Ryan Chartrand

Before reading this column, a precautionary note to the reader: I watch sports way too often. You might go as far as saying I am addicted to ESPN, so I’m aware of the hypocrisy of the following.

By purposely trying not to schedule classes from 2 to 3 p.m. so that I can watch “Around the Horn” and “Pardon the Interruption,” my complaints about the deteriorating state of the network may ring hollow. But my authority and concern are derived from the fact that every questionnaire I have filled out since fifth grade lists “SportsCenter” next to “favorite TV show.”

Another note: watching “SportsCenter” three to four times daily is not unusual. Back-to-back viewings are not uncommon. Games, analysis, commentary, predictions and reactions – I love it all.

However, this hasn’t shielded me from noticing some alarming trends creeping into the content of my beloved channel.

I understand the beauty of the bracket; whoever designed the first bracket is right up there with the guys who harnessed fire and invented the wheel. Lost to history, thereby underappreciated but nonetheless the founders of society as we know it, so too is the bracket to the world of competition.

Back in Bristol, some producer has an obsession with filling slow sports periods of the year with contrived, trivial brackets that supposedly answer, “Who’s Now?” or what is the “Greatest Highlight of All Time.” I, for one, am tired of these gimmicky polls that only show what areas of the country have the biggest populations.

My hope is that after the Patriots win the Super Bowl “SportsCenter” does a special on the eight best football teams in NFL history. And when the ’07 Patriots beat the ’89 49ers in the make-believe finals, an irate Chris Berman turns into a Hulk-like creature and destroys the set, thus permanently ending the shameless spectacle.

The only problem with this scenario is that it would inspire a top 10 for the best sports meltdowns of all time, which ESPN breaks out once a month or whenever the wannabe Bob Knights of the world lash out.

Another concern: Why, in the week leading up to the Cowboys-Giants game, was there an avalanche of coverage on Tony and Yoko Romo’s vacation? (On a side note, that alias is up there with “Round Mound of Rebound” and “Shoeless” Joe for the best nickname in sports.)

While I occasionally flip to the E! Channel to watch “Chelsea Lately” (I’m intrigued by her personality mostly), there is absolutely no room for celebrity news – the bane of the journalism industry – on ESPN.

Besides, in the immortal words of the “Talladega Nights” character Cal Naughton, Jr., “I like to party, so I like my athlete to party.” I fear to think what the public opinion would be of players like Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle if they played today.

And while we’re on the subject of athletes, no matter how great they were, aka Emmitt Smith, or not so great, as in Jalen Rose’s case, they are not all destined to be sportscasters.

At the very least, they should be able to form coherent sentences.

Listening to Smith sometimes this year went beyond comical and bordered near pathetic. Rose may develop into a quality analyst, but until he can get through a segment without referring to one of his mediocre career accomplishments I cannot take him seriously.

Lastly, a little off subject but important nonetheless, football season is coming to a close, so here is my plea to announcers for next year.

Everybody realizes the yellow line is computer-generated; if I hear Joe Buck tell me that line is unofficial or that the referee needs indisputable evidence to overturn a call one more time .

I know this rant will result in nothing, but it felt good.

And if you just read that sentence it means one of two things: you are either deeply concerned about the state of my academic career – get in line behind my parents – or you are a fellow addict reading the sports section to get you by until you can get your next Scott Van Pelt fix.

Kory Harbeck is a journalism junior and a Mustang Daily sports columnist.

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