By Randy York
Follow Randy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RandyYorkNsider
Like everyone else, I was surprised this morning when I checked the ESPN College GameDay Fan Poll. Instead of making my one Nebraska vote per day in this 10-day promotional campaign, I was stopped dead in my tracks with this announcement on the poll’s homepage: “We’ve been overwhelmed with the fan response! We’re taking a time out to ensure the integrity of the vote. Check back for updates.”
I’d be the last to take pleasure in someone else’s electronic nightmare, but just reading that made me shake my head. The first thing that came to mind was a Yogi Berra quote: “When you get to a fork in the road, take it!” For some reason, I thought Yogi captured what ESPN must be going through right now. Officials from the mega-sports network knew they couldn’t keep going where they were headed, so they’re on another path, even though they still haven’t quite figured out where that might lead, how they might get there or when that green light will come back on again. I’m jumping to conclusions here, but the odds appear high about why ESPN shut down this fan poll before it completed its first full day of operation.
ESPN must have decided to shut things down to shake things up. ESPN spokesperson Peter Mulally said: “The fan response to the GameDay vote promotion has been overwhelming, We underestimated the passion that fans have for GameDay and their schools. We strive to conduct a vote that is fair with honest results. At this time, some vote totals have been manipulated, and we must take the proper steps to adjust and ensure the integrity of the voting. We’ve temporarily put voting on hold. We will be back up when we can guarantee that the votes being made are done so within the rules.”
ESPN is taking action to repair the voting process. At this point, no one knows who’s on the wrong side of right or on the right side of wrong. I just know that when something like this fractures right in front of our eyes, we go straight to Yogi Berra’s fractured logic and laugh our way out of it. I mean, what if this poll ends up being over before it’s over? What if we start a new poll and it ends up like the old one? Won’t that be déjà vu all over again?
Let’s hope not, so why not wish for the best? Yogi says: “The future ain’t what it used to be.” But maybe it can be. Maybe GameDay can find time for a Nebraska ad, based on two good reasons; 1) The Huskers will appear in three prime-time night games this fall, hosting Michigan and Wisconsin at home and playing at Ohio State in a rematch of Nebraska’s biggest comeback win ever; and 2) Nebraska is the only college football stadium which has been sold out for 50 consecutive years. With those two facts working in Nebraska’s favor, ESPN might want to consider filming an ad in Lincoln, based simply on an historic milestone, whether Nebraska wins the revised ESPN poll or not.
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