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Countdown to Coverage: College Football’s Best TV Show

“College football is all over television on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. All of those games require A LOT of studio coverage.”

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College football season is nearly here.

Forget last Saturday. It’s called Week 0 for a reason. Do you really want to believe the first game of the 2022 season was 3-9 Northwestern and 3-9 Nebraska playing halfway around the world?

Here at Barrett Sports Media, we are celebrating college football from a media angle. All week long, our editors and resident college football superfans, Arky Shea, Demetri Ravanos and Garrett Searight, will be looking at the best the media has to offer in terms of college football coverage.

The entire schedule is as follows:

MONDAY: Best Local Show

TUESDAY: Best National Radio Show

WEDNESDAY: Best College Football Podcast

THURSDAY: Best TV Show

FRIDAY: Best TV Play-by-Play Booth

College football is all over television on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. All of those games require A LOT of studio coverage. So who does it best?

Do you prefer the pageantry and storytelling of College Gameday? Maybe the no-nonsense approach of Big Noon Kickoff is more your speed. What if the best TV show isn’t on in a pregame window?

As we inch closer to the inevitable tag team main event featuring the SEC and ESPN versus the Big Ten and FOX, this discussion may end up being the college football media’s most important pissing contest. Here are our picks for college football’s best TV show.

COLLEGE GAMEDAY by Arky Shea

You can debate the validity of any show you want, the king is still ESPN’s College GameDay. The show kicked off it’s 36th season and has lapped the field in terms of college fandom allegiance and tradition. The desk lineup is loaded with names that you associate with the sport: Rece Davis who has deep ties into college football as a graduate of the University of Alabama, Desmond Howard, a Heisman Trophy winner that’s been giving his hot takes since 2005 on GameDay, Kirk Herbstreit who has become the most influential broadcasting voice in the sport. THE MOST. And of course Lee Corso, a man that pioneered something so collegiate, so simple and so brilliant that nobody else can ever do it! Only one man’s headgear prediction matters.

It’s become everyone’s Saturday wake-up call for a reason. There is a chemistry on that set that is so pure that it’s morphed long ago into familial status. There’s not another college football TV show that effortlessly entertains the sport’s diehards until kickoff like GameDay. It will take a lot to knock the crown off their head. The show has spearheaded so many ideas we take for granted about a pregame show like showing up on location, promoting fan’s to bring their own signage and inviting celebrities to the table to beef up the curb appeal. Hands down, College GameDay still reigns.

BIG NOON KICKOFF by Garrett Searight

College GameDay is a lot like my 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I loved that car. I had so many memories with it that I will cherish until my dying day. I openly wept the day a man didn’t tie down rabbit cages in the back of his truck and I had to stop on the highway to avoid hitting them and someone rear-ended me and the Jeep was totaled. I was gonna drive that Jeep for another 150,000 miles. And then I switched to a new car, and while I still love that old Jeep, you realized there’s a whole new wave of automotive technology out there.

When Big Noon Kickoff hit the airwaves, I couldn’t help but sample it. Demetri wrote a story a few weeks ago that included the mission of Big Noon Kickoff was to be new and relevant and he couldn’t be more correct. I’m 32 years old. Desmond Howard — who last week said he couldn’t understand how Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, who last year threw for 44 touchdowns and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, was the Heisman frontrunner this year — won the Heisman Trophy the year after I was born. Kirk Herbstreit was Ohio State’s quarterback when I was in diapers. Lee Corso’s last year as a college head coach was a year after my mom graduated high school.

On the flip side, Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart were college football during my formative years. Urban Meyer, while a troubling figure, is great on TV and won a National Championship coaching my favorite school in the last decade. Bob Stoops, who wasn’t nearly as great at TV as Meyer, was as worthy of a replacement as you could find. The Big Noon Kickoff cast is as relevant as one could assemble. Their puzzling insistence on using Clay Travis every Saturday notwithstanding, Big Noon Kickoff’s strictly-football approach is a welcomed change to GameDay’s broader, softer storytelling elements.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL FINAL by Demetri Ravanos

With all due respect to my colleagues, who I think are bright guys, the pregame ain’t it for college football on TV. We pregame all week and then the national media makes a hard pivot to the NFL the second the clock hits zero in Honolulu. A real college football fan knows the value and importance of College Football Final! It’s not just the late-night airing, it is the consecutive reruns on Sunday mornings that give us one last chance to contextualize everything that happened the night before.

The show has had problems in the past. I would argue that Lou Holtz made the show nearly unwatchable for years. I like what they have going now though. Matt Barrie brings the right level of snarkiness to the show alongside experts Joey Galloway and Jessie Palmer. The helmet stickers, the poll projections, the general sense of closure to the week are all needed on a Sunday before those of us that live and die with the college game turn our collective attention to the NFL.

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Pedro Martinez: ‘Never Imagined’ TV Career

“And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.”

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As the Major League Baseball season comes to a close and preparations for the playoffs begin, MLB Network and TNT analyst Pedro Martinez joined The Press Box podcast to discuss his time as a television analyst.

When asked what he liked about working in television, Martinez didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“I think it’s a platform and the opportunity I have to bring to the audience what I know, what I think, what I understand and broadcasting gives me the opportunity to continue to have that communication with the people, the young athletes and fans. At the same time, I’m able to continue to learn and transmit some of the things that I would love to show everybody by playing but my body doesn’t allow me, but my mind does.

“This is a great way to bring the right information to the people, but I take advantage of the platform to communicate with my fanbase, the player’s fanbase, and the voice behind the players and the situations that come up, I can actually teach the audience some of the things that I understand from my point of view.”

A media career was never in the cards for Martinez. At least that’s what he thought during his playing career.

“I swear to god, it’s the only thing I never imagined. I never thought I would like being in front of a camera,” Martinez said. “And the reason I’m here, it’s not because of the camera, it’s actually because it gives me an opportunity to remain linked to the game, remain linked to what’s going on, the different changes the game is offering right now, adjusting to different things.

“You learn so much just by having access to information, having access to so many other different things. A lot of people would be surprised how much you can dig into and I think for everybody else, if they knew the kind of information we have access to, they’d be intrigued to come do what we do.”

He then said one of the things he would have never picked up on was how many pitchers tip their pitches, but due to all of the information, video, and relationships broadcasters have make that information readily available. He added his work in television has enabled more relationships with baseball players from his home country, the Dominican Republic.

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Stephen A. Smith and Malika Andrews Get Heated Over Ime Udoka Coverage

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

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Stephen A. Smith, Malika Andrews

On Friday’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith continued his stance regarding the public leaking of information surrounding Celtics’ Head Coach Ime Udoka relationship with a team staffer. He also went further by sharing his dismay that Udoka was seemingly the only person punished for the violation of company policy.

“Only he is in violation of the company policy?” Smith asked. “The woman who elected to have a consensual relationship with him is not in violation?” 

Before the end of the show, ESPN NBA Today host Malika Andrews called in the program and wanted to address Smith’s comments.

“Stephen A., with all do respect, this is not about pointing the finger. Stop,” Andrews said. “The fact that we are sitting here debating whether somebody else should have been suspended or not, we are not here, Stephen A., to further blame women.”

Smith would replay saying that his intention was not blame anyone outside of the Celtics coach.

“First of all, let me be very clear, I don’t appreciate where you’re going with that, I’m not blaming anybody but Ime Udoka,” Smith stated. “The fact of the matter is, he deserves to be fired if they were going to fire him. If you’re not going to fire him, then don’t fire him. My issue is all of this being publicized.”

Andrews tried to jump back in for further commentary but Smith stopped that and noted he didn’t appreciate being interrupted on “my show”.

“Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, I listened to you,” Smith interjected, “you’re the one telling me to stop on my show. It ain’t happening.”

Andrews did thank Smith for clarifying his stance at the end of the segment. ESPN has removed access to the video from its YouTube channel by making it private.

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Rich Eisen on Tom Brady Joining FOX: ‘I Gotta See It to Believe It’

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow.”

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Is 2023 the year we see Tom Brady in the broadcast booth for FOX? Rich Eisen isn’t so sure.

“I still gotta see it to believe it, I’ll be honest with you, man. I know it’s a great chunk of change and it’s a lot of money. I don’t know,” the NFL Network icon said on the most recent edition of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast.

Tom Brady has taken his foot off the gas in 2022 in a more public way than fans are used to. He voluntarily missed eleven days of training camp and has announced that he will not be available to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesdays during the season.

Eisen says if Brady is looking for a less demanding career, broadcasting isn’t the best option.

“It is a lot of work. And I’m not saying Brady’s not up for it, but if he’s been grinding for 23, 24 years, it’s still a grind in its own way.”

FOX signed Brady to a ten-year deal reportedly worth $375 million to start after he retires. He will be in the network’s top broadcast booth and also serve as an ambassador for the network’s coverage of the NFL.

Eisen says there is a much better model for Brady’s media career in his old rival Peyton Manning.

“I think what Peyton Manning has done with his post-playing career is more of a blueprint that I would think Brady would follow,” Eisen said. “Peyton Manning could be making that much money in the booth himself, right? Instead, he’s got his own production company and he’s doing the games, but not all of them, only 10 of them. And he’s doing them from his basement and he’s got the rights to the games!”

He added that Tom Brady “write his own ticket like that” if he chose to do something similar to what Manning has done with Omaha Productions.

Brady has not had much to say about his deal with FOX since the news became public. In June, he told Dan Patrick that he knows his first season in the booth will come with a lot of growing pains.

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