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CBS Pays For Lack Of Faith In UF And UT

The suits at CBS gambled this offseason.  And they’ve lost.

For the first time since 1995, CBS chose not to air this year’s Florida-Tennessee matchup in Knoxville.  Instead, back in July, the network opted to send Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson to Fayetteville for Alabama’s game with Arkansas.

Whoops.

What looked good in preseason isn’t looking so hot now.  Arkansas took a historic nosedive out of the AP poll following it’s overtime/upset loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.  Through two games against tiny La-Monroe and FCS-level Jacksonville State, the Hogs are giving up nearly as many points and yards as their highly-hyped offense has been putting up:

 

  Stat   Arkansas   Foe
  First Downs   46   50
  Rush Yards   260   233
  Pass Yards   681   639
  Total Yards   941   872
  Points   80   58

 

That’s hardly what pollsters, Razorback fans or network executives expected back in July.  Toss in the fact that quarterback Tyler Wilson is currently day-to-day following a “hit to the head” that knocked him from Saturday night’s loss and it looks like big, bad Bama might just roll into Fayetteville and slaughter the Hogs.

Meanwhile, ESPN snapped up the UF/UT game when CBS passed on it.  With both those teams now ranked in the Top 25 and excitement building on Rocky Top for the first time since the Derek Dooley era began, ESPN has decided to even send it’s “College GameDay” show to Knoxville.  It’s been a while since Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and company had reason to travel to the foothills of the Smokies.  And it’s been since 1994 that ESPN last aired the Gators versus Vols tilt.

Now, CBS will still grab some nice ratings.  Alabama is the nation’s top-ranked team.  And just because Arkansas fell to Louisiana-Monroe it doesn’t mean the Hogs are incapable of upsetting the Tide on Saturday.  It’s college football.  A turnover here or an injury there and strange things can happen (as Hog fans just learned).

But on paper, it would appear the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Florida-Tennessee game is more likely to still be a contest and still hold viewership.  Tyler Bray and the Volunteer passing attack matching up against Will Muschamp’s stiff defense and attacking style.  Two unbeatens battling in a long-heated rivalry.  A slot atop the SEC East at stake.

Bad luck might have played a role, but CBS backed the wrong horse back in July.  They finally gave up on the Gators and Vols and instead picked the Crimson Tide and Razorbacks.  But it’s the former — not the latter — that’s more likely to be appealing to a national audience come Saturday.

 

George Michael – Faith (US Version)

 


9 comments
SportsAnimal993
SportsAnimal993

I hope the fourth quarter has as little interest for Florida fans as it may for Arkansas fans.  But as you wrote, anything can happen. GBO!  @SportsAnimal993

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

Arkansas will probably put up a heck of a fight against Alabama. Hogs'  only bright spot has been run defense between the tackles, so Alabama will probably have to throw to pull away. We attacked ULM without a game plan on either side of the ball, and I doubt that happens again. It lacks the intrigue it would have had, but it could still be a great game. Besides, based on the last couple of years, how do we know that Florida and Tennessee won't both go 7-5 or 6-6? So far they've each won two games they were supposed to win.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Fayettechill14 

 

Both teams may wind up 5-7, but that won't have anything to do with Saturday's TV ratings.  The point was this: On paper, Florida/Tennessee now looks to be a better game than Alabama/Arkansas.  Especially if Tyler Wilson doesn't play.  That's it.  Nothing more to it.  That was the point.

 

On paper, Arkansas should have crushed Jacksonville State and La-Monroe.  So "on paper" doesn't mean much.  But I betcha if CBS knew in July what they know now, UF/UT would be in the 3:30pm ET slot once again.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

JamieThornton
JamieThornton

 @John at MrSEC  @Fayettechill14 If CBS and any other network had the ability to be Synthia Browne and know what each score would be, they would schedule the schools that had the best records each week. That's like saying after you have the winning lottery numbers, I would've gone back and picked those numbers. This might be the dumbest article ever. We can say what if's until we're all blue in the face.  THat's why they play the game on the field. Ask Alabama about Louisiana Monroe from 4 years ago. I think they had a similar experience. 

MoKelly1
MoKelly1

Well, if I was CBS and I had to decide before the season began which game to select, I sure would have picked Alabama-Arkansas above any other game that week. I can't really fault CBS in this instance. I will most definitely still watch this game as I fully expect Arkansas to come out at home veery strong.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @MoKelly1 

 

The point was that they'd simply lacked faith that sooner or later -- after 16 straight years of showing that game -- Florida/Tennessee would someday become a big(gish) deal again.  I'd have plunked down chips on Alabama/Arkansas, too... thus the bad luck line in the post above.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

MiloMoon
MiloMoon

The Arkansas program is just snake bit right now. I feel sorry for them. I know we Vol Fans have paid our dues with Karma the past few years. 



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