Do I need to see Corso/Herbstreit predictions all day?
Posted: Thursday September 8, 2005 12:02PM; Updated: Thursday September 8, 2005 12:02PM
We love the Gameday crew, but not their predictions.
Craig Jones/Getty Images
Look, Kirk Herbstreit is a fine college football analyst. Lee Corso can be quite informative. Along with announcer Chris Fowler, the trio puts on a quality show in College Gameday.
So understand that there's no personal animus behind this request to the good people at ESPN:
Get Corso and Herbstreit's predictions off your news crawl.
One week into the season, it's already testing my patience.
If you haven't seen it, ESPN's news crawl on college football Saturdays not only gives viewers scores from around the country, as it should, and the schedule for the entire Top 25 for the day, but it also lets you know who Corso and Herbstreit like in every Top 25 game. For instance, this past week the crawl informed viewers that Corso and Herbstreit were picking Cal over Sacramento State. They also took Texas over Louisiana-Lafayette. And USC over Hawaii.
It may sound like a small thing, a minor annoyance. Something to be dismissed with some equally minor sarcasm. "Fascinating, Corso. Never could have picked those games on my own, Herbstreit. Why give picks like that away for free? You guys should open up a 1-900 line." But if you're spending three hours watching the overlying game on the main screen, you see these picks scroll by again and again and again. If the absurdity of ESPN reporting Corso and Herbstreit's prediction for the Michigan-Northern Illinois game didn't hit you the first time around, it will surely sink in the 15th time you see it that afternoon.
And when Corso and Herbstreit actually disagree in their predictions -- when the winner of the game less obvious call -- that adds surprisingly little to the equation. This past weekend, for instance, the crawl reported that Corso liked Pitt but Herbstreit was going with Notre Dame. Now if we were hearing the reasons for these differing predictions, that might have been something verging on actual information. But the mere fact of their disagreement does not in itself merit a newsflash.
Let's break it down for the people at ESPN. The crawl is for news. Such as scores. Or stats. Or even times and broadcast information for the late games. Corso and Herbstreit's prediction that Iowa will beat Ball State is not news. That topic couldn't even sustain an interesting private conversation, let alone one whose outcome is worthy of being broadcast to a national viewing audience.
And these predictions really put the "crawl" in news crawl. With the Corso/Herbstreit predictions, it takes three seconds longer to get from one score to the next. Which adds up when you're going through the top 25 and beyond. This, on top of the amount of commercials that are wedged into every game break, is enough to make you start to feel like a sucker for watching. No matter how much you are into the game, you can only allow your intelligence to be insulted so many times per day.
ESPN started including the Corso/Herbstreit predictions on their crawl last year. It was absurd from the Day 1 and I imagined everyone saw it as such. I assumed ESPN had to stick with it through the entirety of last season for consistency's sake, but in the offseason someone would quietly discontinue it.
But no. The Corso/Herbstreit predictions are back. Who could have foreseen it?
Perhaps only Corso and Herbstreit.
ESPN's goal must be to promote Corso and Herbstreit, to elevate their name recognition. The network must think that if not a minute of college football passes without "Corso" and "Herbstreit" flashing across the bottom of the screen, this will solidify their hold as the brand-name analysts of their sport. They will become more than the hosts of the top Saturday pregame show. They will become the Proctor & Gamble (or maybe Smith & Wesson? Tango & Cash?) of college football. But all it's doing is sullying their names by implicating them in an annoying piece of idiocy. Get them out of there, for their sake and ours.