Monday, November 13, 2006


Ah, you have to love ESPN's ability to hype even the game of the year beyond all reasonable bounds.

In fact, ESPN's promo commercial is just ... bizarre. There's no other word for it.

It opens in a forest with skies of green. Either we're looking through a nightscope, on a mission somewhere in the Balkans, or we are standing in the glow-in-the-dark aftermath of nuclear armageddon. The trees tower above us.

Behind all of this, comes the rumbling voice of -- who else? -- Brent Musberger. "A century so young," he intones solemnly, "already has its game."

Yes, that's right. The century is younger than cheap whiskey, and this is it. The Game of the Century. What if undefeated Alabama and Auburn ... uh, no. What if Michigan and Ohio State somehow meet in the actual national championship ... uh, no. What if this game ends up being a 3-0 drudgefest, filled with fumbles, interceptions and Zookesque play-calling? Too bad. This is it. This is our game. Can't have a better one for 94 years. Or 95, depending on when you believe the century ends.

Of course, while Musberger babbles on about dreams and this and such and on and on, we see cuts of football players. We have to assume these are current players, because we don't really see any of them for that long. Wait a minute; is that Desmond Howard?

But they're back to playing with the background. It's back to green, but the trees are gone. There's a moon there, with the clouds still swirling around it. Again, the link to football is not explained. Why bother, when the neato animation effects can be used.

Metallic letters come up. Futuristic. Or industrial. Kind like you might see on, say, a motorcycle show or "Iron Chef: America." "#2 MICHIGAN VS. #1 OHIO STATE..." They letters get bigger and bigger, coming toward you as if preparing to devour you.

End promo.

But, apparently, ESPN has added another half hour to their pre-game show, backing up the start time to 2:30 p.m. Because Doug Flutie just has that much to say.

Ah, but wait for ESPN's on-air tag: JUDGMENT DAY.

Judgment Day? Huh, wha?

Apparently, the players of the losing team will be dragged behind the stadium and executed by a Soviet firing squad. Or perhaps they'll be hanged in the public square, with fans allowed to pelt them with rotten food.

Losing a football game, killing a few thousand Kurds. What's the difference?

It's a good game. It's deserving of some hype. But it's not the END OF THE WORLD. It's a football game.

I would wager that even most Michigan and Ohio State fans realize that.

--OSU Blog of the Day: The 614. Best line: "I was thinking about posting some thoughts on the Northwestern game, but really: who cares?"
--Michigan Blog of the Day: Michigan Football Saturdays. Best line: "Ms. Andrews should rightfully be doing the sideline reporting for both teams during The Game."


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