ESPN goes all out with BCS rankings show
Big-event TV rights can include sideshows.
Just as CBS’ NCAA basketball tournament deal includes dibs on
announcing the field, ESPN, starting Sunday, gets to unveil
football’s weekly Bowl Championship
Series rankings as it inherits BCS games from Fox.
Fox last season low-keyed BCS standings by announcing them
quickly on its NFL studio shows. But you guessed it: ESPN will
reveal BCS rankings, which don’t change much except when teams lose
and teams behind move up, in a movie-length yak-fest.
Sunday’s BCS Countdown begins with a 75-minute ESPN show (8:15
p.m. ET). But since that’s hardly time to scratch the surface, the
show will continue for another half-hour on ESPNU. Too bad there
couldn’t have been time for the Radio City Rockettes to show up. Or
Brad Edwards, an ESPN researcher, picks an Oregon-Nebraska BCS
title game — not exactly a ratings blockbuster given those teams’
local TV markets.
He notes BCS rankings have idiosyncratic elements such as Harris
Interactive voters — including Craig Morton, who retired from the
NFL in 1982, and Pete Dawkins, who played for Army in the 1950s and
is a former vice chairman of Citigroup — forming one-third of the
basis of BCS rankings.
Edwards says: “Every year, I see a few Harris voters and wonder
football these guys could be
watching. Who knows?”
Which, he says, has made BCS analysis much more than numbers:
“It’s kind of social psychology. You have to get into the minds of
voters to try to guess what they’re going to do.”
Sure beats deciding your national championship with a plain old