Musburger to call SEC games for new network; Fowler expected to be new lead voice on college football for ESPN

I don’t think this is what Brent Musburger wanted, but he probably had no choice.

ESPN officially named Musburger as the lead voice for games on the new SEC Network. He will be paired with Jesse Palmer.

Musburger now goes from being ESPN’s top play-by-play man for college football, calling the prime-time and BCS title games, to working the third or fourth best SEC games during most weeks on a regional network. CBS will get the best game, and ESPN often will take No. 2.

The move seems to pave the way for Chris Fowler to become the new lead voice for ESPN’s college football coverage. He has been angling to do play-by-play. Whether he continues to remain as host of GameDay remains to be seen. Rece Davis could slip into that role.

Meanwhile, here is the positive spin on … Continue Reading

Follow-up: Delany says Big Ten not considering slate of Friday night games

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany now is saying the conference isn’t going to pursue a slate of Friday night games.

Yesterday during an appearance in Chicago, he clarified reports that he was seeking input about moving games to Friday to create a lucrative TV package.

Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune reports:

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany told the Tribune on Thursday the conference is not seeking to play more Friday night games, with the exception of the day after Thanksgiving. Friday night games on Labor Day weekend, before some schools are in session, will continue.

In addressing TV negotiations that are slated to begin in 2015, Delany said the conference is emphasizing increasing night games on Saturdays in November.

“We’re looking hard at more prime time,” he said. “We’re looking at many, many issues — 100 issues.

“We’re trying

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Good idea: Big Ten exploring Friday night football games

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is looking into the conference playing Friday night games.

I’m good with it.

I have wondered why it has taken the major conferences so long to jump on Friday nights. I would love to watch a Big Ten game on a night where TV doesn’t have much to offer on the football front.

Some smaller conferences have gone the Friday night route. But I’m not a small conference guy.

The idea of a Big Ten game on a Friday night is far more appealing.

Now don’t give me Friday night belongs to the high schools. Fans who attend high school games still are going to go, especially if you have a kid on the team. The impact would be minimal.

The travel inconvenience for fans is a consideration. Playing games on Friday nights would … Continue Reading

Was Manziel auditioning for ESPN last night? Film room was big winner

Some takeaways from ESPN’s megacast of last night’s game.

Johnny TV: The title game was suppose to be Tim Tebow’s coming-out party in his new role as an ESPN analyst. However, Johnny Manziel stole some of his thunder.

Manziel was featured throughout the pregame show and during the game on ESPN’s somewhat bizarre celebrity channel. Clearly, he was there as more than a casual observer.

Johnny Football definitely was auditioning for a post-football role at ESPN. As the Tebow template shows for a much-hyped Heisman Trophy winner, post-football can come sooner than you think.

Manziel definitely passed the test. He was glib, insightful and charismatic. In fact, he was better than Tebow. Last night showed Manziel will be in high demand by the networks after he throws his final pass.

Tebowing: As for Tebow, he showed some potential. He nearly … Continue Reading

Musburger’s last big game? Did he send signal with one last ‘You are looking live…?’

Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but I couldn’t help but wonder if Brent Musburger was sending a signal last night at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Over an aerial shot of the Rose Bowl, Musburger uttered his signature phrase, “You are looking live…”

It seemed like an unusual time to pull out the line. Musburger usually uses it at the beginning of a game.

If last night’s game was indeed Musburger’s final call of a big game, did he purposely want to slip in one last “You are looking live…” for old time’s sake? Definitely seems plausible.

Jason McIntyre of Big Lead wrote previously that Musburger’s contract is up at ESPN. With the playoff starting next season, and with Chris Fowler angling to do more play-by-play, it could be time for ESPN to make a lineup change … Continue Reading

Championship Monday: Tim Tebow show begins on ESPN; Will this be Musburger’s last title game?

There will be several interesting storylines for ESPN during its coverage of tonight’s BCS title game.

It marks the debut of Tim Tebow as an analyst for the network that can’t get enough of him. It also could be the swan song for Brent Musburger, at least as far as calling college football’s biggest game.

First Tebow:

It is a given: Tebow won’t be your typical football analyst. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times wrote about his teleconference last week.

His responses on a conference call were packed with unyielding positivity. Newly hired analysts are usually happy and upbeat. But Tebow was in a different stratosphere. He used “thank” or “thankful” 14 times. “Opportunity” was mentioned 15 times. In using “relationship” 14 times, he reflected only on good ones, past and present. He said “great” 27 times.

Responding to

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ESPN planning multi-platforms for BCS game; coverage in various forms on 6 channels

The future is here friends when it comes to coverage of big games.

ESPN is planning to air coverage of the BCS title game on six of its channels. Yes, you heard me, six.

Earlier, Turner Sports announced it will use three of its networks for coverage of the NCAA Final Four semifinal games on Saturday. Traditional national-audience-oriented game coverage will be presented on TBS, while TNT and TruTV will feature telecasts that are specifically tailored to one of the teams competing in each game.

It won’t be long before you see the same format for the Super Bowl and maybe even the  World Series and NBA Finals. It will be a way for the networks to put multiple platforms in play for the big games.

Here’s the official rundown from ESPN:

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ESPN – a leader in technology and … Continue Reading

Question restrictions placed on Jameis Winston interview?

Update: Paul Pabst, producer of the Dan Patrick Show, just sent along the following tweet:

@PaulPabst @Sherman_Report @romenesko We had Jameis on Monday and neither FSU nor Heisman PR gave us any restrictions. None.

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Should be an interesting time for the national media and Jameis Winston during the week prior to the BCS title game.

JimRomenesko.com reports of a CBS reporter who declined an interview with the Heisman Trophy winner after restrictions were placed on him.

@jeffglor Was scheduled to interview Jameis Winston at 12:30. @floridastate tried to put restrictions on interview topics at last minute. We said no.

Romenesko writes:

I called the Florida State athletic department and was told there are no restrictions on interviews with the Heisman Trophy winner. The spokesman said he didn’t know anything about the

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Flashback: My lunch with Desmond Howard day after his famous Heisman pose

With the Heisman Trophy being announced Saturday, I thought I would share my favorite Heisman story from my years on the college beat in the late 80s and early 90s.

I covered Desmond Howard’s final home game at Michigan in 1991 when he capped a punt return for a touchdown by striking the Heisman pose in the endzone. The snapshot will endure forever.

Yet what I remember most is what happened the next day. On a quiet Sunday, Howard, the toast of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the entire country, met me for lunch at a hotel.

The Michigan sports information department set up the interview. I was stunned that he agreed, given all the commotion. Surely, he had better things to do (like sleep) than have lunch with me on the day after his signature game against Ohio State.

“No, … Continue Reading