EsPN- "This just in: Big Ten's Talent lacking...conference boring"

The College Gameday Crew weighs in on today's games


Like every big company, the pseudo-sports, big-time entertainment branch of Disney has a ton of meetings. These meetings get everyone on the same page...make sure everybody's reflecting the company mantra and M.O. It's typical business.

The Bristol-based entertainment network has a lot more competition than they used to. A couple of years ago, they could afford to allow their in-studio personalities to spar with eachother and put their individual theories out there for the audience to make its decision...they don't have that luxury any longer.

In football, we all have been trained to believe the BT is slow. Ignore Pryor, Robinson, Penn State's entire defensive backfield...deny what your eyes see, believe what you're told. There's no possible way the BT can match the speed of Oregon, Florida, VaTech and others. Every BT team is Wisconsin...every player used to work hauling grain at his Dad's farm in Iowa.

The newest version of EsPN's groupthink is on the hardwood. Big intellects like Digger, Doug Gottlieb, Joe Lunardi and others will tell you their truth: The Big Ten doesn't have the talent or athleticism of the SEC, ACC or Big East. Ignore what you see and what you've read before the season begins. Believe the 2-minute video clip chosen by the network's slick production teams. Heck, they'll explain to you why it's the truth by backing it up with a loud-mouthed salvo...and will get you back to your ACC game in time to savor Coach K's genius.

Case in point- Purdue just beat a top-10 SEC school. But, Purdue wasn't better. The focus wasn't upon Chris Kramer gutting out a steal, Kelsey Barlow pulling down a rebound, Smooge shooting a pull-up or even JJ flushing 6 times in the second half ...it was on UT's player dunking and yelling at Kramer...or Chism's poor decision to shoot a 19-footer at the end of the game. Purdue didn't deserve that win. Sweaty Pearl's boys clearly gave it away.

All of Purdue's players grew up playing ball in their Dad's barn...Gene Hackman was each of their high school coaches. They try hard...they push tires around. Smooge and LewJack are not from urban areas...next year, the new kids from Indy and Chi will pick up a pair of short gold lamet shorts, Chuck Taylors and a Big Ten-issued crew cut to play for Painter- one of the many RM Knight-type coaches in the Big Ten. Clearly, if you focus on defense and half-court basketball, you must not have any athletes to play with the NBA-style teams of chosen leagues.

Ignore EsPN's own recruiting rankings that come out as soon as a kid's voice changes that tell you the BT is bringing in blue chips on all sides. Teams like aOSU, MSU, Illinois, Purdue, and others might seem like they're bringing in talent that also had offers from the real basketball conferences...but that's not the case. Those teams chose to back off of said player for another more-talented guy.

Bruce Pearl summed it up well after his team lost the Paradise Jam Championship to the gritty, go-getters from West Lafayette- (I'll summarize) Fatigue played a role in the final outcome...Smooge is a good player that probably would have come to UT had he not backed off of him for another, better player...and UT will see better talent all season from their in-conference foes than what they saw from the scrappers from the Big Ten.

Indeed. Keep beating the drum, mothership.

Everything the clowns in Bristol do is, first, about business...beating their competition. And second, entertainment. Sports and journalistic integrity are probably in the top-10 of their priorities...I just don't know where. As the BTN has nearly every cable provider in the nation on board, their production value continues to improve and they begin to look more and more like a viable alternative to EsPN, Bristol notices. No one can match the windbags that Eisner and Berman's company seeks and finds. Sure, there are guys in-house like Bilas and Van Pelt who have their own thoughts...but for every one of these, there are ten Digger Phelps and Doug Gottlieb-type guys who toe the company line...and do it vociferously.

If the dollar is king in Burbank/Bristol, and entertainment is queen...sports is the pauper.

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