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Volume 21 No. 26
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OSU + WIS X 2: Fox’s guess creates rare doubleheader

Fox Sports’ unique doubleheader this past Saturday — where an Ohio State-Wisconsin basketball game served as a lead-in to the Ohio State-Wisconsin Big Ten championship football game — was the brainchild of two Fox Sports executives and developed over the summer, well before the Buckeyes and Badgers played their first football game.

Derek Crocker, Fox Sports senior director of college sports, and Ryan Kasoff, senior coordinator of college sports, could have picked up some cash in Vegas with their summertime bet, which was to back the favorites. Instead, they helped Fox cash in on an unusual basketball-football doubleheader.

“We thought it would be cool if somehow we caught lightning in a bottle where we had both teams in both the football and the basketball games,” Crocker said.

From most of the preseason football rankings, Crocker and Kasoff decided that Ohio State and Wisconsin were the odds-on favorites to win their divisions and meet in the championship game.

“When we got to the basketball scheduling process, which happens over the summertime, we worked with the conference, knowing that they were going to have their opening conference play on this specific weekend,” Crocker said. “We felt that we could put our best foot forward in this first year of our Big Ten contract plus the start of the conference play for the basketball season and try to do a cool doubleheader.”

Fox also benefited from the Big Ten’s decision to schedule some conference games earlier in the season, due to a postseason schedule that will see it play the Big Ten tournament a week earlier than usual, in Madison Square Garden.

“It was almost dumb luck that we ended up getting into it,” Crocker said. “There’s no way that you can predict that we’d have a football championship game that involved the same two teams as a basketball game we scheduled. We made our best guess, and it just worked out this way.”

As for predictions of who will play in the Big Ten’s championship game next year, Crocker demurred: “No comment.”

— John Ourand