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The College Football Report: ESPN Edition

To fill the last week of the regular season, and to buy ourselves some time for a full-blown Season Recap, we took some inspiration from ESPN's latest offering - espnW - to create some new properties for the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Here is our Christmas wishlist:

ESPNUSCANDAL
Pros: Clear, to the point. Resembles a word (espnuscañdal? espnusçandal?) in a foreign language.
Cons: Would look weird on a sweatshirt. Google results littered with last year's sex scandal involving ESPN baseball commentator Steve "I Have a Thing for Chicks - Oh, and Cheating on My Wife" Phillips.

ESPNUD
Pros: Could be pronounced "e-s-p-nude." D could stand in for Deliberations, Damages, Defamation . . . Lead anchor spot an excellent career opportunity for former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach - especially after ESPN settles with Leach for his "smear campaign" lawsuit.
Cons: Would cannibalize the value of ESPN's 2018 project "ESPN - Unversity of Dubuque."

ESPNEWWS
Pros: Would allow ESPN to isolate all the squirmy stories, like this one. Ick.
Cons: Nobody would watch it. Nobody.

ESPNAlleggen
Pros: Those fluent in Middle English would get the joke.
Cons: Sounds like a prescription drug; could be confused with The Worldwide Leader's upcoming allergy medication (still in testing; early reports show promise yet a range of unpleasant side effects, especially Stuart Scott Face).

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Now, to comment on espnW, let's bring in Mr. Nelson Overnights, Executive Vice President of Segmentation Holistic Consumer Synergies.

CFR: Mr. Overnights, ESPN describes espnW as a blog. Yet it appears to be just a dumbed down list of the day's headlines in . . .

NO: Let me jump in right there. First, we prefer "massaged." As we say in our mission statement, we hope readers find our stories "surprising, informative and inspiring, because we created it just for you."

CFR: Just for . . .

NO: Well, no. Not you. Certainly not you personally. Not you at all, really.

CFR: But maybe Miss College Football Report?

NO: No, probably not her either. We have a specific target in mind, a unifying vision of . . .

CFR: So, women who would like headlines such as "Who stores irreplaceable trophies in a storage facility?" (Spoiler Alert: Pete Sampras.)

CFR: And "Has Favre turned into your old, depressing grandpa?"

NO: Exactly, yes.

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We don't take issue with ESPN's attempt to maximize revenue, readership and (should espnW succeed in becoming a television channel) viewership. Heck, it's a free market. Do your thing. ESPN produces a great deal of quality content, and some of the espnW contributors (Melissa Jacobs, notably) deserve a louder voice in the Worldwide Leader's wilderness.

But the heavy-handed nature of espnW's initial offering makes us wonder if this latest effort to curry favor from the fairer sex will end in the Recycle Bin of history. We will say this: Compared to the miniscule font and thicket of links on the ESPN home page, the espnW landing page seems refreshing by comparison. In other news, we're totally going shoe shopping this weekend.

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ESPNR(oulette)
Pros: Designed as a 24/7 news outlet on coaching changes, resignations, resignations-under-pressure (looking at you, Dave Wannstedt), hirings, firings, demotions, and promotions, ESPNR(oulette) would feature real-time updates of interviews, contract extensions and negotiations. Hell, ESPN could launch a local version just to cover the coaching searches going on in the state of Florida. To better appeal to Gen Y viewers, all potential candidates would appear via webcam in scrolling windows for immediate comment and reaction.
Cons: All the interviews start exactly the same way: hey / hey / whatsup / n2m bored hbu / yea me 2

ESPNPI
Pros: Given the annual glut of alcohol-related stories in college football, why not?
Cons: As a native of Lexington, KY and an unreformed UK football fan, the lead story on ESPNPI this week would not be my favorite. Lexington police arrested Wildcats QB Mike Hartline for public intoxication (and other charges) in the wee hours Friday morning. Hartline made the mistake of walking (!) home intoxicated on the sidewalk (!) after, apparently, extricating himself from a drunken confrontation.

ESPNewton
Pros: Let's just call it what it is - are we alone in wanting this story roped off from the rest of college football coverage? Or does this story tell us more about college football than any other?
Cons: Isolating Cam Newton stories would enable us all to turn a blind eye to the forces at work corrupting the game we love - exactly what the Powers That Be want.

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Despite the latest NCAA judgment on Newton's eligibility, the Cam Newton Saga has not ended. The NCAA determined that Cecil Newton did attempt to raffle off his son's services to Mississippi State, but did not find any concrete evidence to prove that the same occurred with Auburn. In the week leading up to the SEC conference championship game, the NCAA ruled that "a violation of amateurism rules occurred." Auburn declared Newton ineligible and the school then immediately appealed to the NCAA for reinstatement. Within a day the NCAA had reinstated Newton, and he was declared eligible to play for the remainder of the season.

Two issues to note: one, the NCAA reinstatement staff "is affiliated with but not identical to the enforcement arm" and, two, the reinstatement staff makes a decision on restoring eligibility by reviewing a report generated and submitted by the school. (More here.) And while the staff considers other issues as well - the nature and severity of the offense, etc. - this strikes us a bit like a mortgage lender approving a loan by calling the buyer to ask if they're good for it.

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Seal of Approval
In this weekend's action, the Sports Seal strongly suggests you take the points in the annual Army (+7.5) - Navy game (1:30PM Saturday) from Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles. Sadly, the Seal could not find any odds on Saturday night's Heisman Trophy presentation as it will be Cameron Newton in an outright layup. The TV here at the CFR staff office, however, will be tuned into Derrick "No Fouls in the Park" Rose and the Chicago Bulls (-9.5, 7:00PM Saturday) against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Remember, bowl season starts December 18th. Stay tuned to Beachwood Sports for our annual Bowl Preview, the CFR Season Recap and our postseason gambling guide - as always, for entertainment purposes only.

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Mike Luce brings you the College Football Report in this space every week - usually after a half-dozen Bell's Amber Ales from the Beachwood Inn. He welcomes your comments.


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