ESPN/ABC Shuffles College Football Lineup
ESPN/ABC isn't waiting for August two-a-days to update its announcer depth charts for college football.
While on-air lineups for its marquee ABC Saturday prime-time games (Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Lisa Salters) and ESPN GameDay (Lee Corso, Herbstreit, Chris Fowler and Desmond Howard) are unchanged, there are new wrinkles:
There are new marquee lineups. Matt Millen, back on TV after overseeing the Detroit Lions, will be the analyst on ABC's main Saturday afternoon games and work with play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough. They replace Paul Maguire@ (who won't work games this season), Bob Griese (who moves to ESPN midday games) and play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler (who'll move to ESPN Saturday prime-time games).
Craig James will continue as an analyst on ESPN Thursday night games but won't return to ABC's Saturday afternoon studio. Instead, he'll work ABC Saturday afternoon games with play-by-play announcer Mike Patrick, who had called ESPN Saturday prime-time games.
ESPN executive Norby Williamson suggests McDonough's new role is partly based on his work on ESPN Monday night college basketball games, alongside analysts Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery, where the trio produced "one of the best booths we do."
Says Williamson of Maguire, ESPN's original lead college football analyst who went on to call Super Bowls on NBC: "He helped build our network."
Doug Flutie@, who'd worked in ABC's studio and did some midweek ESPN games, will no longer be part of any coverage. Sideline reporter Bonnie Bernstein@ also exits.
Jesse Palmer, who once starred in ABC's The Bachelor, will join ABC's Saturday studio and continue to work ESPN Saturday night games. Analyst Brock Huard, who last season got miscellaneous assignments, will work Saturday prime-time SEC games on ESPNU. Sideline reporter Erin Andrews will work ESPN Saturday prime-time games and continue on its Thursday night games.
And Williamson says there are no questions about GameDay's Corso, recovering from a recent stroke. Said Williamson: "I just talked to him (on Thursday) and he'd just been on the treadmill. He's doing well."