In deciding which opponents to play, coaches and administrators may consider the merits of playing an opponent they can easily beat or a formidable opponent that will boost their strength of schedule (an important consideration in rankings). They may also consider whether they want to recruit in the locations of their away games, how to spread out their most challenging games, and whether a visiting team will help them sell out their stadium that week.
The main consideration in scheduling cupcake games is that the NCAA has no rules about playing an equal number of home and away games - or how you share revenue with visiting teams. So, universities like Ohio State that sell out their 100,000 person stadium for every game gladly pay teams like Buffalo to give up one of their own home games to play at Ohio State.
The weaker opponent may be less of a draw for ESPN and television networks, but universities are largely shielded from the financial consequences of scheduling patsy opponents as they split television revenues with their conference. Colleges pay cupcake opponents $400,000 to over $1 million because an extra home game brings in as much as $4 million to $5 million in additional revenue for the biggest programs. And during a mediocre season, that extra victory could be the difference in earning six wins and a profitable trip to a postseason bowl game.
In return, small programs receive increased exposure, a pipe dream of victory, and a check for as much as two thirds of their football budget and 20% of their athletic budget in a single game. (Head coaches are sometimes literally handed a six or seven figure check after the game.)
One has to wonder what changes would occur if EPSN was not bundled with cable - the average cable viewer is forced to pay about $60 a year for the channel and fewer than ten percent are regular viewers... Unbundling could be very interesting.
While I was working out this morning I caught a WNYC Soundcheck segment on Mr Magoo's Christmas Carol. It turns out this was the pioneering holiday animated show on television - before the Grinch, Charlie Brown and even Rudolph.
It is now 50 years old and will be shown Saturday night on NBC
(the segment begins at the 25:00 mark and runs a bit over 10 minutes)
Without sounding too pretentious,” Wilson said. “It’s just like any other performance. It’s a role that you have to play and make work. That’s why they still have people inside them and they’re not automated, because it isn’t easy to make this hunk of fibre glass, metal and wood appear to be a living, breathing creature.”
Indeed, given that the Daleks are pulled along with your feet (much like a Flintstones car), there’s a certain amount of technique that needs to be perfected. “You can always tell when someone hasn’t operated a Dalek before. It is quite difficult,” Wilson said. “You’re reliant on three wheels, which isn’t the most stable construction to keep something from rocking side to side, so you have to keep your weight central inside it. Pretty much all of the Dalek operators come from a sort of dance background. It does require incredibly strong legs — we’ve all got fantastic calf muscles.”
It’s a trait that they share with operators of classic-era Daleks, who were recruited from ballet backgrounds. Yet Edwards, who operated ten different Daleks in the new episode, reckoned that they had it easy.
“We have, over the years, studied our ancestors and looked at old episodes of Doctor Who to work out the little tricks the Daleks have,” Wilson said. “That’s especially true with this episode because we knew we were going to be recreating old Daleks. The basic principles are the same, but in terms of operation, the old-style Daleks…I don’t want to do the old guys down but they had it slightly easier. They are much easier to operate because they’re lighter.