Monday, February 08, 2010

Why People Hate ESPN

I'll have more game recaps tonight, but I just had a quick thought on ESPN. I generally think that much of the complaints about ESPN are over the top, and merely inevitable criticism of the nation's leader in sports coverage. Sure, they are obnoxious when they over-hype Brett Favre and the New York Yankees, but they also have some great analysts, from Bobby Knight to Ron Jaworski to John Clayton.

I don't have a problem when ESPN focuses on the biggest programs in college basketball. Casual fans know more about Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky than other programs, so any tv station is going to focus most on those teams that resonate most with fans. But there's a difference between focusing on the most popular teams, and putting down other teams.

I have been working at home this afternoon and I had ESPN's SportsNation on television as background noise. They showed a clip from the New Mexico-San Diego State game over the weekend, which happened to be one of the most important games of the weekend (I'll be talking about it in a game recap tonight). New Mexico has spent much of this season ranked, and is fighting for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament (in my most recent bracket I've got them as a 4 seed), and San Diego State is fighting desperately for one of the last at-large bids. Yet Colin Cowherd decided to use this as an opportunity to prove his ignorance of college basketball, complaining that the game was even on television: "Who was watching? Why was this game on tv?... It's two small schools, it's on locally". Besides the fact that both schools have well over 25,000 students, I was actually mad that this game wasn't on tv where I was while some awful games from BCS conferences were.

It's people like that at television stations at ESPN that lead us to have awful games like UCLA-Cal on national tv on CBS, while great games like New Mexico-vs-BYU get relegated to a Mountain West tv channel that is in about 17 homes around the nation. What people want to see are good teams playing meaningful games. They will enjoy New Mexico games if you give them the chance.

Let me add that I also listened to Colin Cowherd interviewing Doug Gottlieb a couple of weeks ago about the team he played for (Oklahoma State) and their upcoming game against Baylor. One question was "Is Baylor any good this year? How are they doing?" At the time they were right on the edge of the Top 25. Obviously Colin Cowherd doesn't watch college basketball. Yet this won't stop him from telling us with absolute certainty who will win each game of the NCAA Tournament. And things like that are what is so maddening about ESPN.


Anonymous said...
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Jeff said...

I'm going to post this same thing in the comments of two different blog posts:

To the poster who has been launching abusive attacks repeatedly, and had over a dozen of his posts deleted in the last 24 hours, this is your last chance to stop or I turn on comment moderation.

Comment moderation will only be temporary (until you stop littering this blog with your posts), but it hurts everybody while it's active. Don't ruin things for everybody just because you can't control yourself. Stop posting.

This is my last warning.

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