Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Biggest Losers

Enjoying the holidays so far? Sitting around the yule log, are you, sipping hot cocoa with loved ones? Gone caroling? Ice skating? Had cause to wear something with sequins? I know it’s only December 4th, but already the month feels like it’s slipping away, and so far the only deviation from my regularly scheduled activities is that I watched an episode of “Life” last night.

The worst is yet to come, and by that I mean the inevitable question of “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” I have no idea. But I know what I’m not doing New Year’s Day. Watching Ohio State play LSU for the national championship, surrounded by fellow Buckeye fans.

Back in the day, the college football and holiday season culminated on Jan. 1. Back in the day, most of my family lived within a 10-mile radius and would gather to watch the bowl games and try to figure out a way for Notre Dame to wind up with the #1 ranking. That this actually happened once was enough to keep us delusional for the next 20 years. (We weren’t alone in clinging to this fantasy—just ask the programmers at NBC.)

While it may not sound like it, this was great fun. And then somebody went and invented the BCS. And now the college football season culminates on Jan. 7. Which is a Monday and not even the holidays anymore. I mean, even teachers have gone back to work by then.

So, as the perfect storm of sporting events took place this past weekend—West Virginia and Missouri choked, OSU vaulted to the top spot—I found myself cursing a system that should have been cause for joy.

I guess moving the BCS title game away from all the other lesser contests makes sense from a ratings perspective. After all, my extended family, lolling around my aunt’s living room as the Orange Bowl merged into the Sugar merged into the Fiesta, only counted as a single television set. Now that we’re spread out over several states, with no chance of traveling to watch the Big Game together (on a Saturday, maybe, on a Monday, no chance), why that’s about a 10-household gain for the network. Multiply that by millions of geographically-challenged families and the increase is exponential.

A big win for them. A big loss for us.

Happy holidays.


Post a Comment

<< Home