Longhorn Network leaving you in the dark? Join the club

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If a $300 million network launches in the middle of campus with nobody able to watch it, does it make a sound?

That’s a rhetorical question.

Sorry to bludgeon a dead horse, but the commencement of the Longhorn Network came and went, and only those with small (really small) cable providers such as Verizon FiOs, Consolidated Communications, En-Touch Systems and Bay-City Television got to see it.

Even worse, there’s a football game, um, tomorrow. Not just any old season-opener, either. This marks the first chance for fans to see a Texas team that hasn’t undergone this many changes since 1998. Those who bleed orange deserve the right to see how Garrett Gilbert does in his second life as starter, to see what wonder boy coordinators Bryan Harsin and Manny Diaz cook up, to get a glimpse of Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron.

Openers are always exciting at kickoff, but that excitement usually wears off by halftime. Then the game becomes a snooze fest.

Not this season. The Longhorns and Owls could play for 10 hours and it still might not satiate the desire for football around here.

If ESPN doesn’t get things worked out with the major cable providers — those in Central Texas have their eyes on Time Warner Cable — there’ll be 100,000 people who get to watch the game, and not much more.

Bet you $300 million that a lot more than 100,000 fans want to get some eyes on this game.

Anxiousness over the network started simmering over the summer. Questions like “Who’s providing it?” and “How much will it cost?” were asked, repeatedly. Few thought the network would be this unavailable by the Aug. 26 launch. The question now is much more angrier and has a smattering of curse words.

Even head coach Mack Brown seems a bit frustrated.

“I’ve taped a lot of footage that’s not being shown,” he said.

Early reviews from those who do have access to the network say it’s great. All-access is awesome. The production quality is fantastic. Anchors and reporters are talented.

“The production is incredible,” said Athletics director Chris Plonsky. “It’s like ESPN with an orange tinge.”

Believe it when I see it.

Printed on Friday, September 2, 2011 as: Longhorn Network still unavailable for most, fans unable to watch first game.