People & Personalities: ESPN Announces College Football Broadcast Teams
ESPN Wednesday announced its college football broadcast pairings for the coming season, which include new analyst Urban Meyer calling noon ET games on ESPN with announcer Dave Pasch and analyst Chris Spielman. Analyst Ed Cunningham, who called ABC afternoon games last year, will partner with Mark Jones on ESPN2's Saturday primetime telecast. Additionally, Brian Griese will move from ESPN's Saturday noon game to ESPNU's Saturday primetime game, teaming with announcer Clay Matvick and reporter Allison Williams. Announcer Brent Musburger and analyst Kirk Herbstreit will call ABC's "Saturday Night Football" for a sixth consecutive year, with Erin Andrews serving as a sideline reporter for a second season. ESPN's Saturday primetime broadcast will feature announcer Brad Nessler, analyst Todd Blackledge and reporter Holly Rowe (ESPN). In West Palm Beach, Dave George writes under the header, "Urban Meyer Is Still A Coach, Even As An ESPN Analyst." Meyer's interviews, "including a spring-practice series with coaching peers at Texas, Notre Dame, Michigan, Oregon and Utah, provide little of the unique insight one expects from a two-time national championship coach." George: "His generalizations on the hot topics of the day leave viewers wanting more but rarely getting it. ... TV, to put it mildly, is not Meyer's game" (PALM BEACH POST, 7/22).
SUNDAY NIGHT SUCCESS: In Boston, Chad Finn writes ESPN's Bobby Valentine "brings as much insight as any baseball analyst currently working on the national stage." Valentine and fellow analysts Orel Hershiser and Dan Shulman replaced Joe Morgan and John Miller on "Sunday Night Baseball." Finn writes Valentine "recognizes and fights to correct his main flaw, something the stubborn and out-of-touch Morgan couldn't or refused to do." The "result is that the new crew has proven to be a refreshing upgrade over" Morgan and Miller (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/22). Also in Boston, Bob Ryan writes Hershiser "has been great from Day One, and if Bobby Valentine can curb his instinct to tell us everything he knows about every topic, they can become a great ESPN 'Sunday Night Baseball' institution" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/22).
HOCKEY PERSONALITIES: Rogers Sportsnet hired Flames radio pregame and postgame host Rob Kerr as its announcer for Flames telecasts on Sportsnet West and Sportsnet Flames. Kerr will team with analyst Charlie Simmer and host Roger Millions (Rogers Sportsnet). Kerr, who served eight years in the radio role, "will take over for Peter Loubardias, who was let go last week by Sportsnet" (CALGARY HERALD, 7/21)....In Phoenix, Jim Gintonio cited an NHL source as saying that Coyotes TV announcer Dave Strader is "expected to leave his position and accept a job with NBC/Versus." Strader served as an announcer for ESPN's NHL broadcasts from '96-04 (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/20)....Sabres G Patrick Lalime is retiring and "will become an analyst" on Senators TV broadcasts. Lalime "is to work 15 Senators games" on French-language network RDS next season "as well as contributing to other hockey shows" (BUFFALONEWS.com, 7/20).