Nitt Picks Is All Business

Do you mind if we dance with your dates? ESPN is apparently trying to steal one of FOX's premiere sports tickets: the BCS bowl game broadcasts.

The BCS is considering a proposal from ESPN that would see all BCS bowl games, including the championship game, wind up on ESPN, sources familiar with the negotiations are saying.

[...]

If ABC/ESPN ultimately wins the bid and moves even one BCS game to ESPN, it would trigger a clause in its Rose Bowl contract that would allow it to immediately take the annual game in Pasadena from its home of 21 years on ABC to the cable channel.

Moving the game from ABC to ESPN wouldn't actually change anything, as Happy Hour Valley points out, because just about all of the TV watching households in this country already get the cable channel.  This is the direction things are moving anyway...gone are the days where a program not on a bunny-ears channel doesn't get watched.  This also represents a huge deal for the BCS, they are looking at increasing their revenue by 50% from TV contracts alone.  The BCS knows not of this recession you talk about.

While I agree with just about everyone, that FOX has a long way to go in their college football coverage, I'm concerned about one player holding all of the cards.  ESPN already is by far the biggest college football platform. Writers and coaches, who make up two thirds of the BCS, rarely get to pay attention to more than one or two games on Saturday.  Where do you think they catch up on the ones they missed?

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I don't think it's unimaginable for the ESPN bosses, who have a direct interest in BCS ratings to the tune of millions of dollars, to feel a little pressure to make the big market teams look better in their "news" coverage. 

Hindsight is 20/20 (and what is with the Wildcat?). Jeff McLane pulled some quotes together about the Penn State game prep for Iowa, and the direction the coaches decided to move in after it became clear that Clark was no where near 100%.

He said [Clark] sitting out the Iowa game never was discussed. Still, the coaches added a "Wildcat" formation - wide receiver Derrick Williams took a direct snap as Clark split wide - so Clark avoided unnecessary hits. The Wildcat also was in the game plan in case Devlin, who isn't as mobile, had to replace Clark.

I thought the plays to Williams were both interesting and effective, but I didn't catch on to the fact that they were an attempt at protecting Clark.  If he wasn't physically ready enough to take a couple of hits, I have to wonder if playing him wasn't a mistake.  I also think that Devlin is relatively mobile; what you lose is the physical, aggressive running style. However, if Clark isn't available for that type of play, and he is still feeling the effects of a concussion that forced him to sit out a lot of practice, why not play the OSU tested Devlin?  I don't even really want an answer, I'm moving on, but being too hesitant to make necessary changes seems to be a common theme with this coaching staff.

Also, more signs that Paterno is starting to feel the strain of the season.

"Saturday night was a tough night for me," said coach Joe Paterno, who has been hobbled by a leg injury. "There's no sense in kidding you about that. Football games are tough these days on me. And then you get home and you play the game 10 times in your head. That's tough. You don't get any sleep Saturday nights."

To be fair, though, there are probably a lot of coaches in their 30's that would lose sleep after suffering a loss like this one.

Big Ten speed. The conference soccer tournament starts this week, finally putting an end to all of these Big Ten teams beating up on each other.

This year’s bracket looks to be very competitive as it is loaded with talent.  Four Big Ten student-athletes have earned National Player of the Week honors this season, tied for most out of all conferences.  Also, four Big Ten squads rank in the RPI’s top-15, most among all conferences.

Seriously, though: I'm tired of these other schools getting a free pass into the national tournament by beating up on cupcakes and then breezing through their terrible conferences.

As we mentioned last week, Penn State, with very strong play from Warren Gross, might be peaking at the right time.  Penn State starts tournament play tomorrow at 10:30am against Northwestern.

They're out for your blood. The Challenge is on:

The 15th annual Penn State and Michigan State Blood Donor Challenge begins Nov. 3, and Penn State will try to hold on to its two-year winning streak against Michigan State.

[...]

If Penn State wins this year it will be its 10th victory in the 15 years the two schools have been competing.

I'm consistently blown away at how successful this thing has become.  And it continues to gain in productivity: last year was the first time a school broke the 2,000-unit barrier (Penn State, of course, 2,170).

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