Viewing strategies for Sept. 16, ASU outlook and more
Posted: Wednesday August 16, 2006 1:39PM; Updated: Monday August 28, 2006 3:04PM
Michigan-Notre Dame is just one of many enticing showdowns on Sept. 16.
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So, Sports Illustrated's preview issue is out. By now you have no shortage of info -- rankings, breakdowns, predictions -- to help you make sense of the games. But have you ever noticed that none of these preview magazines ever offer any helpful info on the actual watching of the games?
Sept. 16: LSU at Auburn, Michigan at Notre Dame, Miami at Louisville, Oklahoma at Oregon, Nebraska at USC, Florida at Tennessee, Clemson at Florida State and Iowa State at Iowa. That's a pretty damn good day of college football right there. Do you recommend TiVo? -- Jesse Stumbris, Milwaukee
It's ridiculous, isn't it? Usually, you're lucky if you get one, maybe two games between ranked opponents on a given Saturday. Depending on how the teams involved fare the first two weeks, there could be as many as seven that day.
I'm not sure TiVo is going to do you much good, though. Four of the aforementioned contests (LSU-Auburn, Michigan-ND, Miami vs. the 'Ville and OU-OU) kick off at the same time, 3:30 p.m. ET, and three others (Clemson-FSU, Nebraska-SC and Florida-Tennessee) at either 7:45 or 8 p.m. What you're going to need is GamePlan and some highly advanced remote skills, which, I'm proud to say, I've developed and refined over many years of working here.
I shall now share my five most important pointers -- get it? pointers? LOL!!! -- which can be put to use not only Sept. 16 but every Saturday:
1. You must keep a finger on the remote at all times. No putting that thing down unless it's to go to the bathroom, refill the chips or rescue your neighbors from a raging four-alarm fire -- and a truly serious viewer will be able to delay those tasks (other than the fire saving) until halftime. Depending on how much effort you're willing to expend, you could literally find yourself flipping after every play you watch, because, let's face it, there's a lot of dead time in there.
2. Always make use of the "jump" (or "last") button to cut down on time wasted entering in channel numbers. If your remote allows you to program the channels into a de facto speed-dialing roster, even better. Keep a list of all televised games that day and their respective channel numbers nearby at all times, but try to memorize each new set (noon, 3:30, 7:30, etc.) by about the mid-first quarter of each game.
3. You should never, ever find yourself watching a commercial, unless by some awful coincidence all three/four games happen to go to break at the same time. If watching with friends, it is an unwritten rule that anyone is allowed to slap the keeper of the remote upside the head for letting a commercial remain on the screen for longer than five seconds, and multiple abuses shall result in forfeiture of the remote.
4. Never stay on any one game too long -- you must always feel like you're generally up to speed on all of them at any given time. Now, you may be asking yourself, What if multiple games come down to a last-minute, critical juncture right at the same time? Surely I can't afford to change the channel then, right? On the contrary. This is when you go into remote warp speed, flashing between each every three seconds until you see the quarterback stepping to the line in one or the other.
5. Finally, and this is the hardest part: You must develop an innate sixth sense for momentum swings and big plays about to happen. If I could explain how to do this, I would, but it's just a skill you develop with practice. You're able to tell when one game has reached an important juncture and thus deserves sticking with for a while, and you're able to tell when another game is entering a long stretch of punts.
I'm not saying this method is fool-proof, that you won't miss some big plays here or there (though hopefully you'll at least switch in time for the replay), but if you can manage to get in the zone, the one where you find yourself flicking from a 30-yard pass in one game to a third-down sack in another to a long punt return in another, it's truly an indescribable feeling.