I’m sure you all noticed that it’s Rivalry Week for ESPN’s college hoops coverage. Otherwise known in Bristol as “whichever week Duke is playing UNC” regardless of which other major rivals happen to be facing off that week. Rivalry Week is just one of ESPN’s made-up “theme weeks” to try and suggest that their broadcast schedule follows some sort of coherent design — and to give them an opportunity to sell sponsorship. The current Rivalry Week, for instance, is brought to you by
Crisco Cisco. Other weeks include Feast Week, Holiday Hoops Week, Conference Tip-Off Week, Bracket Buster Week, Judgment Week, and of course Championship Week. And added to the slate this year we had ESPNU Campus Connection Week.
But that’s only eight weeks, and the basketball regular season is four months long. What about all those other lonely weeks? Just think how much more business ESPN could do if they came up with a few more themes to fill out the season. We have a couple ideas to get them started; please feel free to help out in the comments.
Weak Week: one week full of games between the bottom-feeders of the major conferences. Rutgers-DePaul. Iowa-Penn St. Colorado-Nebraska. Any game from the Pac-10. Have the week be sponsored by Febreze. I read somewhere that, if your conference has a broadcast deal with ESPN, they are required to show each team in action at least once a season. With Weak Week, they can knock a lot of those teams off their list in one swoop, leaving more time for good matchups later on.
Announcer Alumni Week: match up the former schools of ESPN’s college hoops analysts, and force the talking heads to battle it out in studio. Have Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis go three rounds during halftime of Duke-UNC. Have Steve Lavin take on Bob Knight in a UFC octagon following Indiana-UCLA. (My money is on Knight, especially if there is a chair available.) Air a Providence-Vermont matchup and let Doris Burke beat the crap out of Tom Brennan. Or broadcast an Oklahoma State-Notre Dame game and have Doug Gottlieb kick his own ass, Fight Club style. This would be ratings GOLD. Sponsored by Everlast.
Punishment Week: have Dick Vitale call at least one game a night, every night. Punishment for him, maybe. Punishment for the rest of us, definitely. Sponsored by Excedrin. Or possibly Head-On.
Hard Times Week: match up coaches that used to run top programs but are now scraping along at low-level jobs. Matt Doherty (Southern Methodist) and Steve Fisher (San Diego State) come to mind. You might also throw in Florida Atlantic’s Mike Jarvis (aka “The Angriest Man In College Basketball”), Rick Majerus at St. Louis, and Bobby Cremins at College of Charleston. And definitely include Isaiah Thomas, who is still roaming the sidelines at Florida International. Sponsored by Monster.com.
PS. While looking up coaches for that paragraph, I discovered that the head coach at Montana is named Wayne Tinkle. For serious.
Cupcake Week: Show some early-season games like Syracuse - Albany, Duke - Coastal Carolina, Kansas - Alcorn St. These games are, at a minimum, always good for a few ridiculous dunks. And you never know — you might strike gold and have the nation tuned in, at least for the last few minutes, to see Georgetown lose to Old Dominion. Or Boston College lose to Harvard. Or Kentucky lose to Gardner-Webb. Or Kentucky lose to VMI. Or Kentucky lose to… well, you get the picture. Plus: walk-ons lofting threes makes for riveting television. Sponsored by Duncan Hines.
Any more ideas? Speak up people, ESPN needs our help!
(Wayne Tinkle appears courtesy of Flomax.)