The Miami Hurricanes and Florida Gators are slated for a noon kickoff on September 7th, and leave it to resident Orlando Sentinel hack Mike Bianchi to turn this announcement into a indictment against ‘The U’ and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Bianchi posted a blurb on Friday, turning this into another “how the mighty have fallen” type moment, explaining that the early time slot is usually reserved for the likes of Kentucky / Vanderbilt on the Jefferson-Pilot network.
“Can’t say I really blame ESPN for sticking this game in the undesirable noon slot. Miami is, after all, the home team and this is the ACC’s TV game,” Bianchi wrote.
“Quite frankly, both UM and the ACC haven’t been relevant on a national level for years. It also doesn’t help that the Gators, even though they won 11 games last season, aren’t the sexiest of teams and have very little star power.”
For starters, what makes a noon time slot undesirable to anyone other than tailgaters? For home viewers, college football starts with ESPN’s GameDay at 10am ET. Games begin two hours later and run for the next twelve hours and while an 8pm ET kickoff is the most-desired, there’s truly no difference between 12pm ET, 3:30pm ET or those 7:00pm ET ESPN kickoffs.
Notre Dame takes on Michigan in Ann Arbor on September 7th, a rivalry that is falling to the wayside and a game that garners more national attention, so it will get the coveted primetime slot – and deservedly so, despite any Cane-fueled hatred of the Irish – and speaking of Michigan, isn’t their annual showdown with hated rival Ohio State set for a noon kickoff? What about The Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma? Always a first thing in the morning kickoff.
Other showdowns on this particular Saturday include Oregon at Virginia (3:30pm ET), South Carolina at Georgia (TBD) and West Virginia at Oklahoma (TBD).
Bianchi stating that the might have fallen, regarding Miami’s recent skid is some real master-of-the-obvious nonsense.
The Hurricanes were 35-29 the five seasons before Al Golden took over and are 13-11 since, with the NCAA dark cloud hovering, suspensions taking place as well as cleaning house and cutting ties with players who didn’t fit the system.
There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel as Golden’s squad is getting some hype entering the 2013 season, cited as a team to keep an eye on courtesy of a high-octane offense and a defense that bottomed out last season, but returns many starters and as a result should take a step forward.
Still, even with UM’s recent struggles, Miami has been all over TV, games easily accessible and rarely relegated to Pay-Per-View. Last season Miami opened at Boston College and was nationally televised on ESPN. The following week, FX picked up the broadcast for the game at Kansas State.
The home opener against Bethune-Cookman was an ESPN broadcast, a road game at Georgia Tech was picked up by FOX Sports and a thriller against North Carolina State was also a nationally-televised ESPN contest.
The loss against Notre Dame was a primetime NBC game, while the North Carolina game was ESPN national and the annual showdown against Florida State was set for ABC primetime.
Miami took on Virginia Tech in a nationally televised Thursday night game and a late-season match-up with state rival South Florida was also ESPN national. The only game’s relegated to Pay-Per-View for those outside the respective regions were road games at Virginia and Duke.
Golden’s first year at Miami had primetime games against Maryland, Ohio State and Virginia, while ESPN picked up showdowns against Kansas State, Bethune-Cookman, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Georgia Tech, South Florida and Boston College.
Of the three game times already announced for Miami this upcoming season, all three are on ESPN. Besides this match-up with Florida, the Canes open with a season-opening Friday night primetime kickoff against Florida Atlantic on ESPN U and on Thursday October 17th take on North Carolina in Chapel Hill at 7:30pm ET on ESPN. A Friday November 29th post-Thanksgiving season-finale at Pittsburgh is slated for ABC.
Miami and Florida last met in September 2008, when the Gators won, 26-3, rallying late and pouring it on to get all-everything Tim Tebow some bonus points. Despite the fact that the Hurricanes weren’t ranked and were coming off a 5-7 season, the game was still one of the highest-ranked in ESPN’s history – as are past contests between Miami and Florida State, as well as the Canes and Gators.
In other words, win or lose, love them or hate them, when Miami plays, people tune in for one reason or another. ESPN knows this and even prior to the ACC’s TV deal with the network, they always featured the Hurricanes whenever possible.
This insinuation that a noon kickoff for Miami / Florida proves anything is preposterous. Michigan / Notre Dame is the logical primetime game, so what’s the big difference between 12:00pm and 3:30pm, besides three-and-a-half hours? The Canes and Gators got that later slot, would that prove their relevancy?
Typical stir-the-pot drivel from Bianchi in the off-season when there’s nothing relevant to say. Whether the game is a “true” sellout, or not, it’s Miami and Florida. People will tune in nationwide as they know the bevy of talent these two programs churn out.
Honestly, if there is any indictment here, the finger should be pointed at Florida, not Miami. UF is the pre-season number eleven while UM is knocking on the door of the top 25.
Bianchi even explains that despite an eleven-win season for the Gators last season, this year’s squad has “very little star power”, while the Canes have on-paper Heisman-type candidates in quarterback Stephen Morris and running back Duke Johnson.
It’s a know that the Canes have been down are on the mend, but what’s the “mighty” Gators’ excuse for not garnering a “better” kickoff time? Too afraid to stir the pot in Central Florida with that notion, Mr. Orlando Sentinel?