College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 3

This is a list of every game played during week 3 of the college football season involving at least one FBS or FCS school.  All games are listed, televised or not.  For the televised games (only live broadcasts are listed), I include the announcers and sideline analysts/reporters (where applicable).  I put all of it on a Google Documents spreadsheet that can be accessed at the following link:

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 3

Additional notes:

— I include ESPN3.com games; they are denoted as “ESPN3”.

— I’ve listed the satellite affiliates for the SEC game of the week (Mississippi-Vanderbilt) in a comment on the document.  There are numerous local affiliates, a listing of which can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the ACC Network “national” game of the week (Duke-Boston College) can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the MAC Network game of the week (Central Michigan-Western Michigan) can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the WAC Network game of the week (Nevada-San Jose State) can be found here:  Link

— There are two ACC Network “regional” games this week.  I’ve listed the regional nets carrying each game (Kansas-Georgia Tech and Arkansas State-Virginia Tech) in comments on the document.

— Also listed on the document in comments are the regional nets carrying the following games:  North Texas-Alabama, Colorado State-Colorado, and Oklahoma State-Tulsa.

— There are comments in the document with additional information for several other games.

— ABC/ESPN coverage maps for the 3:30 pm ET games (Texas-UCLA and Washington-Nebraska):  Link

— BTN (formerly Big Ten Network) “gamefinder”:  Link

— USA Today Coaches Poll:  Link

— The Sports Network FCS Poll:  Link

A lot of the information I used in putting this together came courtesy of Matt Sarzyniak’s alarmingly comprehensive and completely indispensable website College Sports on TV, a must-bookmark for any fan of college sports.  Also to be credited, as always, are the indefatigable information gatherers (and in some cases sports-TV savants) at the 506.com.  I am also assisted on occasion by helpful athletic media relations officials at various schools and conferences.

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 2

This is a list of every game played during week 1 of the college football season involving at least one FBS or FCS school.  All games are listed, televised or not.  For the televised games (only live broadcasts are listed), I include the announcers and sideline analysts/reporters (where applicable).  I put all of it on a Google Documents spreadsheet that can be accessed at the following link:

College Football TV Listings 2011, Week 2

Additional notes:

— I include ESPN3.com games; they are denoted as “ESPN3”.

— I’ve listed the satellite affiliates for the SEC game of the week (Mississippi State -Auburn) in a comment on the document.  There are numerous local affiliates, a listing of which can be found here:  Link

— The local affiliates for the ACC Network “national” game of the week (Rutgers-North Carolina) can be found here:  Link

— I’ve listed the regional nets carrying the ACC Network “regional” game of the week (North Carolina State-Wake Forest) in a comment on the document.

— Also listed on the document in a comment are the regional nets carrying the following games:  Iowa-Iowa State, Virginia Tech-East Carolina, UAB-Florida, and UTEP-SMU.

— There are comments in the document with additional information for several other games.

— BTN (formerly Big Ten Network) “gamefinder”:  Link

— USA Today Coaches Poll:  Link

— The Sports Network FCS Poll:  Link

A lot of the information I used in putting this together came courtesy of Matt Sarzyniak’s alarmingly comprehensive and completely indispensable website College Sports on TV, a must-bookmark for any fan of college sports.  Also to be credited, as always, are the indefatigable information gatherers (and in some cases sports-TV savants) at the 506.com.  I am also assisted on occasion by helpful athletic media relations officials at various schools and conferences.

Complaint to ESPN, c/o The Sports Arsenal

From time to time I get e-mail responses to things I’ve written on the blog.  They tend to run the gamut, from words of encouragement to criticism to spam (plenty of spam).  However, I got an e-mail on Saturday that I think is worth sharing.  I won’t include the name of the lady who wrote it, because I don’t think that would be fair.  

First, some background.  On Saturday afternoon Michigan played Indiana in a game televised on ESPNU.  The announcers for the game were Pam Ward (play-by-play) and Danny Kanell (analyst).  I didn’t see it, as I was at Johnson Hagood Stadium watching The Citadel’s game, but apparently the matchup in Bloomington was an exciting contest that featured very little defense.  The Wolverines prevailed, 42-35.  Shortly after the game ended, the following e-mail was sent to me:

If Pam Ward was the announcer for the U of M game today (Saturday, 10/2/2010) at 3:30 p.m., you should be ashamed of yourselves.  Aside from the mispronounciation of Denard “Dernard???!!!” Robinson’s name, could you please find an announcer who’s excited about the game?  She’s boring and uninformed, maybe why she falls back on the criticism she’s ridiculed everywhere for?  There are so many awesome sports broadcasters in the industry – please get creative!  We hate every game she announces and we’re sick of being forced to listen.  Not as agonizing as watching the Lions play every Thanksgiving… BUT CLOSE.  Thanks!

This is, obviously, a fantastic e-mail.  That last line about Pam Ward as an announcer not being as agonizing as watching the Lions play on Thanksgiving puts it over the top.

Some points:

— While she criticizes Ward, the e-mailer doesn’t seem entirely certain it was actually Ward doing the announcing (“If Pam Ward was the announcer…”).  However, that doesn’t stop her from blasting Ward anyway.

— More importantly, to me anyway, is the notion that I might somehow be affiliated with ESPN (“you should be ashamed of yourselves”, “could you please find an announcer who’s excited about the game?”).  I am guessing that the e-mailer googled Pam Ward’s name and found this post I wrote about ESPN’s announcers for 2010, and assumed I was a publicist for the network or something.

I found this amusing, because while I do write about things that involve ESPN on occasion, so would anyone who writes about sports in this country, given the pervasive nature of the network.  I haven’t always written favorably about ESPN, either (see this post or this post, just for a couple of examples).

— The e-mailer is apparently a Michigan fan.  She is sick of “being forced to listen” to Ward, but to be honest I don’t think Ward has done a whole lot of games featuring the Wolverines.  When she was calling the noon game on ESPN2 the past few years, she usually called Big 10 games  — but the two schools I always associate with a Ward call are Michigan State and Northwestern.  Michigan usually was televised on ESPN (or the Big Ten Network) if it drew the noon slot.  At least, that’s how I remember it.  I could be wrong about that.

Incidentally, Ward now wants to call NFL games.

— I couldn’t agree more with the e-mailer about the Lions, though.  Why should the entire country be subjected to that franchise every Thanksgiving?  Can’t they rotate host teams?  I’m tired of the Cowboys too, but at least Dallas usually has a good team.  The Lions are almost always bad and boring.  This year, turkey day at Ford Field will include the visiting New England Patriots, so at least one of the teams involved should be good.  Of course, that means the score will probably be something like 47-10 or 34-12 (the score of the last two games played on Thanksgiving in Detroit, both losses by the Lions). 

That game will be on CBS.  I suppose Phil Simms will give away a silver iron again.  It’s a lame gimmick, but not as lame as the thing Fox hands out to its game MVP.

To sum up, I’m sorry I can’t do anything about Pam Ward (or any other ESPN announcer) calling your team’s game(s), but I’m not affiliated with the four-letter.  If I’m going to field complaints about ESPN, though, the least the folks in Bristol could do is send me some free stuff. 

I’m not asking for an ESPY gift pack or anything; I would settle for a College Gameday t-shirt (size XXL – I’m fairly tall).  I would ask for a hat, but I doubt ESPN carries a lot of promotional caps in size 7 ¾.  If they did, Mark Schlereth would probably grab all of them anyway.  He looks like he’s got a large noggin.

As always, thanks to the e-mailers (and commenters) for all their feedback.

ESPN College Football Announcers for 2010

ESPN has released its assignments for its college football game coverage, as well as its studio coverage.  As always, there are some new crews.  Highlights:

— Among the tandems that work the high-profile ESPN/ABC games, the one significant change is in the “west coast” team, where there will now be a three-man booth — Carter Blackburn, Brock Huard, and Mike Bellotti.  The former Oregon coach is in his first season as an analyst; he works with Huard, who was the analyst for the SEC ESPNU primetime game last year.  Blackburn called mostly west coast games on the U last season after moving over from CBS College Sports.

That team essentially replaces the Terry Gannon/David Norrie duo from 2009. Gannon is not listed on this year’s release; he may just have too much already on his announcing plate (Dave Lamont filled in for him a few times last season as it was). Norrie is going to ESPN Radio, replacing Dennis Franchione as Bill Rosinski’s analyst.  Norrie will also work a few midweek TV games (along with Robert Smith), teaming with Beth Mowins.

— That’s right, there is now a second woman play-by-play voice calling college football for ESPN.  Mowins will apparently have a limited schedule.

Pam Ward is still around, and presumably as intolerant of injured players as ever. However, she’s been moved from the noon ET ESPN2 slot to 3:30 pm ET on ESPNU, much to the relief of Michigan State and Northwestern fans everywhere.  Her analyst will be Danny Kanell.

— Kanell, the former FSU quarterback, also will do some studio work.  He’s the breakout star, I guess, of the multitude of game callers/analysts who worked ESPN360 (now ESPN3.com) games last season.  What does that say about the talent featured on ESPN3.com in 2009?  Well…

The release doesn’t mention anything about who will work ESPN3.com games this year; it does note that “additional commentators will contribute throughout the season”.  There will be a lot of “additional contributors” both on ESPN3.com and on the regular TV platforms.  Week 1, for example, will include 11 games that will be shown live exclusively on ESPN3.com.

— Erin Andrews will be hosting the first hour of an expanded College Gameday (that was announced last month).  She will also be the sideline reporter for the game site from which the program originates, assuming it’s on ABC/ESPN/ESPN2.

That means the other high-profile game tandems will probably flip-flop sideline reporters a bit more often than normal, although most of the time Andrews will likely work with Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit.  Last year, the sideline reporter with that duo was Lisa Salters, who will not be back this year.

Quint Kessenich moves from the Big East regional game of the week to a national gig; his replacement on the sidelines for the Big East games is Eamon McAnaney.  I think there is a lacrosse announcer quota involved in that switch, but I’m not sure.

Andrews won’t be roaming the sidelines on Thursday night any more.  “The new EA” is Jenn Brown, who like Andrews is a Florida grad, blond, and destined to become a sports blog/message board favorite.

— The other change on Thursday nights is Rece Davis taking over play-by-play duties from Chris Fowler.  I like Davis, although he isn’t really a natural at play-by-play, but I’m not a fan of the Craig James/Jesse Palmer dual threat.  I find their combined analysis rather banal; at least James wears a properly sized tie.

— Fowler remains the ringleader for College Gameday, with Lee Corso (who I hope has now fully recovered from his stroke), Herbstreit, and Desmond Howard.  There was little change in personnel for the major studio shows. That’s right, another year of Dr. Lou (with Davis and Mark May) and The Bachelor (with John Saunders).  Robert Flores takes over as the new update guy on ABC.

There were some moves on the SEC-on-ESPN desk.  Dari Nowkhah will now be the syndication studio host, as Rob Stone will call games on ESPNU (he’s working the noon U game with David Pollack).  Another change of interest for SEC fans is the new primetime team for that league on ESPNU.  Clay Matvick and Herm Edwards will replace Eric Collins and Brock Huard.  Edwards may be a San Diego State alum, but he strikes me as a natural pick to analyze SEC action, as teams in that conference definitely play to win the game.

As mentioned earlier, Huard is working west coast games this season, while Collins has apparently moved to the Big 10 Network.  If I see a release listing announcers for the BTN/CBS College Sports/etc., I’ll post it here; the other BTN announcing news of note I’ve seen suggests that Tom Hart will be joining that network.

Edit (8/25/10) — Here is the BTN release, with Hart and Collins listed as announcers:  Link

Another non-ESPN announcing note:  The ACC game of the week, produced by Raycom, will have a new analyst this year, with David Archer replacing Rick “Doc” Walker.  This, if not a national tragedy, is at least a regional outrage.  I need to know which ACC players are actually cyborgs.

— Anish Shroff will take over from Charlie Neal as the play-by-play man for ESPNU’s Thursday night games.  Luckily, CitiField will not host a football game this season.

— Joe Tessitore will call the Friday night ESPN2 games with Rod Gilmore again, but Tessitore (who I find enjoyably bombastic) will also be the play-by-play voice for the ESPN-3D games, which will feature separate production teams for “regular” and 3D broadcasts.  He’ll work with new analyst Tim Brown and sideline reporter Ray Bentley (who had worked with Pam Ward for the last three seasons).

— The noon ESPN/ESPN2 games will each have Grieses in the booth.  Bob Griese returns with Chris Spielman and Dave Pasch on ESPN, while the ESPN2 game will feature Brian Griese (who had a promising debut last year) with play-by-play man Bob Wischusen.

Pasch and Wischusen are both guys who could/should work higher-profile games, but each is a radio announcer for an NFL team (the Cardinals for Pasch, the Jets for Wischusen) and are basically limited to early-afternoon Saturday games on ESPN.

— Ron Franklin, who was planning on retiring, is back and working again with Ed Cunningham.  I hope that team gets some heavy-duty games this year.

Getting closer to kickoff…

The less-than-awesome auger commercial

This isn’t exactly sports-related — well, ESPN does feature tangentially — but I just wanted to write about it.

Anyone who watches ESPNU on even a limited basis knows that the channel is the home for almost every conceivable infomercial in existence.  Watching college baseball, each half-inning break seems to lead into either a spot for the NCAA or yet another infomercial, in which a seen or unseen spokesman extols the virtues of a litany of products and services, including the “Wonder Hanger”, “InventHelp”…and the “Awesome Auger”.

The spot for the Awesome Auger stars the formerly ubiquitous TV pitchman Billy Mays, with the emphasis on “formerly”.  Mays, of course, has been dead for almost a year. Now, maybe the company that sells this gizmo doesn’t have the money to hire another spokesperson or cut another TV spot, but on the other hand, it seems to have enough money to keep running the spot featuring Mays.

I think the part that annoys me the most is that after Mays has finished his pitch, an offscreen announcer intones, “There’s more Billy!” and starts detailing additional reasons to purchase the tool.  I realize this was part of the original spot, and that Mays was still alive at the time it was produced, but it’s jarring nonetheless.

Of course, it’s possible that the blond woman using the “Wonder Hanger” or InventHelp on-air personality George McGhee are no longer with us, either, but the point is that Mays was a celebrity in his own right, and we know he’s dead.  It just strikes me that continuing to use the Mays ad to promote the product is incredibly crass, even by the standards of an industry not particularly known for good taste.

The other entity that I think deserves criticism for this is ESPN.  I am mildly surprised that the network continues to allow the Mays spot to be run, particularly since Mays once featured in ads for ESPN (promoting what was then known as ESPN360). Apparently the folks running things at Disney don’t have an issue with it.

Maybe I am over-thinking this, and it’s not really a big deal, but (just for an example) I have to wonder if ESPN would run a “This is SportsCenter” spot starring Tom Mees, if one were available.  I seriously doubt it.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got.  Just a mini-rant.   Back to the games.

Highlights from five games at McAlister

I’m going to discuss the actual basketball played by The Citadel over the past week and a half, including some statistics.  Before I do that, though, I’m going to mention some other statistics…about officials.

On Monday night The Citadel hosted Michigan State at McAlister Field House.  It was good of Tom Izzo to honor a commitment to play the game in Charleston (West Virginia decided to buy its way out of a trip), but I’m guessing he did ask for some big-time officials to work the game, just to make sure that the lead referee wasn’t General Rosa’s brother or something.  That’s fine, and as a result the game was officiated by Karl Hess, Jamie Luckie, and Mike Wood.

If you follow college basketball at all, you probably recognize those names, because they are on television all the time, working games from coast to coast.  They’re certainly on TV more than The Citadel (the MSU game will be the only nationally televised game this season to feature the Bulldogs). 

Mike Wood has actually worked five games in Charleston so far this season, a bit of an oddity.  He called three games at the Charleston Classic, and then worked the Thursday night game between Davidson and The Citadel.  Wood has called two games involving Davidson and two involving Penn State, and all four games were played in Charleston.  He probably did a lot of Christmas shopping on King Street, but he didn’t do any the weekend between the Davidson and MSU games. 

No, on the Saturday after the Davidson game Wood worked the Arkansas Pine Bluff-Michigan game in Ann Arbor; he then flew to Tallahassee to call the Florida International-Florida State game on Sunday before venturing back to Charleston.  The game between the Spartans and Bulldogs was Wood’s 19th of the season.

Wood actually hasn’t worked as many games as either of his Monday night colleagues.  Both Karl Hess and Jamie Luckie were working their 21st game of the season that night.  Hess had been in Washington, DC, on Sunday, calling Villanova-Maryland; the game in Charleston was his fourth in four days and his seventh in eight days.  However, Luckie had actually been a touch busier, as he was calling his tenth game in eleven days.  Luckie had been in Blacksburg on Sunday to call Georgia-Virginia Tech.

In terms of number of games officiated, the contrast between those three officials and the trio who worked the game on Saturday between Georgia Southern and The Citadel is stark.  Bill Cheek, John Corio, and Robert Robinson combined have worked only eleven games, just more than half of the total worked by Luckie (and Hess) alone.

This leads me to mention the difference in officiating in lower-echelon conferences between games played on weekdays and those on weekends.  During the week, there aren’t as many games played every night, because there are five days in which most schools will play just once.  However, on weekends there are obviously just two days, and most schools play on either Saturday or Sunday.  

The big-time officials follow the money, naturally, and the BCS leagues have the most money, so guys like Hess and Wood will work ACC or Big East games during the weekend, leaving lower-profile officials for leagues like the SoCon or the Big South.  On weeknights, it’s different; you might see one of those guys or some other TV-star ref working in the smaller conferences, because there aren’t as many games in the larger conferences on that particular night.

The quality of officiating in leagues like the Southern Conference is thus wildly variable, depending on what day a game is played.  I think this is a problem.  I don’t believe it’s a good idea for some of these guys to work so many games, either, although I can’t really fault them for doing so — they’re independent contractors, trying to make a living. 

What I would like to see is a system where a league like the SoCon can count on at least one quality veteran ref for all of its games.  This would probably mean the NCAA would have to get involved, which I realize wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing, but ultimately I think there needs to be an adjustment made in the way officials are assigned to contests. 

The first game in the recent five-game homestand for The Citadel was a 69-37 pummeling of UVA-Wise, an NAIA school that was no match for the Bulldogs.  The game didn’t really do much for The Citadel, although it’s a win, and every win counts.  The defense was excellent throughout; the offense was okay but not great.  Not much else to say about that game, really.

The next night, The Citadel defeated Central Connecticut State 67-53, pulling away late in the contest.  This was a slowly-paced game (CCSU had only 53 possessions) in which the Blue Devils played zone and dared the Bulldogs to beat them from outside.  CCSU actually led at halftime, but the strategy couldn’t hold up for 40 minutes. 

Zach Urbanus was 7-13 from beyond the arc, and Cosmo Morabbi added four three-pointers of his own.  Cameron Wells had nine assists against only one turnover.  Statistically, the defense for the Bulldogs was average; perhaps playing the second game of a back-to-backer was an issue.  The Citadel also got lucky (or rather, CCSU was unlucky) in that Devil starting guard Shemik Thompson was injured and unable to play.

On Saturday, The Citadel got blitzed by a barrage of three-pointers by Davidson and lost, 74-61.  The Wildcats scored 74 points in only 61 possessions, which isn’t easy to do, but then again converting 15 three-pointers during a game isn’t easy to do either.  Six of those shots from beyond the arc came from William Archambault, who two nights later against the College of Charleston would go 0-5 from three-point land.  Against The Citadel, Davidson shot 56% from outside the line; against the Cougars the Wildcats were 4-24. 

I thought The Citadel didn’t defend that badly along the perimeter, but Davidson made its shots anyway.  That kind of thing happens sometimes, and you just hope that if it happens to your team, that the squad is good enough to hang on against the onslaught and survive.  Michigan State faced something similar in the early going against the Bulldogs (when five different players hit three-pointers before the first TV timeout), but MSU’s clear physical superiority eventually won out.  The Citadel doesn’t have the luxury of a margin for error, though.

Georgia Southern is rebuilding under new coach Charlton Young, and he’s got a bit of a job to do.  GSU has little size (at least, among its regulars in the rotation) and doesn’t shoot well from outside.  Thus, Young and the Eagles try to scramble the game.  However, against The Citadel all that scrambling resulted in only eight turnovers by the Bulldogs.  The Citadel ran its offense well, got plenty of open looks from outside and was 10-22 from three-land.  The Eagles, on the other hand, committed twenty turnovers and made only three shots from beyond the arc.

None of those made three-pointers for The Citadel came from Joe Wolfinger, as the 7-footer seemed out of place in the game and only played eleven minutes.  Another interesting move in the game was to bring Austin Dahn and Bryan Streeter off the bench.  This decision seemed to work, particularly for Dahn, who played fewer minutes than his norm but was more effective offensively.  Both players against came off the bench against Michigan State, too (with Cosmo Morabbi and Matt Clark starting).

As a starter, Dahn is 5-32 from 3-point land.  In two games as a sub, he is 4-9.  Sample size and all that, but if Dahn comes out of long shooting slump, The Citadel is a much better team, one that will be very hard for SoCon opponents to handle from an offensive perspective.

The final game of the homestand (not counting the exhibition game against Allen on Dec. 16) was the much-anticipated clash with Michigan State, live and in color on ESPNU (and in HD, unless you have DirecTV).  I was glad to see the crowd in full voice for the game, with a healthy contingent of the corps present and creating havoc.  I think most of the MSU players got a kick out of the atmosphere (Izzo certainly did).  The TV announcers seemed to enjoy working the game, too (Mark Gottfried referred to people “hanging from the rafters” at least three times).

Tangent:  I wish that type of atmosphere was the norm, or at least close to the norm, at McAlister.  The key to it being so, of course, is the corps of cadets.  There is always a hardy group of cadets at home games, often patrolling one of the baselines, but there aren’t enough of them.  As someone who regularly attended basketball games while a cadet, I find this somewhat frustrating. 

When I was in school, the cadets usually at the games were either A) football/baseball players, B) all-around sports fans (not many of those at The Citadel), and C) native New Yorkers.   Okay, that last one is a semi-exaggeration, but there were several guys from points north who had grown up on college basketball (rooting for the likes of Iona or Seton Hall) and enjoyed getting a “fix” at McAlister.  They were world-class hecklers, too.  No opponent was ever safe at a shootaround, that’s for sure.

One cool thing that happened at the Davidson game was that one of the trainers gave away some old warmups to the cadets assembled along the baseline.  I thought that was a nice gesture. 

I would like for someone (administration, leadership within the corps, whoever) to come up with a way to ensure that at least one-fourth of the cadets attend every home game.  Really, it should be more than that, but I’ll settle for one-fourth right now.

The Citadel got off to the aforementioned hot start against the Spartans and finished 12-20 from beyond the arc.  Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were only 7-29 inside the arc, which tells you which team dominated the paint (and the glass; MSU outrebounded The Citadel 35-16).  The Spartans also took 19 more free throws than the Bulldogs (two of those were by Derrick Nix, who went 0-2 and is now an almost impossible 1-19 from the free throw line for the season).

A few odds and ends, observations, etc.:

— Number of possessions for the five games, in order:  67, 55, 66, 61, 57.  Considering that the UVA-Wise game (67 possessions) was a blowout, and that the Davidson game (66) was one in which The Citadel had to increase the number of possessions because it was trailing, I think the team’s pace of play is just about where it needs to be.  Fewer than ten teams nationally play at a slower tempo. 

— After 11 games, The Citadel is 6-5.  After 11 games last season, The Citadel was 5-6.  Incidentally, Michigan State was the eleventh game in both seasons.

— I think it’s fairly clear after eleven games that Joe Wolfinger isn’t going to be a “like for like” substitute for Demetrius Nelson.  Just some raw stats from the first nine games against Division I opponents:  Wolfinger has 84 shot attempts, with 33 coming from beyond the arc, and 18 free throw attempts, while Nelson had 62 shot attempts, none of them from 3-land, and 33 free throw attempts.  Wolfinger has 52 rebounds (15 offensive) and 13 turnovers, while Nelson had 42 rebounds (16 offensive) and 19 turnovers.

Nelson got better as the season progressed (and also started taking more shots), and Wolfinger certainly has the potential to do so as well.  I think the above stats show that he needs to do a slightly better job grabbing offensive boards, and part of that has to do with shot selection — namely, his. 

When Wolfinger is shooting the three, The Citadel’s tallest player isn’t under the basket to grab an offensive rebound.  He’s obviously an excellent shooter for his size, but he probably needs to be a bit more judicious about when to shoot.  He also is going to have lots of chances to pass out of the post and pick up assists as the season goes on; he only has two assists so far. 

There is definitely something to be said, however, about having a big man who is capable of having a big night from three-land.  It’s disorienting (and sometimes disheartening) for an opponent when he converts those jumpers, and also opens up a lot of things for the other offensive players. 

— Twelve different players have seen significant time in at least one game this season.  Bo Holston followed up a DNP against Davidson with 20+ minute performances against both Georgia Southern and Michigan State.  Mike Groselle has looked very good in spot duty, but is currently struggling with a bad ankle, which just means he could play quarterback for The Citadel.  Ben Cherry and Daniel Eykyn have both had their moments, as has the Midwest City Masked Man, Harrison Dupont.

Basically, if you’re in uniform, be ready for action, because you never know when Ed Conroy is going to wave you into the game.  I guess there is a reason the Bulldogs have so many players on the roster…

— The Citadel is shooting 37.9% from 3-point land, currently second-best in the conference and in the top 70 nationally.  The Bulldogs average only 10.8 turnovers per game, 11th-best in the country, although part of that is due to a lack of possessions.  However, The Citadel’s turnover rate is still solid, as is its assist-to-turnover ratio and assist-to-made-basket ratio (top 75 overall in all three statistics). 

The Citadel commits just 14.4 fouls per game, which is in the top 10 nationally (and was even better before being called for 18 fouls against Michigan State; in that game Cosmo Morabbi was a very unlucky foul magnet).

What are things that need improvement?  Three point defense, for one.  Davidson wasn’t the only team to make more than its fair share of three-pointers against the Bulldogs; at 39.5% against, The Citadel is in the bottom 50 nationally in that category.  The Bulldogs also need to improve their rebounding (particularly on the offensive glass) and force a few more turnovers, as opponents are averaging only 12.1 per game (although part of that, again, is a function of tempo).

Now it’s time for the players to win the game called Exam Week.

ESPN’s college football announcers for 2009

On Thursday, ESPN released its assignments for its college football studio and game coverage.  There was a fair amount of movement among its announcing teams this season.  Some comments:

  • The Brad Nessler-Todd Blackledge tandem should be excellent.  Blackledge no longer has to worry about trying to decipher various off-the-wall comments by Mike Patrick.  Nessler doesn’t have to prop up Bob Griese (who to me has faded badly as an analyst in recent years) or make room for Paul Maguire’s observations.  Erin Andrews will roam the sidelines for this team; let’s hope she doesn’t get hit by a ball.
  • Speaking of Maguire, according to a column in USA Today he was supposed to have a “reduced role” this season, with “the occasional game” and some studio and radio shows.  However, the man who still holds the record for the longest punt in The Citadel’s football history is not listed anywhere on the release (and the release is fairly extensive, listing some “additional” commentators like JC Pearson, Jon Berger, and Shaun King).
  • Griese is going to be part of a three-man booth working the noon ESPN game.  Dave Pasch gets to referee Griese and Chris Spielman.  That strikes me as possibly being a mismatched combo.  Griese and Spielman are both Big 10 guys, though.  I think Pasch is one of the better play-by-play guys ESPN has on its roster, but he’s probably precluded from drawing primetime assignments due to being the radio voice of the Arizona Cardinals.
  • One of my favorite announcers, Sean McDonough, will work ABC games with Matt Millen.  Millen was a solid analyst on NFL telecasts before his extremely ill-advised stint as GM of the Lions.  I think moving back to broadcasting on the college side is probably a good move for him.  Oh, and this team also draws a sideline reporter, Holly Rowe.  It’s a shame she isn’t working with Ron Franklin.
  • Mike Patrick moves from ESPN Saturday night to one of the regional ABC slots, teamed with Craig James (who will also continue as an analyst on the Thursday night package) and sideline reporter Heather Cox.  Britney Spears will not be impressed.
  • Carter Blackburn, formerly of CBS College Sports TV, will be calling games on ESPNU.  It appears he’ll primarily be working west coast games.  His announcing sidekick is listed as “TBD”.
  • Pam Ward is back for the noon game on ESPN2, with Ray Bentley back for at least the third year in a row as her analyst.  I’m just glad I’m not a fan of, say, a mediocre Big 10 school…
  • Todd Harris got a regular play-by-play gig, working Saturday afternoon ESPNU telecasts with Charles Arbuckle (really, it should have been Bentley).  I sincerely hope those will be “interactive” broadcasts.

Then there is ESPN’s SEC announcing roster.  I wanted to delve into this a little deeper, because I’m curious to see how ESPN approaches its contractual relationship with the conference.

Aside from the SEC primetime games that will air on ESPN (which will mostly be called by Nessler and Blackledge), there will be a regular ESPN game on Saturday night, an occasional afternoon game on ESPNU, and the syndicated regional package put together by ESPN Regional Television.  The full list of affiliates for the regional package won’t be announced until the SEC Media Days in a couple of weeks, but it’s anticipated the “footprint” for the broadcast will be significantly larger than what it was under Raycom/JP/Lincoln Financial.

The ESPNU night game will be called by Eric Collins and Brock Huard.  Neither of those guys has an SEC background, or even a background in the southeast, which is at least semi-interesting.  Huard is a former Washington quarterback who worked games last season with Bob Wischusen.  Collins has called college football for ESPN before (working with Shaun King on a semi-regular basis, if I remember correctly), and currently works the TV side of L.A. Dodgers broadcasts for the 38 road games for which Vin Scully doesn’t travel.

The SEC regional broadcast was traditionally the Dave-Dave-Dave show, or Dave Times Three.  However, all traditions must end sometime, and thus only one of the Daves was brought into the new ERT package.  That would be play-by-play man Dave Neal, the de facto TV face of the SEC.  Neal will be working with Andre Ware, not one of my favorite analysts but probably still better than his Dave predecessors (Rowe and Archer).  The sideline reporter will be Cara Capuano, who SEC fans will undoubtably identify with completely, since she’s from California and has a degree in cell biology and biochemistry from UC-San Diego.  Capuano will double as the host of the new weekly SEC show on ESPNU.

The regional broadcast will also have a studio show hosted by Rob Stone and Matt Stinchcomb, which is convenient, since the ESPNU studio for Saturday afternoons will also be Stone and Stinchcomb.  UGA fans will be in Dawg Heaven on the U, since Stinchcomb will be working afternoons in the studio, and appearing in the studio in primetime will be another former UGA man, David Pollack.

I’m just ready for the games to start…