ESPN's Musburger, Herbstreit To Set Mark For Most Consecutive Title Games Called
When ESPN commentators Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit call tonight's Alabama-Notre Dame BCS National Championship Game, they will "become the longest-serving television broadcast team for the national championship game," according to Jon Solomon of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. This is the pair's "fourth straight BCS Championship Game on TV and sixth in a row when counting two years on the radio." ESPN will have "a lot of its normal features" for the telecast, but one notable difference will be "the sound." ESPN for the first time will "use 5.1 surround-sound microphones for a college football game so the audio sounds more like the network's 'Monday Night Football' production." ESPN BCS Championship Coordinating Producer Bill Bonnell said, "One thing our executive producer really challenged us [on] this year is sometimes audio gets lost in the discussion." Bonnell is "prepared to show viewers fewer replays to keep up with a possible hurry-up offense by Notre Dame" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 1/7).
NUMBERS GAME: In Miami, Barry Jackson writes Alabama-Notre Dame "has a good chance to top the 14.0 for last year’s Alabama-LSU title game, but it will be difficult for ESPN to surpass ABC’s record for the highest-rated BCS title game: a 21.7 for USC-Texas in 2005." Meanwhile, Musburger, when asked how long he wants to continue broadcasting, said, "As long as they'll have me. I don't do retirement very well." He added that he "still gets the same emotional charge working big events as he did earlier in his career." Musburger: "The best event that I am ever going to cover is the next one" (MIAMI HERALD, 1/7). SI.com's Richard Deitsch writes when Alabama-Notre Dame kicks off, ESPN execs will "have numbers on their minds, but it won't be ones appearing on the scoreboard." The key number for "that suit-and-tie crowd is 35.6 million." It is "unlikely" Alabama-Notre Dame will top USC-Texas in viewership, but "a close game late will produce a mega-audience." Meanwhile, ESPN Remote Production Director Derek Mobley said, "The whole season you go to a college stadium where there is a big college atmosphere and a huge student section, and then you come to bowl games and the student sections are not defined. Students are scattered everywhere, and the stands have more corporate feel to it. So it's a challenge to draw out that college atmosphere. Plus, at Sun Life Stadium, the sideline is further away from the stands than the other bowl sites. The fans are much further away" (SI.com, 1/7).