I haven’t written a sports media thoughts post in quite some time. I owe you one do let’s do this without further delay. As always, they come in bullet form.
- Last night’s BCS National Championship Game between Alabama and LSU was another dull affair, just like their first game in the regular season. ESPN did its best to step up for the game. Brent Musburger seemed to be in hype mode more than usual. Kirk Herbstreit was on his game as analyst. As Alabama’s defense was in lockdown mode, not allowing LSU past mid-field until midway of the 4th quarter, Brent and Kirk were quick to point out the differences in approach by coaches Nick Saban and Les Miles.Production of the game was also championship-worthy. Replays were sharp and close calls were resolved through ESPN showing the correct angles.However, ESPN overused last year’s BCS National Championship Game coaches, Gene Chizik of Auburn and Chip Kelly of Oregon. Both were dull and in need of personality transfusions. ESPN barely used their own analysts for College GameDay.Because the game was so dull, Musburger could not make a tie-in to sponsor Allstate as he did last year for Tostitos. He did overuse “Honey Badger.” What last night’s game did was to assist the skeptics’ screams for a college football playoff or at least a Plus One game. Overall, I give ESPN a B+ for the game.
- Still no word on whether NESN is any closer to a replacement for Heidi Watney as Red Sox field reporter. Of the candidates NESN has conducted interviews and those I’ve been able to confirm through several sources include Erin Hawksworth of Fox Seattle, Courtney Fallon of ABC6 in Providence, and Britt McHenry from WJLA-TV in Washington. I told you last month that Friend of Fang’s Bites Jen Royle was interviewed and is not believed to be a candidate at this time. If anything happens, I’ll certainly let you know.
- You have to believe that CBS is happy to be riding the Tim Tebow wave as it heads to Foxboro, MA this weekend as Denver takes on the New England Patriots in the NFL Divisional Playoff round. The only game during Wild Card Weekend to see massive gains over last year was Sunday’s Pittsburgh-Denver game, garnering an amazing 25.9/43 overnight number for CBS. This would mark the 5th straight week CBS and its number one team, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will have called the Broncos and Tebow. No matter how you feel about Tebow, he draws ratings and makes people watch. I don’t expect Saturday night’s game to draw near the Wild Card ratings because Saturday is not a big TV night, however, if Denver-New England is close going down to the wire, expect big numbers.
- Here’s looking forward to ESPN2/Tennis Channel’s coverage of the Australian Open starting Sunday night. Coverage will begin every night at 7 p.m. ET. Finals will take place in the wee hours of the morning at 3:30 a.m. on the East Coast, but it will lead to some very good tennis. The 16 hour time difference between Melbourne and the US Eastern time zone means for some disjointed viewing, but it’s always fun to see the summer weather from the Southern Hemisphere. Here’s looking forward to hearing from Chris Fowler, Cliff Drysdale, Pam Shriver, Patrick McEnroe, Darren Cahill, Bill Macatee, Martina Navratilova and Justin Gimelstob for two weeks.
And that’s going to it for the thoughts this morning.