TV Coverage Football

September 15, 2006

Fowler on GameDay's Location Decision for This Week

Chris Fowler in his column today touched on ESPN's decision to send College GameDay to Los Angeles, when clearly there are better games in Auburn and Notre Dame on Saturday. It seems he is just as disappointed in the decision as I am:

For 13 seasons, the locations of the GameDay road shows have been editorial decisions based on the college football landscape. The basic principle was to (almost) always come from the site of the "biggest game," or occasionally, "the best story."...

Now, the philosophy has been rethought by upper management. For the first time, the competitive landscape of football programming is a frequent consideration. Serving the needs of ABC's new prime-time package of games is often a priority. The decision on GameDay's site is less a clear-cut "best game" philosophy now and is more complicated, made on a landscape where terms like "synergy" and "branding" live.

Please know this: Lee, Kirk and I have no say in decisions on GameDay's location. But as host of the show for 17 years, I am mainly concerned with the show's specific legacy, not the global college football landscape.

Let's hope that ESPN can get it right in the future. It reflects poorly on ESPN to only showcase ABC's games. Hey, I know there's a game on ABC on Saturday night. You don't need to hold a two-hour-long show at the game's site to inform me. Go to the site of the best game!

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September 10, 2005

Holtz Likes South Carolina Over Georgia

Did anyone else notice that ESPN analyst Lou Holtz picked South Carolina on SportsCenter to upset the Georgia Bulldogs? That would be some feat after what occured last weekend: South Carolina struggled late against Central Florida (winless in 2004) and Georgia destroyed Boise State. Well, Holtz recruited a lot of those Gamecock upperclassmen and probably would have had a tough time picking against them on national television. Can't blame him for that. Plus, he'll look like a genius if they actually win!

September 09, 2005

Holtz, Howard to Replace Alberts

ESPN has decided that college football analysts Lou Holtz and Desmond Howard will fill the role on College GameDay and College Gameday Scoreboard formerly occupied by Trev Alberts, who was fired last Sunday after not showing up for work.

September 07, 2005

Vick Stars in ESPN's Broadcast

Vick certainly stood out on ESPN's broadcast of the Virginia Tech - North Carolina State game on Sunday night. The problem was that it was the wrong Vick. ESPN made current Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael the main attraction, taking the spotlight away from younger brother Marcus' performance as VT's quarterback in an entertaining 20-16 Hokie victory. For some reason or another, ESPN thought it was necessary to show Michael's reaction to just about every single thing Marcus did. Fans tuning into the game saw more of Michael than they did of either head coach, NC State's Chuck Amato or VT's Frank Beamer.

Viewers also got to watch Michael's every step up every single row of the stands as he made his way out of the stadium. I've SportsCenter wrap up an entire game's worth of highlights in less time than they allowed for us to watch Michael exit the building. It was excruciating! Why they had to incessantly focus on the former VT quarterback is beyond me.

During his brief halftime interview, sideline reporter Stacey Dales-Schuman even noted that Michael was hesitant to give the interview because he didn't want to take the spotlight from his brother; after all, his brother Marcus was the one who was suited up. Despite his efforts, Michael did steal the spotlight, thanks to Rod Gilmore, Trevor Matich, and the ESPN game producers. But why would ESPN choose to focus on Michael Vick as much as they did? Hmm... the Atlanta Falcons wouldn't happen to be playing on parent network ABC's first Monday Night Football game, would they?

Seems like some Hokie fans grew tired of the over-the-top hype as well. Although some thought at the very least, it could help recruiting. Check out this thread over at

September 06, 2005

ESPN Fires Trev Alberts

News came out today that ESPN fired college football studio analyst Trev Alberts on Sunday after he failed to show up for work. Alberts was just beginning his fourth year of work on ESPN's College Gameday Scoreboard and College GameDay. According to

"He phoned and said that he wasn't going to show up," Mark Shapiro, ESPN's Vice President of Programming and Production, told on Tuesday night, "and when he didn't, he was in breach of his contract and we terminated him." [...]

"He phoned us and told us that he was unhappy with his role on College GameDay," said Shapiro. "He felt that he was playing second fiddle."

Well, compared to Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, of course Alberts was playing second fiddle. He couldn't hold a candle to those two! In fact, I wonder why the College GameDay producers cut from Corso, Herbstreit, and Fowler for the B Team of Alberts, Mark May, and Rece Davis. I receive news of Alberts' firing with great joy. He was loud and arrogant and ESPN will be better off without him.

I wonder who might replace Alberts to be May's new partner. Former head coaches Lou Holtz and Jim Donnan currently work on ESPNEWS's ADT Coaches Spotlight on Tuesdays. Perhaps one of them could step up to fill the new void. Or what about Beano Cook? Seldom used and always entertaining, he would be a great addition as a regular analyst.

September 05, 2005

UNLV Onside Kick

After failing a two-point conversion attempt with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter against New Mexico, UNLV was down two points and needed to recover an onside kick, which they did after the ball deflected off a Lobo player. A UNLV player caught the ball, ran downfield about 5 yards and then was tripped up. Stellar execution on the part of the Rebels. Not so stellar was the analysis of the instant reply by ESPN analyst Chris Spielman.

"He might have gone for six if he hadn't tripped," Spielman said. In fact, the kicking team is not allowed to advance an free kick.

Spielman redeemed himself moments later, most likely when word of the rules came through his earpiece from someone in the trailer: "You can't advance an onside kick," he explained. Okay, that's more like it.

But then he faulted one more time when he attempted to reiterate this point, saying, "I stand corrected: you cannot advance a free kick if you recover a fumble." What fumble? Yes, there was a muff that occurred during the play. But that certainly was not a fumble. In fact, had the Lobo player possessed the ball, then fumbled, the ball could have been advanced by UNLV. In trying to correct himself, Spielman committed another sloppy error. Most likely, very few fans caught this mistake, probably because of the very fact that many fans' knowledge of the game comes to them from announcers such as Spielman. It sure would be nice if these guys would actually read the rules book at least once.