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Volume 25 No. 177
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Fox' Gus Johnson Takes Flak For In-Game Praise Of Urban Meyer

Meyer this season has been under scrutiny for his handling of a former assistant coach
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Fox' Gus Johnson was giving Urban Meyer a "'redemption' narrative" during Ohio State's 62-39 win over Michigan, despite the OSU coach being suspended earlier this season for how he "handled assistant coach Zach Smith’s domestic violence allegations," according to Phillip Bupp of AWFUL ANNOUNCING. Johnson, in his praise for Meyer, "made it sound like he was pitching a movie to Disney." He was "seemingly praising" Meyer for the adversity he dealt with this season. While Johnson is a "very passionate commentator," this was a moment "where his passion should have been set aside." While it is "most important to know about the two teams on the field, having at least some awareness of current events and knowing how to discuss serious things without looking completely tone deaf is important too." In that regard, Johnson "failed miserably" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 11/24). The Buffalo News' Mike Harrington: "Fox really needed a far more muted presentation of Urban Meyer. Seriously." The Atlantic's Jemele Hill: "You can miss me with this being characterized as some kind of redemption for Urban Meyer. He covered for an abuser." The Athletic's Brendan Quinn: "More embarrassing: Michigan's performance or the broadcast's portrayal of Urban as atoned hero?." Meanwhile, ESPN's "College GameDay" also did a feature on Meyer with the show filming from Columbus, and Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith tweeted, "Has Gene Wojciechowski been hired as Urban Meyer's personal publicist? That GameDay profile was PR, not journalism" (TWITTER.com, 11/24).

BORDER SKIRMISH: Fox drew an 8.0 overnight rating for Michigan-Ohio State, marking the net’s highest-rated CFB game yet and the best for any game on any net this season to date. Last year, which was Fox’ first time with the UM-OSU game, it drew a 6.7 overnight. Two years ago on ABC, the matchup drew a 10.4 overnight in the same window. Prior to yesterday, CBS’ Alabama-LSU on Nov. 3 was the top overnight of the season (6.7). Meanwhile, ABC on Saturday drew a 5.1 for Notre Dame-USC, marking the best Thanksgiving weekend “Saturday Night Football” game since ’12. On Friday night, ESPN drew a 3.4 for Oklahoma-West Virginia, which was the cable net’s best Friday game since ’10. “College GameDay” yesterday, which aired from OSU, drew a 1.7 overnight, which is the program’s best figure since ’11. CBS drew a 5.4 overnight for the Iron Bowl on Saturday in the 3:30pm ET window, down sharply from a 7.8 for the Alabama-Auburn game last year. Two years ago, the Iron Bowl got a 4.7 overnight (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).