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Volume 24 No. 156
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An Elephant Never Forgets: CBS Earns Strong 9.0 Overnight For Alabama's Win Over A&M

CBS earned a 9.0 overnight rating for Saturday's Alabama-Texas A&M game, the net's highest rated afternoon regular-season college football telecast since a 10.1 for Miami-Notre Dame in '90. The rating is up 200% from a 3.0 for last year's season-opening broadcast on the net featuring Alabama-Arkansas. Saturday's game peaked at a 10.2 rating from 7:00-7:15pm ET (CBS). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes of CBS broadcasters Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson's call of Alabama-Texas A&M, "If you like them, you thought Saturday's broadcast was fine," but "if you don't, then you likely hated it." Jones: "I thought they had a so-so game. Danielson is suddenly fond of popping one-liners, which aren't bad, but aren't nearly as funny as Lundquist's guffaws make them out to be" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/16).'s Richard Deitsch wrote Lundquist and Danielson "had an excellent call" of the game. CBS Sports Group Chair Sean McManus last month said, "I am very satisfied with them. I think Gary is the best football analyst in the business and I think Verne is a legendary broadcaster who still on a big game brings that big game feel. I am not anticipating any changes" (, 9/15).

JOHNNY RATINGS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Rachel Bachman wrote Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel's half-game suspension versus Rice on Aug. 31 "provided a rare glimpse at how a superstar player can boost a national television broadcast." Nielsen broke the game into 15-minute, real-time segments, and the result was Manziel "moved the needle." The game "opened with an average audience of 3.6 million and gathered viewers through the first half as cameras showed Manziel cheering from the sideline." He took the field in the second half with his team leading 28-21, and viewership "climbed to 4.8 million." During the segment when Manziel threw his first touchdown pass, the audience "hit 5.1 million," which was 1.6 million "more than the average audience from ESPN's noon opener last season, when Penn State lost to Ohio in the Nittany Lions' first home game after the death of legendary coach Joe Paterno" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/14).

KEEPING THINGS INTERESTING: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht wrote FS Oklahoma's crew of Ron Thulin, Dave Lapham and Jim Knox "worked hard" on Saturday to keep Oklahoma State's "mismatch against Lamar interesting." At times, the "commentary bordered on silliness," as when Knox "reported from the Lamar sideline that the Cardinals defense was getting tired, Lapham suggested to Knox that he 'put some pads on and blitz from the corner.'" Knox then said to Lapham, a former Bengals OL, "They need some help. You need to come on down." Knox in the third quarter "joined the OSU student section in beating paddles on the side of the stands." Still, the trio "had plenty of serious comments in describing OSU's total domination of the visitors" (OKLAHOMAN, 9/15).

COLLEGE FOOTBALL AT A CROSSROADS: In N.Y., Greg Bishop writes Alabama-Texas A&M was a "reprieve from a sport that appears headed for transition and should be headed toward reform." The scandals that have been reported in recent weeks and months "are not new," but the "reaction to them -- mostly a collective yawn, sprinkled with justified outrage -- is." Bishop: "College sports, college football in particular, appear headed toward significant reform" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16).