BizKarl

Grasping for straws that stir the drink.

Category: Uncategorized

I bought a hybrid and it costs $20 a month

Detroit — Nineteen dollars is enough for a meal and dessert at Bennigan’s, a nosebleed seat at a sporting event and, presently, about a third of a tank of gas.

But in no way can $19 buy you a cell phone plan with talk, text and data, right?

Wrong.

Republic Wireless, a division of telecom company Bandwidth.com, has brought to market an Android-powered Motorola phone with unlimited features for just $19 a month.

That’s the price, now here’s the catch: The phone, a DEFY XT, uses a hybrid technology to place phone calls and surf the web. When in range of Wi-Fi, the phone uses Wi-Fi; when Wi-Fi is unavailable, Sprint’s 3G network kicks into gear.

It’s an imperfect system (calls can drop if a customer leaves a Wi-Fi zone), but it’s a system I’m willing to gamble on.

But after spending $100 a month for the the past 23 months as a Verizon Wireless customer, I didn’t hesitate to cut my phone budget by 80 percent — without committing to a two-year contract mandated by other phone providers — and switch to one of Republic’s plans.

My choice was a $249 phone that runs outdated Android software, followed by monthly payments of $19. Republic recently added a second package, where consumers can buy the same phone for $99 and pay $29 per month. (Note: Though less money up front, after 16 months of the $29 plan, it becomes the more expensive of the two.)

The Raleigh, N.C.-based company also plans to offer additional phones later this summer.

Changing industry

Wireless billing analysis firm Validas says that 80 percent of wireless subscribers overpay for their mobile services, despite analyst projections that 80 percent of cell phone users qualify for discounts through multi-phone or business plans.

The Motorola DEFY XT is currently the only phone for Republic Wireless plans.

Smartphone use is projected to top 1 billion by 2015. Wi-Fi use will also increase, and the Federal Communications Commission has responded to the need for additional Wi-Fi frequencies by announcing plans to open up a previously restricted frequency spectra.

The growing Wi-Fi demand is partly a result of wireless companies “throttling back,” or slowing the speed, of cell-phone data packages. Gone too are the days of widespread unlimited data packages. Verizon and AT&T have previously halted unlimited data plans.

The solution is more Wi-Fi. Republic’s customer base currently uses Wi-Fi — as opposed to Sprint’s 3G network — more than 60 percent of the time, said David Morken, co-founder and chief executive of Bandwidth, in a recent interview with the New York Times.

A grand experiment

My current Verizon plan includes 450 minutes and unlimited text messaging and data. I’ve never exceeded my allotted minutes and surf the web primarily using Wi-Fi.

That puts me in the minority of most cell phone users.

The DEFY XT is no iPhone 5. Hell, it’s probably not even on par with an iPhone 3. But as long as I can send messages, tweet and ask Google the occasional trivia question, it will suffice, especially if I save nearly $1,700 compared to my current Verizon plan.

And if it doesn’t, I’ll sulk back to Verizon, spend a few hundred dollars on a snazzy new smartphone and continue to burn through Benjamin Franklins each month.

You know, just like everyone else.

Follow Karl Henkel on Twitter, friend him on Facebook.

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XLVII for XLVII

Detroit — Super Bowl XLVII is upon us. And so are the commercials. In honor of the 47-or-so minutes of ad time during the 47th Super Bowl, here are 47 fun non-football facts about the big game:

Kate Upton Verlander

We all know Kate Upton will make an appearance in a Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl commercial. Here are 47 Super Bowl ad fun facts you may not know.

1. One-fourth of TV homes that watched last year’s Super Bowl had a household income of $100,000 or more. (Nielsen)

2. About the same number had household incomes of $30,000 or less. (Nielsen)

3. The average cost of a 30-second ad in this year’s Super Bowl is $3.4 million. The average cost of a 30-second commercial during primetime television can cost about $100,000. (Nielsen)

4. More than 130 marketers have spent $1.85 billion advertising during the Super Bowl since 2003. (Kantar Media)

5. Anheuser-Busch InBev has spent nearly $250 million on Super Bowl ads during that time. (Kantar Media)

6. General Motors Co. has spent the most money of any automaker advertising during the Super Bowl since 2003. GM has spent nearly $100 million during that time. The automaker will not advertise during Super Bowl XLVII. (Kantar Media)

GM made a splash during last year’s Super Bowl with its spot “Apocalypse,” but will remain silent during this year’s big game.

7. General Motors won’t spend $4 million on a Super Bowl ad, but did spend $165 million advertising during the NFL regular season (Kantar Media)

8. Automakers collectively spent three times more  on Super Bowl ads last year than any other industry. (Nielsen)

9. Twelve auto brands spent nearly $95 million on 16 ad spots during last year’s Super Bowl. (Kantar Media)

10. Despite all that spending, no automaker made Nielsen’s Top 10 “most remembered ads” list. (Nielsen)

11. Despite being forgettable, automakers held down the final four spots on Nielsen’s “most liked ads” list. Audi, Chrysler, Chevrolet and Honda took spots No. 7 through 10, respectively. (Nielsen)

12. General manufacturers did not have any Super Bowl ads from 2008 through 2011. (Nielsen)

13. In 2003, 83 ads comprised 40 minutes, 35 seconds of commercial time. (Kantar Media)

14. In 2012, 78 ads took up 47 minutes, 25 seconds of commercial time. (Kantar Media)

15. Half of this year’s Super Bowl ads will feature hashtags. (CNBC)

Hashtags will invade this year’s Super Bowl commercials.

16. Fifty-six percent of U.S. adults will watch this year’s Super Bowl with as much interest (or more) in the commercials as the actual game itself. (Harris Interactive)

17. Sixty percent of viewers ages 18 to 34 say having a computer nearby is at least somewhat important in order to have the best Super Bowl experience. (Hanon McKendry)

18. Nearly 50 percent of viewers in that same age bracket say the same thing about a smartphone. (Hanon McKendry)

19. Commercial teasers work … A sneak peak of Volkswagen’s 2012 ad attracted nearly three times as many social media shares (1.1 million) than the game-day ad itself (396,000). (Unruly Media)

20. Commercials last … Fifty-five percent of all social media shares happened after March 1 — nearly a month after the Super Bowl. (Unruly media)

21. … But only if they’re good. More than 90 percent of all Super Bowl commercial social media shares came from the top 20 ads. (Unruly Media)

22. Volkswagen has been the most shared brand on social media during the Super Bowl the past two years. Chrysler was No. 2 in 2011; Chevrolet was No. 2 last year. (Unruly Media)

23. CBS nixed a SodaStream Super Bowl ad this year because of its negative edge toward longtime sponsors Coca-Cola and Pepsi. SodaStream will replace the spot with a similar commercial — minus Coca-Cola and Pepsi branding.

24. USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter program will this year, for the first time, include commercials that air during halftime. (USA Today)

25. A food or beverage has won the Ad Meter every year since 1992, when Michael Jordan called himself “Hare Jordan” in a Nike commercial. (USA Today)

26. The audience tuneaway rate — the frequency in which viewers ignore commercials — during the average commercial last year was 0.7 percent, or seven out of every 1,000 viewers. A normal rate for TV programming is about 3 to 4 percent. (Kantar Media)

27. Super Bowl ads are getting longer. Nearly 20 percent of the commercials in 2012 were 60 seconds or longer, twice as many compared to 2011. Only six percent of commercials on broadcast television are 60 seconds or longer. (Kantar Media)

28. For all the money spent on ads, more people watched last year’s Super Bowl halftime show (114 million) than the actual game (111.3 million). And Madonna, like all other Super Bowl halftime performers, received no compensation. (AOL)

29. The shortest Super Bowl commercial was half-a-second, set by a Seattle seafood joint called Ivar’s in 2009.

30. The longest Super Bowl commercial was Chrysler’s 2011 spot featuring Eminem.

31. Research In Motion (Blackberry) will for the first time this year air a Super Bowl ad. (AdAge)

32. In 2012, the average 30-second Super Bowl ad cost $3.5 million, up 60 percent from the $2.15 million price tag in 2003. (Kantar Media)

33. Instead of paying $4 million for a 30-second spot that will be seen by approximately 111 million, an advertiser could buy 130 million impressions on Hulu. (Digiday)

34. Mercedes-Benz will get the most exposure during this year’s Super Bowl, thanks to a 60-second commercial and 379 seconds of on-screen shots and mentions, which will garner at least $12.2 million in media exposure. (ImageTrack)

35. Milk has never been advertised nationally during the Super Bowl. Until this year.

36. Humor and animals are the most popular creative elements during the past three Super Bowls. This is explains why Doritos (“Pug Attack“) has been the most effective Super Bowl advertiser during that stretch. Coca-Cola’s polar bears and Budweiser’s Clydesdales also stand out. (Ace Metrix)

37. This is one of the somewhat creepy ways advertisers can determine how and when they will screw with your brain. (Sands Research)

38. Kids play better with viewers than celebrities. (University of Wisconsin Eau Claire)

39. Nearly 30 percent of an ad’s impact is lost if the sound is off. (AdWeek)

40. JesusHatesObama.com, ManCrunch.com, PETA (“Veggie Love”) and CatholicVote.com have all been rejected as Super Bowl ad sponsors. (Boston.com)

41. If all players on both teams pooled the money they will earn during the Super Bowl, they still would not have enough money to buy a full 60-second ad during the game. Winners earn $88,000; losers earn $44,000. (Math)

42. Winners, however, could each buy two 30-second spots if ad rates did not change from Super Bowl 1, when the going rate was $40,000 per half-minute. That also means losers could each buy one 30-second ad, too. (More math)

43. There will be more action during commercials (47-plus) than during the actual game. An NFL game has an average of 11 minutes of action. (WSJ)

44. Pepsi has outspent Coca-Cola by approximately $100 million during the past 10 Super Bowls. (Kantar Media)

45. A seven-game World Series will generate more ad revenue than one Super Bowl. (Kantar Media)

46. In 1984, a 30-second spot cost $370,000 and reached 78 million viewers. In today’s dollars, that’s less than $1 million. (WaPo)

47. In the last three minutes of last year’s Super Bowl, social media users sent an average of 10,000 tweets per second. (AllThingsD)

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After latest Clear Channel bloodshed, where is radio headed?

Detroit — The annual Clear Channel Communications Inc. winter bloodshed came to Detroit early this year, as the media giant cut at least eight staffers in the market, ranging from longtime talker Frankie Darcell of Mix 92.3 to the quickly popular JAG of Channel 955.

This isn’t the first time Clear Channel has cut deep and it certainly won’t be the last.

Clear Channel

Clear Channel

Clear Channel can claim that “like every successful business,” their “strategy continues to evolve as we move forward as a company.”

And by forward, they mean backward. But they’re not alone.

Eventually all of the layoffs will catch up with Clear Channel and other media giants. So how does radio save itself? To look to the future, you must first look at the recent past. Radio has stripped itself of personalities, limited their playlists and failed to do anything special with the Internet.

Revolving door

The Detroit radio market — like many across the nation — has been decimated during the past handful of years. Popular personalities — Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle, Scott Vertical, and on a temporary basis, Mike Stone, Bob Wojnowski and Beau Daniels — have been canned, and that’s just scratching the surface.

Those who felt Clear Channel’s wrath on Thursday will likely be replaced by someone in-house, or worse: a radio personality from another market who just shouts the name of random suburbs into the mic for four hours in an effort to sound like he or she lives in Detroit. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Billy The Kid, heard weeknights on Channel 955.)

But Clear Channel and others have also stripped most of its talent of any personality, giving them limited time to talk. And when personalities are allowed to crack the mic, it’s usually to dish out the station phone number and to inform listeners of the next song, which coincidentally are things we already know from our 21st century radios and cell phones.

There’s no better way to concisely sum up why fewer and fewer people listen to the radio than to read the words spoken by Don Tanner, marketing executive with Tanner Friedman and a former radio personality, in an interview with The Detroit News.

“Why should the next generation — those raised on iPods and downloading — listen to terrestrial radio?” Tanner said. “What is the value proposition? The music alone is not enough. Live, local personalities are more vital than ever to radio’s future.”

Internet radio: if personality-driven, it can be the future of the radio.

Taking the conclusion drawn by someone outside the forest who can see the mostly deforested radio trees: Radio personalities cost money, but if they are good, they will make the radio station money. The same goes with any medium: You get what you pay for.

The problem is media giants, strapped for cash from acquiring massive amounts of radio stations, don’t want to spend the money.

The future

So where is radio headed?

The toilet. That is, radio could end up in the toilet, because the future of radio is in the palm of your hands: your cell phone, or more specifically, anywhere with Internet access, which yes, includes the bathroom.

Internet-based radio is the future, just as the newspaper of tomorrow will be entirely online and you’ll watch most — if not all — of your television programming on the Internet.

How quickly radio can catch up will determine who will be spared from more massacre and survive long enough to tell the tale. To go back to the metaphor from two paragraphs ago, it’s time to poop or get off the potty.

(And no, you cannot simply slap the same mediocre programming on a stream, just as a newspaper can’t slap the mostly mediocre content on the web and call it a day.)

It will be a revolution. And one based on past successes: live, local and different.

And there’s a small bit of anecdotal evidence that suggests it will work.

Pat DeLuca's stream-only radio station now attracts tens of thousands of listeners.

Pat DeLuca’s stream-only radio station now attracts tens of thousands of listeners.

Pat DeLuca, who for six years hosted the No. 1-ranked morning show in the Canton, Ohio market on WDJQ-FM, decided to take his show online earlier this year, creating The DeLuca Show Network. The network, which started with a three-day-a-week live morning show and continuous music throughout the rest of the day and night, now has a full radio lineup with live programming from 7 a.m. until midnight. (LIVE.)

The station, with little to no money and no substantial marketing, now attracts tens of thousands of listeners, sells ads and does remotes in the Northeast Ohio area. (LOCAL.)

It also has one of the most comprehensive (and legally obtained) music playlists and in hours of listening I have been unable to locate a two-hour block where the station has played the same artist twice. (DIFFERENT.)

Nobody knows for sure if DeLuca’s station will last in the long run, but he sure as hell is going to go down swinging.

Consider the following:

The Internet

Like other forms of media — most notably newspapers and television — the Internet is not killing radio.

Radio, newspapers and television stations never properly adapted when the Internet started to take off. Twenty-first century management thinking — check that, 21st century management decisions — is now the saving grace to preserve a prosperous future for all three media industries.

Need proof? Ask anyone under 30 if they’d rather read a newspaper, or get news from online; listen to terrestrial radio, or pull up their favorite station on their iPhone; or stay up late to watch their favorite TV show, or watch it with their friends whenever they want.

Then remember this write-up in, let’s say, 2020.

If I’m wrong?

Then let there be bloodshed.

Follow Karl Henkel on Twitter, friend him on Facebook.

Day 3: The 2012 MLB Road Trip

Washington — Remember the heat from New York on Wednesday? It followed us to the nation’s capital on Thursday, getting as hot as 107 degrees, according to the oft-referenced Chevrolet Cruze.

Luckily, the Tampa Bay-Washington game got started after 7 p.m., giving us some relief from the heat, which clearly played some role with both starters, Matt Moore for the Rays and Gio Gonzalez for the Nationals.

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The interesting — and immediate — observation about Nationals fans is that they not only filled out most of the ballpark — moreso than the Yankees and Mets a day earlier — but that they also provided a fun, lighthearted gametime atmosphere.

(And they’re knowledgeable: a group in right field on multiple occasions heckled Tampa Bay reliever Jose Peralta with chants of “pine tar” after his embarrassing on-field glove faux pas earlier in the week.)

Observations from Thursday:

Twitter: The Nationals list Twitter handles on the scoreboard below player stats. Not sure how many teams do this, but all should.

Georgetown University: The surrounding areas make for great night life, including Martin’s Tavern, the bar where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie and has served every U.S. president since Harry Truman, except for President Barack Obama. (Times running out Barack!)

District of Columbia: Yes, Nationals Park is the first LEED-certified green major professional sports stadium in the country, but there’s a lot happening in the surrounding blocks of Southeast DC. Outside a parking structure sat an entire block of new construction. Not much is happening in the legislature, but the district is flourishing in many areas.

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Day 2: The 2012 MLB Road Trip

New York — Wednesday I commented on the uncomfortable nature of sleeping in the back of a Chevrolet Cruze.

Turns out falling asleep on a New York subway at 1:30 a.m. and missing your stop is on par with — and probably tops — sleeping in the back of a compact car.

The public transit experience, however, still falls short of another awkward moment: visiting Yankee Stadium.

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I know, I know, it’s not the Yankee Stadium, but a near replica, but still, the atmosphere and ballpark ambience disappointed during a Wednesday afternoon interleague matchup with the Atlanta Braves.

Yes, Yankee Stadium is a standout piece of architecture. But it paled in comparison to Fenway Park a night prior, and, dare I say it, even Comerica Park and its homey feel.

In fact, I was more impressed with Citi Field Wednesday evening, despite a disappointing crowd.

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There’s more ballpark impressions to come, but for now, here are Day 2’s top moments:

New York: Here’s New York in a nutshell. Taking the subway, it took about an hour to get from Yankee Stadium to Citi Field. That’s 10 miles in one hour (and for those math deficient, a 10-miles-per-hour average). The $2.50-cent-per-slice greasy New York pizza, however, made up for the three combined hours (mostly standing) on the subway.

The heat: It was 100-plus degrees at Yankee Stadium and 94 degrees at first pitch for the nightcap at Citi Field, marking two of the hottest games in New York history.

The homers: There were 10 of them Wednesday, including nine in the Yankees/Braves contest. It was also the first time in modern Yankees history that two pitchers (Phil Hughes and Tommy Hanson) each gave up four or more home runs in one game.

The subway: Did I mention the heat? And the late-night ride from Times Square in a car without air conditioning? Followed by a 10-minute-too-long nap that ended a few miles from the George Washington Bridge? Followed by not one, but two separate $40 cab rides back to New Jersey? If there was a college course on public transportation, I would have definitely failed.

The Detroit Lions: A Queens, New York-born Seattle Seahawks fan (yes, I know, he could have picked the Giants or Jets, but instead chose the Seahawks) made conversation on the subway trip to Citi Field and raved about Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ chances of making the postseason this year. Turns out the rest of the nation may be higher on the Lions’ chances than actual Detroit football fans. (In addition, a shout out goes to fellow Detroit News reporter Eric Lacy, who had his one-on-one with Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham referenced on the same subway ride.)

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The 2012 MLB Road Trip

Detroit — It’s one thing to visit Fenway Park. It’s another to visit Yankee Stadium.

A seven-stadium, six-day baseball trip begins at Fenway Park June 19.

It’s a whole different ball game to visit both — and five other stadiums in a six-day stretch.

But if you think watching seven baseball games at seven unique venues couldn’t get better, you may want to reconsider. Split among four baseball fans:

The tickets cost $112 a person.

The hotels, just about the same.

Gas will run somewhere around $50.

In the perfect mix of sports and business, it won’t just be a memorable trip — it’ll also be frugal.

And oh yeah, there will be seven above-average ball games:

June 19: Miami Marlins at Boston Red Sox

June 20: Atlanta Braves at New York Yankees

June 20: Baltimore Orioles at New York Mets

June 21: Tampa Bay Rays at Washington Nationals

June 22: Tampa Bay Rays at Philadelphia Phillies

June 23: Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles

June 24: Detroit Tigers at Pittsburgh Pirates

Follow the nearly 2,000-mile trip — which will undoubtedly include tourist traps, incredible food and the best brews — right here. Pictures, video, commentary will be posted daily. The fun starts June 19.

Follow Karl Henkel on Twitter, friend him on Facebook.

You can’t drink money — or well water, apparently

Youngstown, Ohio — Columbus resident and fracking protester Jenny Morgan last week serenaded the Ohio Statehouse with her song, “You Can’t Drink Money.”

It was a reference to the possible water contamination from fracking for natural gas and oil, a billion-dollar industry.

But new data shows that many Pennsylvania water wells aren’t contaminated as a result of fracking.

They’re just poorly constructed.

According to data from Penn State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, 40 percent of all water wells in Pennsylvania “fail to meet at least one safe-drinking water standard.”

“While proper well construction does not completely eliminate water-quality problems, it clearly plays a role in preventing surface contaminants from getting into wells,” said Bryan Swistock, senior water resources extension associate at PSU with more than two decades of water-well experience. “Our research has shown that inadequate water-well construction is a contributing factor to the failure of some private wells to meet safe-drinking-water standards.”

Coliform bacteria was found in nearly one-third of water wells; E. coli bacteria, which originate from either animal or human wastes and thus represent a more serious health risk, were found in 14 percent of water wells.

This poses a health issue, especially in a time when many residents are fearful that chemicals from fracking will find their way into water wells.

Fracking is a process in which water, chemicals and sand are blasted into rocks thousands of feet below the ground to unlock natural gas and oil.

The drilling industry has come under fire for its reluctance to publicly disclose the chemicals used in the process, which, if spilled on the surface, can possibly contaminate water wells, even more so if the wells are poorly constructed like in Swistock’s study.

Swistock’s analysis also screams for the need for residents to get their water wells tested, not just prior to fracking to set a water quality baseline, but also to protect their health regardless of any drilling activities.

As it pertains to fracking, the Environmental Protection Agency is doing just that. It had previously selected seven locations gearing up for fracking activities for an environmental study.

But landowners shouldn’t rely on the EPA.

Christopher Baronzzi, an attorney with the Youngstown law firm Harrington, Hoppe & Mitchell, said all landowners — including those with water-protection clauses in leases — should conduct baseline-water tests before any drilling activity.

But as the stats in Pennsylvania show, the real threat could be poorly constructed and maintained wells, and it’s in a landowner’s best interest to get his or her well water tested on a regular basis.

Sure, it will cost a little money — around $100 for a basic test here in Mahoning County.

But as Morgan implies in her anti-fracking song, wait too long and you won’t be able to drink that water, or your money.

There’s much more on this subject at Vindy.com/fracking.

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The case for — and against — an Alabama-LSU rematch

Niles, Ohio — After No. 2 Alabama’s thumping of Auburn this weekend, the clear-cut choice to play undefeated LSU in the BCS title game is — Oklahoma State?

Mike Gundy and one-loss Oklahoma State need help from voters to vault to the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings.

But in a twist that’s as hypocritical as it is illogical, it appears Alabama will get an second crack at LSU

There are a few reasons why the Crimson Tide and Tigers will meet on Jan. 9 in New Orleans, and a few better reasons why Alabama shouldn’t get the chance.

Alabama won’t play for the title because it didn’t win its conference. Heck, it didn’t even win its division. I know, I know, the division (and eventual conference winner) will be LSU. That’s like saying Scottie Pippin was the second-best player on the Chicago Bulls, which is accurate, but only because he played along side Michael Jordan.

Conference winners play for BCS titles; conference runner-ups do not. Don’t believe me? Since 1998, when the BCS first started, all but two competitors in the championship game have won their conference. (The exceptions were in 2001, when No. 14 Colorado stunned No. 2 Nebraska during the last week of the regular season. Nebraska then lost to Miami in the title game; and in 2003, when No. 12 Kansas State shocked No. 1 Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game. Oklahoma then lost to LSU in the title game.)

Nick Saban and Alabama will likely get a second crack at undefeated LSU.

Alabama will play for the title because ESPN has rights to televise the game. ESPN, better known as the worldwide leader in sports, is also the worldwide leader in manipulation. This is an organization that still allows Craig James on the air following the Mike Leach fiasco in 2009.

LSU wasn’t the only winner in the early Novemeber matchup with LSU. CBS also reigned victorious in the Game of the Century, drawing 20 million viewers. It was the most-watched regular season game on CBS in 22 years.

If the same number of viewers watch an Alabama-LSU rematch, it would be the second-highest rated BCS game ever, behind Texas-USC in 2006, which drew 21.7 million viewers.

ESPN already has Gene Wojciechowski workforce lobbying for the rematch.

Alabama won’t play for the title because there is already a precedent. As any Michigan fan remembers, the Wolverines were denied a second chance to play undefeated Ohio State for the 2006 national title.

Michigan’s only loss? To undefeated Ohio State during the final week of the regular season.

One-loss Florida (lost to No. 11 Auburn earlier that season) jumped Michigan and skunked OSU in the title game.

But to be fair, Wojciechowski in 2006 also thought it was unfair that the Gators got the nod ahead of the Wolverines.

Think of it this way: if the debate is between undefeated LSU, one-loss Alabama and, say, one-loss Oklahoma State, what facts do we already know? Is Alabama better than LSU? No, because it lost LSU earlier this year. Is Oklahoma State better than LSU? We don’t know, because the two teams haven’t played.

Alabama will play for the title because it deserves a second chance. Nick Saban’s squad is 4-1 against ranked opponents this season. On eight occasions, the Crimson Tide have limited opponents to 10 points or fewer.

It limited LSU to three field goals in more than a game’s worth of action during its 9-6 overtime loss earlier this month.

Alabama won’t play for the title because Oklahoma State has earned the right to play LSU.

This, of course, is dependent on an OSU victory against Oklahoma Dec. 3, which would push the Cowboys record against ranked opponents to 3-0.

The computer rankings, as of the Week 13 BCS standings, had Oklahoma State ranked as the second-best team in the nation. The biggest detriment to OSU’s title hopes? The voters.

Alabama will play for the title because Nick Saban said so.

That’s a good enough reason for most.

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