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Can't Actual Real Sports Competition Be Enough?

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I realize at this point calling out ESPN for its questionable broadcasting choices is getting to be like saying you hate the Yankees or think Dick Vitale is biased. Much like OrangeHoops' OrangeRay, my intake of all things SportsCenter has diminished greatly over the last decade. I grew up in the heyday of the network and the show, the late 80's and early 90's. It was a staple of my morning routine as much as Saved By The Bell reruns were a constant in my afternoon plans. I remember that I would leave my house at 10 past the hour to catch the bus and hearing the theme song for SportsCenter was bittersweet as it marked my ten minute warning but also provided me with all the ammo I needed for homeroom discussion with my friends about the current state of affairs.

These days, I'm more apt to check ESPNNews first to see what the big story is before deciding whether or not its worth my time to see what's on the main network. When I do tune in, it's usually something re-affirming my decision not to care anymore...or hockey highlights...which is basically the same thing.

Anyway, this is all one giant self-aware lead-in to my disdain with this SportsCenter feature that is the What-If College Football Playoff scenario. They are taking the top teams this year and putting them through an arbitrarily-picked ten team playoff to determine the national champion. And what, may we ask, is the deciding criteria of this playoff? The thoughts of Kirk Herbstreit, Mary May an Rece Davis. That's it. The three of them hold a discussion about each match-up and then they decide who would win the game.

This morning, I was lucky enough to see that in this magical world of 10-team playoffs (has anyone even suggested a ten-team playoff?), Michigan would beat Florida in one semifinal and LSU would upset Ohio State in the other. How did they come to this conclusion? Rece Davis decided it was time for an upset. Yup...that was it.

Looking at the website, the clips and front page poll...I can only imagine the time and effort that went into putting this feature together. Is the real world of college football so boring? Are the real match-ups lacking in talking points so much that we always have to create retarded fake news stories like this to fill airtime?

Don't even get me started on that All-Time Playoff they did a few weeks back. You'd have thought they'd learned their lesson after trumpeting USC last year and how they'd fare against all-time teams...right before the Trojans lost to Texas.

What's my point here? I don't think I actually had one now that I think about it. ESPN is MTV Sports now...not telling you what you need to know but actually creating the news so that they can tell you what you need to care about. The network is so self-absorbed and willing to give itself a reach-around every chance it gets that its amazing they still find time for those hockey highlights.

Perfect example...Arena Football has been around for 21 seasons and for most of that time you would have been very hard-pressed to find Arena Football highlights on SportsCenter. Possibly a short piece on the Arena Bowl or on a player who made the transition to the NFL (Kurt Warner), but otherwise, ESPN deemed the league and its product unnecessary for your general consumption. They decided that you don't care.

Now...this.

Call me crazy but I have a feeling ESPN is about to assume that you REALLY care about Arena Football. And you better start to care, cause I don't think you really have a choice anyway.