BTN Bummer


Last season’s opener, Appalachian State’s upset of Michigan at the Big House, was perhaps the perfect calling card. 

See, Big Ten Network officials said to recalcitrant distributors, what you’re subscribers are missing because you’re not carrying what was then a rookie service.

Well, key cable operators didn’t necessarily care that fans of the Maize and Blue missed what would become the defining game in Lloyd Carr’s final year. Key distributors Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Mediacom, Charter Communications and Cox, all sat out last season over pricing and positioning issues.

With some major scrambling last week, BTN, co-owned by the conference’s 11 member schools and Fox Cable National Sports Group, essentially completed its distribution lineup, signing Time Warner, Mediacom, Charter and Cox up for expanded basic in the eight-state Big Ten territory. Comcast had already launched the service on Aug. 15.

While some subscribers from those carriers still might have missed out on the action due to technical issues, most folks in Big Ten country got to see their football on Saturday.

Many Buckeye fans probably wished they hadn’t. Top running back and Heisman hopeful Chris “Beanie” Wells, who had already scored a TD and rushed for 113 yards against Youngstown State, dropped to ground untouched, as he ran behind the scrimmage line. 

Did the Buckeyes’ national title hopes collapse with Wells?  A hush enveloped the Horseshoe early in the third quarter, muting the cheers of what became a 43-0 victory.

X-rays proved negative on the Wells’s injured right foot, but it was unclear when or if, he’ll return this season.

Buckeye and Big Ten fans I can feel your pain.

I watched the New York Giants best player, defensive end Osi Umenyiora, go down in a heap untouched in an exhibition game (I would have used the adjective meaningless to describe the contest if the G-men weren’t playing their stadium tenant, the New York Jets). The prognosis for Osi was devastating: his torn meniscus will keep him out for the entire season as the Giants try to defend their Super Bowl crown.

I’ll leave this question to Buckeye fans: Would you have rather heard about or seen a replay of  Wells’s injury from ESPN or another network? Or did it make you feel better that you were able to witness it live on BTN?