ESPN has announced their announcer matchups for bowl season. Consider the following to be both a guide and a warning about the best and the worst matchups ESPN has in store for your eyes and ears over the coming month. Note: not all announcing pairs are mentioned, just the ones we deem most relevant or harmful to your brain and soul.
The BCS Title Game gets Musburger, and this is how I know I'm getting old: Musburger has now gone through the full artistic cycle for me from awesome, to cliched, to painfully cliched, to venerable, and now venerably awesome and yet still gloriously cliched in his own over-the-top way. Herbstreit is quality to match, and almost as enthusiastic. Brent will overannounce a three yard fullback dive, but we'll take that over the lifeless dullardry of the Joe Buck School of Broadcasting Mortuary Studies any day.
(I'd hate you Joe Buck, but you can't hate oatmeal, because you're oatmeal, and you're not even supposed to be announcing football because you are oatmeal, and should not have a mouth and a large forehead.)
For those of you watching the Texas Bowl with Illinois and Baylor and the Ticket City Bowl with Northwestern vs. Texas Tech, congratulations; this dog will hunt, because you get Chris Spielman. There are other announcers with him, of course, but thankfully Dave Pasch and Bob Griese stay out of the way and let the best color guy ESPN has do his work. Spielman combines enthusiasm with nuts-and-bolts analysis delivered with a clarity a former jock should not be capable of, and yet there he is doing it.
Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge net the Sugar and Cap One, and deservedly so.
RESPECTABLE BIG BRANDS:
Ron Franklin, the silver fox of ESPN, gets the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve, and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day just to remind him that someone at ESPN wants to ruin his holidays. It's still good news for you, because he is classic even a bit past his prime.
Meanwhile, the excellent Sean McDonough is still saddled with Matt Millen for the Insight Bowl and the Fiesta, the broadcasting equivalent of pairing the Vienna Philharmonic to play an oboe concerto with a man in a gorilla suit who cannot play to the oboe. When you can't play the oboe you really can't play the oboe, and Matt Millen is as bad a non-oboe player as the broadcasting world has to offer. (Additionally, Millen will provide additional irony to the Insight Bowl by lacking any.)
The weirdest itinerary of all the announcing teams? The Blackburn/Huard/Bellotti's slate of the Humanitarian/ Meineke Car Care/GoDaddy.com Bowls. We hope you like commuter planes, because you're flying them whether you like it or not, gentlemen.
FOR ANIMAL USE ONLY
Craig James and Mike Patrick will despoil three bowls: the Gator, The Poinsettia Bowl, and the Alamo Bowl. Michigan is now officially on the divine retribution list, and will have its games broadcast by Craig James until Rich Rodriguez is fired.
The Davie/Jones' locker will bring FOOTBAW analysis (or lack thereof) to the Independence, Music City, and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. TRUE FACTS: If Bob Davie and Craig James had called the 2008 Sun Bowl, it would have destroyed civilization as we know it.
Finally, for those masochists who must have their Pam Ward fix, she'll be on the call for the Military Bowl. You have been advised, and can blame no one but yourself.