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Two Weeks (And Change) In, Some Observations On The Pac-12 Networks

I guess I'm one of the few lucky ones able to view the Pac-12 Networks (or at least two of them). We are a week into the project, so here's some of my thoughts for those that aren't able to get it.

The Good

  • Quality - I expected this coming in, being a product of Larry Scott and all. The quality is very sharp and clean, leaving you with the feeling that everything is very professional when you turn off the TV.
  • Insightful Commentary - One of my main concerns heading into last week was regarding the level of commentary from the announcers. Expecting it to be very basic, I was pleasantly surprised. The three main football analysts, Rick Neuheisel, Ronnie Lott, and Curtis Conway, actually leave you feeling smarter after watching a segment.
  • Good For Both The Casual And Hardcore Fan - This is one of my favorite things about the networks. For instance, if you're a hardcore Oregon State fan watching the Oregon State Football Preview, you might not learn anything ground-breaking, but solid insight is what makes it worthwhile. Meanwhile, for the casual Beaver fan or fan of another school, everything about the show would be excellent.
  • Pac-12 Classics - Best part of the network, by far. Without a doubt. Already I've watched 2009 Oregon-Arizona, 2006 USC-Oregon State, 2007 Stanford-USC, 2008 TCU-Utah, and 2011 USC-Oregon. It's played in a tidy two-hour window, fitting in all the necessary plays while adding in insightful commentary from broadcasters, players, coaches, and writers. Excellent stuff.
  • Olympic Coverage - I'll appreciate this more once we get to the spring, but already I've been introduced to college soccer and women's volleyball, and liked em both. Did you know in college soccer the clock counts down, and there's overtime for regular season games? Two of the things I hate about regular soccer are fixed right there. And volleyball. Nuff said.
  • FOOTBAW - Thursday's openers were boring, but we almost got an Appalachian State-Michigan moment (first ever football game for the Big Ten Network) on Friday with San Jose State-Stanford. In the end, the upset wasn't meant to be, but you got to appreciate that the network ran a live football game very well.
  • It's Seven Networks. Covering The Pac-12. For People. - Regardless of any technical problems or carrier deals, from the eyes of someone that can see them, this is great. There's more coverage then you could ever ask for (just look at our hoops schedule), and the good definitely outweighs the bad.

The Bad

  • It's A Pac-12 Infomercial - Believe it or not, this gets annoying after awhile. However, I must say, that the announcers do try hard while covering events to be neutral.
  • Fan Interviews During Pac-12 Classics - It's unnecessary. I don't need someone who was at the game to tell me how excited the stadium was, or what happened on the play. For one, it's a classic game. Of course the stadium is going to be excited. And two, we can tell what happened on the play. We don't need you to retell it. Leave that to the players and coaches, who were actually involved.
  • Summer Sanders Commercials - There are no YouTube links yet, but she has three commercials where she is either standing by a pool talking about the camaraderie between all Pac-12 schools, talking about a tweet, or talking about how great Stanford is. They are not only obscure, but painful to watch.
  • Mike Yam and Ashley Adamson - Speaking of painful to watch, the way these two hosted the inaugural Pac-12 Live episode has made me yet to watch again. They appeared to be super nervous and were awkward the entire time.
  • We Don't Need No Secondary - At least, that's what the Pac-12 thought on the Oregon State Football Preview.
  • Cutting To Commercial In The Middle Of A Drive - This has happened multiple times during the Pac-12 Classic series. Without warning, with no timeout, injury, or review, they'll cut to commercial in the middle of a drive. Just annoying more than anything else. Like how I implemented this bullet point in-between two related bullets.
  • Terron Ward's The Starter And Now We're Stanford - Quick, what are the two problems in the picture below (Hint: Read the Bold)? Since the Oregon State Preview episode aired before Mike Riley announced a starter at running back, I would have accepted Storm Woods, Malcolm Agnew, or even Jordan Jenkins as a guess as to who the starter would be. But the Pac-12 decided to go way off the board and, boom, just like that, Ward is the guy. Opposing fans will be helplessly confused when they find out Ward won't play all year. The second thing wrong, and this was a little trickier, is that we apparently have abandoned the Slotback position, and in turn, will go the David Shaw route and have a full-time Fullback insteasd. Who knew?

  • Standard Definition Side Blurs - I've saved my biggest complaint for last. The networks need to fix the blurs on the side of the screen when replaying games in standard definition. The Big Ten Network fills up the space with their logo, but I'd be fine with plain black bars also. It's incredibly distracting and is definitely my biggest complaint.