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ASK CFN - Fox's BCS Broadcasts
Fox BCS broadcasts, Michigan against the top teams, what Saban brings to Bama, and more in the latest Ask CFN.
Fire over your questions to me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I might not be able to answer them
all, but I promise they're all read. Any e-mails sent to this
address may be published or edited unless requested otherwise.
(Please put ASK CFN in the subject line, and PLEASE keep the
questions short ... it makes my life easier.)
So is it just me, or
were there way too many commercials during the national title game? I
thought that the NCAA wanted to shorten the length of the games, not
extend them to close to four hours because of the ad time on the
broadcasts. As an OSU fan it was painful enough to watch the game, but
having to wait through four or five ads just because a team called
timeout was excruciating. Just wanted to get your thoughts on this.
A: I don’t know for sure if there were more ads than when ABC had the
big games, but I didn’t think they were overly obnoxious. I talked to a
few people about this, and the general theory was that the ads seemed
more prevalent because the game sucked and dragged out so long. The ads
didn’t seem as big a deal for the Fiesta Bowl. About five minutes into
the third quarter, you probably just wanted the game to be over. Also,
BCS games are always longer because the halftime shows go forever.
You can always do what one of my friends does and start watching every
sporting event at least 15 minutes after it starts to fast forward
through the ads.
Do you work for Fox and even if you do, can you see why a college
football viewer might long for ESPN or ABC coverage of a game like this?
I couldn't wait to switch over to the Game Day guys after the basketball
game was over on ESPN - the Fox guys just aren't credible, except for
maybe Chris Meyers who's relegated to the sidelines, and Barry Alvarez,
the requisite coach. The trophy presentation was an absolute snoozer
and shouldn't have been - I blame the Fox crew. And you are SO right
about their endless, shameless show promos - and those stupid robots
started showing up on the NFL games last weekend. If we really have to
endure three more years of Fox covering the BCS games, except thankfully
for the Rose Bowl, I will just continue to bless the inventors of the
DVR and mute buttons, and pray that the Game Day guys are always nearby.
A: CFN does provide content for Fox, so anything positive I’ll say will
sound like sucking up. With that said, I thought the Fiesta Bowl and BCS
Championship games were done shockingly well because of the fabulous
announcing team of Thom Brennaman, Barry Alvarez and Charles Davis. The
Cotton Bowl was a disaster, while the Sugar Bowl worked for you if you
like Terry and Howie, and was a nightmare if you don’t.
A lot of the good and bad with Fox had to do with the material. All
broadcasts are going to struggle when the games are bad and you’re into
banter time. It wouldn’t have mattered who was doing the games; the
fourth quarter of the Sugar and BCS Championship were going to be rough.
The pregame stuff drove me nuts only because I wasn’t a fan of the
forced banter between the representatives of the competing schools. I’d
rather have heard Emmitt Smith and Eddie George (who I thought was
solid) do more analysis and cut out the smack talk. As far as the trophy
presentation, unless you’re a fan of the winning team, those things
always stink no matter who’s doing it.
You watched the Sugar Bowl, and I know that you also work for Fox
Sports. As far as the coverage was concerned, I was very refreshed with
the coverage in comparison to "The Mouse" (ABC/ESPN) and NBC. Other than
having them in a BCS game, the FOX announcers didn't have an agenda and
weren’t shoving how great Weis and Notre Dame are down our throats a la
Brent Musberger. It actually made watching Notre Dame play tolerable.
Thoughts? - DAVE in ATL
A: It was different, and it wasn’t bad. I was fully prepared for the Fox
coverage to be awful, but it appeared to be respectful to college
football fans concerned about the change, and I liked that there weren’t
any wacky bells and whistles. The number one college teams at ABC, ESPN
and NBC are all terrific, and the Fox top guys held their own. With that
said, I still love it when Brent does a huge game.
Why has the NCAA not followed the NFL's example with regards to the
horse collar tackle? I cringe every time I see one of these kids
dragged down from behind in this way. If this tackle is considered too
dangerous for the guys who get paid millions to play it should be
considered too dangerous for the kids as well. – KS
A: I’m the wrong person to ask because I’ve always thought it was a bit
of a wussy rule. I don’t remember anyone getting hurt this year because
of the horse-collar tackle, and I’m more concerned about the
helmet-to-helmet shots that bruise brains. How is the horse-collar more
dangerous than bringing someone down by going at his knees? By the way,
in the NFL you can tackle a player by grabbing the long hair coming out
of the back of his helmet, so you can still drag someone down from
behind even if it isn’t by the inside of the shoulder pads.
Is Michigan a paper tiger? Is their style of play no longer viable
against the national power house contenders? I mention that because
look at how Florida State destroyed them in the early 90's with speed
and innovative offense. Same thing with the new "90's FSU" - USC in the
2000's. I know they won the NC in 97 after winning the Big Ten (I think
the rest of those bowl bound big ten teams were 0-5 in bowls that year)
and beating a one lose WSU team (in a weak Pac 10 that year) but which
teams have they really beaten in the past 20 years that were true
national title contender type programs that weren’t in the big 10? Am I
wrong and am I buying into this argument too much. - KP.
A: Yeah, Michigan is way overdue for a big, splashy, non-conference,
non-Notre Dame win. Wolverine fans always tag me with an anti-Wolverine
bias, but I want to see this supposed program of Leaders and Best
actually do something outside of its conference. The last really good
win outside of the Big Ten and Notre Dame came against an above-average
Florida team in the 2003 Outback Bowl. I’d argue that you have to go
back to the 2000 Orange Bowl win over Alabama for the last, real ooooooh
win over a big-time conference team.
Michigan has speed, it has NFL talent, and it has enough five-star
recruits to play with anyone in America, but it always seems like the
defensive talent is overrated, the offensive play-calling is
predictable, and the results when it comes to being in the national
title chase just aren’t there for a program of this magnitude.
Look, 2006 and 2003 USC would’ve beaten just about everyone in the Rose
Bowls in those years. 2004 Texas was sensational, and it took Vince
Young to get by in a 38-37 tight win. In other words, Michigan has lost
to some sensational teams and hasn't been that bad in some epic losses.
When was the school’s last loss to a team that finished a season with a
losing record? 1996. This team beats almost everyone it's supposed to,
which doesn't get nearly as much credit or publicity as the big losses.
To answer your question, the last win over a true national title team
outside of the Big Ten arguably came over Colorado in 1996. If you
question that, then you have to go to the 1989 Rose Bowl win over USC
for a killer win. But really, when was the last time Michigan ruined the
season of a non-Big Ten team with an honest shot to win the national
title? The best I could come up with was a 12-7 win over Iowa Pre-Flight
in 1944 or a 1932 26-0 win over Michigan State.
Why do we not hear Frank Solich's name mentioned for open coaching
jobs? The man won nine games or more every year at Nebraska and now had
Ohio in the MAC championship game, why is he not being pursued by major
programs? – Scott
A: His name has been thrown out there for the Minnesota job. One big
problem: the forward pass. Unless you’re Rich Rodriguez, if you don’t
run an offense that can effectively throw in today’s day and age, you’re
not going to be a hot coaching prospect. I think he needs to make
smaller move first, like to a Conference USA or Mountain West program,
before he gets a true shot at a big-time gig.
It looks like Alabama and Saban are a match made in heaven. Both
egos are starved for attention. It reminds me of the Dallas Cowboys
having Jerry Jones as owner and hiring Bill Parcells. Is this good for
college football that it is becoming so much like the NFL? Do you think
there will be a huge "Under the Microscope" national watch of the
Alabama program in the next few years? And how do you think this is
going to play out? There seems to be so much intense pressure on
everyone, including the players to win a National Championship in 3
years or less. - Ron in Nashville
A: First of all, pressure has always been there. There’s even more in
college football than the NFL, where you can go 9-7 and be considered a
solid coach. If the Chicago Bear head coach loses to Green Bay five
times in a row, or if the Washington Redskin head coach loses to Dallas
three straight years, they’re still around as long as they make the
playoffs and/or come up with good records. Lose several games in a row
to your rival in college football and you’re gone.
Saban’s hiring has made Alabama football far more interesting on a
national scale, and has upped the cache of the SEC that much more. How
will it play out? Alabama will get its turn in the SEC rotation at some
point under Saban and win a title. Will the Tide be a consistent SEC
champion? No chance. Just because he was hired, that doesn’t mean
Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn and LSU now stink.
What’s up with the free pass you give to Weis? He hasn't beaten a
good team yet. His team got worse this year and doesn't have a track
record of winning as a head coach. His "adjustments" never seem to work
vs. a team with a pulse. He has a top QB, two NFL WR, a good RB and a O
line with tons of games under their belts. They blew LSU off the line in
the 1rst half. Walker had 100 yards early in the game and Weis got
outcoached by Miles. – Ned in St. Pete
A: That free pass, as you called it, will certainly stop if next year’s
team doesn’t rock. The talent level wasn’t there when he took over, but
this will be his third recruiting class coming in meaning it’s time
Notre Dame started proving it can beat the best of the best. At the end
of the day, it’s hard to knock a coach who got his team to the BCS two
seasons in a row, and I like his gutsiness when it comes to his play
calls, but I didn’t like what he and his staff did in the second half of
the Sugar Bowl and would love to see more from his defense. With all the
hype and all the recognition, there’s no excuse anymore for not cranking
out a D that can rock.