With so many college football games not just on Saturdays, but on Thursdays, Fridays and sometimes even Tuesdays, ESPN needs a lot of announcing teams on its networks. You have 22 announcing teams that span ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN 3D, ESPN Radio, ESPN Regional Television, Big East Network and SEC Network. That’s a lot of networks to fill and ESPN has managed to do it with contracts with the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, BYU, C-USA, MAC, Pac-12, SEC and the WAC. There aren’t too many changes. The main team remains Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Erin Andrews for Saturday Night Football on ABC.
Poor analysts Craig James and Matt Millen return. James calls two games a week, Thursday Nights on ESPN with Rece Davis, Jesse Palmer and Jenn Brown and again on ABC with Mike Patrick. Millen will be teamed again with Sean McDonough on the main ABC Saturday afternoon game.
Former Florida coach Urban Meyer works games for the first time and will be teamed with Dave Pasch and Chris Spielman for ESPN Saturday afternoon contests. Analysts Ed Cunningham and Brian Griese will be given primetime slots on ESPN2 and ESPNU, respectively. And Beth Mowins will work the ESPN2 early afternoon games with Mike Belotti. Got it now? There will be a test later.
Let’s take a look at how the teams shape up this year.
What’s New: Urban Meyer on Saturday afternoons; Cunningham & Griese in prime-time roles; Mowins & Bellotti on ESPN2 noon; Hawkins Joins; and Wischusen & Davie on ABC afternoon
Returning: Musburger & Kirk Herbstreit on ABC Saturday Night Football; Brad Nessler & Todd Blackledge on ESPN Saturday in prime time; Davis, James, Palmer & Brown on Thursdays; and McDonough & Millen on ABC Saturday afternoons
The addition of two-time BCS National Championship coach Urban Meyer and several returning commentators in new roles highlight the lineup of announcer pairings for college football game telecasts across ESPN platforms. Meyer, who resigned from Florida at the conclusion of last season, will work Saturday noon ET games on ESPN with commentator Dave Pasch and analyst Chris Spielman. In addition to calling ESPN’s University of Texas spring game together, Meyer was an assistant coach at Ohio State when Spielman was a player.
In addition, former Colorado and Boise State head coach Dan Hawkins has joined ESPN and will serve as the analyst on ESPNU’s Saturday afternoon telecast with returning announcer Pam Ward. Hawkins compiled an overall record of 112-61-1 at the two programs, including four consecutive Western Athletic Conference titles in his five years at Boise State.
Highlights of new assignments:
- ESPN2 and ESPNU Saturday prime-time telecasts will include analysts in new roles.
- Ed Cunningham, who called ABC afternoon games last year, will partner with Mark Jones for ESPN2’s weekly telecast.
- Brian Griese will move from ESPN2’s Saturday noon game to ESPNU’s evening game with returning announcer Clay Matvick. Allison Williams will serve as reporter.
- Beth Mowins will assume the role of play-by-play on ESPN2’s Saturday noon telecast with analyst Mike Bellotti, who worked primarily ESPN and ABC West Coast games last year.
- Analyst Bob Davie will move from ESPN2 Saturday night games to ABC Saturday afternoon telecasts with Bob Wischusen, who worked Saturday noon games on ESPN2 last year.
- Former Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell, entering his second year with ESPN, will join announcer Rob Stone on ESPNU Saturday noon telecasts. Kanell worked with Pam Ward on ESPNU’s Saturday afternoon. game last year.
The assignments of returning commentator pairings includes Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit calling the Saturday Night Football series on ABC, broadcast television’s only weekly primetime game (8 p.m.), for their sixth consecutive year. Erin Andrews will report from the sidelines of the broadcast for her second season. The weekly Saturday ESPN College Football Primetime telecast will pair leading play-by-play voice Brad Nessler with analyst Todd Blackledge and reporter Holly Rowe.
- For the second straight year, game and studio host Rece Davis will call the Thursday ESPN College Football Primetime series with analysts Craig James and Jesse Palmer, and reporter Jenn Brown.
- Commentator Sean McDonough and analyst Matt Millen will team up for a third season to work the marquee Saturday afternoon telecasts on ABC.
- Analyst Brock Huard and commentator Carter Blackburn will continue to work ESPN and ABC Saturday games, primarily featuring West Coast sites.
- ESPN Friday night telecasts will be called by Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore for the fourth year.
- Announcer Bill Rosinski, analyst David Norrie and reporter Joe Schad will work ESPN Radio’s weekly Saturday broadcast.
ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN 3D and ESPN Regional Television Game Pairings
Note: Additional commentators will contribute throughout the season.
Game Telecast Play-by-play Analyst Reporter Saturday Night Football (on ABC) Brent Musburger Kirk Herbstreit Erin Andrews ESPN College Football Primetime (Saturday) Brad Nessler Todd Blackledge Holly Rowe ESPN2 College Football Primetime (Saturday) Mark Jones Ed Cunningham ESPNU SEC Saturday Prime Time Clay Matvick Brian Griese Allison Williams ESPN College Football Primetime (Thursday) Rece Davis Craig James and Jesse Palmer Jenn Brown ABC Saturday Afternoon Sean McDonough Matt Millen Heather Cox ESPN College Football (Saturday afternoon) Dave Pasch Chris Spielman and Urban Meyer ESPN2 College Football (Saturday afternoon) Beth Mowins Mike Bellotti ABC Saturday Afternoon Mike Patrick Craig James ABC Saturday Afternoon Bob Wischusen Bob Davie ABC or ESPN Saturdays (primarily West Coast) Carter Blackburn Brock Huard ESPNU Saturday Afternoon Rob Stone Danny Kanell ESPNU Saturday Afternoon Pam Ward Dan Hawkins ESPN and ESPN2 Friday Joe Tessitore Rod Gilmore ESPNU Thursday Anish Shroff Jay Walker ESPNU late Saturday (WAC) Adam Amin David Diaz-Infante ESPNU late Saturday (HBCU) Adam Amin Jay Walker ESPN 3D (Saturday) Joe Tessitore Tim Brown ESPN Radio Bill Rosinski David Norrie Joe Schad SEC Network (ESPN Regional Television syndicated games) Dave Neal Andre Ware Cara Capuano BIG EAST Network (ESPN Regional Television syndicated games) Mike Gleason John Congemi Eamon McAnaney ESPN Regional Television MAC Syndication Michael Reghi Doug Chapman
** Additional reporters to be used include Jeannine Edwards, Quint Kessenich, Shelley Smith and Tom Rinaldi
The 2011 college football season on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN 3D, ESPN3.com, ESPN Radio, ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Regional Television and ESPN GamePlan will total more than 400 regular-and post-season games, concluding with the entire Bowl Championship Series, including the National Championship, on ESPN. The schedule will include weekly Saturday night games on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, weekly ESPN and ESPNU Thursday night contests and telecasts every Friday and select Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
There you go.