Last week the folks at Awful Announcing assembled a roundtable to have a draft of college football broadcasting talent. The panel consisted of Sports Illustrated’s media writer Richard Deitsch, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, and Crystal Ball Run’s Allen Kenney along with AA’s Matt Yoder.
The panel was charged with drafting two announce teams (one play by play and one game analyst), one studio host, two studio analysts, one reporter and one wild card. I write for Awful Announcing and Crystal Ball Run but was sadly excluded from this exercise. But no matter, I decided to have my very own draft which isn’t really a draft because it’s just me doing it.
Regardless, if I had been asked to participate in AA’s draft, here’s who I would’ve picked.
The Biles Broadcasting Network will change some things up and throw some things at the wall, hoping they stick. My studio host and analysts will travel to a different site and make a College Gameday experience of our own, because as fun as Los Angeles is, college campuses are more fun.
Let’s say I got the 5th pick and Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis and Gus Johnson were already off the board. For the 5th pick in the 2013 College Football Broadcaster Draft, Team Biles selects:
5) Scott Van Pelt, ESPN, studio host: Studio host is the most important part of my broadcasting team. The face that viewers see most frequently has to be one that doesn’t lead to viewers dreading the pregame and halftime shows. With Fowler and Davis already picked, Van Pelt is by far the best on the board. (I may have picked him even if Davis and Fowler were still available.) A consummate pro, devoid of ego, who is great at golf coverage but is excellent at college football.
It’s a snake draft so the next pick would be mine and that is:
6) Brent Musburger, ESPN, play by play: He is old; He is sometimes creepy, but as far as college football goes, he is the best there is right now. If I could somehow throw millions of dollars at Keith Jackson to come out of retirement, I would. But as far as play by play people still actively working, Musberger is it for me. Plus, you get to hear “YOU ARE LOOKING LIIIVE” every weekend.
13) Sam Ponder, ESPN, reporter: A great broadcast team is only enhanced by the skill of the reporter. After assuming the “Erin Andrews role” on the sidelines and hosting the first hour of Gameday, Ponder has shown that she is reliable and versatile. The perfect combination for my broadcast team.
14) Rick Neuheisel, Pac-12 Network, game analyst: Slick Rick didn’t do well at UCLA, but his firing may have been a blessing in disguise. For those of you who can actually watch the Pac-12 Network, or who listen to the Dan Patrick Show, should have noticed by now that Neuheisel knows his stuff. He can work in the studio as an analyst, but I’m taking him out of the studio and putting him into the booth with Big Game Brent. He will work well with Musberger because I’m paying them to work well together.
21) Andy Staples, Sports Illustrated, reporter/studio analyst/food: This could be seen as my wild card pick, but instead it’s my jack-of-all-trades pick. Staples is a great writer for SI and his talents need to be more widely used. He will be on my Gameday-type show with Van Pelt, he will be the sideline reporter for my second broadcast team (Both teams need a sideline reporter) and he will also contribute pieces covering that college town’s best food. Besides writing about college football, he has a food blog called “Heaven is a Buffet” and could definitely transfer that to TV. Kind of like Todd Blackledge’s “Taste of the Town,” except more restaurants and more segments. I can’t believe Staples wasn’t picked in the AA draft.
22) Jesse Palmer, ESPN, game analyst: Palmer is dreamy and also happens to know college football very well. With David Pollack in real life, Palmer is very good in the studio and in the broadcast booth. On my team he can do both. He can also be on set for the weekly traveling “studio” show. He and Gannon should work well together.
29) Terry Gannon, ABC/ESPN/Golf Channel, play by play: Gannon did college football play by play on ABC from 1995-2009. Why doesn’t he still do it? Another calm voice, Gannon brings respectability and restraint to the broadcast. And he will be bringing his talents back to the gridiron on my network.
30) Spencer Hall, Every Day Should Be Saturday/SB Nation, studio analyst: Because the satirical college football writer needs to be on my network. He would be an injection of humor and levity and he – along with Staples and Van Pelt – will be a breath of fresh air. Rece Davis is a pro and always consistent, but what would you rather watch? SVP, Staples and Hall? Or Mark May and Lou Holtz? Plus, Hall will complete my studio show of smart, non-former athletes. The other drafters took all of the good former athletes and I’m not about to draft Matt Millen.
Anyone who writes this must be on television weekly: “Johnny Manziel touchdown celebration No. 8: crosses goal line, spraypaints “MY COLUMN —>” on the field, stands at end of arrow making it rain with invisible money.”
37) Brett McMurphy, ESPN, Wild Card: Because every network needs a news breaker. McMurphy has television skills, crazily embedded sources and would give the ridiculous studio show that I have assembled even more journalistic legitimacy and an element of updates and in-depth reporting.
My team will be professional. We will be insightful and we will be fun, in an actually fun way. With humor, newsbreaking, reliable facts and opinions, the Biles Broadcasting Network has the college football fan covered. (Maybe I should be in PR with a pitch like that.) I went off the board with a few of my picks and will introduce the general sporting public to a few names that they should already know. Give talented people the space to work and they’ll produce great stuff.
Booth #1: Brent Musberger & Rick Neuheisel
Reporter: Sam Ponder
Booth #2: Terry Gannon & Jesse Palmer
Reporter: Andy Staples
Studio: Scott Van Pelt, Andy Staples & Spencer Hall
Wild Card: Brett McMurphy