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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Northwestern-Indiana: Nationwide! Well, not really. But the Big Ten has renegotiated its television contract with ABC/ESPN/Disney/Satan. It's essentially more of the same save for one bit of information that should greatly please fans in outlying areas:

All regional afternoon football games aired on ABC will be aired by ESPN/ESPN2 in outer-markets, making these games nationally available.
Hopefully something reciprocal can be worked out with the Big 12 and Pac-10 so I can see Texas-Oklahoma before I die. And foofy no-D Pac-10 matchups, I guess.

Also, the rumored Big Ten Channel is official. Coming next summer, it will feature:
  • 35-plus football games, with each school having at least two games aired (at least one of which will be a conference game);
  • At least 105 regular-season men's basketball games;
  • At least 55 regular-season women's basketball games;
  • Big Ten championships and tournaments;
  • 170 Olympic sporting events; and,
  • Coverage from the conference's vast library of historic sporting events, including bowl games.
Ian wets himself in anticipation! In addition, "each school will have the right to provide 60 hours of its own content annually." Michigan's sixty hours: twenty editions of OSU-Michigan '97. OSU's sixty hours: twenty editions of OSU-Michigan '02.

The football games on the channel will likely be the dregs of the schedule, the kind of stuff previously relegated to ESPN+ syndication. That's good news for Michigan fans, as useless MSU games against Kent State will no longer obliterate national ABC games on Channel 7.

One disappointing omission: no hockey. It's a bit tricky since there is no actual Big Ten hockey conference -- the teams are spread across the CCHA and WCHA -- but since this channel is a Fox production and the current channels that actually broadcast college hockey are all regional Fox networks, you'd think they could work something out. Lord knows it would be appreciated more than crew or whatever.

Speaking of Pac-10 foof, Nike's assault on your eyesight continues apace with the new Oregon uniforms, which really must be seen to be disbelieved. Apparently inspired by truck beds and acid, I link indirectly in case there are any children or seizure-prone individuals in the audience.

You have been warned

Vijay has a camp update up worth your time that summarizes everything publicly available: Mallet is Robocop, Danny "Boom" Herron has acquired an offer, so has awesome-burning-unquenchable- hatred-of-ND guy Dave Molk, and more!

More Ghana-US. A charmingly CAPS LADEN USA scouting report from Ghanaweb; the Ghana coach channels Clubber Lang:
Dujkovic said he rated the United States but was confident of beating them.

"I don't have a message for the U.S. team. They have to worry and they will suffer," he said. "The Ghana team is young and tough ... and played some of the best football in the World Cup so far."

He also has more pessimism about their suspended players and a report on another that may miss the match, defender Samuel Kuffour:
Ghana's Serb coach Ratomir Dujkovic said it would be difficult to replace either [suspended] player. He also announced that veteran defender Samuel Kuffour had a "high temperature" but gave no other details.

"It's very difficult to find another Sulley Muntari. He's exceptional. He defends, attacks and creates chances. We have to find someone who can play a role close to Sulley," the coach said.
Kuffour's mysterious fever should be regarded with some suspicion, as the second Italian goal in Ghana's opening 2-0 loss was caused by a horrendous Kuffour backpass. In any case, he's by far their most experienced defender and seems likely to remain on the bench.