- Michigan’s homecoming game against Iowa on October 16 is going to kick off at 3:30 p.m. ET and be broadcast nationally on ABC. So far three game times have been announced for the 2010 season (you can check them all out here).
- There is a new video of Brock Mealer training on BarwisMethods.com. The goal is for Brock to lead the team out of the tunnel and under the banner before the UConn game without any assistance. If he meets that goal, it seriously could be one of the greatest moments in Michigan Stadium history considering how far Brock has had to come from the injuries he sustained in that tragic car accident a few years ago.
- The Insight Bowl inked a deal with ESPN, meaning it will no longer be stuck on NFL Network.
- The groundbreaking ceremony for Michigan’s basketball practice facility is going to be held next Monday at 1 p.m.
- Brian Ellerbe has been hired by DePaul as an assistant coach. Why? I don’t know either.
- Kevin Borseth apparently offered a scholarship to an eighth-grader.
- The Big Ten Network is making some serious dollars. I have to say, back when the BTN first launched I never would have imagined it would be this successful already, but then again, I think it has exceeded everybody’s expectations. It is a great asset for the conference not only in the sense of how much money it is making, but also for when expansion talks start to heat up, as we are already starting to see.
- Darius Morris got some advice from Gary Grant after last week’s Wisconsin game.
- Grant was in town because the 1984-85 Big Ten-champion Michigan basketball team was honored at halftime of the Wisconsin game.
- Bill Frieder returned to Crisler Arena for a basketball game for the first time since 1989, and in the lead-up to the reunion he talked about the Michigan basketball program and what he is currently doing.
- Antoine Joubert also talked about what he is up to nowadays.
- John Beilein is taking a wait and see approach with Manny Harris’ future. More than anything, Beilein made it clear that what Manny said after the loss to Northwestern was nowhere close to a final decision, as it was simply something said in “conversations” after a tough game.
- Beilein is against expanding the tournament to 96 teams.
- Ben Cronin is still rehabbing his hip with the hope that he will be able to play basketball again sometime in the future.
- The Big Ten Network’s “Big Ten Hoops on Campus” show will be filmed at the Intramural Building on Thursday night.
- Michigan’s win over Minnesota was the first time the Wolverines scored 70 or more points since the Ohio State game on January 3.
- UM Hoops posted another commit diary with Evan Smotrycz.
- Zack Novak received an academic-related honor.
- It’s pretty sad when Michigan’s bubble is for the NIT instead of the NCAA tournament (and U-M is actually on the outside looking in), but that’s the reality of the situation this team is in right now.
- Michigan’s first practice in pads was today.
- Brandon Minor and Greg Mathews wore green jerseys, signaling that they could only have limited contact. Minor is still experiencing headaches because of a car accident and there is no word on what is wrong with Mathews just yet.
- J.T. Turner practiced but wasn’t in pads since he only got on the field for the first time yesterday.
- After the struggles Martavious Odoms had catching punts last year, this is not what I wanted to read (from Dave Birkett):
Michigan’s punt returners are having problems catching (or judging) the ball. During the morning punt period, with no oncoming cover team, return men Carlos Brown, Terrence Robinson and Martavious Odoms dropped three consecutive catchable balls. Mathews finally broke the streak with an easy snag on a line drive punt near the sideline.
Mathews is probably Michigan’s most reliable punt returner in the sense that he won’t drop the ball, but he isn’t as explosive as the three players listed above. Odoms, as he showed in the Purdue game, can take punts to the house. Problem is, for every good return he has, it seems like he drops two more. The fumbling problem really hurt Michigan last year, and I would much rather have someone back there that will not drop the ball, even if that means the return won’t be as long.
- Scouts from some NFL teams were at practice.
- Tim over at mgoblog posted his observations from practice. Also at mgoblog is a recap of what people from the Big Ten Network had to say about the practice.
- Jason Forcier is still “waiting for acceptance,” according to his family’s Twitter page, meaning there is no word on if he will be made eligible yet.
- The Big Ten is reportedly in talks with the Gator and Texas Bowls about making them two of the conference’s new tie-ins starting in the 2010 season. If the Gator Bowl deal happens, the Big Ten could have four bowls on New Year’s Day, with three of them possibly going on at the same time.
- A user on mgoblog recently went to UConn’s stadium and shared his observations.
- WolverineHistorian uploaded expanded highlights of the 1997 Penn State game.
The Big Ten Network is finally coming to Comcast.
After nearly a year of bickering, the BTN and Comcast reached an agreement that is better than anything I expected. I say that because Comcast had put together an anti-BTN ad campaign at the start of last football season, leaving me to wonder if a deal would ever happen.
It took lots of negotiating to get the exact terms of the agreement set, but they actually turned out to be pretty good for Comcast subscribers. When the BTN officially goes live on Comcast on August 15th, it will be on the expanded basic tier for subscribers in states with a Big Ten university. For subscribers with digital cable, you will also get BTN programming from Comcast’s On Demand service.
Comcast’s digital customers who receive the network will have On Demand access to programming such as weekly extended highlights and condensed game replays from around the conference, classic Big Ten sporting events, bowl game coverage and coaches’ shows, plus original campus programming and nightly studio shows from Big Ten Network, most of which is available in high definition.
Comcast also has the ability to deliver much of that same content to its Comcast High Speed Internet customers via the company’s Comcast.net portal. Additionally, Comcast has the rights to carry certain network content on Fancast.com.
On Demand is probably the only thing I will ever give Comcast credit for as it is great to have. With the Big Ten Network now bringing its programming to On Demand, you can re-watch games and watch all of the other things mentioned above. This is an added bonus for fans and it is nice to have simply because Notre Dame had its own On Demand section for football last season, which was another way to stick it to the BTN at the time.
After football and basketball season, the status of the BTN on Comcast is unknown. It will still be on Comcast, but the uncertainty is in regards to which tier will have the BTN. The whole reason the BTN and Comcast couldn’t come to an agreement until now is because of the issues with which tier it would be on. The BTN wanted it to be available to all people, even if they don’t have digital service, and Comcast wanted it to be available to only people that do have digital service. Here’s the compromise: Comcast will carry the BTN on its expanded basic tier until Spring 2009; after that, it could be moved to digital. I stress that it isn’t a guarantee that it will be on digital after next spring, but Comcast would be inclined to move it as they will see it as an opportunity to make more money. That means the odds of of it being moved to digital are probably right around 99.9% simply because it would be the typical Comcast thing to do.
If you don’t live in a state with a Big Ten university, then all of this talk about which tier the BTN is on is worthless to you. Why? Well, you’re probably going to have to get digital service if you want to watch the BTN. The press release states that Comcast can put the BTN “on any level of service.” That means that if Comcast was really feeling generous, they would put it on expanded basic or even the basic digital package. Since neither of those things likely will happen, be prepared to pony up $5 a month to get the sports tier, which is the BTN’s most likely destination for people in states out of the Big Ten’s footprint. (You must also have digital service to get the sports tier)
Regardless of what happens next Spring, at least everyone with Comcast in states with a Big Ten school won’t have to worry about missing a football game this fall or a basketball game this winter. Once the Spring rolls around you will have to worry about what Comcast is going to do with the network since it seems like digital is in its future, but I wouldn’t worry about that until then because for right now at least, it’s nice to know a deal is finally done.
- MGoBlog was sent some pictures of Michigan’s alleged new road uniforms, and if you hated the piping on the Nike jerseys, then look away. The adidas road jersey features a similar basic look, but there are two big differences. The first is that instead of a slim maize piping it is now more of a stripe that is very noticeable. My opinion on that is no big deal. I don’t mind it that much. What I do mind, however, is the second main difference: a stupid looking maize stripe on the sides of the jersey.
It appears that adidas is trying to make the stripe look winged in the way it curves, which is something similar to past designs on the front of student shirts (the three wings that come together to look like a helmet). I don’t like the jersey at all simply because of the stripe or whatever you want to call it on the sides. The jersey would look much better without them in my opinion. Although some will say it is just something to make the jersey look more hip, there are much better ways to do that without coming off as cheesy.
This jersey isn’t official yet, but I don’t see how it won’t end up being the road uniform simply because it wouldn’t make sense for Michigan to have fake ones out at the Women’s Football Academy. I knew the road jersey would get changed since that is the only one that can be messed around with, but is that really the best adidas could come up with? I’m pretty sure many of you out there could come up with something better in a few minutes using only Photoshop.
- Shifting to some good news, Comcast and the Big Ten Network seem as though they are finally ready to come to an agreement. This would come after months and months of bickering and screwing fans over, but hey, better late than never. Although we have heard it all before and have been lied to in the past that a deal was coming, this time it actually seems legit.
Comcast and the BTN are prepared to put nearly two years of bitter negotiations aside to announce a long-term partnership, the Tribune has learned.
“For all intents and purposes, it’s done,” one source close to the negotiations said Sunday.
The article states that we should expect the deal to be unveiled later this week. For me, I’ll believe it when the BTN is on my TV. I’m not going to get my hopes up again just to later find out there was a snag in negotiations or something like that.
- The Michigan Daily recently posted an article that features a rundown of many newsworthy items. Among the topics discussed are what exactly happened with Darryl Stonum and the #1 jersey, where Michigan coordinators will be at during games, Michigan’s new spread punt formation, and the number that freshman Terrence Robinson will wear this fall (7).
- Michigan has released its 2008-09 hockey schedule. The schedule features 17 home games 14 games against teams that were in last season’s NCAA Tournament.
- MGoBlue has posted a photo gallery of the WTKA Takeover from Friday and Saturday’s Women’s Football Academy. If you go to the 28th picture in the Women’s Football Academy gallery you can get a better look at the new home jersey.
- Former Michigan wrestler Andy Hrovat qualified for this summer’s Beijing Olympics over the weekend.
- Comcast and the Big Ten Network are apparently nearing a deal. It figures that it would come at this time of the year considering the BTN will really be useless until the fall, but better late than never I guess.
- Chad Kolarik may be able to return for this weekend’s series against Nebraska-Omaha. Unfortunately, freshman defenseman Scooter Vaughan is out indefinitely after fracturing his jaw while wrestling a teammate off-ice last Friday.
- Speaking of hockey, Michigan is once again ranked #1.
- Manny Harris was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team and the All-Freshman Team.
- The University of Michigan has come to an agreement with the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America and the United States Department of Justice over the issue of not enough disabled seating in Michigan Stadium. It’s good that Michigan will make it easier for disabled people to watch games at the Big House, but I just hope its capacity doesn’t go down at all.
- MGoBlue has a new photo gallery of the Michigan Stadium renovation up.
- If you have a question for Michigan’s newest basketball recruit, Zack Novak, then head on over to UMHoops to submit a question that could be asked in an upcoming interview with him.
- The latest addition to the Michigan blogosphere comes in the form of MGoSwim. As you can tell by the name, the blog is dedicated to Michigan swimming, so make sure to check it out.
It’s not like we need more reasons, but I turn on channel 255 on my Comcast cable today and get this nice message (click to enlarge):
Getting back to the matter of Comcast vs. the Big Ten Network, I’m really not sure which side I’m on. I would say that I’m on neither side since my hate for Comcast wouldn’t allow me to side with them on anything. The idea of an all Big Ten channel is a good one, but only of course if the fans of the Big Ten have access to it. Those with Comcast, which is a huge cable provider in Big Ten country, currently won’t have the BTN when it launches at the end of the month.
I definitely see where Comcast is coming from in the sense that it can’t just put a brand new channel on its most basic lineup, because then any new network would want to do the same. That’s really where the Big Ten’s demands are a little too high. My problem with Comcast though, is the reasoning that they use, saying that people shouldn’t have to pay extra for a channel they won’t watch when only Big Ten fans would. I absolutely can’t stand that statement simply because I already pay for a ton of channels I never watch. I mean honestly, does Comcast really think HGTV and Lifetime provide any purpose for me? I know there is a balance so everyone with that cable lineup can be pleased, but don’t use that as an excuse to not put the BTN on basic cable.
In the end, I’m just hoping Comcast and the BTN can come to some kind of agreement that will make the new channel available by the time it launches. I know most won’t like this, but I’m actually hoping it ends up on the sports tier since I just started getting that last month. After yanking the NFL Network from the digital tier and putting it exclusively on the sports tier, I knew that I probably should just get it over with and upgrade to the sports package. I got a pretty good deal on it anyways, so it didn’t matter to me that much.
When all is said and done, I do hope that we see the Big Ten Network on basic cable. The chances of that happening, however, are about as good as Eastern Michigan upsetting Michigan, meaning that it won’t happen. Regardless, here’s some advice both sides should take.
For Comcast, stop being such a bad provider of service and stop acting like you own the cable world. For the Big Ten, first think things through before you move a ton of your football and basketball games to a channel that not many people can even watch, and second, don’t walk around thinking that you can get what you want simply because you’re the Big Ten. Just because you decided to launch a new network doesn’t mean Comcast has to put it on the basic cable tier. If they would it’d make life a lot less stressful for the Big Ten fans out there with Comcast, but that just simply isn’t going to happen.
Back in June, the Big Ten announced that it had partnered with FOX to become the latest conference to have its own television network. At the time, it was announced that the Big Ten’s channel, now known as the “Big Ten Network,” would bring you broadcasts involving the Big Ten 24 hours a day year round. Affiliations as far as receiving the channel are still being worked out, but if you have DIRECTV, then in August 2007 when the network launches, you should have it with the right package.
Today, the official name and logo of the new channel were unveiled. The channel will be called the Big Ten Network, and then the logo (pictured below) represents the 11 schools in the conference by having 11 stars below the title. With so many new channels dedicated to just college athletics, pretty soon there’ll be something on no matter what time of day for you to watch.
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