mets, Washington Nationals, and Baltimore Orioles are all possible candidates since they are not affiliated with any minor league teams. It has been stated that the Clippers will be back next year, regardless. It will be nice to be able to drive through Columbus on I-70 and not have to see the Yankees’ logo.
Second, Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois has started a new promotion. As part of the FrightFest promotion that runs until Halloween, park goers can eat a live Madagascar hissing cockroach in turn for passes for four people to cut in line at any ride until October 29. The local health department is not too keen on the idea, but are not putting a stop to it. It looks like your FearFactor training might just pay off after all.
Mack Brown, the coach of the University of Texas football team, placed the bulk of the blame for his team’s 24-7 loss to Ohio State on the new clock rules instituted for this season. According to him, the new rules robbed his team of 22 minutes that could have been used to mount a comeback. I think that he needs to watch the game again. At most, the new rules took about two minutes of game time away from both teams, combined. Two minutes is hardly enough time to rattle off 17 points against a defense that had stopped all but one of the team’s scoring attempts. If 22 minutes of the game were lost due to the new rules, it would be like loosing over a quarter of the game, which certainly didn’t happen. I think that Mack just needs to cope with the fact that his team is not the best in the nation (and that he will never win a national championship without Vince Young) and get on with his life. At least he has a pretty ring to look at for the rest of his life. (He’s lucky that Troy Smith didn’t start last year’s game, otherwise he wouldn’t have any championship rings, but that’s another story.)
I just ran across this article on ESPN.com. It looks like Major League Soccer (MLS) has gotten its first ever television contract. ESPN2 will air 26 games on Thursday evenings and three playoff games, and ABC will broadcast the season opener, the all-star game, and the MLS Cup (the MLS championship series).
This has me really excited. It looks like soccer might finally be taking off in the states. I love the World Cup (I watched as much of the past two as I could) and it is about time that Americans can watch soccer on both broadcast and cable television. The sport still has a way to go before it overtakes hockey, but I think that the day is fast approaching. Then soccer can be America’s fourth major sport. (They currently refer to themselves as the fifth major sport, which is somewhat inaccurate since, at the moment, they are borderline major. After all, only three teams even have their own stadiums.) I look forward to the day that American soccer is as legitimate as the English Premiere League or Italy’s Serie A and soccer is the second most popular American sport behind American football. I’ll be dancing on the streets when that happens.
I’m sure that by now, most of you are aware that the Olympics are now in full swing. Being in Turin, Italy (I know that they always say Torino, but the city is actually Turin), many events happen while we are asleep since they are six hours ahead of we people in the Eastern time zone. To increase ratings, NBC crams an entire day’s worth of Olympics coverage into a three and a half hour program that starts at 8:00 in the evening. However, you must remember that when we start watching coverage of the Olympics, it is already midnight in Turin.
"So what?" you say. Well, I, being a lover of sports and an avid viewer of ESPN, tend to get all of the sports news, including news about the Olympics, at around 5:00 pm, three hours before NBC starts airing coverage. Yesterday, one of the big topics that was being covered was the disappointment of Jeremy Bloom in the Freestyle Moguls event, where he finished sixth. It took the excitement right out of watching the preliminaries and finals four hours later. It is really sad when you know exactly what someone is going to say in an interview before it is even aired on television.
So, to remedy this problem, should NBC air Olympic events live, or with a slight delay, ala Super Bowl? I think to do so would be folley, since not even I would be willing to start watching the Olympics at three in the morning. Then again, you never know. I am the same person that watched the World Cup of soccer in 2002 when all of the games started airing at around 6:00 in the morning. Then again, I was already up at six o’clock every morning that summer because of a swim camp.
I got a good laugh out of this. Every week during the college football season, ESPN publishes a bunch of polls. Most are the usual: AP Top 25, USA Today Top 25, ESPN Power Rankings, etc. The most interesting (read: funny), however, is the Bottom 10. In it, ESPN usually collects a group of nine college football programs that are on monumental loosing streaks or just really doing bad. Teams like Duke and "Directional Michigan" (Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, and Western Michigan) are perennial bottom feeders.
By now, you are probably thinking "OK, Bottom 10, nine teams. Doesn’t make much sense. Did they assign a bottom 10 mathematician to compile the list?" Well, let me finish. You see, the number five spot is reserved for programs that are just plain disappointing. These are teams that are normally in the top 25, but that have really sucked lately.
Anyway, guess who received the #5 ranking on the Bottom 10 last week? If you actually took the time to read the title of this post, you will be on the way to giving the right answer. It was great to see. To save you the trouble of clicking on a link, here’s a glimpse of Michigan’s entry:
It was also funny reading the user feedback for the week’s Bottom 10. It’s funny that U of M fans can’t even take a joke, or admit that their team just plain sucks this year. It’ll be great if this continues. It isn’t like it will hurt Michigan’s rankings any more.
In case you haven’t noticed, I have hardly touched my blog over the past couple of months. I’ll choose to blame this on school. When you are taking 20 credit hours AND have a TV in your room, time for blogging just seems to disappear.
Now, next subject: the Buckeyes. Since most of my readers happen to hail from Buckeye country, I am sure that you have been hearing plenty about the Bucks. At this point in the season, with two losses, we are extreme long shots for the national championship game, the Rose Bowl. Our only losses this season have come to unbeaten teams: #2 Texas and #9 Penn State. I hope that it stays this way: no more losses for us or Texas or Penn State. I would rather loose a close one to a unbeaten team than one that has lost a few. Even how, we need Penn State to lose two, Wisconsin to lose once more, and to win out, to have a chance at winning the Big Ten.
Now, who or what could we attribute the two losses to? I think that the first one could be placed squarely on the quarterback carousel that we ran during that game. Our loss to Penn State, and our poor offense, I think can be attributed partially to the unproductive season that Ted Ginn is having. Six games into the season, he only has two touchdowns and has been ineffective almost every time that he has touched the ball. If Ginn can get on track, I think that our offense could really start rolling. Considering that our running attack is doing better this year with Antonio Pittman at tailback, we could be even more effective than last year. Right now, I can only hope.
Expect to hear more from me in the near future. Even if I haven’t been writing much in the past few months, I have been collecting things to write about, so I am not short on material.