IF A LONGHORN NETWORK BEAMS A SIGNAL IN A FOREST AND NO ONE CARRIES IT....

If I understand correctly, the Longhorn network is all set for its big launch on August 26, 2011, when the millions (AND MILLIONS!!!) of the Longhorns' fan will be able to tune in 24 hours/day and watch Texas high school football exciting games against their Big 12 conference opponents um, well, the Rice game and Mack Brown pregame & postgame shows. And reruns of old games. And some other exciting stuff.

But no matter. Coast to coast, the dreams of Texas fams everywhere have been answered. All Texas, all the time. Well, know the enemy even if he's in that spit and bailing wire structure of your former conference says I. You never know what might be on there worth watching, so I toddled over to the Longhorn Network website to see how the programming is shaping up. Hmmm, no links, no nothing - what gives?

The only interactive part of the site is in the middle of the page asking you to enter your zip code and carrier to find out out if your local cable/satellite provider is carrying TLN. Having just switched to the Dish Network, I dutifully punched in 68134 and received the following message:

DISH NETWORK currently has no plans to launch the Longhorn Network. Fill out the fields below to tell them you want it added to your channel lineup!

Okay fine, I'm sure the big boys have signed up, let's try Cox Cable:

COX CABLE currently has no plans to launch the Longhorn Network. Fill out the fields below to tell them you want it added to your channel lineup!

Things did end rather badly I suppose, so maybe it's not shocking that interest in all things Bevo may be lacking in the Omaha area. Maybe a little farther south like Oklahoma City?:

(Insert carrier here) currently has no plans to launch the Longhorn Network. Fill out the fields below to tell them you want it added to your channel lineup!

Wow, I figured enough of Burnt Orange Nation occasionally cut the cord often enough to occasionally infest the neighboring states. No matter, I tried zip code 77003 - surely in Houston, TX, the demand is far enough through the roof that this is a done deal:

(Each and every carrier) currently has no plans to launch the Longhorn Network. Fill out the fields below to tell them you want it added to your channel lineup!

Houston, we have a problem. Is Case Keenum such a big deal that Houston remains Cougar Town? Or have the Texans made college football an afterthought? Better make sure the completely obvious have signed up, so I won't waste typing strength on College Station.

Dallas, TX 75210 - REPRESENT!!

(NOT ONE FREAKING PROVIDER) currently has no plans to launch the Longhorn Network. Fill out the fields below to tell them you want it added to your channel lineup!

OK, then, they plan to start off this ESPN-backed national network with a very local bend, I guess.

Austin, TX - who's carrying The Longhorn Network????

(Your own home town provider(s)) currently has no plans to launch the Longhorn Network. Fill out the fields below to tell them you want it added to your channel lineup!

I think this is the part where people are supposed to ask "Are you shitting me??"

All kidding aside, I don't pretend to be much more than a smart-ass with a keyboard who may know a thing or two about college football, so the dealings of cable networks and TV contracts and deals with carriers/providers are things of which I don't claim to have a deep working knowledge. I don't think it's over my head or anything, I'd just rather read a five page article on Bo's coaching philosophies or maybe an interview in which Cam Meredith explains why he's going with whatever weird hairdo he's going with this season. (Note to Cam: no more Thomas Magnum, please. I kept waiting to see you on the sideline in lavender, nut-high OP shorts.)

However, let's review a quick timeline of the Longhorn Network:

January  2011 - ESPN & U of Texas announce the partnership and formation of the Longhorn network.

June 15, 2011 - The Longhorn Network announces it will launch Aug. 26, 2011 and unveils its 1st slate of shows.

July 26-28th or so, 2011 - Big 12 Media Days and the kibosh slapped on televising high school games.

August 3, 2011 - The Longhorn Network is 23 days from its launch and, near as anyone can tell, not one stinking cable or satellite provider has any plans to carry it.

Some optimistic folks down there assure everyone that this is completely normal for the cable business, that ab-so-lute-ly every new network is scrambling for providers with under a month to go before launching. I'm not so sure. I remember doing some Google searches for the Big 10 Network before its launch out of curiosity, and, if memory serves, the majority of the hits weren't from Buckeye and Wolverine blogs begging people to petition Time Warner and DirecTV to carry the thing.

I'll be honest, I find this all pretty hilarious. As a matter of fact, when it finally occurred to me that Texas might actually have this big new boat with no lake to drop it in, I started laughing like Arthur. But I want to be fair, of course, so someone who knows something about the business (or "bidness" as the big, rich & ignorant Texans like to call it) help me out here - three weeks to go and no plans exist for anyone to carry a network that ESPN and Texas have invested a shitload of money in.

Is this normal?

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