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Countdown to Coverage: College Football’s Best TV Booth

“With so much to choose from, it makes sense we waited till the end to unveil our choices for the best TV crews in college football.”

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College football season is nearly here.

Forget last Saturday. It’s called Week 0 for a reason. Do you really want to believe the first game of the 2022 season was 3-9 Northwestern and 3-9 Nebraska playing halfway around the world?

Here at Barrett Sports Media, we are celebrating college football from a media angle. All week long, our editors and resident college football superfans, Arky Shea, Demetri Ravanos and Garrett Searight, will be looking at the best the media has to offer in terms of college football coverage.

The entire schedule is as follows:

MONDAY: Best Local Show

TUESDAY: Best National Radio Show

WEDNESDAY: Best College Football Podcast

THURSDAY: Best TV Show

FRIDAY: Best TV Play-by-Play Booth

This one is the big magilla. With so many games on TV every Saturday, college football offers fans their pick of a variety of talented broadcast crews.

Diversity reigns in college football television. That isn’t just about the way the people on each crew look. It’s about style and presentation.

That’s what happens when there is no single governing body to dictate the tone they want set for their sport. Fans are the winners for that!

With so much to choose from, it makes sense we waited till the end to unveil our choices for the best TV crews in college football. Here they are!

BRAD NESSLER & GARY DANIELSON ON CBS by Arky Shea

No one calls a college football game better than Brad Nessler. Period. In a land of immensely talented play-by-play talents, Nessler sits atop. He has one of the rare voices in college football that comforts you because you know college football is happening and it’s happening on a massive stage. If Nessler is in the booth, it’s a big damn deal. It’s the biggest reason I was so thrilled that he was the guy that replaced Verne Lundquist on the SEC on CBS games. I never wanted Verne to leave but since he retired, Nessler brought the gravitas.

Gary Danielson is way more talented than he his given his just due for and honestly, I have not heard a single reason why he shouldn’t be considered at the top of everyone’s board. He’s smart, well-prepared and was predicting plays before Tony Romo told you all that was a thing. He uses his time on-air wisely and points out the biggest reasons a play did or not work while at the same time, readily admitting when something doesn’t make sense to him if that moment arises. He has been the lead game analyst for the best league’s best game since 2006. If you think that’s an accident, you’ve had one too many Boilermakers.

GUS JOHNSON & JOEL KLATT ON FOX by Demetri Ravanos

Someone long ago decided that sports were not fun and that if they involved amateurs, they were sacred and should sound like church. I don’t know who that someone was, but I hate their guts and hope they roll over in their graves every time Gus Johnson is on the call of Ohio State and Michigan.

College football is a fun sport. Johnson makes it sound fun. Add in Joel Klatt, and the duo form a team that balances excitement with insight. I’m not a fan of FOX’s pregame show, but each Saturday you can bet, no matter who is playing, I will always check out Big Noon Saturday. Johnson and Klatt can make even a 20-point Nebraska loss sound interesting.

CHRIS FOWLER & KIRK HERBSTREIT on ABC by Garrett Searight

I could him-haw around what I think or I can just come out and say it. So it’s option number two. Kirk Herbstreit is the best television sports analyst of all time. His ability to understand the game and put it into terms that John Q. Public understands is unrivaled. Often times while watching a broadcast, I’ll notice something the color commentator doesn’t. I don’t ever have those moments with Herbstreit. He sees everything, and sees it before the instant replay so he can convey what he saw to you. His ability to see the entire field and see everything on the field, plus his ability to diagram plays on the telestrator after seeing it live is a masterclass in football broadcasting. Chris Fowler isn’t the world’s best play-by-play announcer, but he knows his role is to set up Herbie to shine week after week. Mission accomplished.

I gave strong consideration to Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt. I can’t pretend to be unbiased there because, as an Ohio State fan, I see an awful lot of Gus & Joel. Gus yells a bit too much nonsense for my taste, but that’s what he’s best known for. I’m always appreciative of his energy, but the star of the show is Klatt. He teaches me more about the game than any other analyst. He’s fantastic. But he’s not better than Herbstreit.

Sports TV News

Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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Sports TV News

Terry Bradshaw Is Cancer Free

Bradshaw’s candor comes after struggling through a sentence during the September 25th edition of the show, in which Howie Long helped finish his sentence.

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During FOX NFL Sunday, Terry Bradshaw revealed he was diagnosed with two different forms of cancer in the last year.

However, after surgeries and treatments, Bradshaw said he is now cancer free.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer said he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November of last year and surgery and treatments removed the cancer. Then, in March of this year, a tumor was found on the left-side of his neck. Bradshaw called it a “Merkel cell tumor”, which he had removed.

Bradshaw’s candor comes after struggling through a sentence during the September 25th edition of the show, in which Howie Long helped finish his sentence.

The 74-year-old has worked on FOX NFL Sunday since its inception in 1994. He will be inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame later this year.

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Sports TV News

Scott Van Pelt’s ‘Bad Beats’ Becoming 30-Minute Monthly Show

Van Pelt, alongside “Stanford Steve” Coughlin, recaps the toughest losses suffered by sports gamblers with unconventional final moments and unexpected outcomes as it pertains to the over/under or point spread.

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The popular “Bad Beats” segment from SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt is being turned into a monthly half-hour show on ESPN.

Van Pelt, alongside “Stanford Steve” Coughlin, recaps the toughest losses suffered by sports gamblers with unconventional final moments and unexpected outcomes as it pertains to the over/under or point spread, otherwise known as a “bad beat”. Generally, the segment lasts around 5-10 minutes. ESPN will repurpose the content from the show to package it into a half-hour edition.

The new monthly show debuted yesterday at 5:30 PM ET on ESPN.

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