Wheaton Rants: Fox Should Have Its College Bowl Contract Revoked

Egregious Product Placement, Bad Commentary Make for Horrible Viewing

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We college football fans look forward to bowl season all year long. It's a time when we can gloat or cry and, win or lose, argue over the stupidity of the BCS system (the pro or con position depending not on rational thought, but only on how the system treated your team this year). But then, come bowl season, we're faced with watching bowl games on Fox, a network that knows as much about college football as I know about cricket. Thankfully, I can turn the sound off so as not to hear their commentators mispronounce names, get stats wrong and, in general, be even more annoying than ESPN's Monday Night Football crew (a feat that should be impossible).

What I can't do is turn the TV off so as not to see the ridiculous amount of product placement. Look, I'm an adult and I realize how the bills get paid in college football. I also realize the marketing opportunity it represents. But I should not miss key plays or on-field action because Fox is cutting to the Nissan Play of the Last Five Minutes or the Allstate You Should Totally Feel Sorry for This Player Because of Family Tragedy segments (or whatever). I don't need to see five-second shots of the Gatorade jug over and over again. And I certainly can do without another shot of the back of the over-field camera plugging DirecTV. Yes, folks, Fox has gone so overboard that throughout the game they show viewers the backside of the over-field camera, which is sporting a DirecTV bumper sticker. It's perhaps the most clumsy attempt at product integration I've ever seen.

Listen up, Fox. You do a good job with NFL. You cover it all year long. You do not do a good job with college football. Your "talent" doesn't know the game and it's obvious. Worse, you cram it so full of sponsors and ads, it seems like a parody written by David Foster Wallace. For the sake of the fans, give it to someone who cares. And please let Pat Summerall retire in peace. If I want to feel that uncomfortable while watching TV around New Year's, I'll tune in to Dick Clark.

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