BCS Conspiracy Theory of the Week: Why TCU-Utah Wasn’t On CBS

November 7, 2010 – 8:20 am by McD

Much was made of the TCU/Utah game this week. After all, it is possibly the only time top five teams are going to match up for the rest of the season, and it was a game that would eliminate one non-AQ school from a shot at the BCS altogether.

But one of the biggest stories heading into Saturday was that few people were going to get to see the game at all, no matter how much they cared.

The game was broadcast on CBS College Sports Network, a channel I and 49% of the country get but usually have to pay extra for. Turns out the Mountain West doesn’t have a television deal with any of the major networks, so it’s not like ESPN could just show the game once it turned out it was a huge matchup.

But why didn’t CBS move the game to it’s main, national network instead of this random sports channel subsidiary? That way tons of people would get to see the game and CBS could have gone back-to-back with TCU/UTah and then LSU/Alabama. Sounds like a big day for the ratings.

Or at least it did because that never happened, as we all know.

Instead, LSU/Alabama was moved some time during the week  from its original 7pm ET kickoff time to 3:30 pm. This, of course, meant that TCU/Utah had to stay on CBS College Sports because it also kicked off at 3:30.

The SEC is in charge of moving game times around for whatever reason, and they seemed more than happy “to accommodate the CBS broadcast.”

But why? A prime time game between two national powers on a national network sounds like perfect happiness for the SEC, not to mention CBS, who had a shot at airing the two biggest games of the weekend one after the other.

To borrow from Bill Clinton, it’s the BCS, stupid.

Moving the LSU/’Bama game to 3:30 means that the two big games went up against each other, further limiting the exposure for the two top-five non-AQ schools to pollsters and the nation at large. Even the Salt Lake Tribune was cynical about the time change for the LSU game:

Hey, if you’re claiming to be an expert — if you’re voting in the polls — you have an obligation to watch the game. And it won’t be that difficult.

And yet The Sporting News published a story indicating that, because so few people will be able to see the No, 3 and No. 5 teams in the latest BCS poll, it will hurt the winner’s chances of making it to the BCS title game.

The game “is on the CBS College Sports Network (good luck finding it) instead of a national network or major cable outlet. Just how many eyes will be watching? Not enough to make a difference,” The Sporting News wrote.

The article says it itself: there’s no way enough pollsters (who account for two-thirds of the BCS formula) were going to get to see this game to vote properly on it.

But doing shady things is beyond the SEC or the BCS, right? There’s just no way those two bastions of moral rectitude would work together to keep the little guys off television.

The scheme worked out too perfectly to not be orchestrated. CBS needed to move its broadcast so it could show Entertainment Tonight at 7, a repeat of NCIS at 8, and a repeat of The Defenders at 9. I wonder how long it took the SEC to agree to elbow TCU/Utah out of the way by moving LSU/Alabama up. Three seconds is the over-under.

There are, of course, believable reasons this whole mess really happened.  CBS was probably contractually obligated to air those two shows in prime time at some point in the week because they didn’t air on their regular Tuesday time slot because of the elections. Maybe the SEC felt bad for the Pac-10 and decided they should have the lion’s share of prime time coverage Saturday night. Anything’s possible, really.

But people have been wondering how the BCS could keep TCU or Boise State out of the title game if Auburn or Oregon lost. This is how.

By keeping the non-AQ’s off network television late in the season, the coaches and the Harris poll voters are more likely to underrate them and overrate one-loss teams like LSU. Don’t be surprised if a one-loss conference champ sneaks in to the BCS title game over an undefeated Boise or TCU team based entirely upon the human polls.

It’s not enough that their smaller conferences’ television contracts keep them off network television most Saturdays anyway. The big guys are always looking for any advantage they can get and are merciless when it comes to getting BCS money and BCS exposure.

This is just another example of the little guy getting screwed.

Even worse, the TCU blowout works to the SEC’s advantage because the talking heads can say Utah was never as good as their top-five ranking and LSU had to “earn” their victory against Alabama. And everyone “knows” Alabama is just as good as they were last year, right?

Collusion, people. Col-fucking-lusion.

*Photo courtesy the AP

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  1. 7 Responses to “BCS Conspiracy Theory of the Week: Why TCU-Utah Wasn’t On CBS”

  2. Ha, great minds think alike. Nicely done.

    By B.O.A. on Nov 7, 2010

  3. I hope we get TCU or Boise State in the championship game and the other versus Auburn, Oregon, LSU, Stanford, Alabama… Boise State v Oregon and TCU v. Auburn would be great. I think Boise State and TCU would beat most other teams badly (Oregon is the only team I think that has a good chance to give the two a could game).

    By John Hunter on Nov 7, 2010

  4. I say let Alabama and Utah go at it. Wait we already… and it wasn’t pretty for bama!

    By Sean J on Nov 7, 2010

  5. Stop the machinations, stop the madness, stop the what-ifs. Fight the urge to say who is better than whom. Its rigged in favor of the large and influential schools complicit with ESPN, FOX, CBS and the other networks that televise games. The are now even changing around games and times so two undefeated teams don’t get on a decent watchable TV station. A play-off is the only way to settle the question of who is number one. Think about the San Francisco Giants who would have never won the World Series on paper. Sports is not about who is better than whom on paper, that’s why we play the games boys and girls.

    Here’s an easy peasy playoff system: Stack TCU v. Oregon and Auburn v. BSU and the winner plays for the championship. It ain’t that tough, it ain’t that complicated, it ain’t that cerebral. We have to vocalize our discontent and to coin a phrase from the Nevada senate candidate (who lost) Sharon Engel, its time to “man up” and let everyone know what an inane, vapid and ridiculously unfair situation the BCS championship series is. It is very possible that BSU (of whom I am not a fan) will get aced out of the first 4 spots in the final standings, without losing in 2 years. In addition, they beat TCU and Oregon in the last two years and they beat VA Tech with 86,000 fans against them in a “neutral” location at FEDEX Field. If this system was in place at your place of work, in hiring people, in electing officials or in any other sport, it would be condemned by all and immediately replaced with a fair system. Let your representatives in DC get involved to ensure the money is distributed fairly and teams are given a chance to compete.

    By Roger Dodger on Nov 7, 2010

  6. I was hoping to see the TCU-Utah game this weekend but I searched evry channnel and couldn’t located. I agree that this was done to hurt TCU-Utah’s chnaces to be seen across the nation. Typical CBS.

    By Mario on Nov 8, 2010

  7. I was hoping to see the TCU-Utah game this weekend but I searched every channnel and couldn’t located. I agree that this was done to hurt TCU-Utah’s chnaces to be seen across the nation. Typical CBS.

    By Mario on Nov 8, 2010

  8. You did not see the game because the real world knew Utah was way over rated. The world lovers the underdog. BS, utah and probably TCU are over rated. You play week after week, after week a good or at least decent team it wears on your player. Those teams play one good team or maybe average team a year.Rested player, rested player.Look at the missouri qb. not so sharp after nebr. knocked the crap out of him the previous week.

    By jean Schultz on Nov 8, 2010

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