Saturday, November 08, 2008

Too Much Ain't Enough? Yes It Is.

According to the paper this morning, there will be 19 college football games on TV beginning at noon and ending early Sunday morning. Except the paper doesn't count the Big Ten network, which I get, so make it 20. At 3 1/2 hours a game, roughly, that's 70 hours of football crammed into a 14-hour bag. This, of course, does not count highlight and pregame shows.

There was a college football game on last night. True, it was only Penn-Princeton, but still. There are now college football games on every night of the week except Monday night. That must be study hall.

This, I think, is why I find it exceedingly difficult to get involved with following college football. There's too much of it. One drowns in a sea of data provided by teams which by rule undergo massive roster changes each season. One doesn't know where to start, so it's relatively easy not to start at all. It wouldn't be good to end up like one of those liberal bloggers earnestly charting every ballot of every nowhereland congressional race in a recount.

I mean, if Colorado vs. Iowa State was the ONLY game on my TV today, I might watch it. It comes in at about 17 on the priority scale, so I won't. Even as devout a remote-twitcher as myself (it'll be Alice's airtight defense at the manslaughter trial), won't click on it, for fear of getting involved and missing some other game's crucial moment. God, I'd hate to be a college play-by-play announcer, working in the knowledge my audience is churning over so fast none of them will hear an entire sentence I speak.

So, as has happened with baseball to a lesser degree, fans of old alma mater A watch its game, and ignore the rest. Same for colleges B, C, and on down. This audience segmentation is economically unsound for what is, hands down, our greediest national sport. College presidents have less fiscal shame than hedge fund managers. They are the world's most pretentious panhandlers.

They're also supposed to be smart, smart enough to check in at the economics department and review the law of supply and demand. If there were only half as many games on TV today, there'd still be more than any one person could watch. There's no reason anybody east of Davenport has to be exposed to Iowa State football. There's no money in it, either.

Since there's NOTHING else on of a Saturday night, I'll probably nod off to some game or other this evening. A dozing audience does not offer marketers a particularly effective ROI (return on investment).

When the BCS rankings argument starts, don't bother waking me up.


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