David Plati

Welcome to a notes and comment column in its 13th year, penned by CU Associate Athletic Director David Plati, who is as of today, begins his 29th year as the Buffaloes' director of sports information.

Plati-'Tudes No. 96 ... Without a doubt, the most famous Buff who adorned uniform number 96 was Kanavis McGhee, an All-American and two-time All-Big 8 performer at outside linebacker from 1987-90 ... This is my second annual Pac-12 Media Day 'Tudes, shorter than most, but I'll try to jam pack it with information for you ... Today is the 28th anniversary of when Eddie Crowder named me S.I.D. - the last person he hired as athletic director as he retired a week later on August 1; so I am officially in year 29 beginning today ... It's been a great ride for the most part, a lot more good than bad; very fortunate to work with so many quality young people through the years ... The 2012 media guide, otherwise known as the "Information PDF, Football Edition" should be finished and on-line around August 20;  just a tad behind this year ... Tuesday's media day took place in the Gibson Amphitheatre, formerly known as Universal Amphitheatre; déjà vu for me, as I was here on December 31, 1999 for Jimmy Buffett's Millennium concert (caught a plane from Tucson after CU's 62-28 drubbing of Boston College in the old Insight.com Bowl); by the way, it was announced today that the new name for that very bowl game is now the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl ... As you can see from the photo, all the coaches and players posed in front of Universal park prior to the day's events. 

The Media Day Drill

Another very cool location for media day; all the coaches, players and support staff took the Universal tram from the Hilton to the Amphitheatre.  The day began with a Pac-12 "state of the union" from commissioner Larry Scott, followed by Gary Stevenson, head of the Pac-12 Network (I had asked him the day before for those of us who recruit the state of Texas heavily, if there is a chance that the Pac-12 Network could be in more homes in Texas than the Longhorn Network...he didn't rule it out).  The CU contingent then took the stage first, with Jon Embree, David Bakhtiari and Ray Polk answering a series of basic questions; no one thought to ask Embo about his recent safari to Africa (which he won when he was coaching with the Washington Redskins).  Then it was off to several stations for one-on-ones for the next three hours.

Last year, senior quarterback Tyler Hansen was our player rep; this year, we took two players, tackle David Bakhtiari on offense and safety Ray Polk on defense.  Bakhtiari, whose last name was pronounced correctly by Pac-12 PR man David Hirsch, said his last name gets butchered all the time, the worst being pronounced, "bacteria."  He said the weirdest question he got all day was from ESPN Game Day, "What does football smell like?" He answered, "Sweat and body odor."  He also got asked about the shooting tragedy in Aurora, to compare the Pac-12 against the Big 12, but said he got asked more about the rivalry with Utah than anything else.  The weirdest question Polk was asked came from the Pac-12 Network, "Who is the worst dressed person on the team?"  He answered that, "Nobody is, I'm not going to throw anyone under the bus."  But Ray told me that he could have said Alex Wood.  His most constant questions also included the rivalry with Utah and what he was looking to expect in CU's second year in the Pac-12 Conference."  Ray was not asked about the Aurora tragedy, and neither player was asked anything regarding Penn State.

As for coach Jon Embree, it's down the assembly line from station-to-station.  But all the coaches get help up during the process by others lingering around, the beat writers, sometimes the other coaches, or some of more visible television personalities, which here included Erin Andrews (who hugged me-jealous?-okay, we go way back and are longtime friends), coach-turned-media guy Rick Neuheisel, Eddie George, Craig Bollerjack and our own Joel Klatt.  Embree shared his safari experiences with Andrews, who relayed that another of our own, Chris Fowler, has been on several including where they sit high in the trees to observe things (guess no one is worried about a leopard climbing up in those instances-or maybe I watch too much Big Cat Diary on Animal Planet).  Embree, by the way, got to within seven or eight yards of a rhinoceros as one of the highlights of the trip.

Read all about the day by ESPN's expert Pac-12 bloggers, Ted Miller and Kevin Gemmell, here: http://espn.go.com/blog/pac12.

Conference TV Update

At our annual conference SID meeting, we were updated on the Pac-12 Network, which is set for debut in less than four weeks.  Pac-12 officials speak with representatives from the satellite companies almost daily, and are confident that come August 15, when the seven networks (one national, six regional) debut, they will have deals in place.  For some reason, almost always these come down to the last minute.  The plan is still in place, between ESPN/ABC, FOX, and the Pac-12 Networks, for 850 live conference events to be televised.  This includes 79 football games, 22 of which will air on ESPN/ABC, 22 of on FOX/FX and 35 on the P12N. 

The conference has taken over all coaches shows, combining into one hour-long blockbuster program that will air at 8 p.m. MT every Tuesday; when airing on the P12N regional outlet (Mountain for Colorado and Utah viewers), several more minutes of the show will feature the two schools covered by that outlet.  In short, there will a lot of editing taking place Monday and Tuesday every week to get it finished by Tuesday night.  The Pac-12 Network will also take over all the rights of every school's spring game and televise all 12 live.

The Pac-12 Network will debut with an overall hour preview show at 7 p.m. MDT August 15, followed by a football preview special at 8 p.m.  Live streaming will debut on Sept. 10 (Beta) and Oct. 24 (1.0).

Media Day One-Liners

The players arrived midday Monday and were treated to passes at University Studios park ... Dinner for the players that evening was at Jillian's Universal City Walk, where those with the South Division schools were pitted against those from the North Division one in bowling.  Ray Polk, who had not bowled since he was about 4 feet tall, opened with a 152 that featured three straight strikes at one point; David Bakhtiari trailed him most of the way but caught him late, finishing with  157 (he last bowled at a team unity function last August).  Bakhtiari had a 117 in the second game, Polk a 97, thus the CU duo racked up 523 points, the most by any team in the South ... Neuheisel taped a great promo for the Pac-12 Network that only he could have pulled off with his brand of enthusiasm; it's geared at making those Pac-12 fans who don't have the network in their area yet to keep calling their providers ...  Lazy Media Person Of The Day: Award goes to Greg Hansen of the Arizona Star, who took a shot at us for scheduling a three-game series with UMass; he wrote: "Rather than mess with Michigan and Iowa, the Colorado Buffaloes scheduled three games with that juggernaut of the east, UMass."  Um, we are playing Michigan in 2016, smart guy.  And it was in our notes here ... As always, visited with the legend and all-time voice of college football, Keith Jackson, here; his health is back on the upswing and 83-year old KJ recently hit the links for the first time in a long while and shot an 81.  I think I just heard several of you swear ... Former CU student assistant Alex Kaufman worked his first function as one of two new communication fellows for the Pac-12, good to see him hear along with another former student aide, Daisy Wiberg, who volunteers annually to work the event.

Penn State Thoughts

I for one was glad to see that Penn State was spared the death penalty, but for the following reasons very few brought up that I heard or read.  First, State College is a small town; I imagine there are several businesses that make their annual revenue projections based on traffic for seven home games in the fall and the spring game, which usually draws in excess of 50,000 there.  And how about all the people that supplement their income working those game days, from stadium vendors to parking attendants, etc.?  Second, PSU sponsors 28 other sports (14 men's/14 women's), and football likely pays the bills for all of them (I'm not familiar with the income from men's or women's basketball or volleyball), so it appears all of them can survive.  And third, likely many assistant jobs in the department are now spared: how would you like to be an assistant trainer and your first full-time job, your dream job in many instances, is eliminated because of the actions of a no-good cretin some 10 years or earlier?  Obviously the penalty they received was not only harsh, but historic.  It's just a sad situation.

This P-'Tudes Number: 400

Just around 400 media were credentialed for this year's Pac-12 Media Day; its largest attendance yet.  Nowhere near the football-crazy SEC which around 1,500 media types attended this year, but solid nonetheless for a conference that covers more area than any other (well, excluding the Big East's reach west to Boise and San Diego).

And lastly ... Jon Embree will be on live Monday night (this July 30) on KCNC-TV (Channel 4 in Denver) from 6:30-7 p.m. on the station's Xfinity Monday Live. Gary Miller is the host.