1 Day, 1 Game: How Oregon got left out of ESPN’s ‘Bama-LSU party

By REED NELSON

1 Day, 1 Game.

It sounds so dramatic. It could be a one-man stage iteration of Any Given Sunday starring Joe Mantegna as Coach Tony D’Amato.

It could be the bedtime story that Archie Manning read to Eli, Payton and… and… Cooper before a big game.

It could be the new Gatorade ad campaign, featuring commercials shot with brownish filters, heavy on Final Cut Pro’s Ken Burns Effect and scored by Trent Reznor.

Or it could just be what every game ends up amounting to, what every athlete insists the biggest game of the season is. ‘Just one day, just another game.’

But 1 Day, 1 Game is none of those things.

Instead, it’s what ESPN the Magazine, the print division of the strongest sports media monolith in the world, and senior ESPN writer Wright Thompson, are calling their Nov. 3, 2012 issue, one dedicated in its entirety to the Alabama-LSU game, according to BusinessReport.com.

And if ESPN coins a term, it sticks. After all, this is the empire that coined “Bountygate,” arguably the most nonsensical, historically unfounded, least original, awkward mouthful of a name from 2012, and the thing stuck.

(At least it was historically unfounded at the time of indoctrination, prior to the “Williams Tapes” and the weird Mickey Loomis wiretap fiasco that SOMEHOW was denied a name with a “-gate” at the end. Seriously, powers-that-be? You have a scenario that mimics the exact same thing as Watergate — the name of an office building, by the way, not a universal suffix for scandal. You’re welcome for the clarification, ESPN — and you somehow have already blown your “-gate” wad for the week? Unbelievable. I’m surprised that fiasco wasn’t dubbed “Nicknamegate.” But enough of the news from the Jurassic Period.)

So it wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that Nov. 3, 2012 will be promoted as “1 Day, 1 Game” by the Worldwide Leader for the next week-and-a-half or so.

The problem with this mantra? There are lots of other games on Nov. 3. 20 members of the Top 25 will be in action that day, to be exact, including Oregon, who will be playing No. 9 USC.

This game should be Oregon’s grand announcement to those small, electricity-deprived parishes of the south, the wake up call to the Midwest mayhem, the end of the East Coast bias; and at the very least, it should be the first undercard to the Alabama-LSU game.

But it hasn’t been. To ESPN the Magazine, it’s just another game between good Pac-12 teams, starting at 4 p.m., PST, featuring two potential hard-charging Heisman candidates with National Championship aspirations.

It’s not that Wright Thompson is even flexing some sort of bias muscle — I genuinely think he’s excited about all of this in the same way that a Star Wars fan would’ve been excited to cover the entire process surrounding the making, promotion and release of Revenge of the Sith, and he should be. Thompson is an incredible writer who will do an unbelievable job with the assignment — it’s just that ESPN is flexing their power of neglect to the Nth degree.

We aren’t even asking for headlining privileges, just inclusion on the bill.

So while the rest of the country will be watching ‘Bama and LSU not score for 60 minutes over on CBS, we in the know will be watching two offenses, known for high-volume scoring and home run power, duke it out at the Colosseum, which I’m totally fine with.



Categories: Analysis, Features, News & Notes

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