WAKR's Ray Horner and I had a great time at the OSU-Akron game Saturday and it was at least two periods of fun watching the Zips faithful (it seemed like just a handful among the 102,000 seat Ohio Stadium) living large with a 2-0 lead for much of the first half.
On the way down we caught some of the pregame on WTVN-AM, Clear Channel's "Big One" version in Columbus; typical fare, with lots of homer humor sticking it to those of us rubes up in Akron and the message that we should just be glad they were letting us set foot on campus.
OK, nice thoughts; that clanging sound in the first half wasn't the Ohio State Chimes, it was the sound of 101,000 gasps (I'm being charitable here in finding another bodily function) as the Zips zapped the Bucs with an early safety and then held the OSU offense to just a field goal by the time the Best Damn Band in the Land took the field. Akron went on to eke out just 69 total yards offense on their own and lost 20-2 but it wasn't the blowout the OSU faithful figured on and it was nice to see Akron get a little respect (even though the grumbling wasn't how good the Zips defense was but aimed more at how OSU couldn't get started.)
Great time to watch in person; fun to listen to on the radio but worth extra money to watch?
Big Ten TV network is in a fight with local cable, including Akron-Canton-Cleveland's Time Warner Cable. The big issue isn't whether you'll be forced to pay for it; there's really no doubt at all the extra $1.10 a month Big Ten TV wants per subscriber will be passed along to cable viewers. That's a gimme; the fight is over where local cable puts the channel.
TWC and other operators say the non-digital tier (those channels 2-99) are not only prime real estate but also off-limits thanks to must-carry channels, including local access. Big Ten says bull and doesn't want to be clustered in the digital tier where the number of subscribers may be lower, depending on whether cable watchers shell out extra already for channels 100 and up.
Based on Saturday's game I'm betting most of us can live without Big Ten TV's greedy grab to pressure us into doing their dirty work and shaming the local cable companies (no strangers to greedy grabs themselves) to bring these games to the tube. Just so long as OSU and Michigan are still on TV those games won't play when our wallets are choosing the channel.