Event Previews

College football Week #13; ESPN, Fox, CBS, NBC and other nets have games wall-to-wall

Fox runs Penn State at Ohio State at 12 Noon with Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt; CBS has Texas A&M at Georgia in 3:30 SEC slot


  • Games galore this weekend. Some things never end. College football ends too quickly.
  • Just a shade under 100 TV games listed here. Before the Supreme Court’s 1984 decision, you’d have a handful of telecasts on a Saturday, at best.
  • Trey Bender has Air Force at New Mexico on ESPN3. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas and is the son of Gary Bender, a veteran network broadcaster who too graduated from KU. Trey’s wife, Amy, like Trey and dad is also a sportscaster. Their daughter Landry is named for Tom Landry, who was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. For those who might not remember, Gary Bender was CBS’ lead play-by-play voice for a few years in the 80s. He did Final Fours, the NFL and the NBA. When his contract wasn’t renewed, he kept busy. For years, Gary did the home telecasts for the Phoenix Suns. He’s now retired.
  • Amanda Balionis, well known for her very capable work on golf for CBS Sports, is assigned to the sidelines of the Miami -FIU game on CBS Sports Network. The weather is relatively cool in South Florida this week. Think she’ll get a few holes in?
  • Allen Bestwick, Mr. Motor Racing has Dartmouth-Brown.
  • Doug Flutie has his alma-mater, Boston College at Notre Dame on NBC. It will take more than just one Flutie prayer for the Eagles to win in South Bend.
  • ESPN’s Dave LaMont works a doubleheader this weekend, tonight and Saturday.
  • ESPN’s Mark Jones, who celebrated his 58th birthday last Saturday has a wonderful command of the language. He credits his grandpa for it. He was an English professor.
  • ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit (Herbie Pulpit) has Game Day in Columbus on Saturday, Penn State-Ohio State. He then has a prime-timer with Chris Fowler, Oregon at Arizona State.

Jake Baskin profiles John Strong who works the Rutgers-Michigan State game this week. Strong is a soccer voice. This weekend he’ll be calling real football, what appears to be for the first time for Fox. Profile is below the schedule.


Tuesday, Nov. 19

Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN2  Matt Barrie, Cole Cubelic

Ohio at Bowling Green | 7:30 p.m. | ESPNU  Jay Alter, Rocky Boiman

Wednesday, Nov. 20

Akron at Miami (OH) | 7:30 p.m. | ESPNU  Mike Corey, Dustin Fox

Toledo at Buffalo | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN2  Dave LaMont, Ray Bentley

Thursday, Nov. 21

N.C. State at Georgia Tech | 8 p.m. | ESPN  Adam Amin, Matt Hasselbeck, Pat McAfee

Friday, Nov. 22

Colorado State at Wyoming | 9:30 p.m. | ESPN2  Dave Flemming, Tom Ramsey

Saturday, Nov. 23

Penn State at Ohio State | 12 p.m. | FOX  Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt

Kansas at Iowa State | 12 p.m. | FSN  Mark Followill, Jordan Palmer

Ball State at Kent State | 12 p.m. | ESPN+  Michael Reghi, Dustin Fox

Liberty at Virginia | 12 p.m. | ACC Network Extra  Evan Lepler, Dave Archer

Western Carolina at Alabama | 12 p.m. | ESPN   Roy Philpott, Kelly Stouffer

Samford at Auburn | 12 p.m. | SEC Network  Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb

Minnesota at Northwestern | 12 p.m. | ABC  Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky 

East Carolina at UConn | 12 p.m. | ESPN3  Robert Lee, Matt Chatham

Michigan State at Rutgers | 12 p.m. | FS1  John Strong, Evan Moore

Oklahoma State at West Virginia | 12 p.m. | ESPN2  Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman

UCF at Tulane | 12 p.m. | CBSSN  Ben Holden, Ross Tucker

Illinois at Iowa | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network  Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen

BYU at UMass | 12 p.m. | FloSports Josh Maurer, Andy Gresh

Dartmouth at Brown | 12 p.m. | ESPN+  Allen Bestwick, Nick Coit

Harvard at Yale | 12 p.m. | ESPNU  Wes Durham, Roddy Jones

Wofford at The Citadel | 12 p.m. | ESPN+ Kevin Fitzgerald, Matt Dean ?

Hampton at Monmouth | 12 p.m. | ESPN3  Matt Harmon, Emory Hunt

Illinois State at Youngstown State | 12 p.m. | ESPN+  Drae Smith, Chris Sammarone

Princeton at Penn | 1 p.m. | ESPN+  Tom Hannifan, Coffee Jones

Stetson at Morehead State | 1 p.m. | ESPN+  Tanner Hesterberg, Jim Tom Trent

Point University at Furman | 1 p.m. | ESPN+  Bob Mihalic, Sam Wyche

Morgan State at Howard | 1 p.m. | ESPN3 Charlie Neal and Henry Frazier

South Carolina State at Norfolk State | 1 p.m. | ESPN3  Ross Gordon, Woube Gebre

North Carolina Central at North Carolina A&T | 1 p.m. | ESPN3  Shawn Kenney, Forrest Conoly

Columbia at Cornell | 1:30 p.m. | ESPN+ Barry Leonard, Buck Briggs

Air Force at New Mexico | 2 p.m. | ESPN3  Trey Bender, Tyoka Jackson

South Alabama at Georgia State | 2 p.m. | ESPN+  Matt Stewart, Wayne Gandy

Eastern Kentucky at Jacksonville State | 2 p.m. | ESPN3 Kevin Ingram, Bob Belvin

Murray State at Southeast Missouri State | 2 p.m. | ESPN+ Erik Sean, Rick Wieser

Marist at Valparaiso | 2 p.m. | ESPN+  Brian Jennings, Dave Huseman  

Gardner-Webb at Kennesaw State | 2 p.m. | ESPN+ Brian Katrek, Nathan McCreary

St. Francis (PA) at Delaware State | 2 p.m. | ESPN3  Gary Lang and Michael Walker

Boston College at Notre Dame | 2:30 p.m. | NBC   Mike Tirico, Doug Flutie, Chris Simms 

Texas State at Appalachian State | 2:30 p.m. | ESPN+ Harrison Battle, Pierre Banks

Tennessee State at Tennessee Tech | 2:30 p.m. | ESPN+ Dylan Vazzano Analyst: Sam Brooks

Georgia Southern at Arkansas State | 3 p.m. | ESPN+  Roger Twibell, Pete Cordelli

Eastern Illinois at Austin Peay | 3 p.m. | ESPN+ Barry Gresham, Patton Cook

South Dakota State at South Dakota | 3 p.m. | ESPN+  Jay Elsen, Kurtiss Riggs

North Dakota State at Southern Illinois | 3 p.m. | ESPN+ Brian Shawn, Lee Timmerman

Indiana State at Missouri State | 3 p.m. | ESPN+  Scott Warmann, Danan Hughes

Texas A&M at Georgia | 3:30 p.m. | CBS  Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson

UCLA at Southern California | 3:30 p.m. | ABC  Steve Levy, Brian Griese

Nebraska at Maryland | 3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network  Brandon Gaudin, James Laurinaitis

SMU at Navy | 3:30 p.m. | CBSSN   John Sadak, Randy Cross

North Texas at Rice | 3:30 p.m. | NFL Network Dan Hellie, Michael Robinson,

Western Kentucky at Southern Miss | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+  Jason Baker, Marchant Kenney

Campbell at Charleston Southern | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+ Evan West and Killian McClatchey

Marshall at Charlotte | 3:30 p.m. | Stadium Chris Hassel, AJ Hawk

Mercer at North Carolina | 3:30 p.m. | ACC Network Extra Tom Werme, James Bates

East Tennessee State at Vanderbilt | 3:30 p.m. | SEC Network Alt  Dave LaMont, Ray Bentley

Louisiana Tech at UAB | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+  Curt Bloom, Chad Pilcher

UT Martin at Kentucky | 3:30 p.m. | SEC Network  Dave Neal, D.J. Shockley

Michigan at Indiana | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN  Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge

Pitt at Virginia Tech | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN2  Mark Jones, Dusty Dvoracek

Texas at Baylor | 3:30 p.m. | FS1  Brian Custer, Robert Smith

Florida A&M vs. Bethune-Cookman (Orlando, FL) | 3:30 p.m. | ESPNN

Purdue at Wisconsin | 4 p.m. | FOX   Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman

San Jose State at UNLV | 4 p.m. | AT&T Sportsnet  Drew Goodman, Sed Bonner

Syracuse at Louisville | 4 p.m. | ACC Network  Chris Cotter, Mark Herzlich

Memphis at South Florida | 4 p.m. | ESPNU  Clay Matvick, Ryan Leaf

California at Stanford | 4 p.m. | Pac-12 Network  Ted Robinson, Yogi Roth, 

UTEP at New Mexico State | 4 p.m. | FloSports   Adam Young, Danny Knee

McNeese at Lamar | 4 p.m. | ESPN3 Dan Gresham, LaMont Williams

Old Dominion at Middle Tennessee | 4:30 p.m. | ESPN3 Jake Rose, Alex Myers,

Troy at Louisiana | 5 p.m. | ESPN+ Dan McDonald,  Eric Mouton

Coastal Carolina at UL Monroe | 5 p.m. | ESPN3  Lyn Rollins hris MycCoskie

Florida Atlantic at UTSA | 6 p.m. | ESPN+  David Saltzman, LaDarrin McLane

Arkansas at LSU | 7 p.m. | ESPN  Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy

Kansas State at Texas Tech | 7 p.m. | FS1  Aaron Goldsmith, Ben Leber

Temple at Cincinnati | 7 p.m. | ESPN2  Anish Shroff, John Congemi,

Miami at Florida International | 7 p.m. | CBSSN  Rich Waltz, Aaron Murray

Tennessee at Missouri | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network  Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic

Duke at Wake Forest | 7:30 p.m. | ACC Network  Dave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck

Abilene Christian at Mississippi State | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network Alt  Mark Neely, Hutson Mason

Oregon at Arizona State | 7:30 p.m. | ABC  Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit

Houston at Tulsa | 7:30 p.m. | ESPNU  Kevin Brown, Andre Ware

TCU at Oklahoma | 8 p.m. | FOX  Joe Davis, Brock Huard

Oregon State at Washington State | 9 p.m. | Pac-12 Ntk Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron, 

Utah at Arizona | 10 p.m. | FS1  Cory Provus, Petros Papadakis, 

Washington at Colorado | 10 p.m. | ESPN   Jason Benetti, Rod Gilmore

Nevada at Fresno State | 10:30 p.m. | ESPN2  Mike Couzens, Kirk Morrison

Boise State at Utah State | 10:30p.m. | CBSSN  Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor

San Diego State at Hawai’i | 11 p.m. | Spectrum Sports  Robert Kekaula, Rich Miano


Jake Baskin’s profile of John Strong, photographed here

Image result for john strong fox sportsJohn Strong makes his college football debut for Fox Sports this week, calling Saturday’s FS1 Big Ten matchup between Michigan State and Rutgers. He’ll work alongside former Stanford and NFL wide receiver Evan Moore. This may possibly be Strong’s first Fox telecast in a sport other than soccer, the sport that has brought him considerable national recognition at the young age of 34.

Strong started his broadcasting career as a high school student in suburban Portland, Oregon, launching an internet stream of his school’s football and basketball games. At the University of Oregon, he did Ducks athletics for the student radio station and served as the play-by-play announcer for a junior hockey team in Eugene. After graduation, he returned to Portland as a radio host and producer on flagship sports station KXL.

At age 24, Strong became the voice of the Portland Timbers, and continued in the role when the club moved from the second division of the US Soccer pyramid to Major League Soccer in 2011. He left the team after the 2013 season. NBC was the first national network to take notice of the young broadcaster, appointing him as their lead MLS voice in 2012.

NBC lost the MLS rights after 2014, at which point Strong moved to Fox on an exclusive basis for the 2015 season. In contrast to ESPN, Fox wanted an American announcer to lead its soccer coverage. Fox had earlier experimented with Gus Johnson at the helm doing soccer and it failed. Strong stepped in as the lead broadcaster. To this point, he has called two MLS Cups, three UEFA Champions League finals, the 2018 World Cup final, and numerous important matches involving the US men’s national team.

This weekend, he gets a chance to show his versatility, and potentially adding new sports to call during MLS’ offseason.

David J. Halberstam
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.

Jake Baskin
Jake Baskin

Jake Baskin is a student at Dean College majoring in sports broadcasting. He does play-by-play for Northeast Sports Network and previously wrote about hockey for various SB Nation blogs. He loves the history and evolution of sports broadcasting and dreams of being a national-level announcer.

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1 year ago

“Real football”. LOL.