Usually, I have the luxury of scouring ESPN3 for competitor’s game tapes prior to a game. This helps immensely in scouting an opponent, and trying to figure out how Kansas matches up, without having to rely on someone else’s analysis. All of KU’s past games are posted, and it is nice to be able to watch the game tape at my liesure. I admit I have watched “The Call,” as UCLA fans have termed the final play in that barnstorming game, no less than ten times.
In preparing for the upcoming USC game, however, I hit a brick wall. The Trojans recently upset the #19 Longhorns 73-56, and I really wanted to see how exactly they pulled that off. I’ve read that their defense really clamped down in the second half, but that is just someone’s opinion. Was Texas’ shooting more to blame? Careless ball-handling? Was there some trash-talking that got into the players heads? There’s no way to know these things without watching the action unfold.
The game was originally broadcast on Fox Sports Network, but all that is available on the Fox website is a small subset of highlight clips. Highlights, like Cliff’s Notes, are great in that they give you the broad strokes without the tedium of watching an entire game, nice if you are pressed for time- but they are no substitute for those who truly enjoy immersing themselves in a good read or the ebb and flow of a good basketball game. They are certainly useless for those of us looking for offensive tendencies or defensive sets. The game is available on USC’s website… for a subscription fee to CBS, of all people. It is amazing to me that I can watch any of the #3 ranked team in the country’s games for free on ESPN3, but ten bucks for an unranked team? You have got to be kidding me. USC basketball is just not worth a pizza to me.
I headed over to the Texas website, to see if there was a way around the USC/CBS extortion scheme, and found that Texas has apparently penned the same deal with CBS. While I understand a school’s desire to fund their athletic programs through as many sources as possible, I don’t understand the subscription fee. Since I refuse to pay for such an insignificant game, I’ll have to assume that unlike ESPN (who pulls advertising on the online game, instead making viewers sit through commercial breaks with an ESPN3.com logo), CBS leaves the advertising in. The ad revenue from this should more than make up for the costs of online streaming, and still provide a revenue source for the schools.
In the head-to-head matchup of ESPN v. CBS, there is an obvious winner, and I’ll have to admit that I’m watching last night’s Mizzou/Oral Roberts game on ESPN3 instead. I haven’t yet seen the Tigers play this season, and since they are nationally ranked, I’d much rather do some early scouting of a conference rival, than watch a speed bump on the way to conference play- especially for a sawbuck difference. I didn’t check the final score or watch any Cliff’s Notes for this game, so I’m still hoping the Oral Roberts will pull off a repeat of last years’ upset of the Tigers. Screw the arsonists from Columbia, and screw CBS.