“The future belongs to people who see possibilities
before they become obvious.”

Gennaro Filice

— Ted Levitt, Harvard Business School

The transcript of ABC’s broadcast of
Michigan vs. Ohio State, minutes before kickoff, 25 years from now

Keith Jackson III (Tre): Whoa Nellie! Welcome, college football
fans, to the ABC Pre-Kickoff Show brought to you by Pepsi, which
reminds you, “Coca Cola blows.” I’m Tre Jackson,
alongside my partner — a legend in the booth — Brent
Musburger. Brent, quite a nightcap we have ahead of us.

(Awkward silence)

KJ: BRENT! I said, Brent, quite a nightcap we have ahead of
us!

Brent Musburger: (elderly mumbling followed by … ) Hold
on folks … Let’s send it down to our ol’ buddy
Jack Arute!

KJ: (Puzzled look) Brent, Jack’s no longer with us.

BM: Gary, my man, in the college game, you need just one foot in
bounds.

KJ: Anyway, we’ve got a
Jewelry-Exchange-located-in-Livonia gem of a game to finish off the
2029 Bash at the Wendy’s Biggie House.

BM: Ricky Williams cuts left … hello record book!

KJ: Hard for me to follow up that random citation from
Brent’s glory days of the mid-90s, but this epic battle
between the mighty Ohio State Buckeyes and the Wolverines of the
University of Michigan will be the dessert following the full plate
of pigskin that was served in the Wendy’s Biggie House
earlier today. The festivities kicked off with a dandy high school
showdown at 9 a.m. between the junior varsity squads from Pioneer
and Ann Arbor Huron. While Huron triumphed in this initial battle,
Pioneer fought back by taking the varsity bout that commenced at
noon and set the high school football national attendance mark.
Michigan Tech and Grand Valley State then took the field at 3:30,
renewing a rivalry that began back in ’04. The Techies
prevailed and were crowned Burger King of the Michigan’s
Division II Mountain.

BM: Diving, spinning … touchdown Nebraska!

KJ: It’s not 1997, Brent. Moving right along …
we’re just moments from the kickoff of the main event —
the 126th meeting between two of college football’s most
storied programs. And yes, the “ESPN Classic Michigan-Ohio
State Classical Epic” will decide the Big 20 champion, as the
conference still refuses to play an official Big 20 title game. At
this time, I’d like to introduce our new field correspondent,
David Chappelle. David, what’s the vibe like at field
level?

Dave Chappelle: First off, Tre, I have a question for you: Why
don’t you white folks use washcloths? I can’t believe
y’all, applying the same bar of soap to all of your bare
as—

KJ: Huh, seems like we lost the feed. Thanks anyway, David.
We’ll check up with you later.

BM: HOLY BUCKEYE!

KJ: My sentiments exactly, Brent, because this contest is going
to feature the biggest crowd to watch football in the universe
today. University officials expect to go way over the Biggie
House’s capacity mark of 175,501 — a number that has
vastly expanded in the last 20 years. Late in the aughts, back
around 2009, Michigan responded to Texas A&M’s threat of
increasing stadium size to 115,000 by reducing the gaps between
bench-seat numbers from seven inches to five inches and surrounding
the stadium with luxury boxes, I MEAN, enclosed seating. But then
along about 2018, the state of Idaho imposed a Potato Tax to fund
the purchase of an even bluer playing turf for Boise State’s
Bronco Stadium. After unexpectedly raising almost $1 billion, the
athletic department also decided to add 120,000 seats to the
stadium, giving Boise State the nation’s largest capacity of
150,000 people. The Michigan athletic department reacted by again
repainting the bench numbers (three-inch gap) and placing a
10,000-seat grandstand atop the newly erected Amaker Arena.

BM: And here … come … THE BUCKEYES!

KJ: Disregard Brent’s last comment — Ohio
State’s been on the field for five minutes. But, while
we’re on the subject of Buckeyes, Ohio State won’t be
the only school on the field sporting helmet accessories. After an
absence of almost 40 years, Michigan reinstated spirit stickers
this fall. But rather than receiving stickers in the shape of a
wolverine or a block ‘M,’ Michigan players are rewarded
for good play with “JJs” — sandwich-shaped
stickers representing the “Italian Nightclub” from
Jimmy Johns delicatessen, which currently boasts 137 locations in
Ann Arbor’s Central Campus area.

BM: Watch out partner — IT’S A FOOT RACE!

KJ (With hand covering microphone, motioning towards production
staff): Ix-nay rent-bay’s icrophone-may. (Collects himself)
Well, before we head down to the field for the kickoff of this
grand ole rivalry, let’s get everyone’s keys to the
game. David, your thoughts?

DC: Can’t believe you white collars gave me this job.
I’M RICH BEE-YA—

KJ: Splendid. Brent, do you have any rational thoughts to
add.

(Awkward silence)

KJ: OLD MAN RIVER, I’M SPEAKING TO YOU!

BM: HOLY BUCKEYE!

KJ: Very intriguing. Well, the Wolverines are about to receive
the kick and you folks will catch your first glimpse of my keys to
the game: Mike Hart Jr.’s legs … which are brought to
you by Firestone Tires.

 

Gennaro Filice hates what corporate America is doing to his
favorite sport. He can be reached at
“mailto:gfilice@umich.edu”>gfilice@umich.edu.

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