Weekend filled with bowl games [UPDATED]Published 6:11am Monday, January 7, 2013 Updated 8:13am Monday, January 7, 2013
It’s hard to argue with the football offerings this weekend.
Of course, by the time you read this, you will already have had your fill of buffalo wings, beer, cheering (or yelling) at the TV screen, getting sore from sitting on the couch too long, and then basking in glory (or wallowing in pity) over your team’s win or loss.
Between the North Dakota State football team’s FCS Championship game against Sam Houston State at noon on Saturday to the Vikings’ playoff tilt with Green Bay at 7 p.m., the question I have been asking is, what exactly are we going to do between 3:30 p.m. and 7?
Of the two teams, the Bison are clearly the least surprising. Though I did not attend NDSU, the fact that a relative is an alum — and that he watches every minute of every game, to the point where we bought the online broadcast and jerry-rigged an HDMI cable from the laptop to the TV so we could watch one of the untelevised Bison games — I have clearly taken an interest in the team.
NDSU is defending its title, and, until the last few games, dominated opponents for most of the season with its stifling, opportunistic defense. Considering it defeated Division I opponent Colorado State (4-8), 22-7, it is likely the Bison would have beaten the Gophers (6-7) this year. The Gophers clearly would like to have junior cornerback Marcus Williams, who is likely going to be drafted in the top three rounds of the NFL draft in 2013 or 14.
Bison fans are also quite the bunch, packing the town of Frisco (a suburb of Dallas) for a four-day weekend. While I’m sure many are considering the trip a vacation, the fact is that I would prefer a warmer vacation destination (Saturday’s projected temperature in Frisco: 50 degrees).
Clearly, if the Bison lose, it would be a disappointment for their fans. I can’t say the same for Vikings fans. As someone who remembers crying at halftime of the last Super Bowl in which they appeared in January 1977 (I was 7), this year’s Vikings team is one of the rare surprises, and I’m happy they’re playing at this time of year at all.
Clearly, I’m not the only one who watched them botch the game at Lambeau Field to fall to 6-6 with a schedule facing three of four playoff contenders and feel the season was over. Yet, on the back of Superman (Adrian Peterson) and an improving defense, the team shocked everyone.
Will I be a bit frustrated if they don’t win on Saturday? As always, it depends. If Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his infinite bevy of good receivers puts an aerial bombing on the Vikings’ defense, I’ll chalk it up to a superior team and be quiet. If the Vikings are competitive but find a way to choke (as they repeatedly do in the playoffs) it might be a different story.
No matter what happens, it’s going to be fun. Or in the case of when you read this, I hope it was a lot of fun.
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Speaking of football, an employee of Park Region Telephone asked that I speak to the fact that many of the college bowl games — and Monday and Thursday night NFL football games — are not on regular broadcast television (the Bison-Sam Houston State game, for example, was on ESPN2).
Specifically, he wanted to assure the public that, no, Park Region Telephone, Charter Communications and the satellite dish services have no control over what channel these games appear on.
The cable and broadcast networks bid for the rights to broadcast the games, and clearly, the cable networks have been willing to spend more money than broadcast ones.
Like many things (such as baseball pitching staffs) television is getting more and more specialized. Other than the national championship game, I’m sure it’s hard to find a general audience large enough to justify the amount the NCAA wants for broadcast rights. Only by having the hardcore (Bison) fans willing to fork over the cash for cable can a network justify the hefty broadcast rights fees.
To those complaining, I do have to ask the question, how many bowl games are you really interested in anyway? Frankly, I’m bowled out.
Joel Myhre is The Journal’s Publisher. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org