Second Screen, Delays & Moving Forward

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


A lot of people are on their phones, tablets or computers while watching a game. The College Football Playoff National Championship game is no exception. According to a study by Accenture, 87% use a second device while watching TV. It gets even more interesting when you cut the cord and stream the game. It gets even more interesting when you have multiple channels to switch between and ESPN using the National Title game as a test lab for coverage.

ESPN Megacast FilmRoomThe college football National Championship between Alabama and Clemson is going to be one of the most watched sporting events of the year. If you are watching it via an OTT provider like Sling TV and also on twitter….you will notice that twitter is more real time than Sling TV.

There is a delay when you stream video. It’s a byproduct of having to take a satellite feed, run the signal through an encoder and then spit it back out. It’s just the way it is right now. For the National Title game I was noticing a good 30-40 second delay between twitter and Sling TV.

Now these very rough findings are going to vary between users but it is a good thing to remember if you are on twitter and watching a game via Sling TV.

Coverage

Periscope Travis and KlattThrow in a new wild card, Periscope. Clay Travis of Fox Sports and Outkick the Coverage was streaming during the game. It usually consisted of himself and Joel Klatt and had various people on over the phone. This feed was on par with twitter and about as real time as you can get. It was not overly compelling which is shame since Travis and Klatt have a lot of insight to offer. It is awesome to see this medium used during an event like this. And it costs virtually nothing to do.

ESPN had a similar thing going on but with a higher budget on ESPNNews in ‘Voices’. This featured everyone from Taylor Twellman to Jay Bilas and wrangled by Michelle Beadle. Both the Periscope feed and ‘Voices’ just turned into people yapping about anything but the game and could be better.

ESPNU had the ‘homers’ broadcast from the sideline of the game. It was hosted by Joe Tessitore and Dave Pasch with alums Tajh Boyd and Barrett Jones. While semi-interesting it just wasn’t compelling.

SEC Network featured Paul Finebaum’s version of of FilmRoom with Bret Bielema, Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland. It was ok but not as good as ESPN2’s FilmRoom.

ESPN Megacast FilmRoomFilmRoom featured five head coaches along with Chris Spielman and Brian Griese. They brought Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi back again this year and he was joined by Jim McElwain, WIll Muschamp, Willie Taggert and Larry Fedora. A good combo with lots of insight and good connections to Clemson and Alabama.ESPN GoalLine National Title Game

 

While FilmRoom was very interesting but rough around the edges, ESPN’s best coverage was via GoalLine. It was a mutli-screen feed complete with stats. The audio during the game was ESPN Radio which featured the awesome combination of Mike Tirico and Todd Blackledge. During commercial breaks one of the screens would either jump between the other channels like ESPN2 and ESPNNews. NFL’s RedZone channel should do this for the Playoffs. Super compelling and great, great broadcast combo.

So word to the wise, if you cut the cord and are watching a big game via Sling TV or WatchESPN, don’t be on twitter. Twitter will spoil it. Would love to see ESPN do more with FilmRoom and GoalLine during the regular season. Maybe do FilmRoom on WatchESPN for the Saturday primetime game with retired or out of work coaches. Same thing for GoalLine. Either way, the future of live sports looks fun but has something work to do.

We’re Talking About Practice!

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


While the college football media is still basking in the glow of the ‘I told you the ratings would be down!’ for the College Football Playoff semifinal games on New Year’s Eve, others have moved on to the actual game. In the process they found an issue that should be addressed by the NCAA before next years game.

CLEMSON TACKLEAs ESPN’s Brett McMurphy and Ted Miller point out, Clemson will have less practice time this week than Alabama because the semester started at Clemson. This limits them to four hours a day once classes start. Alabama has no restriction.

This was also the case last year when Oregon was limited in practice because school was back in session.Ohio State on the other hand was not.

While it may not seem like a big deal and there is not enough data to see if this really is a difference maker, it is clear that it is some low hanging fruit that the NCAA could clear up before next years National Title game and win some brownie points in the process.

The NCAA hasn’t had the best run over the last several years but addressing this edge case this is a gesture that it could make a difference and at least show that the NCAA doesn’t have their head completely buried in the sand.

New Year’s Eve Playoff Is Not As Bad As It Sounds

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard


Year two of the College Football Playoff will be played on New Year’s Eve and not on New Year’s Day as it was in its first year. While much of the college football media has come out slamming the decision, the fact is that it’s not all that terrible of an idea.

MSU TDDan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports has absolutely chastised the idea. While Wetzel is correct in his cronyism view and that these games would have been bettered served being played on New Year’s Day or even on January 2nd, he is miss guided on several other points.

Not everyone has plans New Year’s Eve believe it or not. While a lot of people have to work on New Year’s Eve day, let’s be honest, nothing is really getting done (especially by kick off which is at 1pm PST) and with Watch ESPN, people are going to be watching in significant numbers on various devices. Also, people have to work on New Year’s Day and even Christmas so let’s stop acting like America completely shuts down on Holidays anymore.

If you do have plans on New Year’s Eve, did the bar or home of the party you are attending all of sudden stop having TV’s? If you are at a club, ballroom or what not, we can promise you that someone is going to be streaming the game on a smartphone. It’s 2015 after all.

Deshaun Watson ClemsonYes the ratings will be down this year compared to last year but that is not just because of the date and time the games are being played. In the second year of something you can almost guarantee a dip. The novelty has worn off. And if we’re being honest, Michigan State and Clemson are not the national brand names that Ohio State and Florida State are. Not to mention the fact that one of the games last year (Oregon vs Florida State) featured two Heisman Trophy winners squaring off against each other.

Yes a 1pm kick off on the West Coast on a ‘work day’ is a head scratcher. However we are in a 24/7 on-demand world. That means that we are not passively involved anymore, instead we have to actively seek out and find what we want to watch. Besides most people are using a second screen while watching TV anyway. Up to 87% of them in fact. So this notion that everyone stops, gathers around the TV and never looks away went out the window a long time ago.

Is a 1pm PST kick off on a ‘work day’ any worse than a 8:30pm EST kick off on a ‘work night’? Last year the Ohio State vs Alabama game didn’t kick off until almost 9pm EST and wasn’t over until well after midnight. Plenty of people didn’t stay up for that one after staying up late the night before and having to work the next day. Where was the outcry for that?

Look the College Football Playoff should be played on New Year’s Day and have games that are done well before midnight on the East Coast. But having the games on New Year’s Eve isn’t the ‘outrageous’ idea some want to make it out to be. Now there will be something on instead of Ryan Seacrest and Pitbull. If you prefer that then God be with you, the rest of us will be watching the College Football Playoff.

What To Watch Fri. 11/6 – Sun. 11/8

All times are Pacific.

 

Friday November 6th

Tyler ErvinBYU at San Jose State – 8:30pm CBSSN: SJSU running back Tyler Ervin is a stud. He has almost 1200 yards rushing already this season and 12 TD’s. BYU are some tough dudes though. Last thing they want is for this guy to run wild on ’em.

 

Saturday November 7th

Penn State at Northwestern – 9am ESPNU: Big Ten match up with poll position for a decent bowl game on the line.

Duke at North Carolina – 9am ESPN2: UNC is getting no love this year and Duke is coming off of that bad referring loss to Miami. Is there a hangover for Duke?

Notre Dame at Pittsburgh – 9am ABC: All Pitt is doing is winning. Yes they are coming off of a tough loss to UNC but they are hard nosed football team. Notre Dame is going to get all it wants from the Panthers.

Florida State at Clemson – 12:30pm ABC: Clemson is the number 1 team in the land. Florida State doesn’t care.

TCU at Oklahoma State – 12:30pm FOX: TCU is getting no love…even with the number 2 offense in the country. The over/under is 78. We vote to take the over.

Cincinnati at Houston – 1:30m ESPN2: These two teams rank 5th and 7th in total offense at the FBS level. That alone is a reason to watch.

Navy at Memphis – 4pm ESPN2: Navy is 6-1 with the NCAA All Time touchdown king in quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Memphis is shooting for a big time bowl bid. Should be whoever has the ball last wins.

Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens – 4pm NHLN: Original 6 matchup.

LSU at Alabama – 5pm CBS: Two teams that are currently in the College Football Playoff.

 

 

Sunday November 8th

Arsenal vs Tottenham – 7:55am NBCSN: A North London Derby for your Sunday morning.

Oakland Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers – 10am CBS: Man, can’t believe the Raiders are a must watch team. This could be the best game of the day.

Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers – 10am FOX: Packers got exposed last week in Denver. Now they have to rebound on the road against another undefeated team.

DC United vs NY Red Bulls – Noon ESPN: Red Bulls got the always valuable road goal so they look to be in good shape in this one.

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas – 4:30pm FS1: First game was a 1-1 draw which gives Dallas the advantage heading into the second leg.

Timber vs Whitecaps

Portland Timbers vs Vancouver Whitecaps – 7pm FS1: Like the Seattle vs FC Dallas game, the first game was a draw and that should give the Whitecaps the advantage here.

 

 

What To Watch Thurs. 9/17 – Sun. 9/20

All times are Pacific.

Thursday September 17th

Clemson at Louisville – 4:30pm ESPN: Your chance to watch Clemson QB Deshaun Watson in person. He is something to see.

ManningDenver Broncos at KC Chiefs – 5:25pm CBS: Denver is not the same offense it was a year ago but man was that defense impressive in week one. KC looks to finally get a touchdown pass into the hands of a wide receiver.

 

 

Friday September 18th

Florida State at Boston College -5pm ESPN: BC always seems to give people trouble when they play at home and at night. Well this game is at home and at night.

LA Angles at Minnesota Twins – 5pm MLB.TV: Both teams are chasing that final wild card slot in the American League. This is the second game of a four game set.

Pittsburgh Pirates at LA Dodgers – 7pm MLB.TV: Playoff preview and a decent pitching match up to boot.

 

Saturday September 19th

Chelsea vs Arsenal – 4:40am NBCSN: Two of the better teams year in and year out in the Premier League. Chelsea desperately needs to right the ship.

Air Force at Michigan State – 9am ABC: Michigan State is coming off of a high profile win against Oregon. Now they have to settle down and play assignment football against a disciplined Air Force squad. Michigan State wins but it’s close for a half.

Nebraska at Miami – 12:30 ABC: Remember when these two teams use to play for the National Title every year?

Georgia Tech at Notre Dame – 12:30 NBC: Notre Dame has had more injuries than you can shake a stick at and Georgia Tech is a pretty good bet to win the ACC this year. Notre Dame has to be like Michigan State, very disciplined on defense if they want to win against a triple option attack.

Auburn at LSU -12:30pm CBS: Auburn has been the most overrated team to start 2015. Can they put it together in Death Valley and knock off the LSU?

Western Kentucky at Indiana – 1pm ESPNEWS: Western Kentucky can put up points and so can IU. This could be WKU’s second win against a Power 5 conference school.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Seattle Sounders  4pm MLS LIVE: Cascadia Cup matchup with big time playoff implications.

Colorado vs Colorado State – 4pm CBSSN: The Rocky Mountain Shootout may not garner national attention but it’s usually a heck of a game.

California at Texas – 4:30pm FOX: Cal has one of the better QB’s in the country in Jared Goff. Odds are he will light up the Longhorns secondary.

Ole Miss at Alabama – 6:15pm ESPN: Ole Miss got the better of Bama last year. Bama has trouble with the Rebels style of offense too.

BYU at UCLA – 7:30pm FS1: Awesome matchup with two highly touted freshman QB’s. BYU’s Tanner Magnum and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. BYU pulls this out like they have their first two games and they could be looking at a big 6 bowl berth.

 

Sunday September 20th

Southampton vs Manchester United – 8am NBCSN: Southampton are only four points behind the Red Devils in the Premier League table.

San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals – 10am CBS: Bengals ran over the Chargers AFC West cohorts (Oakland Raiders) last week. Chargers are a whole different proposition though.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills – 10am CBS: Well it’s Rex Ryan vs Bill Belichick again except this time Ryan heads up the Bills.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles – 1pm FOX: Cowboys pulled one out of the fire last weekend while the Eagles fell short trying to do the exact same thing. Chip Kelly will hear the boos if his team starts off 0-2 after the offseason they had.

Portland Timbers vs NY Red Bulls -2pm ESPN: Timbers and NYRB are both in the thick of the playoff hunt.

NY Yankees at NY Mets – 5pm ESPN: See why TV and MLB execs are wetting themselves over the possibility of another Subway World Series.

Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers – 5:25pm NBC: Rematch of the wildly entertaining NFC Championship game from a year ago.

Bowl Preview

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

All times are PST

Saturday December 20th

Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: Utah vs Colorado State – 12:30pm ABC: Solid matchup between a tough Utah team and fantastic Colorado State team. Big issue for CSU, Head Coach just took the Florida job.

Tuesday December 23rd

Boca Raton Bowl: Marshall vs Northern Illinois – 3pm ESPN: These two teams are a combined 23-3. It’s also a chance to check out the best QB you may not have heard about, Marshall’s Rakeem Cato.

Saturday December 27th

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs Duke – 11am CBS: It’s the only bowl game CBS does for whatever reason. Both teams are a very talented 9-3 and this game should be close throughout.

Pacific Life Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs USC – 5pm ESPN: Nebraska is without a head coach which means guys are playing to impress the incoming staff. USC is in a better place than they were a year ago.

Monday December 29th

Autozone Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs West Virginia – 11am ESPN: This could be the most exciting Bowl game Or it could totally suck. Either way it’s a Monday afternoon college football game.

Russell Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs Clemson – 2:30pm ESPN: Don’t know what to expect here but it has all the makings of a shootout.

Tuesday December 30th

Belk Bowl: Georgia vs Louisville – 3:30pm ESPN: This is one of the best bowl games outside of the Playoff.

Wednesday December 31st

Chik-Fil-A Bowl: Ole Miss vs TCU – 9:30am ESPN: Either TCU takes Ole Miss behind the woodshed or they get faded cause they are left out of the Playoff.

Vizio Fiesta Bowl: Boise St vs Arizona – 1pm ESPN: This game depends on what Arizona team decides to show up.

Thursday January 1st

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs Michigan State – 9:30am ESPN: Oh lord is this one going to be good.

Rose Bowl: Oregon vs Florida State – 2pm (ish) ABC: We can only hope that this Playoff lives up to the hype. This should be the better of the two Playoff games.

Valero Alamo Bowl: UCLA vs Kansas State – 3:45pm ESPN: This game has a tradition of being one that you don’t want to miss. This should be no exception.

Monday January 12th

National Title Game – 5:30pm (ish) ESPN: Let’s see if this is as good as we hope. Also, ESPN is apparently doing it’s ‘Film Room’ again during the game. It was awesome last year.

The Sunday: Clemsoning And The Upset Fans

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

Four weeks into the season and some fan bases are already calling for the head coach to be fired. Upsets continue to happen in games you do not expect and some teams ended up acting like they always do.

The Mighty Have Fallen

Michigan lost again and it wasn’t really close. Head Coach Brady Hoke is on the hot seat as more and more people are calling for a change. Florida couldn’t compete with Alabama despite four Bama turnovers. Head Coach Will Muschamp is on the hot seat but his QB Jeff Driskel was just dreadful.

Fans from both schools are about at their wits end with these once mighty teams. All is not lost though as Michigan has yet to play or lose a conference game and Florida has only lost one conference game but it was to a team in a different division.

Clemsoning

It’s not an official word but one that makes its way around college football circles after the Clemson did what they did against Florida State. Clemson was able to rip defeat from the jaws of victory as they failed to capitalize on the poor performance of the number one team in the country who was without their best player.

Clemsoning is not owned by Clemson. California did a West Coast version of it by blowing a 28-6 halftime lead to lose 49-45 to Arizona on a last second Hail Mary.

 

Weekend Viewing Guide Fri. 1/3-Sun. 1/5

By Brad Hubbard | @bradhubbard

For those of you in frigid temperatures and shoveling snow just remember,  there is plenty of sports on TV this weekend to keep you warm.

Friday January 3rd

Cotton Bowl: Missouri vs Oklahoma State – 5pm FOX: Possible shootout factor here is very high. We’ll see if both teams can recover from heartbreaking season finale losses that kept them out of a major BCS payday. Mizzou still has one of the better front four’s in all of football and is worth checking out. Gus Johnson is also announcing the game which makes it even better.

Orange Bowl: Ohio State vs Clemson – 5:30pm ESPN: Two years ago Clemson gave up 70 points in this game to West Virginia. Ohio State may be able to do that to them but Clemson might be able to do it to Ohio State too.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Dallas Mavericks – 5:30pm NBA League Pass/Regional: Top teams out West square off in Dallas. Could be close late even if the Orange Bowl isn’t.

Saturday January 4th

BBVA Compass Bowl: Houston vs Vanderbilt – 10am ESPN: Vandy is good and Houston is a team that can give people fits. If Vandy doesn’t come in ready to play it could be a long day in Birmingham for the Commodores. It might also be James Franklin’s last game as the Vandy head coach.

Michigan State @ Indiana – 11am CBS: An early Big Ten road test for Sparty. Assembly Hall is one of the toughest places to play in the country regardless of how good Indiana is.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts – 1:30pm NBC: The NFL Playoffs kick off in Indy. It may not be the sexiest game on paper but Colts QB Andrew Luck is notorious for come from behind victories and Alex Smith is still looking for validation after all these years.

New York Rangers @ Toronto Maple Leafs – 4pm NHLN: The Leafs return to the warmer confines of Air Canada Center to take on old rivals. Rangers need to get on the good foot if they want to get into the playoff picture.

Los Angeles Clippers @ San Antonio Spurs – 5:30 NBA League Pass/Regional: It doesn’t get any easier for the Clippers as they now have to take on the ageless Spurs. This could be a Western Conference Final preview and a good game too.

New Orleans Saints @ Philadelphia Eagles – 5:30pm NBC: It will be cold in Philly but not as cold as it is right now. Will that effect Drew Brees and the Saints enough to slow them down or are the Eagles the dark-horse team in the NFC to make it to the Super Bowl?

Sunday January 5th

San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals – 10am CBS: Chargers are one of the more exciting teams in the league. Bengals have been unbeatable at home lately. Turnovers could very well decide this game.  Shootout possibility factor – high.

San Diego State @ Kansas – 1:30pm CBS: One of the few battles between top 25 teams in the college basketball this weekend. It’s a tall order for SDSU to head to Lawrence and come out with a win but something they could very well pull off.

San Francisco 49ers @ Green Bay Packers – 1:30pm FOX: Yeah, it will be cold in Green Bay and only get colder as the night goes on. Good news for San Francisco is that their QB played at Nevada -Reno, their kicker played in Cleveland his entire career and their defense is still really good no matter what the weather. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t very sharp last week against the Chicago Bears but he still got the job done. Expect a heavy dose of Packers RB Eddie Lacy. Should be a very close game.

San Jose Sharks @ Chicago Blackhawks – 5pm NBCSN: Two of the top teams in the NHL go head to head. The question is which Sharks team will show up? The ones that beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 earlier this week or the ones who lost 6-3 in the rematch a few days later? The Blackhawks are the best team in the league plain and simple but the Sharks are one of the teams that could give them a run for their money.