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May 31, 2013

Flock Talk: Fever Pitch

Pac-12 Network- a bust?

The early schedule came out for the 2013 football season this past week. Amidst the fabricated excitement of the pending television schedule, questions still remain about the availability of the Pac-12 Network.

DirectTV still hasn't budged on their position and it does not look remotely close to possible that the, self dubbed, royalty of sports coverage will be able to come to terms to carry the Pac-12 Network.

Many have tried to blame Larry Scott for this fiasco. The thing is, he is not entirely to blame. There are enough distributors, including DirectTV's other satellite rival, Dish Network, carrying the Pac-12 Network that it does not appear as if Scott is asking for anything that is extraordinarily egregious in the proposed deals.

Now, of course, Scott is in between a rock and a hard place; and that is his responsibility. He was somewhat arrogant about the deal being so good that no distributor would want to pass it up based almost exclusively on his past successes with women's tennis. That arrogance led the creation of a network before he had all the major players on board.

The reality is that DirectTV knows one thing that few are willing to mention publicly; West coast football fans do not live and die for Saturdays. This isn't the Southeastern Conference. As much as many fans are tired of hearing about the "king of conferences," they sell more tickets and grab more viewers. Don't think that DirecTV did not understand this and feel that the price Scott was asking was too steep.

Yes; other carriers have agreed to those costs. And there is some merit to the deal that the Pac-12 network pushed for in negotiations. However, there remains the possibility that several carriers, including DISH, only accepted because they knew DirecTV would not accept the deal as offered causing a change in where West coast viewers went for their satellite coverage.

Don't expect much to change between now and football season. As it stands, the Pac-12 Networks have little power to sway DirecTV into changing their stance. When the schedule was released, there were no games on the Pac-12 Network that were "can't miss" match-ups that will get enough interest from dedicated fans who happen to be DirecTV subscribers to make some noise with the company.

Put Stanford versus Oregon on the Pac-12 Networks and see how many of those fans make a loud and obvious demand to DirecTV to get the Pac-12 Networks. Until there is a game that DirecTV fans cannot get that is a big game, it will be more of the same; both sides blaming each other.

In a sense, that's true, though, as this really does lay at the feet of both parties. Scott wasn't prepared before the launch of the networks while DirecTV is taking a stance virtually no other carrier has taken.

Fever Pitch

There was a little bit of controversy this week when the NCAA Baseball selections were announced. Oregon, who had lost two home games to the Beavers and were not ranked within the top ten, was given a No. 8 national seed.

Baseball America and other outlets railed. And, of course, others had to jump into the fray making the argument that somehow the seeding was purchased.

Frankly, the whole argument is rather absurd. This was not as egregious a pick as some suggested. Oregon went into the selection process with an RPI of 9th in the nation. That doesn't make getting an eight seed a stretch at all. In fact, given the fact that Oregon scheduled teams like Cal State Fullerton and Vanderbilt early in the season gave their strength of schedule a boost.

This was not some crazy decision from nowhere. Oregon had played very well over most of the season and had earned a lot of respect amongst baseball insiders.


Recruiting Buzz

This week was a very busy week in Duck recruiting. There were no new commits, but with Spring evaluations in full swing, Duck coaches have been criss-crossing the nation making offers to some of the best players around.

This week saw five-star running back Joe Mixon get his offer. The offer from Oregon takes the talented back to 50 offers around the nation. We also heard updates from Mattrell McGraw and Vincent Jackson keeping the Ducks in their top groups as they begin to narrow down their process.

Top Trio and Hidden Gems looked at the running back position this week.

As always, stay with Duck Sports Authority as we continue to bring you the latest recruiting information and break down those recruits looking at Oregon.


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