This week has a short schedule of games, with the USC Trojans and the Washington Huskies taking the week off to take stock of where they go from here, after both absorbed solid thumpings. Unfortunately, the TV schedule is even shorter, with the Oregon St. Beavers' game at 2:00 at the Washington St. Cougars not covered in any way. This is mostly in recognition that the second half will probably not hold even the loyal fans of the program. Unfortunately, it only increases the difficulty of rebuilding the program in Pullman, and increases the likelyhood of this happening again.
The feature game of the week is the Oregon Ducks at the Arizona Wildcats at 5:00, in a Rose Bowl elimination game. ABC, also suddenly known as the Big 10 Network's additional channel, will be there, after covering both the Ohio St. at Michigan game (which actually has NO impact on the bowl picture, unlike the OSU-WSU game) at 9:00, and the Penn. St. at Michigan St. game at 12:30. College Game Day will also be on the Tucson campus Saturday morning, their second game in a month involving the Ducks.
In a bowl elimination game, where a winner unlkikely to reach the post season will eliminate a loser that will officially be removed from postseason possibilities, the Arizona St. Sun Devils visit the UCLA Bruins at 1:00, and the network of Fox Sports regional channels will carry the game. This one will also officially turn up the heat on either Dennis Erickson in Tempe, or Rick Neuheisel in Westwood, and that probably is more interesting to anyone in the Pac-10 than the next episode of the Paul Wulff tour, especially with Mike Price safely in the (relative) football Mecca of El Paso for another year. Pitty poor Butch, one of the hardest working mascots in football.
The "Big Game" is at 4:30 on the "Farm", when the California Golden Bears visit the Stanford Cardinal, and bowl positioning, as well as the well being of various band members, will be at stake for both sides. Versus, a Comcast subsidiary available as a premium channel on some systems, but not available to Direct TV customers, will have coverage on a limited nationwide basis.
For those wondering, WSU was hoping for Fox Sports Northwest to opt for a delayed or alternate channel broadcast of the ASU-UCLA game, and carry the game, but the prospect of a game than isn't expected to draw 20,000 fans for a Pac-10 game that is blacked out wasn't a more attractive audience draw. To underscore the severity of the problem with the Cougars, who are facing their fourth game this season with no television coverage of any kind, FSN deemed it more attractive in the late afternoon/early evening time slot to go with the "Road Running Rock and Roll Marathon", and a replay of the San Jose St. at University of Washington basketball game from Friday night (current listings from tvguide.com), rather than live Pac-10 football.
Fortunately, given the limited strength of the Beaver Radio Network in many rural areas, the game will be almost over clockwise (it probably ends well before that for the starters), before nightfall results in the radio broadcast falling off the airwaves.
Can the upgrade to a Pac-10 network, or even two media students with a handy cam, POSSIBLY come too soon?
(P.S., here are the logos for a team that will very possibly be playing for a Rose Bowl berth in their next outing, and a team that unfortunately will not be playing a meaningful game anytime soon, for those that might otherwise not see them for a while.)