Lunch Hour Thoughts on the East Coast Bias

Is there an East Coast bias at work against Pac-10 teams?

I insist there is not, but Nestor, my straight-shooting colleague from Bruins Nation, sees it differently. I took issue with his contentions, particularly his claim that E.S.P.N. is biased in favor of the S.E.C.

A case can be made that E.S.P.N. prefers the Big Ten to the S.E.C. (as evidenced by the Worldwide Leader's support for Charles Woodson's Heisman Trophy candidacy over Peyton Manning's in 1997) and a case certainly can be made that E.S.P.N. prefers the Pac-10 to the S.E.C., based upon Bristol's trumpeting of Southern California over L.S.U. in 2003 and over Auburn in 2004.

Nestor still maintains that the bias is there, citing a single alumnus from an S.E.C. school on the E.S.P.N. payroll, so I would like to offer a pair of alternative explanations, one of which Nestor has touched upon already.

Honestly, is Rece Davis's presence even remotely adequate to overcome this guy's anti-S.E.C. bias?

1. E.S.P.N.'s coverage is dictated by the profit motive, not by regional bias. One reason the Big Ten receives so much coverage from the Worldwide Leader is that the noon game on the E.S.P.N. family of networks almost always involves two Big Ten teams, while S.E.C. and Pac-10 matchups are aired on C.B.S. and Fox, respectively.

"College GameDay" simply hypes the games to which its parent company has the broadcast rights. This is no different from the decision to allow artists from a commonly owned record label to perform the "GameDay" theme song. Where there's money to be made (as with, for instance, airing shows declaring the Pac-10 champion to be "The Greatest Team Ever"), E.S.P.N. is right there on the West Coast bandwagon.

Not part of E.S.P.N.'s college football broadcasting team.

2. In college football as in comedy, timing is everything. E.S.P.N. isn't disrespecting the Pac-10, it's obeying the laws of physics and the dictates of its employees' R.E.M. cycles.

A night game in Berkeley, Los Angeles, or Seattle is a late night game in Bristol. "GameDay Final" covers every college football game in rough proportion to its importance, but Rece Davis can't report on the outcomes of games that aren't over yet.

Finally, because there was a request:

Go 'Dawgs!

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