On-campus pregame shows are the latest casualty of college football’s ‘evolution’

On-campus pregame shows are the latest casualty of college football’s ‘evolution’

As someone who was programmed to watch college football every fall Saturday from birth, the on-campus pregame show (now plural) was the background noise to my morning routine. It’s always fun to see how drunk college kids get just to stand outside and scream on cue for three hours. All of the analysis, sob stories, and puff pieces were simply filler to see which talking head disrespected my rooting interests, and who Lee Corso picked in his headgear segment.

However, it feels as if the tradition is now dead; replaced by a parade of corporate stooges and intolerable loudmouths rushing to nestle up to popular teams, and protect their employers’ interests.

This is best exemplified by Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff following Coach Prime around like infatuated teenie boppers, and ESPN’s College GameDay openly feuding with Washington State’s fanbase over Wazzu fans taking umbrage to their treatment in the realignment debacle that is likely to kill the Pac-12.

The Deion Sanders Variety Hour

We’re almost to the halfway point of the season (Week 6), but this week’s visit to Columbus, Ohio, marks just the second time the show has been at a location in which Deion Sanders’ team is not. Unless we’re counting Week 0 — which we’re not because barely any programs were active, including Colorado — four of six weeks have been devoted to Coach Prime.

Regardless of if college football fans like, or want, this type of nauseating coverage, they’re going to get it, and be told that CU is taking the country by storm. I know more about Shedeur Sanders than I do any player not named Caleb Williams despite the Buffs only being within one score of their opponents for two of a possible eight quarters the past two weeks.

Saturday’s clash with USC was unironically advertised as the biggest game of the season by Fox a week after the Buffaloes were dismantled in Eugene. Those of us interested in the new quarterback at Ohio State, Michigan’s pursuit of a third-straight Big Ten title, or the reigning Heisman winner have to wait until they face Coach Prime, or the producers at the network feel obligated to talk about teams that are still in the top 25.

New addition, and Reggie Bush replacement, Mark Ingram has been especially obnoxious not because he’s engaging with fans, but because he’s pandering to them. Everyone on that program — from Rob Stone, Matt Leinert, Brady Quinn, and Urban Meyer to Joel Klatt and Gus Johnson on the call — is so far up Colorado’s ass that even if I was intrigued, my curiosity has been satisfied several times over.

GameDay’s nonexistent self-awareness

A year ago, before I knew how much Pat McAfee would be in my life, the now-permanent member of the panel was in the 30-day trial period of his tenure, and his boisterousness was a welcome injection of energy after Corso lost his fastball due to health issues. Jump to 2023, and McAfee’s pits are a staple on the Mothership, and he’s been empowered (enabled?) to such a degree that he’s gone full wrestling heel with Cougars fans.

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago, Corso referred to the Washington State-Oregon State game as the “Nobody Wants Us Bowl,” but Wazzu head coach Jack Dickert heard it as the “Nobody Watches Bowl.”

Well after the game, in which Oregon State lost, Dickert had words for Corso, and ESPN due to its involvement in realignment. That sparked a war of pleasantries between not only McAfee, but also Kirk Herbstreit. Dickert eventually apologized for his misinterpretation, yet — and this will shock you — McAfee has persisted.

Harkening back to his time at Barfstool, the former punter is attacking Cougar supporters for their “sensitivity” as if they should be cool with the abhorrent hand realignment dealt them. Yes, everyone in Pullman needs to shut up, compartmentalize their feelings, and keep it moving.

The machine that is college football is merciless and unwavering in its pursuit of financial security, and if your school is of little to no value, kick rocks. (But not a football — that’s McAfee’s schtick, and it gets less annoying with each mention.)

Honestly, each attempt to watch Big Noon Kickoff or College GameDay this year has lasted less than 10 minutes, and ended with me cursing NBC for putting most of its EPL matches on Peacock. I’ll reserve my beef with that infuriating bird for another column, but know this: On-campus pregame shows are as dead as the Pac-12.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.