By Ralph Hutchinson, Sports Editor

The BCS Bowl games this year are not on broadcast television. They are only on ESPN. If you use a TV antenna instead of subscribing to cable or satellite television, no bowl games for you! Even the National Championship Game will not be broadcast. I vehemently object to this.

Since the invention of television, major sporting events have been on free, over the air Television. Advertisers pay for it, not viewers. Now, they want to double dip by making viewers pay too. Cable and satellite television are just as full of advertising as regular television. It is a bad deal for both involved. Viewers have to pay for dozens of channels we do not want and will never watch for the one or two we do want, and advertisers get much less bang for their buck since they can't expect as many viewers. ABC and ESPN are one company. There was no need to steal these games from the public airwaves and put them on a pay channel. Is football now a gladiator show only for the rich, and the rest of us can be damned? I must also point out that these are amateur athletes playing a game for the glory of their school, not NFL pros playing for megabucks.

Another problem is picture quality. HDTV over the airwaves, as long as you have a strong enough signal to get it, looks stellar. Cable and satellite use so much data compression to cram more programming into their available bandwidth, that it looks bad. It is much more likely to look pixilated fuzzy, or break up into blocks during fast motion. It often does not deserve the title, high definition.

There are feeds of the games if you know where to look on the Internet, though this is pirated video and could be shut down at any time, and its picture quality leaves much to be desired, but at least they are something. To hell with ESPN! I will tell you where to find the feeds: and are the best places to start. You may have to take some plug-ins to play the videos, and be sure not to let them change your search  options or force-feed you toolbars. If they do, uninstall them at once to avoid spyware.

On a positive note, at least The Cotton Bowl is not part of the BCS, and will be on real television Friday January 7 at 8pm Eastern, 5pm Pacific.