ESPN and ABC just announced their announcer/analyst lineups for the 2006 college football season, and as befits a couple of Disney companies, it’s definitely a Mickey Mouse plan.
Ron Franklin, the best play-by-play man in the business today, has been demoted to ESPN2 to make room for moved-over-from-NFL-coverage Mike Patrick on the main network’s Saturday prime time games. I’ll allow that Todd Blackledge will certainly be an improvement over last year’s ESPN primetime color boob, former Notre Dame coach Bob Davie. Davie has all the on-air personality of a shoebox, and starts repeating his cliches before the first quarter is over.
Unfortunately, ESPN has also decided to retain the odious Lou Holtz for studio commentary, and has even made the unfathomable decision to put Holtz in the box for weeknight game color commentary. Holtz’s spluttering lisp is barely understandable when he’s in a climate-controlled studio. He’ll be completely unitelligible in a gameday environment.
Why Holtz still has a job at all is an open question. He’s easily the worst of ESPN’s studio analysts–and that’s saying something, considering Lee Corso is still on Gameday. Given Holtz’s sordid track record as a coach, maybe Disney is afraid that they’ll get put on probation not long after he’s let go.