by David Hershorin

I hope some of you were not seriously worried about the lack of MEDIA SCOPE in this sites content. My extended tours took me through many towns in the northeast and Canada. In Quebec, it was virtually impossible for me to get games to watch…let alone get online at will. So excuse my excuses and let’s get back to the kids playing with the oblong thingy.

Saturday – October 12, 2002
FSU vs. Miami – Noon on ABC
Commentators – Bob Griese, Brad Nessler, Lynn Swann

From a broadcast standpoint, this game succeeded. The announcers held the viewers with steadfast commentary up to par with the play left on the field. Funny though, this wasn’t the best game for this talking team. A few uncharacteristic misses on play-by-play and color portions surprised many watching closely. Still, these guys called the best game of the day even on one of their worst…that speaks volumes for the stellar quality of this and any ABC broadcast boasting these guys.

From the beginning graphics of “Who Scores First” (14 of last 15 have won this battle) statistically predicting this one, the production trucks knew just what to highlight. They corrected Terry Bowden’s halftime faux pas (curse) when he inaccurately said a close game favors FSU- graphics later showed games decided by five or fewer points have all gone to Miami…five of them. “Wide Right” replays were predictable yet obviously poignant. The booth came together beautifully with their behind-the-scenes counterparts at the games crescendo moment. Griese’s quick study of the “Wide Left” effort was replayed from the optimum viewpoint to hammer home his keen point of how poor the snap/hold was to help in writing this similar chapter of these teams’ saga.

My favorite comment of the day came as FSU drove for that game ending score that never came. When TB Greg Jones was stopped behind the line of scrimmage, finally made to look human by the weary Miami DL, Nessler spouted “they just lifted him up like Joan River’s face”. Classic.

The booth’s few misses (no props to FSU’s OL for amply managing the Canes bionic DL until late in 4th quarter, not commenting on FSU’s poor play calling - obviously looking to “not-lose” instead of win) were outweighed by many more omniscient comments than any other announcing team Saturday. Griese remained calm and disciplined, emitting a controlled vibe throughout the day. He sometimes forgets these attributes when he allows the moment to excite him. Any critical nature towards these guys from this column only reflects the knowledge that their best game is still to be called. Give them a B+ to motivate them toward that best game (of course they read this). The truck earns their A with replays highlighting team play, which is too often ignored as individual highlights usually rule. I sure hope these guys get the Fiesta Bowl.

Texas vs. Oklahoma – 3:30pm on ABC
Commentators: Brent Musburger, Gary Danielson, Jack Arute

Home viewers were not treated to the same quality in this game’s broadcast. Brent & Co. did reflect the fanatical energy level the 80,000+ generated in the seesaw first half. Quality observations were readily seen and replayed. Even the UCLA/Oregon game was constantly updated, providing pivotal highlights early and often, almost creating a split-screen effect. But this crew seemed to miss the boat on specific angles, mainly not highlighting enough the tremendous WR/CB battles.

Many of the individual plays made were touched upon with close-up replays. Yet the entire offensive and defensive schemes revolved around these all-star match-ups (see this sites “Heavyweight Match-Ups” in last week’s EDGE previews), their overall importance never to be telestrated or debated. It soon became evident we viewers were missing out on the reasons the teams’ play calling and breakdowns revolved around these critical areas. It was finally pointed out (well into the 2nd quarter) how zone coverage calls were to blame for many of the big pass plays being given up by the defenses…too bad we never saw those replays outlining the teams’ approaches and their results. Arguably, the unfolding game reflected the progression of the WR/CB battle(s). Texas’ CBs held on for most of the first half, but OU receivers proved more than their Longhorn counterparts. Unlike the previous game’s replays, telestrated breakdowns were few and farther between.

The producers decided to show the Penn Sate/Michigan OT ending, earning critical acclaim. This bodes well for us at home who don’t have ‘game day’ packages. More production decisions of this ilk would surely enhance Joe Six-Packs Saturday watching experience. Good job on this point at hand. It counters the modern trend of making more games available only for those willing to pony up big $ for the entire season package. More for free, how novel. The B given for the production value raises an average effort missing any major flaws. The booth’s C+ shows how high the bar was set for this one (any other game besides FSU/Miami and their effort garners a B).