Archive for the ‘ESPN’ Category

Linking Up: August 17

August 18, 2009
Here’s what running through Homerism’s head as I await Rhett Bomar’s (legitimate) professional debut:

*Carey Murdock, editor of, looked into Mike Balogun’s former semi-pro league, inspiring him to write this missive to the powers that be at NCAA headquarters.

Unfortunately for Balogun, the NCAA typically doesn’t allow much latitude in these types of situations. It would shock Homerism if The Bricklayer was reinstated. Pretty sad state of affairs.
*Chad Millman, ESPN’s new “sports wagering” writer, has a pretty cool article on the latest rage in football handicapping.
*Saw Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story this weekend. I just don’t get these spoof flicks. Plus, is there a more blah actress than Jenna Fischer in the business today?
*Florida’s Brandon Spikes says OU plays dirty. This is like all the complaining you hear from Florida fans about OU supposedly holding the whole time during the national championship game. You won the game, Gators. Move on.
*Sports bloggers have seemingly made an entire niche industry out of rankings and lists, so I’m well aware that this complaint is rife with irony. Homerism is as guilty of it as anyone. However, today’s deluge of pontificating on college football’s top “villains” is the kind of just-skirting-the-line-of-news junk from ESPN that really rubs Homerism the wrong way. Instead of actually trying to do some research and reporting that might produce some semblance of insight into the great game of college football, we’re treated some pointless, warmed-over drivel that puts the Worldwide Leader right in the middle of the conversation.
The most infuriating part is how the rest of the sports media helps perpetuate the ESPN monolith. Note, for instance, this recent blog post from Guerin Emig, OU beat reporter for the Tulsa World: “ESPN, Sooners off to a rough start.” Every Mickey Mouse–get it?–college football writer with an Internet connection is out there posting predictions on 2009 season. Yet, when ESPN does it, somehow it becomes news?
(And, yes, as I previously mentioned, the irony isn’t lost on Homerism.)
*Wow, listening to Jon Gruden talk about the Wildcat on Monday Night Football is making me a little uncomfortable. He’s going to need a cigarette when he’s done. Meanwhile, Jaws sounds like a spurned schoolgirl with Chucky in the booth.
*Couldn’t you see something like this happening at OU during the Howard Schnellenberger days?
*A young black football player giving a “shoutout” to Mike Vick… AND he never paid a parking ticket?! Draft at your own risk, NFL!
*Hope you’ve been keeping up with the ongoing 2009 season preview project the good guys over at GatorsFirst are working on. It’s interesting to see how a bunch of other blatant homers view college football at large.

Whitlock Unleashed

May 8, 2009

Not sure if I’ve ever appreciated columnist Jason Whitlock’s work more than I do today.

Draft Musings

April 25, 2009

Exams prevented Homerism from finishing off the draft preview. For posterity’s sake, here are a few more picks, based on the original draft order:

Baltimore–Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State
Tennessee–Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia
Arizona–Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia

*Obviously, my opinion of Stafford differs significantly from that of the NFL scouts. We’re actually not that far off.
I agree that Stafford’s “tools” make him an outstanding prospect. Clearly, he has what it takes between the ears to make it in the NFL, too.
But there was just something about Stafford’s demeanor while at Georgia that I detested. On the sidelines, do you ever remember seeing him doing anything to fire up his teammates? Heck, do you remember ever even seeing him talking to any of them? Most of the time, I remember him sitting by himself on the bench with his head down.
From a personality standpoint, Homerism gets the impression that Stafford is either a lone wolf or just not personable or aloof or something else. Whatever it is, I really wonder about that ineffable quality of “leadership” when it comes to Stafford. He seemed more interested in winning a game on his own or showing what a great NFL quarterback he’d be. Either way, he just strikes me as a paycheck player.
So why even draft him at all? Well, that talents is tough to pass up. Tennessee just seems like the perfect place for him to get his start. The Titans have a mature veteran under center in Kerry Collins who can show Stafford the ropes. Most importantly, he may be able to teach Stafford how to lead a team.
Vince Young may be a lost cause, but there’s still plenty of reason to be hopeful about Stafford. Let him watch Collins for a year and then possibly take over.
*The Raiders dealt a pick in the second round, so Al Davis must understand that trading picks is allowed.
*OK, so all three USC linebackers didn’t go in the first round. Does that mean they’re not the unit in college football history? I bring this up not to dog the three players, but to point out that it’s stupid to judge a college player’s career based on where he’s drafted. Green Bay got a steal in Clay Matthews, by the way.
*Homerism caught the opening of ESPN’s draft coverage during a break in his class today. The opening sequence looked like one of those pump-up-the-jam intros before the NBA Finals, except starring Chris Berman and Mel Kiper in place of Kobe and LeBron. I half-expected Mort to shake-and-bake the cameraman before throwing a no-look alley-oop to Trey Wingo.
*Michael Crabtree is the best prospect in this draft, but that’s a horrible situation in San Francisco.

Path of Less Resistance

April 11, 2009

On a recent podcast (April 1 edition), noted Notre Dame honk Beano Cook boldly–but not surprisingly–decreed the Fightin’ Irish would be in the hunt for the national title in 2009.

Beano is 137 years old, so Homerism was willingly to cut the old man some slack for mistaking 2009 with 1969. However, when Methuselah’s ESPN colleague Ivan Maisel piped up in something close to agreement, Homerism started to wonder if Ron Powlus‘ biggest fan was onto something.

The source of Beano and Maisel’s enthusiasm originated in part with Pear Bryant‘s recruiting success. Yet, they seemed more excited about ND’s schedule.

Hold on, I thought, these two have lost it. After all, Homerism tends to remember the Notre Dame of old, a team that arrogantly defied convention and stayed independent, enabling the Irish to play a bevy of college football heavyweights each year. Sure, there were always the Service academy games, but you couldn’t really knock the Irish’s willingness to schedule as tough as they come.

This year, though, ND will be playing a sheep in wolf’s clothing–lots of big names, but little overall challenge. Admit it, Irish fans, a schedule that includes Purdue, Pittsburgh and Washington sounds much tougher than it actually is.

ND has the usual toughie with USC, but this looks like a bit of a transition year for the Trojans and the game is at South Bend. Boston College rolls into Notre Dame Stadium the next week, and despite the success of “Fredo” against the Irish this decade, the Eagles also look to be in for a down year. The toughest road game is probably Michigan–not particularly worrisome.

Keep in mind that Homerism isn’t accusing ND of whimping out. The Irish usually have most of their games scheduled well in advance, so it’s not really ND’s fault that teams like the Apple Staters have fallen off the map since the contracts were signed. 
But Homerism is accusing the national media (well in advance) of overhyping the Irish after ND starts the season undefeated through five games. Trust me, by mid-October, the papers and Web sites will be loaded with “wake up the echoes” headlines. ND will be a better team in 2009 than it was in 2008. But that’s still not a squad that will be ready to compete for the national title. 


March 20, 2009

I have an aunt who used to watch “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” every morning. She wasn’t interested in Regis Philbin’s rants or Martha Stewart recipes or interviews with Tom Selleck about his latest TV movie. She tuned in because she loved to hate Kathie Lee Gifford.

This space isn’t big enough to afford Homerism the opportunity to lay out the reasons behind my aunt’s near-pathological loathing for the woman who made third-world sweatshops a cause celebré. All in all, I think it was just the totality of the Oral Roberts University dropout’s being that drove my aunt up the wall. Listening to her spew invective at the TV screen from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., I always wondered why she would willingly engage in such an obviously irritating activity every weekday.
Reading the final column of ESPN’s outgoing ombudsman, Le Anne Schreiber, this week, I was reminded of my aunt’s daily Kathie Lee hate-athon. After receiving 30,000 pieces of correspondence from fed-up users/readers/viewers, Schreiber diagnosed consumers’ main complaint about the Worldwide Leader as a distaste for its tendency toward “excess.” 
Schreiber consistently has offered dead-on analysis and criticism during her two-year stint as ESPN’s internal gadfly. Homerism doesn’t need to see her clogged-up inbox to know she hit it out of the park with her last piece of advice to “tone it down.” Be it alleged bias toward teams or conferences, superstar burnout or puffing up the latest “greatest team of all time,” sports fans’ bitching about ESPN’s uber-hype is ubiquitous around barstools and water coolers all across the country.
Seeing as football arguments can be about as contentious as a congressional bailout hearing, it’s no surprise that college fans of all stripes read the most evil insinuations into the media giant’s coverage. During the past season, Homerism spoke with college football fans who have accused ESPN of:
  • underplaying the SEC’s strength;
  • overhyping the SEC;
  • politicking for USC as co-national champion;
  • displaying “East Coast bias” and portraying the Pac-10 as weak;
  • stumping for Texas in the Big 12 South fiasco;
  • pumping up Oklahoma to put the Sooners in the national championship game.
(And that doesn’t even begin to address the issue of disrespecting/deifying Tim Tebow.)
What to make of all these widely conflicting opinions? Well, given the instant analysis and bloviating punditry that ESPN has come to specialize in, you could probably find instances of all of the above. On a daily basis.

The bottom line is that ESPN’s only bias is toward its bottom line, which historically has been pretty fat. Insane hype and celebrity opinion death matches are the kinds of infotainment that move the needle. Milquetoast analysis and truly informative journalism just doesn’t make for compelling TV. I mean, think about what a letdown it is on Sunday morning when you hear the “Outside the Lines” music and see Bob Ley pop up on screen. Can you imagine what the ratings would be like if everything the network aired was like that?
Truth is, like a CBS sitcom, it’s hard to find anyone who will admit to actually liking ESPN. We all profess to hating the hype. Yet, it’s not like ESPN is our only option for sports news and entertainment. As much as we say we’d love to see less excess and more insight from the network, our eyes give us away. Just as my aunt couldn’t tear herself away from the TV, sports fans dutifully tune in and log on.
We might as well admit it–as college football fans, ESPN is our Kathie Lee.