Blazing A Trail: Lisa Byington Set To Be First Woman To Call Football Game On BTN
Lisa Byington will become BTN’s "first woman to handle the play-by-play for a football game on Sept. 16 when Northwestern plays Bowling Green," according to Angelique Chengelis of the DETROIT NEWS. Byington said she "wasn’t expecting it to come this year but was more than happy to accept it." She said, "It’s kind of fitting that it’s the 10-year anniversary of the Big Ten Network, because I’ve been a part of them and with them since Day 1 and Weekend 1. They have constantly given me opportunities that I’ve never had before." Byington said that she is "more nervous about the attention her new role will draw than she is about preparing for her football play-by-play debut." Chengelis notes Byington has "consulted with" ESPN's Beth Mowins, who will call "MNF" in September. Byington also is "set for sideline reporting as well this fall, but there could be additional play-by-play opportunities with BTN or Fox Regional" (DETROIT NEWS, 7/25).
OOOOH, WHAT A RUSH: In Cleveland, Doug Lesmerises notes former NFLer James Laurinaitis "will join" BTN as an analyst for the upcoming season. BTN President Mark Silverman said that Laurinaitis had "'perhaps the best' screen test he'd ever seen." Among the duties for Laurinaitis will be a "role on a weekly Ohio State show" produced by BTN that will air on SportsTime Ohio. Other new BTN hires for this season include former NFLers Braylon Edwards and Corey Wooten on the net (CLEVELAND.com, 7/24).
FRIDAY NIGHT'S JUST ALRIGHT: In Omaha, Tom Shatel notes Silverman and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany "both said the right things" on the "topic of the league moving games to Friday night this season." They were "surprised at the negative feedback" and are "going to take a hard look at how it goes this season." However, Silverman "offered a frank prediction: it’s not going away." He said, "I’d be surprised if it completely goes away. There’s only two this year, other than opening weekend. I would expect there to be one or two games after opening weekend in the future. My guess is it won’t be the same schools, unless they want to. The conference tries to do things fairly" (OMAHA WORLD-HERALD, 7/25).