Tag Archive for Osu

Thank goodness college football starts for real this weekend.

buckeyes 001OK now that the miserable non-conference schedule is out of the way, on to the real season. OSU is bunched up with a large number of undefeateds at the top of the polls. OSU can probably get to the BCS championship if they remain undefeated, but given weakness of schedule, they probably need help — if they end the regular season with the same record as an SEC and a PAC-12 team, I fear the Buckeyes would be odd man out. A quick glance suggests that these games and weekends could define who plays for the championship:

  • Weekend of September 29: #23 Wisconsin @ #3 OSU, #6 LSU @ #9 Georgia. Certainly OSU’s biggest bump in the road, and an LSU win on the road could vault them up the standings.
  • Weekend of October 5: #16 Washington @ #5 Stanford. Go Huskies!
  • Weekend of October 12: #2 Oregon @ #16 Washington, #20 Florida @ #6 LSU.
  • Weekend of October 19: #8 FSU @ #3 Clemson
  • Weekend of October 26: PSU @ #4 OSU
  • Weekend of November 9: #2 Oregon @ #5 Stanford, #6 LSU @ #1 Alabama
  • Weekend of November 23: #10 Texas A&M @ #6 LSU
  • Weekend of November 30: #1 Alabama @ Auburn, #3 Clemson at #12 South Carolina, #4 OSU @ #18 Michigan, #22 ND @ #5 Stanford, #8 FSU @ #20 Florida,
  • Weekend of December 7: Conference Championship games. Very possibly a rematch for OSU vs Northwestern or OSU vs Michigan?

Looking forward to a great season!

Too many bowls? More likely a short term demand problem

Per @CFTalkThrough, through 14 bowl games, attendance is down more than 11 percent from a year ago. 574,095 in 2011, 508,969 in 2012.

tresselToo many bowls? Maybe. But “looking at fan bases countrywide”:http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/the-geography-of-college-football-fans-and-realignment-chaos/, when you take 5.8M fans out of the market for bowl tickets because of OSU (#1 fan base nationwide) and PSU (#3 fan base nationwide) suspensions, well, sales are going to drop. Replacing these schools with NIUs and Minnesotas and the like simply is not going to move the same volume of tickets.

It probably doesn’t help that some of the other top programs — Texas, Auburn — had off years, and USC is in El Paso.

The market needs the top teams to have good seasons to make the postseason compelling.

What will the Big10 do now with PSU’s impending penalties?

So apparently the “hammer is going to fall on PSU tomorrow”:http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/ncaa-announce-penalties-against-penn-state-monday-paterno-141212517–ncaaf.html. Who knows what will happen, but I think it is reasonable to assume that PSU will be uncompetitive in football for at least the next 5 years. Either because of massive financial penalties (this seems likely to me as it penalizes the institution directly), significant scholarship reductions (less likely in my mind, as this hurts future kids), loss of TV and bowl exposure which has financial and recruiting implications (this will certainly happen), an outright ban on the team (unlikely), and the resultant flow of staff and players to other schools. It is hard to imagine that PSU will field a quality program for years.

So what does the Big 10 do? I am sure there are very active conversations today.

* Stand by PSU. The noble thing to do. And the Big10 at times has tried to be noble. I could certainly live with this. But you can bet this would hit the Big10 in the pocketbook, it will affect the next round of TV rights negotiations. And on every discussion of the Big10 standings, or Big10 allstar teams, or whatever, there will be that PSU logo and the PSU issues will come up. It is going to be a thorn for the league. But I could live with this.
* Dump them ASAP and try to fill their spot with 1 team. Given how damaged the Big10 would be with PSU in the league, I think the league would make substantial compromises to get the right 12th team in, so this may be ND’s best time to strike a deal that preserves some of their special treatment.
* Dump them ASAP and make a big play to the south. Try to pick up the disaffected ACC football programs who aren’t getting the revenue they should because of their ACC affiliation. This would be costly, but there are no cheap solutions in sight. If you could pick up 3-5 southern teams, this would create a dramatic positive press story and allow the league to bury the PSU story.

My bet is that the league does not stand by PSU. They may throw PSU a bone and say that they will reconsider them for full membership in 6-7 years but this is just window dressing.
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I wonder if this PSU story was a motivator for some the Pac-12 schools who submarined the Big-10/Pac-12 linkup.

UPDATE: and so we know. The Big10 will stand behind PSU, as PSU works thru it’s misery. It is going to be 10 years before PSU is a competitive team again, if that. I’m not sure this was the right business move for the Big10, but it is noble. Perhaps having PSU ever-present in the league will serve to remind every other coach and institution, every day, that they need to put the kids and players first.

Friday afternoon musing about TV — VCOs, Airplay, Cameras

Gearing up for lots of basketball watching over the next month, OSU is on tonight, Go Bucks, humiliate the Boilermakers. I know he is long retired but that combover that Gene Keady sported for years still annoys me and Purdue must pay for it. Anyway, random TV thoughts:

* Why are there no virtual cable operators? Why have MSFT and Hulu pulled back from this strategy? Rumours are it was over rights fees but given what I pay for a full load of cable channels each month so that I can get all the sports content, it is hard for me to believe there is not a viable offering in here. This seems like the only viable “cut the cord” strategy (vs the wishful think about ala carte pricing), I don’t understand why no one has bit the bullet and tried to make a VCO work.

* When will all our TVs have cameras built into them? OK maybe this year — “Samsung plans”:http://www.cepro.com/article/samsung_smart_tvs_dominate_2012_plans/ Kinect functionality? The chip cost is de minimus and the TV guys need features. How will that change how we use our TVs? If I have a camera in my iPad and Airplay and a camera in my TV, which will I use for video calling? I am confusing myself.

* Should we junk projectors in our conference rooms and just use AirPlay/AppleTV and an LCD display? Or at least use AppleTV as input to projector? Would this end the silly game of trying to get laptops to work in conference rooms with projectors? The new Airplay features of the iPad seem undersold. The press coverage seems to be all about resolution and network speed and multicore but this Airplay thing seems pretty interesting.

* Oh and back on the VCO thing — hooking up your PC to your TV can be a PITA, but it seems like AirPlay is going to help on that, so maybe this makes a VCO more viable?

A Monte Carlo Simulation of the Big10 Race

November is shaping up to be quite the race in the Big10, I have to say, the addition of divisions and a championship game have created a great new dynamic (and makes me rethink my objection to a playoff, hmmm.)

Many sites have written about all the permutations of possible teams in the championship game, and the surprising fact that OSU is not out of it, and in fact has a very good shot at making the game. Being a bit of a nerd, I decided to play around with a “Monte Carlo simulation”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Carlo_method of the race to the championship game.

I wrote a little C program that does any arbitrary number of iterations of the rest of the season and examines the results to determine the championship game participants. The outcome of each game is determined randomly — a random number is selected from 0-1 and used as an index against the a priori probability (as made up by me) that each team would win the game. I.E., if you believe Northwestern has a 70% chance of beating Minnesota, then any random number from 0 to .7 implies a Northwestern win. I used the c rand function with a time-based seeding on each run, please no complaints about the quality of my random numbers, I am just simulating football games for gosh sakes. I toyed around with the a priori probabilities a little to see how sensitive the outcomes were. And then at the end of the season, I apply all the tiebreakers if necessary to see what teams represent the divisions in the title game. I ran the simulation 1000 times, and a few runs of 10,000 trials just for yuks. The 1000 run simulation

So — the Legends division. Not surprisingly, due to the weakness of their remaining schedule, MSU is the title game rep ~2/3rds of the time. Nebraska about ~1/3, and Michigan picks up a smattering (1%) of appearances. Since Michigan has already lost to MSU, if they ever end up tied in the standings, MSU always takes the spot. Michigan needs MSU and Nebraska to both falter (and can control the Nebraska since they have yet to play) and also needs to beat OSU, Illinois, Iowa. A tough road. This weekend’s play won’t shake things up much, the most interesting game is the Michigan-Iowa game, I would have picked Iowa a week ago but losing to Minnesota has shaken my faith in the F(erentz) Troop. The Nov 12th weekend will be more entertaining — MSU@Iowa, Michigan@Illinois, Nebraska@PSU. And then Nebraska@Michigan Nov 19th. It seems unlikely that Michigan will still be in the hunt by the time of the Ohio State game.

The Leaders division is far more interesting. PSU has the inside track, no surprise being up 2 games on everyone else at this point. They take the title game spot 30-60% of the time, depending on how you view the likelihood of them winning their remaining games. If you think they are a slight favorite in all their remaining games, then 60%. If you think they are a modest underdog, then 30%. OSU has a surprisingly good shot, 20-25%, depending on how you rate their odds against Michigan and PSU, and because they are in a good tiebreaker position having beaten Wisconsin. Wisconsin picks up the pieces and has the weakest chance due to the OSU loss. The Nov 5th weekend will likely teach us nothing as PSU has a bye, OSU has Indiana, Wisconsin has Purdue. The Nov 12th Nebraska@PSU game is one to watch, and then Nov 19th with Wisconsin@Illinois and PSU@OSU is a defining weekend. There is a very real chance that on the final weekend, all 3 teams need a win to make it to the game — OSU is at Michigan and PSU is at Wisconsin, so that should be a great day.

Thinking about gameday cell network performance

When I sit in Ohio Stadium for a football game, my fancy smartphone is a useless piece of metal and plastic. Some developers have tried to come up with apps to improve the gameday experience, but these apps miss the point. With 105,000 fans in the stadium, another huge set of ticketless fans milling around outside, all the stadium staff as well as security and service staff outside the stadium — there are probably 200,000 network devices in 30-40 acres all trying to jam onto the system, and all failing. The cell network simply can’t handle the load.

Our cell networks are wonderful things, but in the build out of our networks, the notion of broadcast has been left behind. 98% of the fans want the same exact data — top 25 scores, breaking football news, in-game replays, radio game feed. And yet the cell network and data apps feed this data to each user via dedicated single-user transactions. Cell broadcast exists in the standards but is not really in use in networks or handsets. Qualcomm tried to push Mediaflo for this use but got very little uptake and eventually shut down the service.

It’s unfortunate that the idea of broadcast has been left behind. It would be hugely useful in these kinds of crowded venues. I wonder if Qualcomm might not have succeeded had they just focused on NFL and NCAA football fans — people who spend stupid amounts of money on tickets and related gameday expenses, and who would probably spend money on dedicated gameday data services. It is not an easy service to provide tho. It requires spectrum, devices using that spectrum, and local content assemblage and editorial. There may be too many moving parts. It might be easier just to truck in lots of picocells to events and say screw it, dynamically expand the cell network as needed.

Today’s NCAA FB roundup — reactions to Buckeyes andUSC; required NCAA FB reading

I watched bits of LSU/WVU (LSU is my #1), Toledo/Syracuse, ND/Pitt, UW/Cal. But key games I watched yesterday were OSU and USC.

* OSU is in for a tough year. Yes they tackled better yesterday, but it was Colorado. If we give up 17 to Colorado, we will give up 24+ to MSU/Nebraska/Wisconsin, and the OSU offense does not have the firepower to score enough against those teams. I’m glad Braxton and other young players are getting the reps, this is a team for next year.
* USC shot themselves in the foot over and over again, and Erickson was clearly the best coach out there. The ASU offensive game plan and adjustments were very effective and USC could never crack it.

On broader college football issues, if you haven’t already seen the below, read immediately. As money continues to pour into the sport, the issues discussed are going to become more prominent, not less.

* If you haven’t already read the “the Quad’s story on college football fan distribution”:http://thequad.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/the-geography-of-college-football-fans-and-realignment-chaos/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+nyt%2Frss%2FSports+%28NYT+%3E+Sports%29&seid=auto&smid=tw-nytimessports, do so. Excellent explanation of the market facts underpinning realignment chaos.
* “Study about poverty and student-athletes (PDF)”:http://assets.usw.org/ncpa/The-Price-of-Poverty-in-Big-Time-College-Sport.pdf. Excellent, record revenues and expenditures in college football, but many players struggle.
* Of course. the “Atlantic article”:http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/the-shame-of-college-sports/8643/ on the inherently corrupt economics of college football.

And on a lighter note, “Matt Sarz’s TV listings”:http://mattsarzsports.com/football2011.aspx. Finding USC on the Root network last night was tricky.

My college football digital media setup

Well thank goodness we are playng football again! The worst offseason ever is over and the Buckeyes are back to their old ways, throttling the lesser teams of the Midwest. Despite having a new coach, new QBs, and 7-8 players sitting on the sidelines due to various infractions, the team looked very good against an admittedly overmatched Akron squad. Bauserman was way more mobile than we thought, Braxton Miller played well, new receivers arose and made some stellar grabs, the running game was fine, and the defense looked like another very good Buckeye defense. And Fickell seems to have the program under control, no rampant chaos due to the coaching change. Wisconsin, Penn State, Nebraska, Iowa also looked strong against overmatched foes, should be a great race for the title this year.

Of course when you think football, you immediately think about getting all your digital media football assets in order for the season! Because it is not enough to just watch the games, you need to monitor 3 more simultaneously on your tablet and phone, you need to be reading the tweet stream, you need to participate in pools or other contests, etc. Here’s my lineup:

* Newspapers. The “Dispatch”:www.dispatch.com has always been the paper of record for OSU football but…the “Plain Dealer”:www.Cleveland.com has really upped it’s game. With some staff transitions happening at the Dispatch, I’m finding the PD to be the best read of the old guard so far this season.
* Blogs and new media. There are a lot of OSU blogs and to be honest they are somewhat repetitive — AlongTheOlentangy.com, ElevenWarriors.com, MenOfTheScarletAndGray.com, OurHonorDefend.com, TheBuckeyeBattleCry.com, DuaneLongReport.com, and more. I have all these in my Google Reader setup and they are all useful but I rarely read them all. Then there are the other college football blogs which cover the entire sport — “Dr. Saturday”: http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaaf/blog/doc_saturday/rss.xml and “Every Day Should Be Saturday”:http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/ are reliably the best but there are millions. And millions that cover other teams. The Michigan blogs used to be entertaining but with the collapse of Michigan football, they have lost their edge.
* BCS polls. My “Blogroll” (that name should be retired) has links to all the BCS computer polls so that I can watch those by the second. And “BCS Guru”:http://www.bcsguru.com/bcs_standings.htm for computed projections of BCS standings.
* “Yahoo Pickem”:http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/college for engaging with communities in a competitive way
* Twitter follows. The top sports writers, on air sports reporters, and bloggers are worth following — @edsbs, @smartfootball, @BCSfootball, @PlaybookMark, @HuskySportsNow, @Andy_Staples, @IntelligentCFB, @MrCFB, @Nastinchka, @CornNation, @Adam_Jacobi, @ChipBrownOB, @PreSnapRead, @CharlesRobinson, @JayBilas, @PeteThamelNYT, @DanWetzel, @rollerCD, @espn4d, @LoriSchmidt, @GerdOzone, @brdispatch, @greggdoyelcbs, @ramzyn, @dennisdoddcbs, @slmandel, @marcushartman, @PDBuckeyes, @Ivan_Maisel, … Oh gosh i probably forgot a ton.
* I’ve cleared 4 slots on my iPhone home screen for sports apps. ESPN Scorecenter for scores, tho they can get awfully behind on peak Saturdays. Yahoo Sportacular as a backup, and I like Yahoo’s in game visualization a little better. SB Nation for access to commentary and community during the week, tho I am not overwhelmed with the app yet. CFStats for detailed stats — this app is comprehensive but quite slow. I will look to change this lineup during the season as I try out more apps.
* On the iPad, the HD versions of Scorecenter and Sportacular.
* Video. Of course I have Comcast at home so I can get games in HD realtime. Also trying to get WatchESPN on the iPad to work tho having some difficulties proving to it that I have a subscription with one of the supported providers. And also BTN2Go which also doesn’t seem to like Comcast at this point. XfinityTV on the iPad unfortunately doesn’t seem to let you watch live sports.
* Google SMS. When I am in Ohio Stadium or another crowded venue, and data services have been crushed by the load, and voice is nearly crushed, I can sometimes squeak out SMS queries for scores, so I have this in my contact list. The score update app of last resort.

OK with all this in place, I am ready for the season!

The Rehabilitation of Jim Tressel

About a month ago, Tressel resigned under pressure from the university as the many allegations swirled around the program. Cars, cash for memorabilia, cover ups, etc etc etc. A tough day for Tressel and a tough time for the program.

It is interesting to look at some things that have happened since then:

* “The car investigation has largely been dropped”:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/football/ncaa/06/21/ohio.state.cars.ap/index.html?sct=cf_t2_a6. There were no special deals done for the players or families. Pryor may still have some issues but there is no wide ranging scandal here.
* “More and more players deny selling memorabilia”:http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/sports/stories/2011/06/22/more-buckeyes-deny-selling-memorabilia.html?sid=101. The feeling that there was even more dirt to uncover doesn’t seem to be warranted.
* “The North Carolina allegations have dropped”:http://aol.sportingnews.com/ncaa-football/feed/2010-08/unc-investigation/story/north-carolina-football-facing-several-serious-ncaa-violations. Academic fraud, improper benefits, agent involvement — this is what a mess really looks like. It is interesting that North Carolina so far is standing by its coach. Ohio State is held to a higher standard — by itself, and by outsiders. I wouldn’t want this to change.
* “OSU’s Football APR top among top 25″:http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=17300&ATCLID=205157100. Clearly the program has been doing some things right.
* “John Hicks comments on Tressel’s motivation”:http://ohiostate.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1233937. Responding to Desmond Howard’s idiocy, Hicks makes the argument that Tressel was focused on player welfare — admirable, even if it leads one astray at times.

Clearly mistakes were made; coverups always turn out bad, and Tressel has paid a significant price for his role. But looking at all the accumulating evidence about the state of the program and what was provably a violation, it certainly seems that the opinions on Tressel should have bottomed out and should start to rebound. And you have to wonder if perhaps the University didn’t move a little too fast, and was a little too responsive to the flurry of press coverage. Allowing due process some time to run might have served everyone better. The University and the program may have arrived in exactly the same spot, Tressel did make mistakes, but allowing investigations to run their course might have been prudent.

It’s a Great Day to be a Buckeye!

Seriously. We have much to celebrate. #1 Men’s basketball team heading into tourney season. Big 10 champion women’s basketball team, again. The next 2-3 weeks should be awesome and we should enjoy our successes.

And yes, well, we have this hiccup in the football program. Mistakes have been made by many people at many levels. It is a little embarrassing and not in keeping with the standards we have set.

But the mistakes are magnified by those high standards of on-field and off-field performance we have established. If Ohio State had some 3rd tier football program, no one would care (including us). But we have a great and proud program that has accomplished a great deal and we should remain proud despite the news of the past week.

We all have successes and failures, we all have moments of great personal performance and moments when we stumble. The measure of a person is not how many successes they have — it is how they handle themselves in times of success and failure. When successful, do they share the credit, do they acknowledge the team, do they remain humble, do they treat the less-fortunate with respect? And in moments of personal failure, do they accept responsibility, do they learn from mistakes, do they bear down and fix them?

Our football program has a great opportunity now to act like a winner, to set an example for others, as it deals with the issues at hand. And I expect the people in the program to work hard and handle the problems well and make us proud of how they deal with adversity. There are coaches and administrators in the land who run to new jobs or the NFL when times get tough, I am proud of our staff for putting their nose to the grindstone and working through the troubles.

Again we have great success in so many sports, and exciting basketball to follow, and a great opportunity to show the world how to deal with adversity, and so it truly is a great day to be a Buckeye.

OSU scholarships for Marion County residents

For about the 10th year now we are providing funding for scholarships for Marion County residents and Marion County high school graduates. We’ve used different mechanisms in the past, but for the last 5-6 years we’ve done this through the OSU financial aid office as need-based scholarships for Marion County residents or Marion Country high school graduates, any high school in the county, attending any OSU campus. If you know someone who is from the Marion area and wants to attend OSU and needs some help, make sure they ask about!

We have a deep and ongoing connection to the Marion area — we had great experiences growing up there. Much of our extended family still live there and we get back for an extended visit once a year. We are blessed with families who encouraged and supported us to get our educations, educations which have meant a lot to us. And we have fond memories of our time at The Ohio State University. So we want to support the community, the university, and the students who need some help.

And the students who have been awarded scholarships so far are just awesome. We met about 10 of the then-current students a couple years ago at an OSU tailgate and they were all so impressive. Big goals, hard working, youthful vigor — it was inspiring to be around them. Just having a lunch with these students was a huge lift for us.

We’ve never been very vocal about our support but in these times of economic challenge, we felt it was important to become a little more vocal. We hope that everyone does what they can to support and encourage the full development of our young students. Some of these young people will go on to create businesses and jobs, lead our communities, enrich our lives through their art, or otherwise make a great contribution to our lives. Having them sidelined because they can’t quite make the economics of college work out, or having them burdened with a mountain of student loan debt — neither of these seem like good outcomes. So we do what we can, and we hope and trust that others do as well.

10 Reasons to Hate Arkansas…

I don’t really have any feelings good or bad about Arkansas, but of course now that they are the Buckeyes’ next opponent, I have to foster a deep hatred of all things Arkansas. Here’s a quick list:

# Walmart. Destroying the retail economies of small towns all over America, while sending jobs to China.
# Philandering ex-president. And if you are going to be a philanderer, at least do it well. “Ohio’s philandering president”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_G._Harding was a much better philanderer, actually having a child out of wedlock.
# Philandering president’s wife. Hilary stood by her man and swallowed her pride. “Harding’s wife probably poisoned him”:http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/terrorists_spies/assassins/warren_harding/6.html. I know who I want with me in a fight.
# The name means “land of downriver people”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkansas as in “Don’t drink the water there, the Midwest has been dumping its crap in the rivers forever and letting it flow downstream”.
# Ryan Mallett. Once a Michigan man, always a Michigan man. The taint of Michigan will doom him.
# No MLB, NFL, NBA teams in the state. Hardly qualifies as a state.
# Arkansas’s favorite son, Scottie Pippen, Jordan’s bag carrier.
# The name, again. Most of it stolen from Kansas. And can’t be bothered to say the last letter — do they think this is France?
# S-E-C! I’m sure Arkansas fans will trot this out, but remind them: Arkansas has been getting waxed by the same SEC leaders for years…
# Arkansas in name only. The majority of the “roster”:http://www.arkansasrazorbacks.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=6100&SPID=2419&SPSID=30724 is from other states. This is basically an indictment of the quality of football player in Arkansas. The team is really the Texas/Louisiana/Georgia/Oklahoma/Alabama/Florida Razorbacks.

Getting your Minnesota hate on

OK it is hard to really find great reasons to hate Minnesota football. Their current level of ineptitude is historic.

But I can always reach back to the events of early 1972 when the “UM team and fans attacked the visiting OSU basketball team, sending several players to the hospital”:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1085766/index.htm, and never really owning up to their responsibility and apologizing for their actions. Dave Winfield went on to great personal success but I’ve always viewed him as a dbag for his actions on that night.

So here is hoping that UM football is perpetually bad as a form of karmic payback, and here is hoping that OSU rolls up its second shutout in a row.

Servicing my college football addiction

Finally, the first week of college football. And the first week of servicing my addiction. Here is the plan for this year:

* In person attendance at games: We’ll make the November Penn State and Michigan games at Ohio Stadium. 4 tickets to each game at $70/pop comes to $560, we are able to easily sell the unused portion of our season ticket books. Oh of course to get the rights to buy 4 tickets and a parking pass, we had to join the “Buckeye Club”:http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=17300&ATCLID=1398165 at the appropriate level, and make ongoing scholarship donations which qualify us to join the “President’s Club”:http://giveto.osu.edu/donorsocieties/presidentsclub/index.html. But we will pretend those aren’t related — in fact we would donate the scholarship money anyway, to help Marion County students with demonstrated need make it through Ohio State. Oh and we will ignore the travel expense to Ohio as well, since we are going to be there primarily to visit family. Oh and I may sneak to a USC or UW game in addition but we will see. And depending on how the Buckeyes do, we may go the bowl game, count on another $2500 for tickets/travel/accommodations in Glendale (hey, go big or go home!).

* Watching all other weekends on TV: Sports, and particularly college football, are at least 50% of the driver for our cable/dish subscriptions. We subscribe to enough of a tier on cable to get ESPN, Fox Sports, and the Big-10 network in HD. And since we are splitting time between Seattle and Ohio this fall, we have to maintain subscriptions in both locations since cable and dish subscriptions are not portable. We’ve tried a variety of ways to get around this, but there are no quality solutions — ESPN3 is low quality, the various pirated feeds are even worse, slingbox doesn’t really work for HD content. So say half a cable bill monthly in two locations is attributable to football, that is $50/month * 2 locations * 6 months == $600.

* Tracking on the PC/iPad. When I’m at home watching game A, I want to track other games on a medium sized screen. ESPN, ESPN3, and SI are the best of a bad lot — all crammed with ads, tend to have load issues on Saturdays, tend to lag the real action, etc etc. I used to use Sportsline but investment in that site seems to be trending down. I’m not going to allocate any of our internet costs to sports, we would have the same connection if sports didn’t exist.

* Tracking on the iPhone. A real weak spot. The ESPN app is the best score tracker — customizable for just my teams, reasonable UI. But massive load issues on Saturdays, something has clearly been engineered poorly in the transaction model for this app, since it is way more load-sensitive than the web site which makes no sense at all. Backup are the websites for SI and ESPN. Twitter also critical since every major sportswriter/sportsblogger is active on twitter. Of course everyone of these data services fails totally when at a live game, as 100K people all try to hit the same cell tower at once. Google SMS is the fallback of last resort, it can sometimes work when the 3G/Edge networks are failing. You can certainly allocate half my cell phone data plan to sports for the 6 months of college football, so let’s say another $300. Yes I would look harder at a different data plan if I didn’t track sports. Overall the lack of a great app to track sports teams on the iPhone is a little surprising.

OK so $3100 in costs to attend games and bowl, $900 in telecom costs, so $4K in direct costs a year to watch college football. Plus the opportunity cost of time — at least 16 weekends, 8 hours of time, 128 hours. And I am probably not being honest with myself about that time commitment. But eternally hopeful that the Buckeyes will win the national championship, thereby justifying all of it!

OSU can never beat Minnesota by too much

Nice to see the Buckeyes wrap up the Big10 title in dominating fashion, onto the dance! And especially nice to wipe out Minnesota, too bad they weren’t knocked out of the tourney altogether. Why the hatred for the hapless Gophers? It all goes back to this incident, which pretty much flattened the OSU program for the next 10 years and ended Witte’s career. The Minnesota thugs got wrist slaps, Winfield went on to a successful baseball career which always galled me.

Here’s hoping the Gophers flame out in their first game.

Gearing up for football…

CFN’s Big Ten Preview is up. OSU gets the requisite amount of love. Though OSU needs some defensive players to surprise to achieve the promise of the team.

OSU picked to finish first at Media Day.

Here are my hopes for the season:
* OSU of course defeats SC and goes on to win the Big10
* Michigan takes steps towards respectability. You can’t have the best rivalry in sports if one of the programs sucks.
* Someone rises in the west to challenge USC.
* UW gets up off the mat and makes some progress.
* Florida and Tebow take a dive. I am so sick of the Tebow-gasm in the press every day. My 2nd favorite team every weekend will be whoever is playing Florida.