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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Big 10: What Goes Around…

If Florida State, Ohio State, and Auburn all win, there will be a lot of debate as to which two teams should play in the National Championship game.  If you read the Big 10 fans’ comments, there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding the “system”–especially ESPN–being anti-Big 10 and pro-SEC.  All one can say is… what goes around, comes around.

Again, the big argument is that there is some sort of ESPN bias in favor of the SEC and against the Big 10.  This is so absurd it is ridiculous.  If you look at fans’ comments from all conferences, there is some sort of emerging wimpiness where every fan base thinks that ESPN picks on it.  This also applies to conferences.

ESPN reports the news and provides numerous opinions.  Any reasonable person watching, listening, or reading an ESPN product can and should be able to differentiate between “news” and “opinions.”  The sheer quantity of opinions mean that some are going to be negative to your hopes.  Or different from your own.  Grow up and get over it.  And the news is just the news.  If ESPN tried to pretend that the exciting Ohio State-Michigan finish was actually more exciting than the Auburn-Alabama finish, it would be wrong.  The latter was historical in both impact and result.

What is really amusing, however, is the suggestion that ESPN is promoting the SEC for business purposes.  Aside from the paranoia, let’s just assume this is true:

  • ESPN is a business.
  • It makes more money if one of its assets (the SEC product) is worth more.
  • Promoting the SEC might mean more money for ESPN.
  • The purpose of a business is to profit.
  • It’s just business.

We just got done with 3 years of expansion that was all fueled by the Big 10 deciding that Universities should maximize money by starting a television network.   More recently, with pockets already full of cash, the Big 10 did not add the best schools from a football and basketball standpoint.  They added schools that increased market share (i.e. $$$)… Rutgers and Maryland.  You know, teams that are a combined 5-10 in their conferences (the laughably-weak American and the much-maligned ACC).  It was not about performance, it was about money.  So, yeah, if you are going to point at ESPN for having a business agenda, just remember that it was the Big 10 that decided to not only venture into new deep waters of profiting off its amateur athletes, but also directly compete with ESPN.

Regardless, ESPN shows great restraint in its reporting and commentary on the Big 10.  There is a very debatable argument between Auburn and Ohio State.  Smart people can come down on both sides of the analysis.  It is not bias.  It is not backroom dealings.  It is just news and opinions.  Auburn-Alabama turned out to be a more exciting finish than Michigan-Ohio State.  That is just the reality.  And Auburn may end up overtaking Ohio State and participating in the championship game.  But maybe not.  Whatever happens, it will be because of human beings and computers, operating under a system of rules that the Big 10 agreed to long ago.  And can anyone really point to something unfair actually coming out of ESPN?  Of course not.

But even if the Big 10 wants to throw stones at ESPN, ESPN is merely playing by the same rules as the Big 10.  And that is a selfish attempt to maximize profits at the expense of everything else.  If the Big 10 wants to let Rice and Tulane into the Big 10, then it can take the moral high ground.  Otherwise, it is all dollars and cents for the Big 10 too.  What goes around comes around.

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8 thoughts on “Big 10: What Goes Around…

  1. There is some truth to fanbases protesting over sports journalists opinions being silly but you gloss over a few things that are very real.

    ESPN IS, IS, IS the SEC’s mouthpeice. Thier nonstop commercial. Thier lap dog. Thier bitch. Give any reason you want for that you want, but it’s true. Stand alone that’s cool but:
    Journalistic integrity should demand that if they want to hype thier product, they have to say so instead of trying to present themselves as unbaised.
    *Clearly they are not unbiased. Which means they have none.
    (* denotes the major problem folks have with espn analysts)

    For example, as much as they like to talk about any given teams weak schedules (i.e. OSU, UL & UCF this year or ANY Big East champ from year’s past) but just 2 years back Bama finished the season with only two wins (2!!) against teams with winning records. The good folks at espn never mentioned this but railed non-stop that Bama deserved to play LSU in the NCG citing thier “strong schedule”. And UL wonders out loud: WTF?

    Also, Bama at 11-1 but didn’t win it’s division (nevermind conf) but espn campaigned so hard for Bama in the NCG totally disregarding the fact that they had a different view on that when 1 loss Nebraska played for the NC as a non-conference champ in deference to Oregon and when 1 loss Michigan (whos only loss was at consensus #1 OSU by 3 points) they complained again about a non-conference champ playing for the NC and about a rematch in the NCG.

    When it came to Bama/LSU They had no such issues. And that UBER UGLY 9-6 game they played in Tuscaloosa was hyped as the greatest football game since the Ice Bowl!

    Man don’t even front like you don’t know they’re full of sh!t. The sports journalism industry has 2 kinds of sports journalists. Those who call espn on thier bs and those who eagerly kiss espn’s ring (ring = ass) in hopes of landing a job. Which camp are you in?

    • ESPN “campaigned”? Please describe with specifics. That should be easy if it was as egregious as you claim.

      • ESPN does alter their arguments to fit their needs. In the case of Alabama vs Oklahoma St they changed the subject from whom they beaten & SOS to who they losed to & promote the “eyeball test”. They pitched it as who was the most deserving compared to who was the best team. ESPN does what is best for business. Yes they do campaign. They do, intentionaly or not, use their audiance to sway national oppinion, on a team or conference or whatever.

        • I was not aware that the paranoia was this widespread. Show me the “arguments” that ESPN made… or the “pitch” that was made… or the “campaign.” Was it an ESPN press release? Was it the topic of a show? Was it four guys arguing at 11:00 am on Saturday and three guys favoring Alabama? An ESPN.com article? What was it?

        • I saw it on their shows, with Luginbill & the rest. Like you said its business. They promot whats best for them.

          One example of ESPN presenting false information came when Notre Dame joined the ACC. Lou Holz said on air that one reason they did it is because they didnt want to play Boise St. Fact was that Boise was joning in football only & ND didnt play football in the BE. They never would have played. Although that was a lie, it didnt change the fact that it was the best move for ND. Cant they just give the legit reasons and stay away from the lies?

          Tim Brando also often talks about the exploits of the “four letter network”. Business is business, so they can do what they want. Its up to their viewers to decide.

        • Two guys sharing their opinions. They have 100 guys giving out opinions.

        • dacuseman on said:

          Dude’s practicing willful ignorance. Or maybe he just doesn’t have a clue. I’ll give him the benefit of doubt.

        • What you call ignorance is just the wisdom of age. I remember basketball in the pre-ESPN days. I watched the symbiotic relationship between ESPN and Syracuse emerge over decades, culminating with ESPN helping the ACC decide to take Syracuse.

          And yet how many Syracuse fans think ESPN hates Syracuse? That is the ignorance. Look at the front page of ESPN today, basketball. Syracuse.

          Oh wait, now ESPN is hating on the Big 10. That’s right. They should have featured Iowa and Minnesota winning. Not 6 ACC teams winning. So today ESPN hates the Big 10. And so on.

          ESPN probably hates the Red Sox. Reporting on the Yankees signing Ellsbury.

          Meanwhile… 100 folks are ESPN are paid to give opinions. Gregg Easterbrook writes articles calling coaches wimps for punting. Is that ESPN’s position? No, it is Easterbrook’s opinion. And based on the data he provides, it is a good one.

          Grow up. 100 people providing opinions, inevitably some will be negative. People providing news, inevitably they will report the bad news too. Grow up.

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