Gandhi once said, "The power to question is the basis of all human progress."
Albert Einstein said, Only the one who does not question is safe from making a mistake."
A wise man and intelligent man, both talking about the power of asking questions. Questions make us feel dumb, but it is questions that allow us to get smarter and to gain intelligence. But this is my favorite quote about questioning:
"Some things don't many any damn sense if you stop and think about them and that's why Give 'Em Hell, Brigham is here to set the record straight."
The genius who said that? Me.
I am an idiot and, therefore, I ask a ton of questions. Sometimes I learn the answers, sometimes I talk myself into the answer, and other times there is someone who is smarter than me that gives me an answer. But other times, however, there are questions that just stick in my mind and the answers don't make any sense. Today, you are lucky enough to take part in those questions with me. Let's all be confused together, eh?
Question 1: Why aren't people talking more about Wendy's 2 for $6 menu?
The Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich has consistently been at the top of the fast food chicken sandwich debate for decades. Chik-Fil-A, Popeyes, and so many others are great. But the Wendy's spicy chicken is pound-for-ound one of the best chicken sandwiches available. And now it's part of the 2 for $6 menu at your local Wendy's. You can get a pair of spicy chickens for $6. In this inflationary world, that's an incredible deal.
We're not sponsored by Wendy's at GEHB (hit us up in the DMs, Wendy's) but we feel it's our civic duty to spread the good news of the spicy chicken.
Question 2: Why do people talk about sports streaming options as if linear networks haven't also figured out how to stream things?
We're in the thick of realignment bonanza again and PAC-12 fans are regurgitating some of the conversations that BYU fans have had for the last decade of independence. They're talking about mergers, about national profiles, about hypothetical TV deals and payouts that make sense, and about TV streaming options that can come in and save their conference's revenue models.
The most frequently talked about streaming options are Apple and Amazon, for obvious reasons.
When these options are discussed, it is regularly discussed independent of the TV networks. There are the traditional linear options (ESPN, Fox, NBC, CBS, etc.) and there are the streamers (Amazon, Netflix, Apple, etc.). When it comes to TV deals for conferences, the common thought process is that a conference - in this case the PAC-12 - would elect to sign with a streamer in exchange for more money and a strong footing in the future market that appears to be trending in a stream-heavy direction.
When these discussions take place, though, it's talked about in such a binary way, as if the traditional, linear options are just going to sit idly by while streams take over their market.
But, like, why?
ESPN+ is a thing.
I just watched the entire Super Bowl on the Fox Sports app for free.
You can watch soccer games and UFC on Hulu, broadcasted by ESPN. (They are both owned by Disney, after all.)
Let's get into a Hot Tub Time Machine and fast forward 10 years. The year is 2033 and in this make-believe world, all linear TV is dead. Xfinity is dead. Dish is dead. DirecTV is dead. The only TV option available in 2033 is via the internet and some app that you can stream things on.
Do you for even a second believe that Fox, NBC, CBS and ABC aren't going to be part of that world?
NBC already has Peacock. CBS already has Paramount+. ABC already has ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+. Fox has Fox NOW (which isn't talked about at all but might actually be the best app of them all).
In our mythical 2033 scenario, aren't today's linear options going to be just as prevalent as they are now?
Sure, Apple or Amazon can enter the mix. Netflix has a large marketshare already, too. But they haven't been in the live TV business - at least not a ton. Amazon has done a single NFL game each week for the last couple of years. Apple does baseball and some soccer. Netflix doesn't do anything. Do we think that these streaming apps will prove they can win marketshare in a different market, stand up the production and operations to do this in mass, and prove that they can compete with the longstanding linear markets in terms of quality BEFORE the linear networks simply expand upon their existing streaming channels?
I mean, isn't that the question?
It's not a matter of can Amazon do this, but rather, a matter of can Amazon do this before ESPN can?
I don't know, folks. It just seems to me that we're asking the wrong questions about streaming vs. linear. Linear has been figuring out streaming for a long time. Streaming didn't kill linear while linear couldn't stream. And now streaming has to compete with linear mano-y-mano.
Call my crazy, folks. But I think linear has just about every advantage here.
Question 3: What more does BYU have to do to prove that they are ready to compete with Power 5 teams?
Maybe I'm just a homer as I think through this question, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why BYU's 2023 outlook is being looked at as if they are moving up from the WAC in 1999 and hoping to compete against the NFC West. BYU is a much better football program in 2023 than they were in the 1990s. The Big 12 isn't the SEC and doesn't have absolute juggernauts that BYU can't dream of competing against. And independence, for all of its flaws, did give BYU a better taste of Power 5 competition than any other non-P5 has ever had before making the jump to a P5 conference.
So why on earth are so many people convinced that BYU will be lucky to reach bowl eligibility next year? When the hell did this low expectations become commonplace at BYU?
We're out of our Hot Tub Time Machine and hopping onto our Make Believe Scenario Scooter for a quick scenario. Let's pretend BYU wasn't going to the Big 12 next year but had one more independent season in 2023. And let's pretend the schedule looked something like this:
San Diego State
If that was BYU's schedule in 2023, would you be thrilled to have bowl eligibility? Or would a six-win season be disappointing? Because, damn, 6-6 would feel pretty miserable in that season.
But is Boise State that different than Texas Tech? Is Utah that much different than Oklahoma State? Is TCU that much different than Notre Dame? Hell, is Liberty that much different than Kansas?
Look, there is no denying that the Big 12 is going to be a step up in competition for BYU. Of course it is. It's going to be a few years until BYU is in any kind of position to compete for a Big 12 Championship. But, why is it so preposterous to look at BYU's schedule and say, "You know what? 6-6 should be the absolute floor next season."
Put some damn respect on BYU's name, folks. The program has done some great things over the last couple of seasons.
BYU has beaten Utah, USC, Stanford, Baylor, Arizona, Arizona State and Virginia in the last two seasons. They have been within a score of Notre Dame. They have been blown out by Oregon, Baylor and Arkansas. That's 7-4 in their last 11 P5 games.
And I'm supposed to resign myself to believe that BYU couldn't possibly find six wins against Arkansas, Kansas, Cincinnati, Texas Tech, Texas, Iowa State, West Virginia, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State?
I just don't think it's that crazy to look at that list of teams and says, "Hm. I think BYU can beat Kansas, Cincinnati, Tech, Iowa State, West Virginia and Oklahoma State."
Maybe I'm going to be wrong and 6-6 will look great at the end of 2023. But, from where I sit today, I think BYU fans need to be more confident in our favorite program than they are right now.
If this team can beat Stanford, Utah, Baylor, USC, Arizona, Arizona State and Virginia with one of the worst defenses in America, why can't they compete in the Big 12 with competent coaches and a real defensive scheme?
I don't know. I am but a human man.