I watched ESPN’s College GameDay on Saturday morning. They were at FCS (or, as I still call it, 1-AA) James Madison University. A nice school, that has produced some good players over the years (Charles Haley, Hall of Famer, and Gary Clark, who arguably could be one – go ahead, look up his stats. They are step-for-step with Michael Irvin. But I digress….)
They decided to go “downstream” on location this week, because the D1 slate was exceptionally weak, and GameDay has already been to so many big schools, that playing the “small venues” has a certain charm to it.
The entire production is incredible: loud, large, and complex. I am sure it’s an all-week set-up, and ESPN now includes the talent in some Friday afternoon coverage to get their money’s worth. It’s maybe the best single thing ESPN does, although at some point perhaps not too long from now, it’ll have run it’s course.
I’m amazed that so many students wake up early, just to stand around and yell. But they do. Reliably. And JMU students really delivered, with a raucous effort that seemed to wow the on-set talent. The payoff pitch, Lee Corso dressed up as James Madison himself, before donning the traditional mascot head, was a great finish.
Good show, JMU! Good… show!
And so my Saturday progressed…. and it dawned on me before going to bed…. “Hmmm…. wonder how the game turned out?” Ah yes, the game.
ESPN didn’t seem to force-insert any highlights during night games on ESPN1 or ESPN2. I might have missed the SportsCenter recap of the game. Maybe there wasn’t one. (Note: A quick 4X FF check of my 1:30 a.m. EST “SportsCenter” revealed no JMU-Richmond highlight package whatsoever. I suppose it could have been quick enough to escape my eye at 4X, but I doubt it.)
So I went to ESPN.com thinking… well… surely there’s a 2 minute highlight wrap of the game. Right? A 59-49 score-a-palooza!
A 160 word recap, that for all I know, might well have been written by a computer. And the generic flagship music video of Big and Rich’s “Comin’ To Your City!”
You want highlights? Here, this guy uploaded a few to YouTube. Knock yourself out!
I don’t know what to make of this. Here’s a football game that ESPN Television hypes to the moon with a multi-million dollar live pre-game show, and yet doesn’t even have a professionally produced highlight package on ESPN.com afterward.
Oh well. Corso was great. And so were the signs.