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Thursday, March 16, 2006
Seeing Orange
Short and Fat has a message for all the UT fans out there. Go, read and then come back here.

Short and Fat says that ESPN has no bias against Tennessee.

Yeah, right.

The thing is, ESPN is extremely biased. They're extremely ACC friendly in basketball (look at how Dickie V and Mike Patrick are the Duke apologists on any broadcast they do) and they seem to have a bias toward Big Ten football. Lee Corso is one of the worst in terms of his bias against the Vols on ESPN College Football Gamedya. I'll give Kirk Herbstreit some credit for at least trying to be unbiased and fair. He acts like a professional and Corso could take a few lessons. But I don't think he will.

To be fair, part of what makes people tune in for Corso is that you love him or you hate him. There's not really a middle ground. I think the man's a complete nitwit who has no credentials and no leg to stand on. But that's my right. And I don't ask that he be UT biased. But I'd ask for some fairness every once in a while, something that Herbstreit shows but Corso doesn't.

That said, let's face it--the real reason that ESPN focuses a lot of time and energy on UT is, quite frankly, we bring in the money. We bring in the viewership that means they can charge this amount to advertisers and make money. Whether you like it or not, Tennessee is a nationally known name for our generally superior products in football and women's basketball. This year, we've had a superior product in men's basketball, that is a surprise to some but it's one of those stories that national outlets just love to tell. The quick turn-around when it wasn't expected. At the rate this story is playing, I expect Disney to license the movie rights and have the movie version out next week...

The thing is even though UT gets a lot of coverage, there's still a bias. It shows up in how the clips are shown and which ones. This year, when the Vols were ranked number three in the land and played a poor opening game, it wasn't any good plays we'd made that were shown. All ESPN showed were one or two clips of Southern Miss almost winning. The story wasn't that the Vols won, but that oh my...we barely won and are the Vols in trouble?!? It's how you approach and report the stories, not if you do. And that's where the bias comes in in my mind.

It even kind of extends to women's basketball. This I blame more on fact that ESPN is located closer to UConn than the Lady Vols. I have this image of Gino Auriemma coming by to pass out his bribe checks and smooze with the ESPN crew. But, seriously, notice there are a lot more UConn players brought in as "experts" than we ever see of Tennessee Lady Vols. Again, part of this is proximity and the expense. But I think we could at least try to have a few more former Lady Vol players in there....it wouldn't kill you, would it?

Anyway, like it or not ,there is a bias. It's there and it pervades a lot of how UT is covered by ESPN. Just because they cover us doesn't mean they like us.

Same thing could be said for a LOT of the staff at the Tennessean where UT can do no right and Vandy can do no wrong. But that's another post for another day...

posted by Michael Hickerson at 3/16/2006 12:29:00 PM | |
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