Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hidden Beauty

Rarely do you find someone else that takes the ideas seeming from your head and puts them to paper or at least the ideas you wish you had thought. College football journalism has a true hidden jewel in Matt Zemek at ( that writes about the sport in a poetic and insightful manner missing form most other reporters. Perhaps that is the difference Matt is a true writer where the others are reporters. This is not to belittle the reporter as the transmittal of the facts is of vital importance but the voice on the Weather Channel will tell you the forecast without any passion, depth or real insight. Matt, by comparison, does not rush nor dumb down the story rather paints the complex picture at the heart of the tale.

ESPN tries to complete the story in college football before that story has ever been written in the first place. Last year, the Michigan-Ohio State game was hyped on the final Saturday of September, almost two months before the game…

...No one at ESPN, though, seems to have paid any attention. Throughout August, and especially as the season approached, ESPN did extensive week-by-week projections of how the season and its rankings would play out. Can't anyone in Bristol realize how this poisons the well and predisposes people to cognitively frame the season before it has even begun?

In a moment of honesty Robert Smith appearing on ESPN’s College Football Live in the 25 hour build up to the LSU v. MSU game voiced the family secret (that only those that are blind or in deep denial have not already figured out) when he told us the advice given to him by Lee Corso, “Sell the game, sell the game.” ESPN is neither in the information like a reporter nor even the entertainment business they are existence to sell the fact that your eyeball are looking at that screen. Returning to our Weather Channel example there is no real reason Jim Cantore is on the beach in North Carolina other than the visuals (and people will stay tuned to SEE).

Anyone watching ESPN for the past five days knew that the two marquee game they were selling: Notre Dame v. PSU and VT v. LSU. Most consumers had the choice of close to a dozen games even before getting to the pay per view tier. Among those other games were some great stories such as the overtime games of Fresno State v. Texas A&M or La. Tech v. Hawaii and many others obscured by the birght light from Bristol. Even on the day ending wrap up the focus was on a few games and not much outside the Disney Sports universe.

Getting back to the topic of Matt Zemek invest your limited college football time reading everything he writes and turn off the infomercial that is ESPN.

Weekly Affirmation Sep 4, 2007

Instant Analysis: Virginia Tech-LSU

Instant Analysis: TCU-Texas

Instant Analysis: South Carolina-Georgia

Instant Analysis: Oregon-Michigan

Instant Analysis: Miami-Oklahoma

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