If the NFL had a better crystal ball, they would not have scheduled the 3-5 Redskins vs. the 1-7 Vikings for its Thursday Night Football showcase. This "who cares" game is up against two compelling NCAA contests with BCS implications.
The 7-1 Oklahoma Sooners visit the 7-0 Baylor Bears at 7:30 PM ET on Fox Sports 1. Later, at 9:00 PM ET, fans of football offense can flip to ESPN 3 for the 8-0 Oregon Ducks at the 7-1 Stanford Cardinal shootout.
Oregon, Stanford, Baylor and Oklahoma are ranked 3, 5, 6 and 10 in BCS standings. These BCS teams give fans the video style offense they want to see. It's spreading to the NFL too. Chip Kelly (Oregon) and Jim Harbaugh (Stanford) have brought their acts to the NFL. Robert Griffin III (Baylor) faces Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma) in tonight's NFL contest.
While the three-win Redskins are still in the hunt for the NFC Least title, the Vikings trail the NFC North by four games.
Vikings fans see their team as in a race to the bottom against Jacksonville for Draft right's to Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. Compelling viewing.
While ESPN 3 is available by subscription, the network offers options to watch Oregon-Stanford on mobile devices. A fan could tune to the college games and never turn to the pros.
This could be a ratings disaster for the NFL, or a challenge at least.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the very smart NFL people on the digital rights committee will come up with something next year that should include more flexible flex scheduling when teams do not live up to preseason hype.
Watch the overnight ratings then stay tuned for further developments.