SCOPE - November 2
by David Hershorin
some weird coincidence, the most desirable match-ups
were all broadcast competitively - in other words,
I had to watch two games at once to see the good
ones. This makes it tough to grade the proceedings.
But I was able to watch enough of each of these
broadcasts to tell much. So if I missed something,
I hope you'll understand a football fans prerogative
to click when necessary. That said, let's whine
vs. Oklahoma - ABC at 3:30pm
Brent Musberger, Gary Danielson, Jack Arute
one of those days, folks." Uttered by Brent
half way through the first quarter, this statement
sums up the viewing audience's thoughts as this
weather-related soup-of-a-game unfolded. Production-wise,
the disastrous weather translated directly into
glitch after technical glitch. But for the home
viewer, there was much revealed when we accidentally
heard the line-producer (usually done over headphones
the viewing audience never hears), directing Brent
& Co's every comment. In case you may not
have known, the extra voice we heard wasn't meant
to be audible. This glitch lasted about 10 minutes
in the middle of the first half, during the rain's
heaviest downpours. The line-producer's job is
to control the course of the game's broadcast,
from which camera angles we see to when commercials
are shown, and everything in-between. So, least
of all, this mishap illuminates the chaos announcers
have to deal with just to make what is said coordinate
with what is shown. Most people never hear the
volume of crap levied upon announcers, which they
hear and incorporate to then make their delivery
all sound natural. Clouded lenses, along with
everything said sounding like it's in an echo
chamber, complimented the rain-affected broadcast.
These problems faded as the rain let up, but their
absence only revealed an uncompetitive snoozer.
of the remaining game went off well, broadcast-wise.
Gary Danielson has a lot to say, and does
too much in this writer opinion. He is illuminating
as he predicts everyone's thoughts, from officials
to players. But he never leaves any blank space
to digest the volume of insights. And when you
heap a healthy dose of Musberger, the chatter
becomes overbearing. But this complaint is well
offset by their ample football savvy and knowledge.
If one of them could tone down the intensity a
hair, it would be perfect. One boding fact given
to us was the Sooner's record after bye weeks
under coach Stoops, 10-1. Another revealing stat
provided - Colorado RB Chris Brown's 3rd down
conversion rate when he gets the carry, 20-24.
All this seemed background, though, as the weather
stole the show early and was a factor all day.
With such a handicap, the technical ends earn
a B for an above average effort in a below average
circumstance. The chatter may need tweaking, but
these guys did much just to make our watching
experience seem somewhat normal
a B+ balances
these two factors.
FSU vs. Wake Forest - ESPN2 at 4pm
Dr. Jerry Punch, Sean Salisbury, Tracy Wolfson
guys unfortunately reflect a growing trend in
college football broadcasting - adequate play-by-play
eclipsed by lacking color commentary. Dr. Jerry
and friends meant well when they gave us their
breakdown of what took place (microcosm of FSU's
season). It just didn't scratch the surface of
what the Noles' problems are. We expect more from
people paid this well, who only have one game
to cover a week. Never did they question the Nole's
coaching staff, actually praising offensive coordinator
Jeff Bowden for his changed game plan due to new
QB McPhearson. Announcers worth their salt, and
producers especially, should know no changes were
made, just better team execution due to a new
The lack of any dynamic nature to the FSU offense
has been apparent for years. No one wants to be
known for starting the "Get rid of Bobby"
movement, something obviously blocking needed
focus on the coaching staff's shortcomings. We
on the inside know how poorly such outstanding
talent has been coached. Consecutive years of
top recruiting classes should equal more
the blame becomes obvious. Ok, discount the fact
that 18-22 year olds tend to play inconsistently
over an entire season. But trends established
over years speak volumes of Nole coaches. These
coaching problems trickle into all of State's
weak dimensions, stringing together evident clues
rampantly ignored, this week by the above group.
Only Griese has revealed FSU's truth to us. But
then again, that is why he is Bob Griese.
again, this isn't to say nothing intelligent ever
cam out of their mouths. Dr. Jerry is a good play-by-play
guy, and Salisbury isn't stupid by any stretch.
But this miss seems repeatedly prevalent no matter
which network covers FSU. Years of Nole glory
have been upheaved by questionable decision-making,
something most either ignore or don't bring to
light. This strategy does keep viewers, riding
the Nole legacy for watching purposes. But it
isn't why I listen to analytical banter
is easily enough turned down when bad. This wasn't
that bad, but did make me proverbially readjust
each time they missed the boat. Along with delayed
or omitted replays, this broadcast didn't reflect
the higher standard ESPN2 has established in their
daytime coverage (not much higher, but better
than this). Just peg the Nole DBs for their poor
play and you chip at this problematic "iceberg".
The tip of FSU's dilemmas shows how much deeper
their deficiencies run. There are more, and some
sharp crew will soon tell all. The C earned all
around does show "the deuce's" average
approach, which passes for a good college football
broadcast. Someone, please step up on this one
vs. Virginia Tech - ESPN2 at 7:30pm
Mike Golic, Dave Barnett, Bill Curry, Alex Flanagan
was more range in the quality of this game's broadcast.
Bill Curry's down-home approach saved us from
boring low-points often wrought with mistakes
and obvious glitches. But Curry's charming insights
couldn't overcome all the funk.
and Barnett do know which end (of a football)
is up. They skillfully outlined how VT took Pitt's
lethal TE out of 3rd down plays by blitzing,,
thereby forcing the TE to stay home and pass protect.
Also strong was their documentation of last years
game (38-7 Pitt win) and how Pitt's post-game
comments provided the Hokies supposed motivation,
resonating for 364 days leading up to their rematch.
Too bad it didn't swell the Hokies to victory.
Weak was the time it took the crew's comments
to reflect Pitt's frontline dominance. It wasn't
until late in the 3rd quarter that we heard any
praise for this Panther strongpoint. This reflected
another weakness - the Hokie-heavy commentary.
Rarely did we hear how well Pitt was doing, only
how bad Tech played. Funniest sequence was when
Curry raked Pitt WR #1 Fitzgerald when he missed
an easy pass. "We were told by the Pitt coaching
staff that this kid's (Fitzgerald) got the softest
hands they've ever seen, even counting the pros.
We expect more than that from him." Of course,
Fitzgerald then went on to catch 3 TDs with highlight-reel
footage for the ages. Curry had the same effect
as when a QB is praised for not throwing an INT
in hundreds of attempts, only then to throw one
on his next pass. It's almost predictable. Most
noticeable, though, was the huge missed call on
a VT INT in the second half. The Hokie CB stepped
out early on his return, evident on replay but
totally missed by the talk-team.
technical ends fared better. Replays included
angles from both the endzone and directly above
(seemingly from the blimp or suspended remote
cameras). These were the best replays seen all
day. But then a graphic that broke down schedules
for the remaining unbeatens moved erratically.
Also weak in production was the cut-away to a
Syracuse-UCF highlight instead of showing any
replay of a crucial Tech penalty. Late-night ESPN2
games have been amateurish for years, classically
relying on action-filled tilts to carry weak broadcasting
(techniques). A poorly earned C- reflects the
up-and-down nature of how widely the chatter varied
in quality. Maybe this will shame them into higher
hopefully by December. Yeah, suuurrrreee
Georgia vs. Florida -
ESPN at 7:45pm
Mike Gottfried, Ron Franklin
difference from the above mentioned commentators
and this crew is marked. An average broadcast
earns them a B-. Their normal banter filled in
viewers, seemingly by them just chewing the fat.
Mike and Ron did miss a few calls , but hit many
big call missed was at game's end. The Gator sack
on the last play wasn't a sack at all, but an
incomplete pass (as confirmed on replay). No one's
arguing it would have changed the outcome, but
these announcers sure whiffed. Also, there was
no replay of Florida's missed PAT following their
first TD. Once again, no big deal, but surely
not up to par. Strong was their breakdown of line
strategies, as well as secondary schemes. Florida
played 5 DBs and 2 LBs most of the time, something
hard to tell from home, truly discernable only
through related commentary. The production truck
skillfully supplied endzone angles to telestrate
blocking and play-calling.
overall effort produced an adequate viewing experience
that never lulled excessively. The production
rates a B for continuity and decent bread-and-butter
delivery. A day full of so many big games (many
on both ABC and sister-network ESPN) meant this
'B' crew responded well to a game that would normally
be given higher priority. But with bowl season
fast approaching, let's all hope a better standard
is upheld sooner than later.