Not the news I was expecting watching Phillies-Braves, but Sports South will show a replay of the largely unseen Appalachian State upset of Michigan Thursday night at 10pm – and most of the other channels in the Fox Sports empire have a broadcast coming up tonight. (The Big Ten Network is 49% owned by Fox, so I guess you won’t be seeing their games on ESPN Classic, even if the WWL still has major involvement with the conference).
Another thing you don’t have to worry about is the BTN pretending to be neutral:
“It was very exciting,” said Elizabeth Conlisk, the network’s vice president for communications, before quickly adding, “Certainly disappointing that Michigan lost.”
On a related note, Tim Cronin of the Daily Southtown gets on studio co-host Howard Griffith for his use of “we” when talking about Illinois. Indeed. Only play-by-play, color guys and Kirk Herbstreit are allowed to show that sort of favoritism.
Cronin also gripes about the network’s crawl referring to Northwestern as “NW” instead of “NU.” That bugs me to no end too – and has for ten or a dozen years, as ABC and ESPN often do the same.
Finally, everybody seems to be congratulating themselves on Michigan’s full swandive from the polls, but to me it’s a sign of disrespect to Appalachian State, rather than justice for the Wolverines. I don’t think Texas would have been similarly punished had they lost on Saturday, even though their bottom-of-the-barrel I-A opponent is probably not as good as Michigan’s elite I-AA opponent (and yes, I know that the divisions have new names, but then, I heard the announcers during the Colorado-CSU game say “Mile High Stadium” a bunch of times).
On the bright side for the Longhorns, it’s only thanks to Michigan that they’re ranked 7th instead of 8th.
My fellow NW alum Stewart Mandel makes the case for dumping Blue:
With all due respect to the Mountaineers, there’s no justifiable reason to rank a team that lost its first game to a I-AA opponent ahead of any of 25 other teams that did take care of business (or, in the case of Tennessee, lost on the road to a quality opponent).
And AP voter Wayne Phillips of the Greeneville Sun explains why he had the Wolverines 16th:
“I still think Michigan has a good football team,” he said. “I think they’re worthy of being ranked. They may prove me wrong.”
Phillips said he gave Michigan some leeway because he’s very familiar with Appalachian State, the two-time defending I-AA champions.
“They’re a pretty darn good football team,” he said. “If Michigan had lost to some of the other patsies some of the big teams played I could see dropping them out.”
Note that in the story, AP misspells the name of Phillips’ employer, even on that very paper’s website.
Also mentioned is the fact that Notre Dame last held the record for the biggest drop, due to its September 3, 1995 loss to a certain sad-sack team from Evanston that went on to be the Big 10 champ.