With another college football regular season over and we get ready for the Bowls, it’s time to judge the best and worst on TV in 2010. Some stellar work this season. There’s also been some bad work. Let’s do this. For comparison, you can take a look at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd edition of the awards.
Now let’s get started.
The College Gameday Award For Best Pregame Show - Yeah, College Gameday. The show has been totally on heading to Oregon, Washington, Los Angeles and other locales. This season, ESPN expanded the show by an hour and it did not miss a beat. My only complaint is less of Todd McShay. But overall, College Gameday has become a cultural phenomenon. Chris Fowler remains one of the best studio hosts on TV. Kirk Herbstreit gives strong opinions. Desmond Howard is growing as a decent analysts. Lee Corso also brought back gunplay on the show this year. And having Erin Andrews on-site every week is a very nice addition. College Gameday may be over 20 years old, but it’s not showing its age.
The Keith Jackson Award for Best Play-by-Play - Brad Nessler, ESPN/ABC. Brad is mostly assigned to the primetime game on ESPN. Here’s a guy who should be the successor to Brent Musberger as the main college football announcer. He’s usually on top of trends and is right on top of the action as evidenced by “Little Giants,” the fake field goal by Michigan State to win the game over Notre Dame. Great call by Mike Dantonio to win and great call by Brad as it happened.
Brad just did a great job this season. Here’s hoping ESPN will name him as the number one announcer for college football down the road.
Honorable Mentions – Tom Hammond (NBC), Sean McDonough (ESPN/ABC), Ron Franklin (ESPN/ABC)
The Frank Broyles Award for Best Color Analyst - Mike Mayock, NBC. I forgot how good Mike Mayock was as an analyst. When he did Notre Dame football this season succeeding Pat Haden who became Athletic Director of USC, I listened and found myself learning about formations, running passing routes and quarterback play. Mayock was an analyst for CBS and ESPN/ABC before becoming NFL Network’s draft guru, a role he fulfills extremely well. He and Tom Hammond jelled very well becoming one of the best announcing teams this season. Here’s hoping NFL Network will name Mayock as the analyst for Thursday Night Football next season.
Honorable Mentions – Todd Blackledge (ESPN/ABC), Gary Danielson (CBS), Dave Lapham (Fox Sports Net)
Best Overall Announcing Team - Tom Hammond and Mike Mayock, NBC. With Notre Dame trying to regain its luster, ratings for NBC were mostly up this season. Hammond and Mayock formed a very good announcing team. Excellent nuts and bolts team. I just wish they could call other games.
Honorable Mentions – Verne Lundquist/Gary Danielson (CBS), Joel Myers/Dave Lapham (Fox Sports Net), Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge (ESPN/ABC)
The Jim Lampley Award for Best Studio Host - Rece Davis, ESPN. Rece needs hazard pay for putting up with the constant arguing of Mark May and Lou Holtz. But Rece holds the show together and does a tremendous job doing the College Football Scoreboard shows. He’s an Alabama alum and has a love for the sport. It shows. Does a great job in the studio.
Honorable Mentions – Chris Fowler (ESPN), Tim Brando (CBS), Darren Horton (Fox Sports Net)
Best Studio Analyst - Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN). When he’s not doing games, Kirk is a very good studio analyst. He’s very good in the booth as well, but he’s stronger on College Gameday. I know there are many fans who feel he’s against their school, but I dismiss that. He knows his stuff, does his homework and is a very strong analyst on College Gameday.
Honorable Mentions – Spencer Tillman (CBS), Mark May (ESPN)
The Jack Arute Award for Sideline Reporting – Alex Flanagan (NBC). Alex does a very good job on the sidelines for Notre Dame football. She gathers the information, reports it as soon as she receives it and doesn’t get suckered in asking inane questions. And she does such a good job that she is now on Thursday Night Football on NFL Network.
Honorable Mentions – Holly Rowe (ESPN/ABC), Charissa Thompson (Big Ten Network)
Most Valuable Network – CBS for its SEC package that is the most viewed and highest rated in college football. It’s coverage of the conference is first-rate and Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have the games down pat. They work well off each other. CBS is on the case and gets the award once again.
Best Overall Coverage - ESPN. We can rag on how the network controls college football and has too much power, but college football is a sport it does well. This dates back to when the network began in 1979. It’s been doing games that long. Pictures are done well. I have some argument on some announcers as you’ll see, but as far as producing the games, ESPN gets the job done.
Honorable Mentions – CBS, Big Ten Network, Fox Sports Net
The Pam Ward Award For Worst Play-by-Play – We’ve finally named the award for Pam Ward of ESPN who continues to miscall games. Beth Mowins who does Tuesday games has now surpassed Pam. Ms. Ward was demoted to calling games on ESPNU where she can’t do as much damage as in past seasons.
Worst Analyst - Rod Gilmore, ESPN. Teamed with Joe Tessitore on Friday night games, Rod makes head-scratching statements and off the wall analysis. Some of his stuff comes from left field and I couldn’t understand where he was coming from. Joe deserves a better partner.
Dishonorable Mentions – Petros Papadakis (Fox Sports Net)
Worst Sideline Reporter – None this year.
Most Bizarre Moment - We almost didn’t have one this season, but leave it to the Cammy Cam Juice, CBS. This has become a sports blogosphere sensation as sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson took a swig of the concoction mixed by Auburn quarterback Cam Newton during the SEC Championship. Hilarity ensues.