SBD/August 7, 2012/Media

ESPN Announces College Football Assignments, With New ABC Afternoon Teams

ESPN yesterday announced the on-air talent for its '12 college football telecasts, which includes three new commentator teams for afternoon games on ABC. Analyst Chris Spielman joins play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough and reporter Quint Kessenich. Ed Cunningham moves from ESPN2's Saturday night coverage to afternoons on ABC; Danny Kanell moves from ESPNU to ABC. Joe Tessitore and Matt Millen will serve as announcers for a new package of additional Saturday night games. The chart below is select pairings for ESPN's networks (ESPN).

TELECAST
PLAY-BY-
PLAY
ANALYST
REPORTER
ABC Saturday Night
Brent Musburger
Kirk Herbstreit
TBD
ESPN Saturday Night
Brad Nessler
Todd Blackledge
Holly Rowe
ESPN Saturday Night Joe Tessitore Matt Millen Jessica Mendoza,
Shelley Smith,
Shannon Spake
ESPN2 Saturday Night Mark Jones Brock Huard Jessica Mendoza
or Shelley Smith
ESPNU Saturday Night Clay Matvick Matt Stinchcomb Allison Williams
ESPN Thursday Night Rece Davis Jesse Palmer and David Pollack Samantha Steele
ESPN/ESPN2 Friday Night Carter Blackburn Rod Gilmore Jemele Hill
ABC Saturday Afternoon Sean McDonough Chris Spielman Quint Kessenich
ABC Saturday Afternoon Mike Patrick Ed Cunningham Jeannine Edwards
ABC Saturday Afternoon Bob Wischusen Danny Kanell Maria Taylor
ESPN Saturday Afternoon Dave Pasch Brian Griese Jenn Brown
ESPN2 Saturday Afternoon Beth Mowins Joey Galloway  
       

PRAISE FOR TESSITORE: SI.com’s Stewart Mandel wrote Tessitore is among “the rising stars" on the net’s football roster. This fall he will “move to Saturday nights, calling a mix of mostly Pac-12 and SEC games” with Millen. He already serves as the network's "Heismanologist" and in June, he became the regular host of "College Football Live," giving a "much-needed identity to what had been a mishmash of a show.” "College Football Live" producer Nick Sciallo said, "You obviously have your Chris Fowlers, your Kirk Herbstreits, et cetera, but you have to consider Joe one of the faces of the sport at this network. If he isn't already, he certainly will be." A source said that three other networks approached Tessitore “last winter … and he entertained one particularly intriguing offer but ultimately opted to sign a new deal with ESPN.” Syndicated radio host Paul Finebaum said, "He could potentially go from being unrecognized at virtually any college football stadium in America to very well being the next great voice of the sport” (SI.com, 8/6).

ROUNDTABLE
: Several SI.com writers discussed their favorite college football announcers, with Mandel saying Tessitore is one of his “must-watches.” Mandel: “I'll watch any game Joe Tessitore is calling because it's likely to end in crazy fashion. Brent Musburger seems to only get cooler with age, and he's paired with the most informative color guy out there, Kirk Herbstreit.”

Holly Anderson said CBS' Verne Lundquist is her "sentimental favorite." Anderson: "His voice has become so inextricably linked with fall Saturdays in my head that it's almost jarring to hear him calling March Madness games.”

Andy Staples wrote ESPN's Dave Pasch and Chris Spielman had been his favorite announcer team. The pair will be split up this season, but they would "work great as a duo." Staples: "Pasch lets the action do most of the talking and keeps the narrative flowing, and Spielman is that rare great player who also makes a great analyst.”

Richard Deitsch wrote, “Herbstreit and Musburger possess terrific chemistry and both deal viewers straight regarding play on the field. … Rece Davis, by the way, is a remarkable talent, one of the most competent broadcasters at ESPN” (SI.com, 8/6).
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