Play It Forward Jan. 11-17: Clemson vs. Alabama, or what powerball is supposed to look like

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and Alabama coach Nick Saban try not to look to awkward talking to each other during a staged news event Sunday prior to the College Football Playoff championship game in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, right, and Alabama coach Nick Saban try not to look to awkward talking to each other during a staged news event Sunday prior to the College Football Playoff championship game in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
NO. 1: COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
CLEMSON (14-0) vs. ALABAMA (13-1)
Details/TV: At Glendale, Ariz., Monday at 5:30 p.m., ESPN
For those without a vested interest in the outcome, here are five talking points for awkward office interaction at the vending machine:
2016_CFP_Championship_logo= If No. 1 Clemson wins, it will be the first team in college football history to ever reach 15-0. That’s more a function of a process that demands that, after a dozen games in the regular season, there’s still a conference championship game, a bowl game and then this all-alone title contest left to jump through. If the Tigers really want to prove something, it could schedule a game with the Chargers on Super Bowl Saturday just to prove the invincibility.
= If Clemson wins, perhaps the entry of “Clemsoning” in the Urban Dictionary gets a rewrite. The definition as it stands: “The act of delivering an inexplicably disappointing performance, usually within the context of a college football season.” It might also be a setback to the Sports Illustrated cover jinx belief, since Clemson was there as well last week.
= If No. 2 Alabama wins, coach Nick Saban would have his fifth national title (and fourth in seven years, counting his first at LSU). By some measures, that would match the record of Crimson Tide legend Bear Bryant. By other measures (especially those in Tuscaloosa), Saban would still be one short because the insistence that Bryant has six titles, counting a very messy one in 1973 (No. 1 in the coaches’ poll, No. 4 by AP, after they lost their Cotton Bowl game to Notre Dame).
= If Alabama wins, it will extend a dominance over Clemson that will reach 13 victories in a row. The last time Clemson beat Alabama was in 1905, not long after John Heisman (yes, that guy) coached the team.
= No matter if Alabama wins or loses, the prevailing thought is that Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, either heralded or humiliated, will have another head coaching job waiting somewhere. That’s just how this current Tide coach rolls.

THE REST OF THE WEEK:
The NFL meetings in Houston on Tuesday and Wednesday seem important, but we’d tend to go with the narrative set here by the Associated Press’  Tim Dalhberg entitled “Greed the motivator as NFL teams rush to L.A.” … The first of (at least) two USC-UCLA basketball meetings happens at Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday (ESPN2, 8 p.m.) …  The first of (at least) five Kings-Ducks meetings happens at Honda Center on Sunday (6 p.m., FSW, Prime Ticket) … The NFL’s divisional round of the playoffs has Kansas City-New England (Saturday, 1:35 p.m., Channel 2), Pittsburgh-Denver (Sunday, 1:40 p.m., Channel 2), Green Bay-Arizona (Saturday, 5:15 p.m., Channel 4) and Seattle-Carolina (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 11) … More to read at this link.

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It’s Out of the Question: From Anthopoulos to Zaidi, whose voice gets heard in the Dodgers’ room?

Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

Six current or former General Managers go into a room with the team CEO and its farm director. One decision survives.
Oh, it’s on in the Chavez Ravine Octagon. It’s a reality show made for ESPNOcho.
Although the Dodgers have yet to announce their next greatest acquisition – that would be former Toronto Blue Jays GM extraordinaire Alex Anthopoulos joining the Big Blue Think Tank – this pending arrangement is bound to cause someone’s head to explode once it’s up and operational.
Alphabetically, we go from Anthopoulos to (Farhan) Zaidi. Maybe not ironically, it will probably operate backwards from that.
More at this link …

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Weekly media notes version 01.07.15: The beauty of ‘The Beast’ vs. the nature of the business

nature-of-the-beast-1aWhat’s coming for Sunday:

In light of the news this week that KFWB-AM (980), aka “The Beast,” has been sold and the all-sports format will likely unravel come mid-February, we’ll look more into the ramifications of what happens to the Clippers’ home radio base (as well as the Galaxy) and how this affects those working at the station since its launch in Sept., 2014.
Here’s more background on the history of KFWB, that goes back more than 90 years in L.A.

What’s worth getting out there at this point in the week:

473104919_d1== Aside from the ginormity that ESPN will put into its traditional telecast of Monday’s Clemson-Alabama college football national title game from Glendale, Ariz. at 5:30 p.m. — Chris Fowler has play-by-play, Kirk Herbstreit is the lone booth analyst, with Heather Cox and Tom Rinaldi on the sidelines (plus Dave Cutaia for rules clarification and Dr. Jerry Punch for medical-related speculation) — we’re only into Year 3 of the “Megacast” arrangement that has gone through some refining since it launched for the Florida State-Auburn Rose Bowl national title game of 2014 and hit and missed on several avenues.
carretel-megacast-castingWhat’s on the menu for 2016 — there are 14 options in total — versus what we’d like to see:

= ESPN2:  “The Film Room” has analyst Brian Griese and Chris Spielman trading thoughts as the game progresses play by play with Florida head coach Jim McElwain. ESPN also has commitments from new South Carolina head coach (and former Auburn defensive coordinator) Will Muschamp, Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi, North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora and South Florida head coach Willie Taggart for the  Xs and Os interaction.
“This has really met our highest expectations from our intension of keeping it from being a TV show but rather allow it to be as authentic and real as we can get it in a studio setting,” said Ed Placey, the ESPN  senior coordinating producer for the network’s remote production department in charge of college football. “They are in their greatest comfort zone when they have a clicker in hand and watching the replays. We just want to leave them alone.”
*Our desire: Don’t mess with this success. Even as it emanates from the network’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters, they have coaches actually asking to be part of this. Too bad USC’s Clay Helton didn’t volunteer to be on the first plane out there and establish some media credibility.
voices= ESPNEWS: “ESPN Voices” takes ESPN “personalities” watching the game in a living-room type atmosphere in L.A. Those who’ve been invited: Michelle Beadle, Jay Bilas, Marcellus Wiley, Teddy Atlas, Taylor Twellman ... let us know when to stop.
“We have a great setup in the studio there at L.A. Live where we do ‘SportsCenter’ and the ‘NBA Live’ pregame show, next to hotels and restaurants, and a lot of this was based on having some our prominent voices come in to meet with investors and interact with Disney people and find out they have a lot in common with each other,” said Placey. “This is an excuse to get them together and allow them to interact and let the audience have the same reaction. We just want to create the ultimate viewing experience for a major event with monitors and couches and conversation.”
CSVr7UwWUAASoAW*Our desire: When we first witnessed this “party scene” from the Rose Bowl booth two years ago, it became far more of an annoyance than a place we would have gravitated toward. It’s not our scene to see and be seen. Perhaps there’s also nothing more annoying than watching a party happen that you aren’t invited to. Unless there’s a hot tub set up in the corner with UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s name on it, we don’t believe this concept will work. A better alternative: Fox Sports 3 (does that exist yet?) launches a counter “Ex-ESPN Voices” and lets Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock, Keith Olbermann and BIll Simmons go round-table rodeo on whatever’s on their minds while the game drones on in the background.

= ESPNU: The “Homer Telecast” is new, hosted by Joe Tessitore and incorporating former Clemson QB Tajh Boyd and former Alabama center Barrett Jones into “a quasi-‘game analysts’ with a decidedly partisan view towards their alma maters.” Others could be filtered in.
*Our desire:This is build for a Homer Simpson appearance, again if Fox wants to build in some counter programming. Otherwise, this channel is for those who can’t handle the truth and need to be coddled. We get that. We just don’t know if a whole channel should be dedicated to it. Maybe go find some cat videos on YouTube to air instead.

6_3331800= SEC Network: “Finebaum’s Film Room,” featuring Paul Finebaum along with Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema and SEC Net analysts Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland. They will be in a location “near” University of Phoenix Stadium and take live calls through the game.
*Our desire: This should be sponsored by FarmersOnly.com and attempt to include as many of the hillbilly callers in who somehow make it onto Finebaum’s regular show. If that happens, we could sink our tooth into it.

= ESPN Classic: “Sounds of the Game” shows the contest without commentators, but more mikes picking up the PA announcer, referee calls, etc., to get as close to an in-game experience as possible — including all the halftime entertainment.
*Our desire: Classic would be to show the game here in black-and-white. To remind us of how we watched those Rose Bowl games from the 1960s and didn’t have anything to complain about.

= ESPN Goal Line: “Command Center” is something with a split screen — live game action on one side, replays, iso cams, enhanced stats and drive charts on the other side.
*Our desire: “Whose Goal Line Is It Anyway?” should be a game show here of referees ad-libbing a call that they missed, using every one of the “Command Center” cameras available.

Sweet_Home_Alabama_film= ESPN Deportes: The Spanish-language call with Lalo Varela, Pablo Viruega, Bernardo Osuna, and Carlos Nava.
*Our desire: Considering the two teams involved, they might get more viewers airing the Reese Witherspoon movie “Sweet Home Alabama” with Spanish subtitles.

= ESPN3: A “mock replay booth” will recreate the experience on what’s done when a review is necessary. They review every play, if you didn’t know. Ralph Pickett, a current ACC replay official, and Ben Oldman, an SEC replay communicator, are joined by former ACC coordinator of officials and current ESPN “rules expert” Doug Rhoads.
*Our desire: We’ve been mocking replay ever since it started. Allow this to also be interactive, with fans voting on whether calls should be overturned or not through hastags, Instagram selfies or whatever the kids find really reveals their inner selves these days. Otherwise, devoting a channel to this only encourages more reviewing. Delete immediately.

= ESPN3: A continuous “stream” of the “pylon cam” — there are eight of them planted in the end zones providing 24 angles — as well as the “Spider Cam” view overhead and cameras focused on the student sections.
u_of_p_stadium_blimp_ss*Our desire: They’re missing an opportunity of having a continual blimp shot from above the dome stadium. The place looks like a space ship landing in the desert and about to probe everything inside of it. Pull back on the shot, and you might see the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch facility.

= ESPN3: The “home town radio” feeds — Alabama’s Eli Gold, Phil Savage and Chris Stewart or Clemson’s Don Munson, Rodney Williams and Patrick Sapp.
*Our desire: Mike Tirico and Todd Blackledge will probably be just fine from the ESPN Radio booth but find a way that we don’t lose the 710-AM signal every time our car radio goes through a freeway underpass or the LAX runway tunnel on Sepulveda near Imperial.

= ESPN3: A “Data Center” with on-screen graphics.
*Our desire: This is where there should be a menu of what’s going on each of the channels, as well as what else we could be watching at certain points in the game: Updates on “The Bachelor” or the Kings’ home game against the Detroit Red Wings, for example, would be very useful. Continue reading

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