Fri Dec 21 20:34:53 CST 2007

How I watch ALL the Bowl Games

This entry is a proclamation that I watch all of the College Football Bowls and an explanation of how I am able to do it (and still have time for a quasi-normal life, or at least a quasi-normal life for me). The reason is it only takes about forty-five minutes to watch an entire game, without missing a play.

First and foremost, to be able to do this, you need to get an computer hooked up with MythTV. From what I know of the alternatives, both from first hand experience and anecdotal information, there are no other *VR solutions that have all the features required to distill a game into about forty-five minutes. Once you have MythTV, it actually is quite trivial. Setup a custom record to record title "College Football", add a couple clauses to eliminate channels that might include old football games (ESPN-CLASSIC is a must here, but also some conference channels such as the Big Ten network also re-air games). Save this custom rule and go create a playback group. I set mine to a time stretch of 1.65. This is very fast, but you won't be hearing the announcers much anyway. Set your skip-ahead to 25 or 30 seconds. Set your skip back to 10. Go back to your custom record rule and setup a recording. Have it use the new playback rule, probably give it its own recording group (mine's Bowl Season) so your spouse can ignore them and have it end 30 minutes late if you don't want to have to find the final score online.

Sit back, let it grab some games. Let them completely finish and get commercial flagged. You can spend the four hours watching something else. Of course, once Bowl Season gets rolling and there are groups of games on, you won't have to wait-you can watch yesterday's games while tonight's record. Now, when you watch them, you'll of course skip commercials (and probably half-time). During the actual game do this:

  • As soon as the whistle blows on a play that doesn't have a flag, hit the skip. A high percentage of plays have about 25 seconds between them, when you figure the referees spotting the football and the play clock. You'll find your skip usually places you right before the next play.
  • If there is a flag, just wait until the ref announces the foul, then skip.
  • Near the end of halves, one or both teams get into hurry up. These are tricky. You should only skip on incomplete passes or plays out of bounds.
  • If you skip into the middle of a play, a single skip back should line you up.

Simple stuff. Remember to use rechargeable batteries in your remote. Depending on penalties, injuries and hurry-ups, a game can be breezed through easily in under an hour. One caveat is during Hi-Def games you might want to turn off the time stretch to preserve surround sound.

Enjoy all the exciting college football, and you'll join me with the condition that the games tend to run together in your mind. But when someone asks you at the water cooler if you saw play X, you'll say "Yes-I see ALL plays, though I remember nary but a few".

Bowl Season's Greetings! -----

Posted by james | Permanent link | File under: Sports