Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rambling Thoughts...

..because I'm not expecting much TV scheduling news for the next 4-6 weeks when conference media days start to crank up.  Most of this stuff revolves around the schools out west, so no one can accuse me of east coast bias ;).

* BYU's football independence begins in a little over two weeks.  I look over my followers on Twitter and I have a fair number of BYU fans, so I'm grateful for that.  Never met any of them in person, so I can only go on my personal interactions on message boards and through social networking, but I've had decent interactions with them and not every interaction has been regarding sports. 

I believe their independence will be a relative success, but also feel there will be some growing pains in scheduling.  I've seen the recent reports from those who claim to be BYU insiders who have had reports regarding contact with the Big East for membership and various future opponents (Syracuse, Penn St., Wisconsin and Nebraska I believe were all mentioned).

I guess what I'm trying to get across is that I think we all learned something from last year's realignments and that these massive scenarios that could have happened eventually did not.  I fear that BYU fans, if these series do not come to fruition, could feel massively let down.  If I'm wrong though, it wouldn't be the first time, and that's OK.

* Somewhat related to the BYU item above is that the Pac-12, with some exceptions, will strongly encourage members to play all non-conference home games in September.  BYU might have been looking towards the Pac-12 to schedule games later in the year, specifically the game vs. Utah.

My concern revolves around the playing of Notre Dame during the week before the conference championship game.  Since USC or Stanford typically host the Irish that week, that leaves one Pac-12 team either open or playing a non-conference game (in 2011, Arizona hosts UL-Lafayette).  If there is a rule that all Pac-12 teams must compete the week before the conference championship game, then someone does have juggling to do.  If this is not the case and someone could possibly have a bye week entering the conference championship, they need to close that loophole like the SEC did a few years ago.

* The WAC's addition of a non-football school in Seattle doesn't help them.  If the WAC was turned down by Montana because they wouldn't invite Montana St. in tandem, they need to re-evaluate things because right now they need members.  As I understand it, they are in FBS limbo starting in 2012-13.  Not enough members to be considered a BCS conference (when I say BCS, I mean specifically that they could qualify a team for a BCS bowl, not that they are an automatic qualifying conference) but enough members overall to remain a viable D-I conference.  It will be interesting to see if the conference or any of its members receives a cut of any BCS revenues that year.  In 2012, according to ESPN's Andrea Adelson, the conference will have less bowl-tie ins than the Sun Belt with just the Humanitarian Bowl staying with the WAC.

* The startup of Pac-12 Media Enterprises for the 2012-13 athletic year means that another conference is going to try to monetize their digital rights in some fashion.  Notice I said another.  The Pac-12 isn't doing anything new, at least on the surface, compared to a fair number of non-AQ and FCS conferences.  If you look back on my schedules site over the past few years, you'll see plenty of games hosted by these schools and the schools and/or conferences charging a fee (some do offer games free of charge) for streaming of football, baseketball and other events, usually synced up to a radio call.  The Pac-12 looks like it will be the 1st AQ conference to collectively attempt to get paid for these games in the USA.  The Big Ten Network has done some limited streaming of events here in the states for sports outside of football and they've also had a package available overseas.

What I do expect to be different, when compared to the vast majority of video streaming seen in the US for these conferences, is a completely professional production.  No disrespect to the existing streaming options, but they typically involve syncing up a radio call with the scoreboard video feed.  Sometimes it involves a local TV feed, but nothing in great detail.  That's where I expect the Pac-12 to set the bar much higher than the standard everyone else has been meeting thus far.

* Last but not least, I kinda hope that finds a way to get the regional games produced by ESPN Regional TV and Raycom in HD.  I'm pretty sure I've watched SEC Network, Big East Network and Raycom games in HD or at least a widescreen format when it was  I know last year all I saw were standard definition aspect ratio, except for games airing on the national ESPN platforms & regionally on ABC.  Dear ESPN, please fix this.  Thanks.


Sean OLeary said...

"Since USC or Stanford typically host the Irish that week, that leaves one Pac-12 team either open or playing a non-conference game (in 2011, Arizona hosts UL-Lafayette)."

If they let Utah play BYU that weekend...problem solved.

Matt Sarzyniak said...

That is one option, but TV tends to dictate some scheduling. Its why the Pac-12 isn't scheduling its crosstown/in-state rivalry games the same weekend.