Jackson set to return for 39th season
ABC Sports, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will field television's deepest roster of knowledgeable and experienced college football commentators for its extensive studio coverage and more than 300 game telecasts. Combined with ESPNEWS and ESPN Radio's studio shows and ESPN Regional Television's weekly regional telecasts, the networks will utilize approximately 85 commentators (host, play-by-play, analyst and sideline reporters) this season.
The 2005 season will feature several new assignments within ESPN and ESPN2's commentator pairings, highlighted by Bob Davie working ESPN Saturday primetime games, the return of Chris Spielman and the addition of Lou Holtz to ESPNEWS and ESPN2's studio coverage; the return of ABC's veteran announcers including Keith Jackson, Brent Musburger, Dan Fouts, Bob Griese and Gary Danielson; and the debut of ESPNU's college football action.
• Legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson will return for his 39th season in the booth, teaming up with NFL Hall of Famer Dan Fouts and reporter Todd Harris. The team will primarily work Pacific-10 games, highlighted by the National Championship Rose Bowl Game Presented by Citi (January 4 at 8 p.m. ET).
• The experienced commentator team of Brent Musburger (16th season), analyst Gary Danielson (ninth season) and reporter Jack Arute (22nd season) will return, mostly calling Big Ten games.
• College and pro-football Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese will enter his 20th season as an analyst, working with commentator Brad Nessler (eighth season) and reporter Lynn Swann, a college and pro-football Hall of Fame wide receiver who has called events on ABC Sports since 1976. They will primarily call Big 12 matchups.
• John Saunders, entering his 14th season as the network's college football studio host, will be joined by analysts Craig James (third season) and Aaron Taylor (second season).
ESPN and ESPN2
• In a new role, analyst Bob Davie will call ESPN's Saturday primetime game (generally at 7:45 p.m.) with returning commentator Ron Franklin. Holly Rowe, formerly on ESPN's noon game, will join as the reporter. Davie, entering his fourth season with ESPN, previously worked ESPN's Saturday noon telecast.
• Lou Holtz, a veteran head coach of 33 years, will serve as a first-year studio analyst. He will primarily work on the ESPNEWS ADT Coaches Spotlight, a news and analysis program featuring weekly coaches' press conferences (Tuesdays - noon to 4 p.m.); ESPN2's College GameDay programs, halftime and post-game segments; and SportsCenter reports.
• Chris Spielman will return to ESPN calling the Saturday noon game with Mark Jones and reporter Rob Stone. Spielman, an 11-year NFL veteran and Lombardi Trophy winner as best defensive lineman at Ohio State, was an ESPN analyst from 2001-03.
• ESPN's Thursday night telecast (generally 7:30 p.m.) will pair Mike Tirico with analyst Kirk Herbstreit for their sixth season together. Erin Andrews will join the team as a reporter.
• Analyst Mike Gottfried will rejoin signal caller Sean McDonough, working ESPN2's Saturday primetime games, primarily with reporter Alex Flanagan (between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.). Gottfried's first on-air partner when he joined in 1990 was McDonough.
• ESPN's College GameDay Built by The Home Depot, Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., will feature the return of Chris Fowler, Lee Corso and Herbstreit. College GameDay Final Presented by Pontiac, generally Saturday's at midnight on ESPN, will include the return of host Rece Davis and analysts Trev Alberts and Mark May, a 2005 college football Hall of Fame inductee (enshrinement scheduled for December 6).
• Mike Tomczak, a 16-year NFL quarterback, will serve as an analyst on ESPNU's 3:30 p.m. game with commentator Dave Armstrong.
• The weekly Thursday night telecast will pair Charlie Neal with former Colorado State quarterback Kelly Stouffer.
• Analysts Eddie Robinson, Jr. and Jay Walker will work select HBCU (Historically Black College/University) league games.
• Studio coverage will include anchor Mike Hall with Steve Israel and Tom Luginbill on Thursdays and Saturdays (from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.) and host Mike Gleason with former Ohio State coach John Cooper Saturdays (from noon to 7 p.m.). Monday's The U: Inside the Polls will pair Hall with Gottfried and Todd McShay.