Tessitore, Blackledge Talk 2016 College Football Season In Media Conference Call

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN Sunday College Football Broadcast Team: L – R: Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe, Joe Tessitore. Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Joe Tessitore and analyst Todd Blackledge sat down with members of the media this week to talk about the 2016 college football season and all things college football.  The pair talked with the media about their thoughts on the season’s major Heisman candidates, coaches’ QB choices, and what they think are some of the season’s most anticipated matchups.  The in-depth conversation is noted in full below.  Tessitore and Blackledge will join fellow reporter Holly Rowe this  Sunday, September 4th as Texas and Notre Dame face off live on ABC.  Coverage of the game is expected to begin at 7:30pm ET.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone, for joining today’s call, and welcome to the start of the college football season. As mentioned, today we have Joe Tessitore and Todd Blackledge and John Moline, who will be working together this season. Holly Rowe will join them throughout the season as their reporter. Joe and Todd will be in Austin on Sunday night for Notre Dame and Texas on ABC. As a heads up, we will have a transcript of today’s call so we will be sending that out this afternoon. We’ll get things started by tossing it over to Todd who will give some opening thoughts on the season. Joe will do the same and then we’ll get right into questions. Todd, why don’t you take it away.

TODD BLACKLEDGE: All right, well, it’s good to be with everybody here this morning, and obviously looking forward to the start of another great college football season. I think the thing that I’m most excited about, and I think everybody at ESPN is, just the magnitude of the opening weekend, the games that are making up the opening weekend spanning over a couple days is it pretty impressive and worth getting excited about, and I just can’t think of any better way to kick off college football than to have this type of a presentation right out of the gate.

I think the College Football Playoffs and the excitement around that and the importance of strength of schedule has had an impact, and certainly this first weekend of games, we’re going to find out a lot about teams.

I think it’s great as a team to play a high-caliber opponent early. I think it motivates you and it adds energy and juice to your preseason practice and your training camp, and a loss in a game this early against a high-quality opponent does not remove you from the championship picture. So I think it’s a win-win for everybody, particularly the fans, and for Joe and Holly and I, we’re thrilled to be in Austin on Sunday to call the Notre Dame-Texas game. A lot of intrigue around that game and probably as much as any one particular spot at the quarterback position on both sides of the field.

You know, we’re probably going to see four guys in the game. I don’t know how much we’ll see of each guy or what the rotations are going to be, but I think both head coaches have talked about playing two guys, and in the case of Texas, I wouldn’t be shocked if we don’t see a third guy in there in a wildcat type situation in special situations.

First games there’s a lot of intrigue, a lot of mystery, a lot of wondering how guys are going to respond on a big stage, and we’re excited and thrilled to be there to cover it.

THE MODERATOR: Joe, why don’t you give your thoughts on the opening of the season.

JOE TESSITORE: Good morning, everybody. This is Joe Tessitore. Thanks for your time. I think Todd brings up a great point in talking about the opening weekend and the influence of the College Football Playoff now that we’re a couple years in and realizing what it’s done scheduling-wise. I think everybody realizes it’s the best opening weekend the sport’s ever had. But when I look through, and Derek, you asked for season overall thoughts here, I look at the schedule even beyond opening weekend, and I feel like everywhere you turn, you see these potential College Football Playoff eliminators or games that will help us decide some things. I think the season is filled with them, it’s just that we have this overflow in week one that makes it so exciting, but whether it’s Bama-LSU, Clemson-Florida State, Michigan-Ohio State, I feel like we have that everywhere you turn.

I also think the sport is really blessed and it continues to be this way, and we know some of the ways college basketball is panned, but the returning established stars, when you have Fournette, McCaffrey and Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield and Dalvin Cook, I was just doing a Heisman special the other day, and I started putting this list together and everywhere you look, you have these established stars and these known qualities, and I think that’s good for the sport and really good for the fans.

I can’t get away from what Nick Saban and Jim Harbaugh have been up to this off-season, and the fact that we have these two huge names in coaching with all the other big names, but with Saban, does the legacy and the dynasty grow even bigger would be one of the big headlines I’m looking forward to this season, does Harbaugh deliver on the hype.

As for the hype for our game, on a personal note, I’m absolutely honored and thrilled to work with Todd and Holly, and I think I speak for Todd in saying that with what Holly has been through this year and this off-season and the fight and the courage and what she’s shown, and I know her battle has been a little public, to see Holly on Sunday night in primetime on ABC, a game like this, Todd, I know we’re all going to be just so thrilled to have that group together, and she’s the absolute best in the business, as is Todd, at what he does. I’m thrilled to be a part of this team now.

I think the Notre Dame-Texas game personally, more could be revealed in this game than perhaps any other opening weekend game out there because I think Notre Dame, of course, top-10 team but very much perceived as a team with enough new talent to reload in spots where they need it and a team capable of putting it all together for a run to the playoff, but yet there’s still a lot that has to be decided.

Todd talked about the quarterback battle. I want to see who emerges at wide receiver and fills some of that void at tight end, who steps up on the defensive line where they do have some players that are back again and others need to step up.

And for Texas, you feel this buzz this off-season as this is the point of the breakthrough and the true freshman quarterback, but yet Swoopes is still there and the big dominating tandem in the backfield. But there are still the issues from last year that you want to see resolved, the run defense. Yeah, they’re a year older. Yeah, there’s a new offense, an exciting young new offensive coordinator, but is it too big of a leap to go from where they were to now what’s expected, and I think very early on on Sunday, we may start to get some of those answers, and if we do in a positive direction, this is going to be a thriller on Sunday night.

I’m very excited, and with that, Derek, I guess we can open it up for some questions.

Q. Question for Todd: Coach Strong is still not really releasing who he’s going to start as a quarterback in the game on Sunday, and Coach Kelly said he’s going to play both guys. What’s kind of the strategy behind do you think coaches trying to keep some of that stuff mum until the last possible second?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, you know, I mean, I guess if you can do that, what you can do in college football a little differently than you can in the NFL, (inaudible) preparation. Now, the positives of Notre Dame is they’ve had all off-season. It’s not like it’s (inaudible) week where they’ve only had four or five days to do preparation work for two quarterbacks or two different styles of quarterbacks. So they’ve had extra time. I think just as (inaudible) quarterback is going to be is I would imagine Notre Dame’s defensive staff led by Brian VanGorder has probably spend as much time studying and dissecting film from a year ago to get familiar with the offensive plan and system that they might see from Sterlin Gilbert’s offense in the ballgame. More so than which guy is taking the snaps, I think they’ll spend more time being concerned about the style of offense and maybe the tempo of the offense that they’re going to face.

Q. Todd or Joe, when is the last time that you actually saw a two-quarterback system be effective and actually work, keeping both guys happy?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, I mean, I think you have to look at what Ohio State was able to do. I mean, last year was not great (inaudible).

THE MODERATOR: Todd, your phone is breaking up a little bit here. Why don’t we go to Joe.

JOE TESSITORE: It’s funny, Todd and I got on a conference call last week, and one of the things we started discussing was Brian Kelly’s success at Cincinnati, and we really started focusing in on that, where Coach was very comfortable in having two talented guys and guys that in the circumstances created that, but still, they did have success at times when they were using a two-quarterback system. It can be done. The reason why it’s being done may not be the same, but obviously they’re blessed with the talent that’s there.

But I don’t know, I think one of the great curiosities of this game and opening weekend is to see how this will play out. But there have been spots of success, and Brian is a coach who has been one of those guys in recent years of college football who’s actually done it.

THE MODERATOR: Todd, let’s try to go back to you and see if we can hear you a little bit better.

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Yeah, I mean, I’m not — as a former quarterback, obviously I’m not a huge fan of playing two quarterbacks. But by the same token, I’m not necessarily all in with the idea that if you — the adage if you have two quarterbacks then you really have no quarterbacks, because again, in today’s world of college football, I think you have to have at least two guys ready to take first-team reps and ready to play at a high level because of the effectiveness of quarterback run game in offenses today.

You know, the offenses that are really prolific, you either have an NFL-type quarterback who can make every throw, or you have an element of quarterback run, and when you do that, you put the guy at risk. So again, I live in Ohio, and watching what Ohio State did on their way to a National Championship, you know, they ended up going through three quarterbacks because of injury, but the key was that each one of them was ready to step up and play at a high level when their number was called.

So early in the season you start out by saying, okay, look, we’re going to play two guys. But eventually I think they’ll work into one guy as a starter, but you want to make sure that other guy is not only happy but ready to play at a high level when his number is called, because you are one play away from being a starting quarterback if you’re a backup.

Q. I kind of want to go along those same lines but take it a step further with the SEC specifically. It seems like the conference kind of has a rep of we’ve got talent coming out of the ears at every position, developing players except for quarterback. Is that kind of a fair analogy, and if you think it’s true, why do you think it’s true?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, I don’t know if it’s a fair analogy or not. Certainly maybe other positions have developed quicker or they’ve put more guys in the league that are playing at a high level, but I think quarterback play is kind of cyclical. I think there are times when it may be down in a league like the SEC, but there’s other times when it’s pretty good. I just think that that league, one of the things that’s different is the defenses are very good in that league, and the type of defensive talent that you face week in and week out is a little bit different for a quarterback than playing in some other leagues across the country.

I think that has something to do with it, but I just think overall it’s cyclical. I don’t think they do a bad job of developing quarterbacks. I just think it might be a little bit more difficult to play week in and week out at that position, as well.

JOE TESSITORE: I think Todd is right when he points to the defense as being part of the explanation. I also think that every conference takes on a certain offensive identity as to what’s the norm, and we know what that’s been in the Big 12 in recent years, and you’ve seen certain coaches who were holding out on that now give way and conform. Gary Patterson finding great success with what he did at changing offensive coordinators in recent years, Texas now going down that same road. Some of those same things aren’t asked of quarterbacks in the SEC. It’s not the same conforming culture of offenses in the SEC.

Yes, for some quarterbacks you’ll see those stats, be it with what you see out of Chad Kelly or perhaps even Trevor Knight at Texas A&M this year, knowing what they are going to ask of him in that offense, but with others managing the game, playing two back play action with the emphasis on power run, you’re not going to see some of the same stuff. But undoubtedly what Todd said with the level of defense and the front sevens that they’re facing every week, it’s a different beast.

Q. Todd, if you don’t mind momentarily skipping ahead to week two, Pitt-Penn State, first time in 16 years, renewal of a rivalry, two things: Number one, do you think this game should be played every year? Number two, can you share some of your memories from whether this likely or definitely may be the best Penn State (inaudible) in the history of the series in 1981?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Yeah, in answering your first question, I wish they would play every year. I know logistically they may not be feasible, but to me one of the greatest things about college football and the thing that sets it apart from the NFL is rivalries. When I was at Penn State, the Pitt-Penn State game was as good a rivalry game as there was in college football, and it had its own niche, that Friday after Thanksgiving, the battle of route 322, a lot of the in-state competition, even though I was an Ohio guy, I found out pretty quickly how important that game was.

Also, when I was at Penn State at that time in the early ’80s, the talent on both of those teams, the NFL caliber talent was unbelievable. It was a great rivalry to be a part of. I wish that they played every year.

The memories I have of the ’81 game, and I’ve done a few interviews about it already this year, this summer, I have very distinct and fond memories of that game. It was a bizarre game. They were ranked No. 1. We came in with two losses, but we were a really, really good football team, and we were ranked No. 1 earlier in the year and got beat by Miami and then lost again to Alabama. But we knew we were capable of playing with Pitt even though they had a great team. And yet it didn’t look like that early on. We were down 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, and I think I’m correct in saying we had minus one yard of total offense in the first quarter and just showed no signs of being able to stay on the field.

And Pitt was driving again early in the second quarter, and we got an interception on a beautiful play by our safety Mark Robinson down by the goal line, and that just kind of stopped the avalanche for a minute, and we were able to tie it up before halftime 14-14 and then it was a completely different game in the second half.

Our defense forced turnovers and our offense came up with big plays in the passing game, and we ended up scoring 48 unanswered points to win 48-14.

It was a crazy game, a great game for Penn State. Yeah, I have great memories of that because we also — we didn’t have to go back to school right away because it was Thanksgiving break, and I remember going with my family and Kurt Warner and some other guys to Klein’s Restaurant downtown Pittsburgh, and just an incredible weekend capped off by that game.

Q. Rightfully Clemson and Florida State get most of the media attention that comes out of the ACC but I’d like to get North Carolina’s week one matchup with Georgia and the effect that that game will have on the Tar Heels’ season.

JOE TESSITORE: I broadcast last year’s opener for North Carolina, which I think we look back and shake our head at now, but this is actually a team that I like a lot, and I think obviously with what they’re facing week one, that would be a signature win non-conference-wise that could really propel them to something special. But I just look at their offense, and there is so much talent on that side of the ball, and I think Trubisky could be even better for them than what we’ve seen in recent years. I think Hood is one of the most underrated running backs in the country, and Hollins on the outside is a big-bodied receiver. Switzer is as dangerous in the slot in the return game as anybody is in the country. Any time he touches the ball, he could really go. They’ve got returning guys on the offensive line, so they’re going to be very consistent and dangerous offensively.

Defensively, need to step up. Need to keep developing. Didn’t see much defense last year, but you’ve got to hope that year two under Chizik, guys having more experience, they’re just better. But I think North Carolina is sneaky good and very capable week one against the Dawgs, especially if the Dawgs are finding their identity offensively a little bit, depending on what we see at quarterback.

I think nobody should be fooled thinking that Georgia is lacking talent. That roster and that recruiting has never turned itself off.

But I actually think, and we were talking about this, as good as this opening week is, if you were to tell me what games do you feel like are undoubtedly final-possession games, that’s very high on the list. I think that’s going to be a highly competitive game that is played to the wire on Saturday.

Todd and I having a Sunday game, God, I feel like this is a great luxury for us. On Saturday we get to watch football and enjoy this thing. That’s definitely the game I’m going to be locked in on Saturday afternoon. I’m looking forward to it.

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Yeah, I would just echo that I think that that’s a great opportunity game for North Carolina. They finished with a lot of confidence. They had a really solid season last year, and they’re going against a team that a lot of people are going to go in and well, think, Georgia is more talent, SEC, blah blah blah, but Georgia has a lot of answers — they have a lot of questions to figure out on both sides of the ball. If anybody has been around Alabama at Nick Saban’s defense and Kirby Smart’s defense, it’s not a simple system, and it doesn’t happen right away, and so it’s — I think it’s going to take them a little bit of time to get real comfortable in some of the things he wants done defensively. They’ve got questions an offense, and as Joe mentioned, a lot of talent, but I see North Carolina going into that game as a very confident football team and looking at that game as a chance to really kick this season off in a positive way.

Q. You guys were talking a little bit about big name quarterbacks. Obviously with the Auburn-Clemson matchup, Deshaun Watson is a player that everybody is going to be watching. What are you looking to see out of players whose names are already in the Heisman conversation?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, my biggest thing, when I think of a guy coming off the kind of year that Watson had last year, and he was fun to watch. I had him in the semifinal game and he was spectacular, he was great in the final. You know, the biggest thing is, okay, how does he take the next step in his development, and really the thing that’s really impressive about him beyond his skill set is his poise. His poise for a young player was pretty impressive, very unshakeable. And so the biggest thing now is, okay, how does he progress, how does he take the next step in decision making, in how quickly he sees and recognizes things on the field, taking a little bit more command of things.

And the only thing I would worry about with a guy like that is that he doesn’t try to do too much, that he doesn’t try to get outside of himself and do too much and try to make every play, but that doesn’t really fit his personality. I wouldn’t expect that to be a problem for him. But can he get better? Yeah, he can get better, and that’s pretty scary for people that are going to play him.

I just like everything about him. I like his skill. I like his athleticism, and I really like his poise and his demeanor playing that position.

JOE TESSITORE: Was your question specifically Watson in terms of expectations with the Heisman hype, or did you want me to go beyond Watson?

Q. Watson, but also beyond Watson.

JOE TESSITORE: Todd is going to give you a far better breakdown on the field and he just did and what to look for from him personally, but just as somebody who tracks the Heisman voting through the years and Heisman campaigns through the years, the thing with Deshaun is he comes into the season in a very unique position because we always have the candidates who in advance of the season come in with a certain level of status, where if they do what’s expected of them, if their teams and the individual have similar seasons to what they just had, undoubtedly they’ll be in the front row in New York.

This year it’s Watson with two running backs. It’s Watson, Fournette and McCaffrey who carry that status going into the season. Deliver on what you’re supposed to do and what you’ve already done, and you’ll be in the front row in New York.

What we’ve been noticing when we track the Heisman in recent years is with the internet voting and everybody voting online after the championship games, he who moves last moves best. You don’t want to be out in front of the Heisman race early. You want to make your move in November and surge. His biggest Heisman defining moment will come on October 29th at Florida State against another Heisman candidate just a notch below him in terms of perception in tears, against Dalvin Cook. And then in the month of November, up until he plays in the ACC Championship game, Deshaun is going to have a lot of games where he’s expected to win easily, to put up stats, but nothing that’s going to grab everybody’s attention. It’s Syracuse and Pitt and Wake Forest and South Carolina. So come the week after that, it’s Leonard Fournette and the question of can he finally get over the Alabama mountaintop on November 5th in a game that’s very similar in my eyes to the Florida State-Clemson game in sort of a de facto in-conference playoff eliminator.

So I think Deshaun is going to be just fine, but October 29th will define whether he’s in that lead seat heading into November of the Heisman race, but then Leonard Fournette is going to have an opportunity, as he did a year ago but then was overtaken by Derrick Henry, to then take the next step back and surge ahead.

But he’s in phenomenal shape, and he’s a young man that I had the chance to broadcast last year, and I can remember broadcasting the Orange Bowl a few years ago with Clemson and Ohio State, and the coaching staff, because he was an early enrollee, being able to talk about him, and sitting there telling all of us, oh, no, the best guy is coming in in a week. Well, we get the best guy in about a week and a half, and boy, he’s delivered on every bit of that. I’m just excited to see him play.

It’s another game Saturday night we’ll be dialing up late when we’re down there prepping this Texas-Notre Dame game that comes out of the chute at Auburn. But I look through the person of how the Heisman can be won, and that’s the way I see it for Deshaun.

Q. I want to go back to the Notre Dame-Texas game. What stands out to you about both Kizer and Zaire, and secondly, we’ve talked a lot about the offensive side of the ball, but defensively, who are a couple guys on both teams that you’re looking at to kind of keep your eye on for the game?

TODD BLACKLEDGE: Well, I’ll talk about the quarterbacks a little bit. I went out and watched Notre Dame practice last week, and they’re both impressive guys. I think that — I don’t think Brian Kelly is trying to play any games by saying, you know, what he said about the quarterbacks and playing two guys. Both guys are competitors, and they want to be the guy, but they’re two of Brian’s best playmakers. And not only best playmakers but most experienced playmakers. He’s got a lot of youth at wide receiver, and so those two guys have proven that they can play winning football for Notre Dame.

The idea of playing one and keeping the other one on the bench for 60 minutes, that’s not the best thing for that team. They’re both talented. It’s unique to me that one is right-handed and one is left-handed. If I had to distinguish between the two, I think Zaire is going to impact a game and affect a game more with his feet, and Kizer is going to affect a game and impact a game maybe more with his recognition of what the defense is, staying in the pocket, seeing over the rush and making throws down the field. Not that he’s not a good runner or a capable runner because he proved that, but I think he’s more comfortable staying in there and seeing the field and beating you that way.

They’re both very talented. They’re both bright. They both have proven themselves, and the question is now how do they break up the playing time between them on Sunday night, and at what point in the game do they decide or will they decide, hey, one of them gives us the best chance of going ahead and winning this football game. That will be the real interesting thing to see how they manage.

JOE TESSITORE: Defensively, I’m looking forward to getting your thoughts on the guys I’m going to mention when we go to practice down in Austin later this week, but I know Jefferson is going to get a lot of attention for Texas, but just even this weekend in doing some of my prep, I look at the five defensive backs that can be on the field for Texas, and I see size and athleticism, and I think Devante Davis is a guy as a corner with his size and his range and his physicality who NFL scouts are going to be drooling over in the coming years, but I look at Hall and Haines and all that talent in the defensive backfield, but then I ask myself, is the front seven, and really the guys up front, are they going to be capable of stopping the run against Notre Dame and putting the defensive backfield in position to have a big impact on this game, or is Notre Dame going to have their way in running the ball against Texas.

If I’m a Texas fan, whether it’s Poona Ford or somebody, Nelson or Boyette, I need to hear one of their names a lot on Sunday night. I need somebody there to just be flat-out better than they were. I know what that defensive backfield is going to give me with Texas, but I’m not quite sure what the big guys up front are going to deliver.

And then for Notre Dame, obviously there’s talent to replace both with the situation off the field at safety but also at linebacker with the talent that departed. But I think having Jones 94 and Rochell 90 up front, those could be some special players for them this year.

But the question marks for me would be defensively, the defensive line for Texas, and are they capable and can they step up in a spot like this.

Q. On the candidates for Heisman, are there any dark horse candidates you guys would consider? I know Fournette, McCaffrey, Watson, a lot of those guys are getting a lot of the main attention. Are there any dark horse candidates for Heisman that you guys might suggest?


TODD BLACKLEDGE: I’m going to let Joe talk about this, because I’ve told Joe before and I tell people, I personally — I don’t like talking about the Heisman until we get to the month of November. Just like I don’t like talking about who’s the top five or two whatever until we get to the month of October. But obviously I know that’s part of it, and people want to hear about it, and Joe specializes in it, so I’m going to let him throw out some names for you.

JOE TESSITORE: To Todd’s point, Todd obviously has more college football in his pinky than all of us combined on this call and years and years of seeing it, and he knows very well that you don’t win the Heisman in September or October, you only win it in November, and all you can do in September is really get into the starting gate of the Heisman, to then have the race be won.

But if you’re looking for names out there of guys that could potentially at least get into the starting gate that aren’t the obvious choices, and I would consider the obvious choices in the guys who are going to have those post positions already set for them to be Watson, Fournette, McCaffrey, and then J.T. Barrett and Baker Mayfield and Chad Kelly and Dalvin Cook and potentially Josh Rosen and Nick Chubb, depending on what happens opening weekend with both playing two very difficult non-conference games, UCLA and Georgia.

The longshot guys I would throw in there are the fact that the Baylor quarterback is going to be the Baylor quarterback, and there’s a certain status that comes along with that. So Seth Russell is back healthy. Luke Falk at Washington State should put up ridiculous stats. Royce Freeman at Oregon is one of these guys that’s grossly underrated and outstanding and talented. Barkley at Penn State is going to put up great stats at running back and out of the backfield and potentially could get a good upset win. If Tennessee is an SEC Championship contender, Josh Dobbs is going to get consideration depending on what they look like offensively. The two intriguing ones, quarterbacks for me, would be Greg Ward at Houston and Lamar Jackson at Louisville, the reason being is they’re both dynamic dual-threat guys who have the opportunity in Houston to have signature non-conference wins right out of the gate against Oklahoma, and for Louisville, the chance to either upset Florida State or Clemson and have really gaudy stats.

There’s always going to be a Alabama playmaker. There’s been a recent voting trend in the Heisman of a default vote of best player on best team. Somebody from Alabama, whether it’s the quarterback, the featured running back, Calvin Ridley or even a defensive star will get consideration to at least get votes to get to New York.

And then real, real extreme longshots, I would tell you Trubisky at North Carolina; Brad Kaaya if Miami has a good year and makes it to the ACC title game. Patrick Mahomes at Texas Tech may be the most purely talented stat gatherer in the country; JuJu Smith-Schuster at USC, but they would have to find team success; Mike Weber at Ohio State now getting the ball and taking the reins from Zeke Elliott if they have great team success. And the outlier candidate that could make it to New York would be a guy like Jabrill Peppers at Michigan if they are national title contenders and he’s the showcase of what they do defensively.

But that would be the list that I put together preseason for some of our ESPN work that we’ve already done for the Heisman.

ESPN Networks Kick Off Coverage Of The 2016 College Foootball Season This Week

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The wait is nearly over.  The 2016 college football season kicks off this Friday, August 26. And ESPN will have full coverage of Week 0.

The 2016 college football season kicks off this Friday night on ESPN when California and Hawaii face off live from ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. ESPN will carry full coverage of the game beginning at 10pm ET.  Allen Bestwick, Mike Bellotti and Warren Smith will have the call for the game.

Friday’s live international event will be followed up Saturday night by a matchup between defending Big South Champion and #6 ranked Charleston Southern on the road against five-time defending champion and #1 North Dakota State at 7:30pm ET.  Adam Amin, Mack Brown, and Molly McGrath will have the call for that game live from Fargo, North Dakota.  It will mark the first time that the trio will have worked together on an ESPN broadcast.
As an additional bonus for college football fans, ESPN will air a special one-hour edition of College GameDay Saturday morning at 11am.  Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, David Pollack and Lee Corso (via satellite) will look ahead at the season to come in this week’s special season preview edition of College GameDay.  The weekly college football broadcast will officially launch its 2016 season next Saturday, September 3rd from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin ahead of the Badgers’ game against the LSU Tigers.

The full broadcast schedule for the ESPN networks’ college football preview shows is noted in whole below.

Date

Time (ET)

Show

Commentators 

Network

Mon, Aug. 22

7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

2016 SEC College Football Preview Show

Matt Schick, Tom Luginbill, Kevin Carter

ESPNU

 

8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

2016 ACC College Football Preview Show

Anish Shroff, Mike Bellotti, Charles Arbuckle

ESPNU

Tue, Aug. 23

7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

2016 Big Ten College Football Preview Show

Brendan Fitzgerald, Tom Luginbill, Jason Sehorn

ESPNU

 

8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

2016 Big 12 College Football Preview Show

Anish Shroff, Kevin Carter, Jason Sehorn

ESPNU

Wed, Aug. 24

7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

2016 Pac-12 College Football Preview Show

Brendan Fitzgerald, Mike Bellotti, Charles Arbuckle

ESPNU

 

8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

National College Football Preview

Matt Schick, Mike Bellotti, Tom Luginbill

ESPNU

 

8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

The Herbies Preseason Special

Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit

ESPN2

Sat, Aug. 27

11 a.m. – noon

College GameDay Season Preview

Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, David Pollack, Lee Corso (via satellite)

ESPN

Sun, Aug. 28

1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

The Heisman Trophy Preview Show

Joe Tessitore, Desmond Howard, Danny Kanell

ESPN

 

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Championship Drive: College Football Season Preview

Rece Davis

ESPN

More information on the ESPN networks’ coverage of the 2016 college football season is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espncfb

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

New On-Air Teams Announced For ESPN’s Thursday, Friday Night College Football Coverage

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has announced the on-air roster for this season’s coverage of college football on Thursday and Friday nights..

Thursday night broadcasts will be led by Dave Flemming and college football analyst Jesse Palmer.  Laura Rutledge will join the duo as a sideline reporter for the network’s Thursday night games.  This is in addition to her previously announced duties with The SEC Network’s SEC Nation broadcasts.  Friday night coverage will be led by Adam Amin.  He will be joined in the booth by analyst Mack Brown.  Molly McGrath will be on the sidelines for each game with all of the latest in-game news and interviews.

As an additional note, David Pollack has signed a new extension with ESPN that will see him appear on ESPN’s College GameDay each week for the foreseeable future.  The terms of his new deal also include a more prominent role on College Football Live and will also see him contributing more to the network’s studio shows this season.  Pollack originally joined ESPN in 2009 as a studio analyst before joining the College GameDay on-air crew in 2011.

Before moving to Thursday nights, Flemming handled play-by-play duties on ESPN’s Friday night college football games.  Amin previously worked the Saturday college football games for ESPN/ABC.  Rutledge most recently served as a sideline reporter for the SEC Network’s college football broadcasts.  Pollack most recently served as a game analyst on ESPN’s Thursday night college football broadcasts last season alongside play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and analyst Jesse Palmer.

Lee Fitting, Senior Coordinating Producer, was entirely supportive of the new appointments in discussing them and the related importance of ESPN’s college football coverage.  “The new opportunities for Dave, Adam and Laura prove, once again, the quality of our on-air lineup and the growth opportunities that exist at ESPN, while Molly’s addition adds another high-caliber reporter and host to our roster as we enter a new season,” Fitting said.  “Thursday and Friday night telecasts are an integral part of our college football coverage and we look forward to these two new commentating teams working these primetime games each week.”  Fitting also shared his thoughts on Pollack’s experience in relation to his new deal noting, “David’s analysis, insights and, most importantly, his opinions have elevated him to a top college football analyst.  Having him on our studio programming, nearly on a daily basis throughout the season, maximizes his strengths and makes ESPN’s college football coverage better.”

This week’s new appointments are just the latest on-air moves made by ESPN for its upcoming college football broadcasts.  The network also recently announced moves involving Brian Griese, Steve Levy, Greg McElroy, Samantha Ponder, and Allison Williams for its college football broadcasts.  New contracts were also announced for Dave Pasch and Bob Wischusen.

More information on ESPN’s new college football broadcast teams is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espncfb

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Broadcast Teams Announced For 2016 ESPN/ABC College Football Broadcasts

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has announced some big plays for its upcoming season of college football broadcasts.

Officials with the worldwide leader in sports have announced that play-by-play commentator Dave Pasch and analyst Bob Wischusen will be back in the booth this season for ESPN and ABC’s college football broadcasts.  The pair re-signed during the off-season and will be in the booth for the foreseeable future.  New to the team this season are analyst Greg McElroy and reporter Allison Williams.  McElroy will join Pasch and field analyst Tom Luginbill for the networks’ broadcasts while Williams will join Wischusen and Brock Huard.  The exact details of Pasch and Wischusen’s new extensions were not announced nor were those of McElroy and Williams.

Lee Fitting, ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer discussed the new broadcast teams in a statement released to the press.  “The quality and depth of our on-air lineup continues to be one of the strengths of our college football coverage,” Fitting said.  “Dave and Bob will again be front and center on high impact games in key ESPN and ABC timeslots for us. We look forward to seeing Greg and Allison in their new roles.”

Pasch originally joined ESPN in 2003 and has served as play-by-play commentator for college football, men’s and women’s basketball, the NBA, the WNBA, and the Little League World Series.  His new deal will mean that the upcoming season of college football on ESPN and ABC will be his 12th.  He has served as play-by-play commentator for college basketball and football since 2005.  Together with Wisnuchen the pair has no less than a decade of experience at ESPN altogether.

McElroy comes to ESPN and ABC’s college football broadcast team from the SEC Network’s traveling pre-game show SEC Nation.  He is a former national champion-winning quarterback.  Along with his new duties, McElroy will continue to contribute to the SEC Network’s studio show SEC Now throughout the week.  He has served as a studio analyst for the SEC Network for the past two years along with covering a number of spring games, bowl games, and regular season games.

Williams  most recent assignment was working Friday night college football games.  She originally joined ESPN in 2011, at which time her duties included covering college football and college basketball.

More information on the new broadcast teams for ESPN and ABC’s Saturday college football broadcasts is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espncfb

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Networks To Carry Full Coverage Of NCAA Division I Baseball Regionals

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

College baseball fans got some good news this week.  Officials with ESPN announced Monday that ESPN and the ESPN family of networks will have full coverage of the 2016 NCAA Division I College Baseball Championship this year.  It marks the fourth consecutive year that they will cover the road to the title.

The ESPN networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, and ESPN3 specifically) will have coverage of all 153 possible championship games.  This includes Regionals (up to 112 games from 16 sites June 3 – 6), Super Regionals (Up to 24 games from all eight sites June 10 – 12 or June 11 – 13) and College World Series (Up to 17 games June 18 – 29).  Each game will be simulcast online via WatchESPN.  Each Regional tournament is a double elimination format with four teams participating at each site.  The winner of each regional tournament moves on to the Super Regionals.

For the true hardcore college baseball fans, ESPN’s four-day “Bases Loaded” platform returns this year for the Regionals.  ESPN’s “Bases Loaded” platform features unlimited live cut-ins and highlights from a number of games in the Regionals.  It also features up-to-the-minute commentary from ESPN analysts.  The platform is provided once again by ESPNU and Goal Line/Buzzer Beater, with ESPN and ESPN2 to have simulcasts.  Matt Schick and Brendan Fitzgerald will anchor coverage of the Regionals.  They will be joined by analyst Kyle Peterson for additional commentary.  As an additional note, networks for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and each Game 5 across the EPNS networks will be decided the night before their broadcast.  The same applies for games on Monday, June 6th if necessary.  The networks for Sunday’s Game 6 matchups will be determined and assigned Sunday afternoon, June 5th. The broadcast schedule for the Regionals is noted below.

 

FRIDAY, JUNE 3RD

Goal Line/Buzzer Beater: 1pm – 11pm

ESPNU: 3pm – 11pm

 

SATURDAY, JUNE 4TH

Goal Line/Buzzer Beater: 1pm – 11pm

ESPNU: 2pm – 11pm

ESPN: 4:30pm – 6pm

 

SUNDAY, JUNE 5TH

Goal Line/Buzzer Beater: 1pm – 11pm

ESPNU: 2pm – 11pm

ESPN2: 5:30pm – 7pm

 

MONDAY, JUNE 6TH

Goal Line/Buzzer Beater: 6pm – 12am

ESPNU: 6pm – 11pm

 

The full, in-depth schedule for the ESPN networks’ coverage of the NCAA Division I College Baseball Regionals is noted below.

 

NCAA Regionals Presented by Capital One (Schedule subject to change; All Times Eastern)

Site: Gainesville, Fla.

Commentators: Mike Morgan, Carlos Pena

Teams: No.1 Florida, No.2 Georgia Tech, No.3 UConn, No.4 Bethune-Cookman

Game 1 – UConn vs. Georgia Tech: June 3 at 1 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Bethune-Cookman vs Florida: June 3 at 6 p.m., SEC Network

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 12 p.m. &  6 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 12 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 6 p.m.

 

Site: Tallahassee, Fla.

Commentators: Trey Bender, Jerry Kindall

Teams: No.1 Florida State, No.2 Southern Mississippi, No.3 South Alabama, No. 4 Alabama State

Game 1 – South Alabama vs. Southern Mississippi: June 3 at noon, ESPN3

Game 2 – Alabama State vs. Florida State: June 3 at 6 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at noon & 6 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at noon & 6 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 6 p.m.

 

Site: Raleigh, NC

Commentators: Steve Lenox, Wes Clements

Teams: No.1 NC State, No.2 Coastal Carolina, No.3 St. Mary’s (Ca.), No.4 Navy

Game 1 – St. Mary’s vs. Coastal Carolina: June 3 at 2 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Navy vs. NC State: June 3 at 7 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 1 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 7 p.m.

 

Site: Baton Rouge, La.

Commentators: Lyn Rollins, Ben McDonald

Teams: No.1 LSU, No. 2 Rice, No.3 Southeastern Louisiana, No. 4 Utah Valley

Game 1- Utah Valley vs. LSU: June 3 at 3 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2- Southeastern Louisiana vs. Rice: June 3 at 8 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 3 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 3 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 8 p.m.

 

Site: Lubbock, Texas

Commentators: Mark Neely, Greg Swindell

Teams: No.1 Texas Tech, No.2 Dallas Baptist, No.3 New Mexico, No.4 Fairfield

Game 1- Fairfield vs. Texas Tech: June 3 at 3 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – New Mexico vs. Dallas Baptist: June 3 at 7 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 3 p.m.

 

Site: Charlottesville, Va.

Commentators: Taylor Zarzour, Nick Belmonte

Teams: No. 1 Virginia, No.2 Bryant, No.3 East Carolina, No.4 William & Mary

Game 1 – William & Mary vs. Virginia: June 3 at 1 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – East Carolina vs. Bryant: June 3 at 6 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 1 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 1 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 6 p.m.

 

Site: Fort Worth, Texas

Commentators: Roxy Bernstein, Keith Moreland

Teams: No.1 TCU, No.2 Arizona State, No.3 Gonzaga, No.4 Oral Roberts

Game 1 – Gonzaga vs. Arizona State: June 3 at 3 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Oral Roberts vs. TCU: June 3 at 7:30 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 4 p.m.

 

Site: College Station, Texas

Commentators: Clay Matvick, Gabe Gross

Teams: No.1 Texas A&M, No.2 Minnesota, No.3 Wake Forest, No.4 Binghampton

Game 1 – Wake Forest vs. Minnesota: June 3 at 4 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Binghamton vs. Texas A&M: June 3 at 9 p.m., SEC Network

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 4 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 4p.m. & 9p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 9 p.m.

 

Site: Louisville, Ky.

Commentators: Dave Neal, Chris Burke

Teams: No.1 Louisville, No.2 Ohio State, No.3 Wright State, No.4 Western Michigan

Game 1 – Wright State vs. Ohio State: June 3 at 2 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Western Michigan vs. Louisville: June 3 at 6 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at noon & 4 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at noon & 4 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 4 p.m.

 

Site: Nashville, Tenn.

Commentators: Mike Keith, Rusty Ensor

Teams: No.1 Vanderbilt, No.2 UC Santa Barbara, No. 3 Washington, No. 4 Xavier

Game 1 – Washington vs. UC Santa Barbara: June 3 at 2 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Xavier vs. Vanderbilt: June 3 at 8 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 3 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 3 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 9 p.m.

 

Site: Columbia, SC

Commentators: Matt Stewart, Jay Walker

Teams: No.1 South Carolina, No.2 UNCW, No.3 Duke, No.4 Rhode Island

Game 1 – Duke vs. UNCW: June 3 at 1 p.m. 

Game 2 – Rhode Island vs. South Carolina: June 3 at 7 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 12 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 12 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 6 p.m.

 

Site: Clemson, SC

Commentators: Tom Hart, Mike Rooney

Teams: No.1 Clemson, No.2 Oklahoma State, No.3 Nebraska, No.4 Western Carolina

Game 1 – Western Carolina vs. Clemson, June 3 at 7 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State, June 3 at noon, ESPNU

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 12 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 12 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 7 p.m.

 

Site: Starkville, Ms.

Commentators: Doug Sherman, John Gregory

Teams: No.1 Mississippi State, No.2 Cal State Fullerton, No.3 Louisiana Tech, No.4 Southeast Missouri State

Game 1 – Louisiana Tech vs. Cal State Fullerton: June 3 at 2:30 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Southeast Missouri State vs. Mississippi State: June 3 at 7:30 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 2:30 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 2:30 & 7:30 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 7:30 p.m.

 

Site: Lafayette, La.

Commentators: Brett Dolan, Tom Holiday

Teams: No.1 UL Lafayette, No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 Sam Houston State, No. 4 Princeton

Game 1 – Sam Houston State vs Arizona: June 3 at 2 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Princeton vs. UL Lafayette: June 3 at 8 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 8 p.m.

 

Site: Oxford, Ms.

Commentators: Richard Cross, David Dellucci

Teams: No.1 Ole Miss, No. 2 Tulane, No.3 Boston College, No. 4 Utah

Game 1 – Boston College at Tulane: June 3 at 4 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Utah vs. Ole Miss: June 3 at 8 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 2 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 2 p.m. & 6 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 8 p.m.

 

Site: Miami, Fla.

Commentators: Anish Shroff, Alex Cora

Teams: No. 1 Miami (Fla.), No. 2 Florida Atlanta, No.3 Long Beach State, No. 4 Stetson

Game 1 – Long Beach State vs. Florida Atlantic: June 3 at 1 p.m., ESPN3

Game 2 – Stetson vs. Miami: June 3 at 7 p.m., ESPN3

Games 3 & 4: June 4 at 1 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Games 5 & 6: June 5 at 1 p.m. & 7 p.m.

Game 7 (if necessary): June 6 at 7 p.m.

 

More information on the ESPN networks’ coverage of the NCAA Division I College Baseball Championship is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-sports

 

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPN

 

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/NCAACWS

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Releases Broadcast Schedule For 2016 Frozen Four Tournament

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The 2015 – 2016 college basketball season is all but wrapped up after Monday night’s men’s championship matchup between Villanova and UNC.  Tonight the women get their turn as UConn and Syracuse face off for their title.  College basketball may be getting all of the attention but it’s not the only sport that is wrapping up its season.  The annual “Frozen Four” tournament wraps up the 2015 – 2016 college hockey season this weekend.  And ESPN will have full coverage of the annual tournament.

Denver, North Dakota, Boston College, and Quinnipiac will vie for the NCAA college hockey title in this year’s Frozen Four.  The 2016 tournament will be carried across a number of ESPN’s platforms live from the site of the tournament, Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.  The tournament will be held this Thursday, April 7th and Saturday, April 9th.  Top-seeded Quinnipiac will take on Boston College in the first of the semi-final matchups Thursday at 5pm ET.  No. 3 seed North Dakota will take on the Pioneers of Denver in Thursday’s second game.  That game is scheduled for an 8:30pm ET start time.  The winners of those games will face off in the Frozen Four Championship match Saturday night at 8pm ET.

John Buccigross and Barry Melrose will have the call for all three of this weekend’s games.  Quint Kessenich will be between the benches for all of the games’ latest news and interviews.  Victoria Arlen makes her debut with the team this year.  She is a former Paralympian Gold Medalist.  She joined ESPN in 2015 and regularly reports for espnW, X Games, and SportsCenter.  All three games in this weekend’s Frozen Four Tournament will be carried live on ESPN2 and online via ESPN3 Surround.  The streaming option allows fans to watch the game from ice level via a trio of robotic cameras that are placed on the glass around the rink.  The trophy presentation will be carried online exclusively on ESPN3.

Along with the exclusive ice-level coverage via ESPN3 Surround, the refs in each game will be wearing mics, letting audiences hear from them at various points throughout the final three games.  On the studio side, Steve Levy will anchor ESPN’s studio coverage of this weekend’s tournament.  From ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, CT.  He will be joined by college hockey analysts Sean Ritchlin and Dave Starman for additional commentary.  Fans can also follow all of the scores, news, and more via Twitter at http://twitter.com/NCAAIceHockey and http://twitter.com/hashtag/frozenfour.  More information on this year’s Frozen Four tournament is available online now along with all of the latest college hockey news at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-sports

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ESPNU

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Networks To Carry Extensive Coverage Of NCAA Div. I Women’s Basketball Tournament

Courtesy: ESPN  L - R: Kevin Neghandi, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo

Courtesy: ESPN
L – R: Kevin Neghandi, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo

March 13th, 2016 is one of the biggest nights in the 2015 – 2016 college basketball season.  That is because it is selection Sunday.  It is just one of the college basketball world’s big days.  On Monday, March 14th, ESPN will have exclusive coverage of “Selection Monday.”

The full 64-team field for the Women’s NCAA Division I college basketball tournament will be revealed on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Special Presented by Capitol One will air March 14th at 7pm ET on ESPN.  Kevin Neghandi will anchor the broadcast.  He will be joined by veteran analysts Kara Lawson and Rebecca Lobo for additional commentary.  Coverage doesn’t end after the last team is announced, either.  ESPNU will pick up coverage at 8pm ET with the NCAA Women’s Basketball Selection Special Extended Coverage Presented by Capitol One.  Both shows will include special features and interviews and an exclusive interview with Chris Dawson during ESPN’s coverage during the 7pm hour.  Dawson is Chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee.

As an added bonus, ESPN will once again carry all 63 games in the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship presented by Capitol One.  It all leads up to the NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four from Indianapolis, IN on April 3rd and 5th.  2016 marks the eleventh consecutive year that ESPN has carried complete coverage of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.  ESPN and ESPN2 will carry coverage of regionalized telecasts with home protection through the tournament’s first two rounds.  ESPN3 and ESPN Full Court, ESPN’s pay-per-view service, will offer complete first and second round coverage as a supplement to the coverage offered by ESPN and ESPN2.  The tournament’s final 15 games, beginning with the Regional Semifinals, will have national telecast windows on ESPN and ESPN2.

Those wanting even more coverage of the 2016 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship can go online to espnW.com and ESPN.com as well as the SEC Network.  More information on this year’s coverage of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship is available online now at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/womens-college-basketball

http://espn.go.com/espnw

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/espnW

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espnw

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.