Too many reasons not to have BTN

I’m jumping on the Big Ten Network bandwagon after missing good games.

by Paul Cordes

Last Saturday, I was sitting in my apartment taking in as much college football as possible with the limited number of TVs in my said apartment.

I flipped between a few games here and there all day, and the score of the Northwestern/Michigan State game continued to grab my eye as both teams battled back and forth.

The Wildcats, Big Ten bottom feeders, were neck and neck with the Spartans, a team many argued should have been ranked after racking up 34 points against Wisconsin the weekend before.

My roommate and I watched as an update flashed on the tube telling us the game had gone into overtime with things knotted up at 41 at the end of regulation.

I was personally stunned as this was the same Northwestern team that had given Duke its first win in 22 games two weeks earlier. At this point though, all I could think of was getting this game on my TV as quickly as possible.

But, as we’re all well aware, as a Comcast customer I was cut off from watching one of the biggest wins in Big Ten play last weekend because, yes, it was being aired on the Big Ten Network.

I have to admit that I’m really not a person who enjoys complaining. I certainly don’t like to come across in a whiney manner but this instance negates one of Comcast’s biggest arguments.

On Comcast’s Web site, under the “Putting Fans First” section, the athletic experts at Comcast tell us this:

“The Big Ten Network WILL NOT carry the most compelling Big Ten Conference football games because those games will continue to be carried free on national broadcast (ABC) and cable (ESPN) under their existing agreements.”

They go on to list a few of what they call “non-compelling games” and list the “truly compelling” games as well that will be aired nationally.

Now lets take a peak at a few of the oh-so-horrible games aired on the Big Ten Network so far this season.

Michigan vs. Appalachian State: Some nobody team comes into the Big House and knocks around the preseason No. 5. Yeah, that’s pretty noncompelling.

Northwestern vs. Duke: Duke snaps a 22-game losing streak. Ah, who cares, right?

Northwestern vs. Michigan State: The Spartans get spanked at home by the same team that lost to Duke, but we’d rather be watching something on the big networks, right?

Here’s my point: If we’ve learned anything about college football this season, it’s that no matter how much we watch, study, or completely indulge ourselves in it, we can’t predict what games are going to mean the most during the year.

Appalachian State at Michigan might not have seemed like a big game coming into the year, but if I’m not mistaken, it played a pretty significant role in the National Championship outlook this season and there is absolutely no reason people in Mississippi should be able to watch it on the Big Ten Network, and not the people in the Big Ten region.

Who is Comcast to tell us what games are worth watching and which are not? It’s usually the teams with nothing to lose that are going to shake everything up – and so far this season it couldn’t be any truer.

The second argument Comcast enjoys making that drives me nuts is that it’s just not fair to charge everybody for a channel that not everybody is going to watch.

Are you kidding me?

With the absolute garbage that is constantly coming out of the tube, you don’t think it is fair to put the Big Ten Network on standard cable.

Let’s take a look at what’s really fair.

Not only do I have the degenerate programming of MTV in my cable package, but I have a second MTV to watch re-runs of the degenerate programming, MTV in Spanish so I can watch degenerate programming in another language and MTVJ, which I didn’t even know existed.

And don’t forget Lifetime and the Soap Opera channel. Those are necessities. I’ve got an idea to make things fair.

In the next paragraph, I will go ahead and sum up the next year of broadcasts on Lifetime for both its viewers, and then we can just replace it with the Big Ten Network. Sounds fair to me.

Man meets woman. Man beats woman. Woman loses everything. Man is evil. Woman develops inner strength and destroys man.

There you go. Now we’re ready to move on and put some quality programming on TV.

You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate nontrash on television and I hope I’m speaking for more than myself when I say I’d rather watch a “non-compelling” game with the hopes of seeing an incredible upset or the nationally ranked Minnesota volleyball take it to a Big Ten opponent, than some of the mind-numbing refuse traveling over the airwaves.

-Paul Cordes welcomes comments at [email protected].