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Familiar Duo Gets Call for BCS Title Game

As the convoluted selection of the teams playing in college football's Bowl Championship Series grinds on, at least this is settled: ESPN/ABC and Fox, in roster moves that will be formally announced today, have decided who will call the games. The lineup as BCS games make their curtain call on broadcast network TV before they all move to ESPN next year:

ABC has the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl and, as part of the regular rotation of title games under the current TV deal, the Jan. 7 BCS title game, which also will be played in Rose Bowl Stadium. ESPN/ABC could have had different announcing teams call the two games. But it made the obvious play: Spokesman Mike Soltys says its top team of Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit will be looking live at both games.

On ESPN Radio, Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Todd Blackledge will call the Rose Bowl - with Tirico and Gruden on the title game.

Fox, which doesn't air regular-season college football, can get creative with its BCS on-air teams and has used Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw on college action. This year, says spokesman Dan Bell, it will use three of its NFL pairings on BCS games: Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick, calling his first college game, on the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl; Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan on the Jan. 4 Fiesta Bowl; and Dick Stockton and Charles Davis on the Jan. 5 Orange Bowl.

The BCS will be making its last appearance on broadcast network TV. Starting next season, ESPN will get all BCS games because it was willing to pay $125 million annually, up from the $82.5 million annually that Fox pays in a deal that didn't include the Rose Bowl and this year's title game. Expect the ESPN countdown hype for next year's BCS to begin a few minutes after the postgame show for this year's title game.

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