Watching the 'U' a painful experience


I know this is a football blog, but because National Signing Day has come and gone and Urban Meyer is on his indefinite leave of absence, I thought it would be OK to step outside the box just this once.

I can’t help myself. I have to get this off my chest.


Trying to watch the Florida-Alabama game on the network Thursday night was an absolutely painful and excruciating experience. There were times I became so frustrated I was yelling at the television and poised to throw the clicker right through the screen.

If you watched the game, you know what I’m talking about. It was all those Alabama students brought on by the network to sort of run the show. Hey, it’s good for the students, but simply awful for us, the viewers.

The worst part is when they turned the play-by-play responsibilities over to an Alabama senior in the second half. Usually, that’s OK, it wouldn’t bother me because it’s just a voice. As long as I can see the game, I’m OK with that, the voice doesn’t bother. But for some unexplainable reason, the ‘U’ decided to shrink the screen so they could show the kid doing his stuff. Why? Maddening.

Another thing. The little features the students did were trite and cliche. Like the one on the origination of an elephant becoming the Tide mascot. Who cares? Or eating at Dreamland. Hey, we’ve seen it too many times before.

And there was one embarrassing moment, at least in my opinion. During the first half, some kid did a little feature on the Alabama campus about the most popular place to tailgate on game day. He did a fine job. But later in the first half, they showed this same future journalist among a rowdy group of Alabama fans with his Tide gear on cheering like a mad man. Lesson to kid: you’re supposed to be impartial (or at last act like it).

So, lesson learned for that kid (maybe).

And lesson learned for us. Never watch a college basketball game again on the ‘U’.


  1. I entirely agree,that was the worst viewing experience I think I have
    ever had for a sporting event. I even tried to get the Gator play-by-
    play on the radio so I wouldn’t have to listen. Couldn’t get good reception so I just turned off the sound.

  2. Under three minutes left in a tight game and they’re talking about football recruiting, Kenny B makes a nice length-of-the-court drive for a layup while they’re talking about Ala’s fb coach. If the game had been boring or a blowout, OK. Some chatter during a long timeout, might work, but pay attention to the game.

    BTW- they never showed a reply of the final seconds when Werner swatted the ball away. Incompetent.

  3. Completely agree. At some point in the first half, i put the TV on mute and listening to the Gator Radio Network feed through Yahoo Sports. It wasn’t all that synched, but it was better then listening to ESPNU.

    Whats even more frustrating though is the parts that they were interviewing the Bama production students, WHILE THE GAME WAS GOING ON!!

  4. I turned the game on and immediately walked into another room so all I could hear was the audio at first. After about a minute of high pitched twangy squeaking over inane twaddle, I returned to investigate… I was better off in the other room. They were all fairly boring, repetitive and too southern with their speech. But that wasn’t the worst aspect of the show — how about the camera angles that had us watching the game from the nosebleed sections with a zoom lens? Pathetic. Well, at least the Gators won so it was bearable. I like this team.

  5. I said the exact same thing! It was TERRIBLE!Shows AL fans do not take basketball too seriously.I put the sound on mute, but couldn`t do anything about the duo pics with students when I was trying to follow the game.Soooo frustrating, esp in a close game that we needed to win. Embarrassing for the Tide


  6. Good call. Could not agree more. It was a very painful experience, particularly when they shrunk the screen. And the kid with the braces and rubber bands in his mouth was just disgusting. But, hey, it’s Bama. Should have done the same – turned the sound off and listen to Mick.

  7. My wife, son, daughter, and I ALL thought the SAME THING! I was actually yelling at the TV to show the game and get that kid’s face off the screen. (Very unusual for me — I usually reserve my yelling for the refs!)

    I even complained to some Disney execs about it, but I doubt it will help since they work for the theme park division here in Orlando.

  8. I was yelling too my man! Why must we watch the kid talk. And every time an important play is happening in a close game the commentators are talking about three guys who dress in their school colors and cheer. How original! People are tuning in for the GAME!!!

  9. I completly agree. Quite frankly, ESPN in general has been pretty bad of late. Time to get rid of the Todd McShay’s… When it came to the football recruiting, we’re listing to a guy that’s never palyed football. What the hell does he know???!!!

  10. I did the same thing as Steve. I enjoy listening to Mick but most of the time their broadcast is so far out of sink with the video it just can not be done. My guess they were delaying the tv feed to be able to delete any mistakes made by the students. I can not imagine a broadcast by the Fl broadcasting would have been done that unprofessional.

  11. And I thought I was the only one. I kept channel surfing to be sure the game wasn’t on another channel so I wouldn’t have to watch this mess. It’s what you would expect from the Student production but not what you would expect from ESPN.

  12. You forgot to mention that the main camera was so far away to begin with that it felt like you were watching the game from the upper deck. Memo to Jay Williams and Rob Stone, you are not funny and witty and those college girls think you are dorks so stop trying to be cool. More basketball and less you would be much appreciated. Worst coverage of a basketball game I have ever seen.

  13. It’s a commendable idea for ESPN to give broadcasting/journalism students the opportunity to get “real-world” experience, but I couldn’t agree more that the implementation by ESPN is lacking. The students shouldn’t be the focus of the broadcast. They should simply be allowed to participate in actual broadcasting capacities (e.g. the production assistants shouldn’t be on the air, and the commentators shouldn’t be on camera, except during timeouts).

    I felt sorry for the girl in the control booth who seemed to be getting hit on by the one ESPN commentator. Because she was on air, she had little choice but to laugh along as the commentator flirted away.

    Definitely an uncomfortable experience to watch (and would have been if it had been UF students involved as well).

  14. I was once in a communications program for a school in Colorado, only we were Division3 no ESPN for us. Our program would have done a much better job than Bama’s IMO but that being said it is an unbelievable chance to get some national exposure good or bad its still experience. So I have to disagree completely I think Mr Andreu may be a little jealous that he didn’t get the same opportunity when he was in school. Big Kudos to ESPN and hopefully we will get our chance with UF students doing the game and then maybe Mr Andreu will watch the ESPNU again.