I’ll be away for most of the day as my Sunday has been planned behind my back once again. I’ll have the Sunday NFL pregame quotage later in the afternoon.
Let’s provide some sports media thoughts. As always, they’ll go in bullet form.
- In its first college football conference championship weekend, Fox Sports had a mixed bag. Not only was the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday between UCLA and Oregon not a good game, Fox’s production was very choppy. While the announcing team of Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Tim Brewster were fine, the audio for the Pac-12 was at times muffled and the crowd sometimes overpowered Davis’ analysis. Gus went into breaks rather awkwardly and there were times the replay didn’t show the proper angle. It wasn’t until the second half when the production hit its stride, but by that time, the game was already decided and most of the audience had probably tuned out.
For the Big Ten Championship, the regular College Football on Fox production crew that had been working with Gus, Charles and Tim all season on FX was on hand in Indianapolis and this was a much better production. Replays were sharp, the picture was much better than in Eugene for the Pac-12.
As for the other parts of the production, the college football studio needs improvement. Lots of improvement. Kevin Frazier is an awful host. He’s bad on Tennis Channel. He’s bad on Fox. He comes off unprepared. Marcus Allen is a very weak analyst. John Lynch did a decent job at the Pac-12 and Dhani Jones when he wasn’t trying to ask questions was ok at the Big Ten. Last year, Fox utilized Darrin Horton for its college football host and I don’t know it didn’t keep him for this season. Kevin Frazier must go.
And I want to talk about why Tim Brewster starts off every question with “talk about.” It’s almost as annoying as when Paul McGuire started off every replay with “Ha ha! I’ll tell you what!” on ESPN’s Sunday Night Football. It’s obvious Tim Brewster wants to coach again because he’s not polished on TV.
As for Gus Johnson and Charles Davis, they were on their “A” game for both the Pac-12 and Big Ten. They’ve formed one of the best announcing teams in college football. Gus was back in his realm in the national spotlight especially with a barnburner in the Big Ten. If Gus was auditioning for Joe Buck’s spot on the NFL on Fox, he passed with flying colors. While it’s great to have Gus in college football, he really belongs back on the NFL.
- If Tennis Channel wants to be taken seriously, it really should send announcing crews to the events rather than having them call matches off a monitor in its Los Angeles studios. For tournaments like the WTA World Tour Finals and this weekend’s Davis Cup Finals between Spain and Argentina, Tennis Channel has had Brett Haber, Ted Robinson and Leif Shiras call matches off a TV. You may not notice the difference, but when the satellite picture is lost, the announcers have to vamp and act like they’re there. Tennis Channel does send crews to the Grand Slam tournaments, but it should start treating other tournaments the same way as it does the Australian, French, US Opens and Wimbledon. In addition, the announcers are held hostage to the world feeds and cannot give us a sense for the atmosphere or giving us a sense of how the players look off camera. Tennis Channel needs to step up its game or it will continue to be treated as a bastard stepchild.
- The Big Lead is reporting that Sports Illustrated baseball writer Jon Heyman is leaving to take a job with CBSSports.com. That would be a huge get for CBS which has brought in Bruce Feldman from ESPN.com and a couple of other writers. I’m thinking this is part of a bigger picture upgrade for CBS and to possibly set up content for CBS Sports Network which currently is stuck in the ghosts of its previous brand, CBS College Sports. Maybe CBS decides to bid for baseball for CBS Sports Network. It would certainly help as the channel currently doesn’t have much summer programming besides from college sports repeats.
- ESPN is trying to sell us the BCS as a major event. While the ratings for the BCS National Championship Game have been good, until the college presidents decides on a way to decide on a legitimate postseason playoff system, we’re going to be stuck with the potential of an LSU-Alabama game every year. Not the two teams, but the way the final teams for the mythical college football national championships are chosen. The NCAA has over 60 championships including college football, but not in what is called the Football Bowl Subdivision or whatever they’ll name it in the future. As ESPN has so much invested in college sports, it may be up to the Alleged Worldwide Leader to throw some money around to help develop a way for a college football tournament to come to fruition. Until then, we’ll hear BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock give infuriating explanations as to why the BCS is good for college football.
- Nothing new to report on the continuing soap opera that is NESN’s search to replace Heidi Watney. Jen Royle of 105.7 FM in Baltimore was brought in for an interview last week. I heard it went well. Erin Hawksworth of the Fox affiliate in Seattle is also in the running. I believe it’s down to these two and as you know, I’m fully behind Jen in this. If you need any further convincing, let us remind you of Erin’s most famous moment from two months ago.
I don’t think I need to add anything more.
Enjoy your Sunday