Monday, September 29, 2008

These are the things that drive me completely freaking insane

I don't spend too much time here, I don't think, railing against the incompetence of the mainstream media. ESPN and their craven, unholy ilk are just such a phenomenally fat, wide target that I don't think it's worth the effort for someone like your humble Auburn Blogger to even string up the bow 99 percent of the time. I'd rather leave it to the professionals.

But there are times I just have to blow off a little ESPN-derived steam, because unlike politicians or civil servants I expect some tiny, insignificant level of professionalism and competence from my college football media and it's a bit upsetting when I don't get even that. Last week's Bruce Feldman "Hey, even though USC has a long and hard-won tradition of spitting the bit against inferior Pac-10 teams and there's been one season in the last two decades where both the Big 12 and SEC champs went undefeated, let's go ahead and assume in September it's all going to play out just like that" nonsense was one such occasion, which made it all the merrier when Oregon St. blew all those ridiculous column inches to beautiful orange bits. It was so merry, in fact, I've decided to commemorate the occasion with my own 19th-century French literature-inspired LOLthing:

The joy didn't last, however, as over the weekend the Worldwide Leader handed us not one but two examples of such outrageous college football ignorance from people allegedly paid to cover college football that the bile and rage that bubbled up demands I share them with you.

Example the first: during the Louisville-UConn game Friday night, Husky quarterback Tyler Lorenzen* drops back, is swarmed under, and attempts to throw the ball away. But with no receiver in the area and the ball well short of the line-of-scrimmage, the officials flag him for intentional grounding after a brief conference.

This is when either play-by-play guy Bob Wischusen or color guy Brock Huard (yes, I looked that up just for the SHAME of it) tells viewers "Lorenzen should have just taken the sack there, rather than draw the penalty."

Goodness f'ing gracious. There is no difference between a grounding call--spot foul and loss of down--and a sack. None. This is a basic understanding of college football, the sport which you are being paid to announce. And, of course, there was no correction. How is there any freaking way neither you nor your broadcast partner nor any of the producers with their voice in your earpiece know this extremely simple fact about the rules? HOW!?! ANSWER ME.

Example the second is even more egregious: in the "Gameday Final" wrap-up, Ivan Maisel writes the following:
1. October begins with 18 undefeated teams. Vanderbilt and Northwestern are among them. USC and Georgia are not. The Big 12 has five unbeatens, all 4-0, but don't get too excited. The teams with losses have exactly one victory against a team from an automatic-bid conference among them. TCU, which is 4-1 after its 35-10 loss at No. 2 Oklahoma, has beaten Stanford.
So many questions for you here, Ivan:

1. If your point is to tell us not to get excited about those undefeated teams, wouldn't it make more sense to tell us something about them rather than the other teams in the conference?

2. What in the name of God's green earth do you mean by "automatic-bid conference"? Do you mean the BCS conference? Why the hell wouldn't you just say "BCS conference" like every single other college football writer on the planet?

3. Do you honestly not know that TCU is not in the Big 12? Do you? Where exactly have you been for the last 10 years? I thought you were covering and writing about college football, or at least that's what it's looked like with your byline appearing on all manner of columns and stories and so forth, but I guess I was wrong because there are freaking sea urchins who can tell you that TCU is not in the Big 12. And yet you, a man who allegedly makes his living by writing insightful things about college football, apparently cannot. Seriously: HOW IN THE HELL do you even have to think about this? How can none of your editors have noticed? How has this post been up ever since late Saunday night and no one's bothered to correct it? How can you ... you're being paid a paycheck to ... AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH

*head explodes*

*And not husky quarterback Jared Lorenzen. Just so we're clear.


PhilipVU94 said...

Ah, see, I didn't even get that he thought TCU was in the BXII and one of the teams that had lost, although that's certainly the plain interpretation of what he said.

At first I started out reading it as you did. Then I hit TCU's name, inferred he must be talking about the teams beaten by those BXII undefeateds, and went back and re-interpreted it that way. The possibility of him thinking TCU was in the BXII just never occurred to me, although I guess if you thought the old SWC teams like Houston, SMU, and Rice all made it then it's understandable.

I'm too lazy to check his facts this other way, but for example OU beat a bunch of teams that probably didn't beat anyone significant (I know UW is winless), and Mizzou only beat Illinois who didn't beat anyone. But your interpretation is far more in line with what he actually wrote.

JPK said...

I think Ivan did mean that the victims of the undefeated Big XII teams collectively only have the TCU-Stanford win. I.e. everybody else would be undefeated with their schedule, too.

That's not the implication, but that's a hard sentence to write clearly.

Jerry Hinnen said...

Well gosh, you guys are no fun. But you're probably right, now that I look at it. But no SO right that I'm going to go back and change it.

PhilipVU94 said...

Well, it was still bad of him to phrase so obscurely. They pay pundits not just to be right but also to explain their points clearly.

per head service said...

It is quite funny that picture. When he is trying to catch up the other is running away from him.