College Sports

College Football: ESPN and CBS Sports Network are set for their first weekend; Schedule and voices


Labor Day weekend will include college football, but hardly with headline games and names. Of the Power Five Conferences, the SEC will play a ten game league schedule beginning September 26th. The Big-12 will also begin then with ten games, 9 league and one non-league matchup. For now, the ACC will go with 11 games beginning September 10th. All but one will be conference games. This of course means that Notre Dame will have a football season.

The Big Ten and PAC-12 have postponed their fall football due to Covid-19.

So it’s a muted start and the scheduling details for the weekend are spelled out below. Some network highlights first. Fox initiates its play-by-play coverage on Friday, September 11th.


SportsCenter anchor Matt Barrie enters his second season as host of ESPN’s Saturday college football studio coverage, continuing to work alongside analysts Joey Galloway and Jesse Palmer.

Booger McFarland, who for the last two seasons was an analyst on the network’s Monday Night Football broadcasts, will return to ESPN’s college football coverage, joining host Kevin Negandhi and analyst Mark Sanchez in the ABC studio on Saturdays. McFarland will also contribute in-studio to NFL programming.

Negandhi has anchored ABC’s college football studio coverage since 2017. Sanchez, the former Southern California quarterback and Rose Bowl Game MVP, enters his second season on ABC.

Wendi Nix, who signed a new ESPN extension, will be the new primary host of College Football Live (Tue-Thurs, 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2). No stranger to ESPN’s college football coverage, Nix hosted College Football Live and college football Saturdays on ESPN2 and previously served as a reporter, among her many assignments since joining ESPN in August 2006. Wendi will be joined on the program by a rotation of analysts.

College GameDay will kick off the season Saturday at 11 am with a special two-hour preview program. Host Rece Davis will be live from ESPN’s Bristol studios, while analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack will be live from their ‘home studios.’ Maria Taylor will also contribute to the program. The destination of GameDay’s first road trip of the 2020 season, set for September 12, will be announced during the show. Wondering whether Corso, 85, will leave his ‘home studio’ at all this fall?

Chris Fowler, ESPN’s lead college play-by-play voice is busy with tennis this weekend. Rece Davis will sub for him on Monday night’s BYU-Navy game. Slick Kirk Herbstreit who predicted no football at all this fall will join Davis.

Fox Sports

FOX Sports’ college football schedule is highlighted by the expansion of its Big Noon Kickoff pregame show. Personalities include Urban Meyer, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn and host Rob Stone. The show kicks off Saturday, Sept. 12th, at 10:00 am ET on FOX, ahead of Big Noon.

Fox’ fall season kicks off Friday, Sept. 11th when SMU and TCU play for the Iron Skillet in the teams’ 100th all-time meeting. It will run  at 9:00 pm ET on FS1.

FOX Sports’ 2020 fall college football lineup includes top games from the Big 12 Conference, featuring the Red River Showdown between Oklahoma and Texas from Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas on Saturday, Oct. 10th.

Thursday, Sept. 3

Central Arkansas at UAB | 8 p.m. | ESPN3, Curt Bloom, Chad Pilcher

South Alabama at Southern Miss | 9 p.m. | CBSSN, Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor


Saturday, Sept. 5

Eastern Kentucky at Marshall | 1 p.m. | ESPN, Jason Benetti, Andre Ware

Middle Tennessee at Army | 1:30 p.m. | CBSSN,  Ben Holden, Ross Tucker

SMU at Texas State | 4:30 p.m. | ESPN, Anish Shroff, Tom Luginbill

Houston Baptist at North Texas | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN3, Doug Anderson, LaDarrin McLane

Arkansas State at Memphis | 8 p.m. | ESPN, Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky

Stephen F. Austin at UTEP | 9 p.m. | ESPN3, Erik Elken, Trevor Vittatoe


Monday, Sept. 7

BYU at Navy | 8 p.m. | ESPN, Rece Davis Kirk Herbstreit



David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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