Crimson Media Watch: A flag on the booth

NOT ALL COUGFANS may have noticed but it was a bad week for Pac-12 officials and in at least one case, that extended to the announcers describing the action. Thankfully, the WSU-Southern Utah game was free of such foibles.

J.B. Long and Jeremy Bloom, who called the WSU game on Saturday, might not have offered anything all that memorable on the Pac-12 Networks broadcast, but they also didn't commit any major gaffes either. The same can't be said of Joey Harrington, the color man for Oregon State-Utah on Fox Sports 1.

Harrington, the former Duck QB, can be frustrating as an analyst. He at times offers fantastic insights and context that only a former player can, and did so in calling both the WSU-USC and OSU-UU games. Alas, all that good work gets overshadowed by non-stop commentary as he excitedly tries to fit 150 words into a 50-word window. But that wasn't the main problem on Saturday.

Harrington attempted to defend several officials' missteps that replay showed to be errant, particularly on pass interference non-calls. Both he and play-by-play man Craig Bolerjack, who called the Apple Cup last year, also failed to comment on a blatant facemask, shown in slo-motion and from multiple angles.

Harrington could develop into one of the best analysts out there. He sees a lot. But he'll need to slow down to get there. And to call it when the officials blow it, especially on a new network trying to gain traction like Fox Sports 1.

Of course, the level of officiating ineptitude at the end of the Arizona State-Wisconsin game was the main story this past weekend but at least the guys in the booth, Dave Pasch and Brian Griese of ESPN, got it right. Pasch immediately asked why the official failed to spot the ball in a timely manner and Griese and Pasche then pointed out the delay caused by ASU players that went ignored.

THE SEATTLE GAME featuring WSU vs. Stanford will be on either ESPN or ESPN2 so I'm giving you plenty of notice: watch/record only the game, and then walk away. Because one of the worst college football segments is ESPN's Final Verdict. Studio host Rece Davis plays a judge, dons a robe and listens to arguments by opposing counsel Mark May and Lou Holtz, who address Davis as "Your Honor."

If that sounds like it's embarrassing, absurd and downright awful television, it isn't. It's worse. Much worse. Indeed, rock bottom for Final Verdict is a dank, soul-numbing nadir that somehow keeps being plumbed lower and lower. (Apart from that, I'm a big fan.)

This past weekend, the "legal matter" being weighed was if Texas can return to prominence under Mack Brown. Holtz had the job of defending the coach. Holtz lost. And then Holtz lost it, kicking over his podium. I won't ask you to sit through all 3:29 of it, scroll forward to the 2:30 mark.

The Rod Gilmore Dead Horse Beat
Florida State 62, Nevada 7; (ESPN)
"That defensive line, everybody's standing up, being pushed back into the end zone, somebody's got to be on the ground." • 3rd quarter, 10:06

"Nobody on that defensive line for Nevada did a goal line stand, nobody got on the ground, everybody stood up and allowed themselves to be pushed back into the end zone." • 3rd quarter, 8:52

"You're on the goal line, you've got to get down, get on the ground.. you don't stand up.. and just get pushed back ." • 3rd quarter, 8:33

This Mr. Gilmore moment of redundancy is brought to you by Mr. Gilmore's moment of redundancy.

RICK NEUHEISEL HAS become a fine studio analyst for the Pac-12 Networks. But back when he was coaching at the UW, Cougar fans used to laugh themselves silly at the many stories of Neuheisel pulling out the guitar to try and woo recruits.

On Monday, Neuheisel not only played guitar, he sang too. The Dan Patrick show staff seemed to like it.

I RAN A MOBILE experiment this past Saturday. I logged onto the Pac-12 Networks and the Big 10 Networks over the course of the day to evaluate, compare and contrast their game streams. Both receive high marks.

The Pac-12 Nets for me were slightly better from an overall consistency standpoint, likely due to fewer bit rate fluctuation. The Big 10 Network offered a slightly smoother scroll at times – both services reportedly use the same frame rate per second but Saturday left me wondering if there were some differences there, though there are many variables that can affect performance.

Bottom line, for me both graded out as excellent on a concept unthinkable a few years ago – ‘So you're saying I can watch the Coug game no matter where I'm at and it'll be this clear as long as I have decent bandwidth? Are you mad?' I used a one-year old HP laptop on a 15/5 Wi-Fi network. I'll do more testing during the season, and switch between desktop/laptop and Ethernet/Wi-Fi. If ESPN doesn't kill me first.

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