ESPN analysts Fran Fraschilla and Jimmy Dykes (Left photo: Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ESPN Images – Right photo: Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)
ESPN college basketball analysts Jimmy Dykes and Fran Fraschilla will have to use the lessons they’ve learned from their play-by-play partners in this season’s first for each. The two, who have never worked a game together, will take on the roles of play-by-play and analyst for South Carolina at Baylor (tomorrow, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN) as part of the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.
For Fraschilla and Dykes, who pride themselves on being prepared and knowledgeable, the assignment has added a layer to their pre-game routines: balancing the role of play-by-play between them to give fans a great viewing experience. Front Row had the duo interview each other to get a feel for how this unique assignment might shake out.
Dykes on first time meeting Fraschilla:
I met Fran in 1999 during his first year as head coach at New Mexico. I most vividly remember two things about those days. Fran used as much or more energy in practice than his players. As a player, you have to be embarrassed if your coach works harder than you and I’m pretty sure that happened on several occasions.
Secondly, it was a family affair on game nights. His two young sons dressed up as the small Lobo mascots and ran around the court as part of the cheer squad. Meanwhile, his wife always sat behind the visitor’s basket in the second half. She was as good as I’ve ever seen distracting the opposing team’s free throw shooters with all kinds of signs, spinning tops and anything else that would help the cause from that rowdy end zone section. That family did game nights like none I’ve ever seen.
Fraschilla on first time meeting Dykes:
I can’t remember exactly the first time I met Jimmy, but we became very well-acquainted when he and Bob Carpenter did a million Mountain West Conference games when I was coaching at New Mexico. In fact, one year, he did five straight Lobo games (three in the conference tournament and two in the NIT) and I thought he was going to move in with my family. Even then I admired his preparation for games and his passion for basketball.
Dykes: What have you learned from working with Brent Musburger on Big Monday?continue reading…
Tonight’s Top 5 showdown – the first such matchup of the season – between No. 5 Florida State and No. 3 Clemson (ABC, 8 p.m. ET) marks College GameDay Built by The Home Depot’ssecond visit to Clemson this season.
Fans will likely remember the spine-tingling stadium entrance aired prior to the telecast of Clemson’s win over Georgia (above). Well, get ready to be thrilled again, as ABC will bring the chills back in the run up to tonight’s ACC battle.
Front Row asked Senior Coordinating Producer, College Football Ed Placey for his insight into how his team handled – and will handle – the grand entrance of the Tigers, in addition to that of the Seminoles.
College GameDay is in College Station, Texas this week for the latest “Game Of The Century” as defending national champion Alabama visits Texas A&M and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Front Row’s cameras are putting together a behind-the-scenes look at College GameDay’s visit. Check out the 30-second tease for a sample of the preparations for the show, which airs beginning at 9 a.m. ET this morning (Saturday) on ESPN and WatchESPN. Return to Front Row next week for more exclusive access to the GameDay team.
- By Sheldon Spencer
ICYMI: Highlights from the past week on Front Row
• Brent Musburger spoke with Front Row about his memorable Saturday Night Footballinterview with Eminem, his wife’s thoughts on it, autographs and more.
“It” was last Saturday’s halftime interview of Eminem (a.k.a. Marshall Mathers) by Saturday Night Football announcers Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit during ESPN’s Notre Dame-Michigan telecast.
Eminem stopped by the booth to introduce a premiere sneak peek of the official video for “Berzerk” – the first single from his new album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, set to be released on Nov. 5. ESPN also announced last week that “Berzerk” will be the featured song on the 2013 season of Saturday Night Football Presented by Windows on ABC beginning with tomorrow’s match-up of No. 21 Notre Dame at in-state rival Purdue (8 p.m. ET).
Musburger spoke with Front Row about the interview, his wife’s thoughts on it, autographs and more.
An element in this week’s “First Look”: “Ponder fails to take advantage of defenses keying in on the run” (ESPN)
Everyone wants to cozy up with someone who’s smart – and good looking – too.
ESPN’s Stats & Information Group (SIG) wants to be that “someone.”
Already known for providing “smart stats” that prompt on-air commentators to often say of their researchers “They’re the ones who make us look good,” the SIGers are now looking to dress up their data.
“Our Stats & Information Group does terrific work, and now we want to do more than just being known as stats experts,” says Allison Loucks, manager, statistics, overseeing NFL coverage. “We want to marry our stats with video suggestions to make our packages stand out. We want to make the fans smarter, and by adding context to our research and presenting it better, it will help fans understand.” continue reading…
Colin Cowherd is taking his voice, heard daily on The Herd with Colin Cowherd (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET), to new heights. The ESPN Radio host is part of the cast of Disney’s 3D-animated comedy, “Planes,” which lands in theatres Friday.
Cowherd provides the voice for affable blimp, “Colin Cowling,” who has quite the backstory. Cowling attended the prestigious Zeppelin Broadcasting School. He began his career as the play-by-play voice for the Pacific Coast Balloon Races. He got his big break when his Eye-In-The-Sky-In-Sports weekly recap show was noticed by producers of Racing Sports Network (RSN).
Said Cowherd: “When you work for a company like Disney, one of the best perks is opportunity. From film, to radio, to TV, and animation work…there’s always opportunity for growth. This was like nothing I’ve ever done and I really enjoyed it.” continue reading…
INDIANAPOLIS — SportsCenter anchor Lindsay Czarniak will host ABC’s live telecast of the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (ABC, Sunday, pre-race coverage beginning at 11 a.m. ET, green flag at 12:15 p.m.). Taking on a role most recently filled by Brent Musburger and in past years by such luminaries of sports television as Jim McKay, Bill Fleming and Chris Schenkel, Czarniak will be the first woman to host the telecast of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
Mike Greenberg’s Indy 500 Lap
ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” co-host Mike Greenberg did a lap around the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Scott Sharp in May 2002. Sharp had raced in the American Le Mans Series, and in the Indy Racing League, where he won the pole for the Indy 500 in 2001. His experience was recorded for posterity — and for future use in poking fun at the good-natured Greenberg.
Czarniak spent this past weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, reporting on Indy 500 qualifying for SportsCenter and preparing for this weekend’s race telecast. While she had covered the NASCAR Brickyard 400 at the track, she’d never been there during Indy 500 time. As part of her immersion, she took a ride around the track in a two-seater Indy Car with racing legend Mario Andretti, reaching speeds close to 200 miles per hour. Front Row caught up with Czarniak to talk about her first Indy 500: continue reading…
Front Row knows you have better things to do all weekend than check your social media feeds, so we do it for you.
Here, from the ESPN PR universe, are some of the Tweets, posts and other commentary you may have missed.
You can thank us later!
But first, a look at ESPN Deportes plans for tonight’s big game (Spanish translation following “Weekend Tweetback”):
Over the last few years, ESPN has televised college football across Latin America and for the first time this year, ESPN Deportes has delivered coverage of the each of the Bowl Championship Series games in the United States.
Front Row caught up with two of ESPN Deportes’ college sports experts, Eduardo Varela and Pablo Viruega, who will be calling tonight’s Championship in Spanish. They shared their perspectives about college sports and the growth among Latino fans in the U.S.
How long have you been covering college football in Spanish for ESPN? How many Championships? Varela: 78 Bowls starting in 1994 (including) eight Rose, seven Orange, seven Fiesta and five Sugar (10 National Championship Games) Viruega: I started calling college games in 1999, back in Mexico, and have covered all championship games since 2008.
What is your favorite part of covering this sport? Varela: My favorite part is the intensity and level of competition of both the athletes and the fans. I love the sound of 100,000 fans screaming at the top of their lungs during 3rd and 3, even if it’s through the TV. Viruega: The passion and devotion for the school’s colors in college sports overall. They battle for their colors and the common goal of representing their school, which you don’t (always) see in professional sports.
What is your perspective on the growth of college sports among U.S. Hispanics?continue reading…
ESPN and ABC sportscaster Brent Musburger has made acting cameos in everything from Rocky II to The Waterboyto the animated Cars 2.
Wednesday night at 9:30 ET on ABC, Musburger co-stars on the ABC sitcom Happy Endings.
The show — which airs after comedy powerhouse Modern Family — depicts the lives of six young friends in a big city.
In fact, Endings is like Friends — only funnier.
Musburger is involved in this episode that the show’s official Facebook page describes this way: “Have you ever lied to avoid hanging out with your significant other’s friends? What about getting a hotel room in town for a little staycation to avoid spending time with her sorority sister? Can Brad pull it off. . . ?”
In the interview below, Musburger tells Front Row what working on Endings was like.”
FR: Usually when you make movie cameos you’re asked to be Brent Musburger, sportscaster. After your first scene, did Happy Endings give you a chance to break out of sportscaster mode?
Musberger: It was much more laidback circumstance. We were in a mock hotel sitting at the bar and just chilling out – a nice place to be.
FR: How familiar were you with this sitcom?
Musburger: With my travel schedule, I can’t say I’ve seen all that many shows other than sports so not really familiar with it but I became familiar with it after the two-day shoot.
FR: The Happy Endings cast is known for its improv. How much did you participate in that? continue reading…