Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Between the Buffs and the Bucs, this football season will be as fun for me as licking a belt sander

Colorado threw the Big 12 a curveball yesterday by announcing they'll stay in the conference for two years rather than head to the Pac-10 next season. This is all a financial thing for CU, as leaving the conference is going to be very tough on an already depleted athletics budget in Boulder. It's why they just signed up to lose, errr, play a one way game with Ohio State for 1.4 million next season. By waiting the full two year exit period, they'll save a lot of money. CU's hoping the Big 12 will eventually make concessions for easier financial exit terms to avoid having an 11 team lineup for just one season. The Pac-10 would have to wait another year to have their title game too, so this is good news for no one. I'd love to pretend it's going to matter which conference the Buffs are in, but they're going to get killed in either one until someone comes in to clean up after Dan Hawkins.

Notre Dame football's going to be good again, sooner than you think. As someone who's been a Fighting Irish football skeptic for pretty much my entire career, this is an unusual thing for me to say. Brian Kelly's a different kind of guy than the last few coaches who haven't worked out though, and he proved it again yesterday. Kelly acknowledged he has spoken with NBC about not having commercials disrupt the pace of his no-huddle offense. This is a guy who has a broader perspective on his responsibilities in South Bend than just running his offensive scheme, and he finds ways to succeed wherever he goes. I don't know if anyone can reduce the constant breaks in college football (some of the CBS ones feel like they last seven minutes), but if anyone can it's Kelly with NBC. I'm really looking forward to seeing what he can do with ND this season.

Last week it was announced that ESPN's Jenn Brown was going to do a year long stint as the public face of Icehouse beer. This isn't new ground at ESPN, as Chris Berman, Tom Jackson and Dan Patrick are among those who've done beer spots in the past. Yesterday, word came down that the network had reversed field and was refusing to let Brown do the campaign for Icehouse after all. The reason is apparently because of criticism from Sports Illustrated's media columnist that she's covering college football for the network as opposed to the NFL. Wouldn't want to give college kids the idea to start drinking alcohol, you know. Let's be real here: the only way a college guy is more likely to drink beer because of Jenn Brown would be if she handed him an Icehouse personally. (For that matter, if Jenn Brown was offering a college guy a jar of bat urine he would drink that if he thought it would give him a shot with her.) Otherwise, the kids that drink in college are going to drink regardless of who does the ads. They will base their buying decisions on price more often than taste, but they will never debate "do I start drinking to please the beauty from the ad". ESPN just featured an appearance by a beer's "most interesting man in the world" character on one of their shows. On their website, they offer a feature called "The Next Round" sponsored by a bourbon. Sitting around drinking and talking about sports is described in ESPN Radio ads for it as "what men do". Do college kids watch ESPN's afternoon shows, listen to ESPN Radio or visit their website? Since the answer's clearly yes, exactly how is pulling Jenn Brown from these ads sending any kind of message at all, other than that ESPN is still capable of mammoth hypocrisy?

Year one for Brett Favre and the Vikings went better than anyone could have imagined. He put up some of the very best numbers of his career, and they nearly went to the Super Bowl. Already there are signs this year may not go so smoothly. First it was Percy Harvin's massive migraine difficulties, and now Sidney Rice having hip surgery that will sideline him for half the season. Suddenly Favre is missing his best target from last year and has uncertainty with another outstanding weapon. He has a much more difficult early schedule this season, is a year older, and has supposedly not fully healed from his ankle problem. Bernard Berrian's a nice player, but he's not a number one receiver. By the time this season's over, I believe Favre will wish he really had retired.

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