Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Reflecting back on the ESPN New Year's Six announcing pairings

Back in August, I decided to spice things up and predict the announcers for the New Year's Six games that would take place on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

With Tuesday's announcement via ESPN MediaZone of the commentary teams for each of the six games, what better time than now to see how accurate my predictions were back then, compared to now:

New Year's Eve Games:

Peach Bowl Original Prediction: Joe Tessitore/Jesse Palmer/David Pollack

Actual Announcers: Dave Pasch/Brian Griese- 0 of 1

I will admit this grouping was a long-shot given the shrewd prediction of Palmer doing two major bowl games within a 28-hour stretch being a bit unrealistic.

Coupled with Tessitore's schedule being hectic, at best each week, calling Thursday night games on ESPN, hosting SEC Network's SEC Nation on-site each Saturday and flying out to ESPN's Bristol campus that night to host College Football Final with analyst Joey Galloway, this grouping while good, did not have the opportunity to call enough big games.

Pasch and Griese get a chance to call another New Year's Six game together with the Group of Five representative and American champions Houston Cougars and the Florida State Seminoles of the ACC playing in Atlanta.

This should be a good game to watch as the appetizer before the two main entrees are served later in the day with Orange and Cotton Bowls as the semifinals.

Orange Bowl Original Prediction: Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge

Actual Announcers: Nessler/Blackledge- 1 of 2

This pairing was a no-brainer for the College Football Playoff semifinals, but it became a matter of which bowl they would cover.

I correctly predicted Nessler and Blackledge's assignment in the Orange Bowl with the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners and the No. 1 Clemson Tigers meeting in the first semifinal game. 

In their seventh season, Nessler and Blackledge have proven to be one of ESPN/ABC's longest-tenured teams and should have a great call on New Year's Eve.

Cotton Bowl Original Prediction: Chris Fowler/ Kirk Herbstreit

Actual Announcers: Fowler/Herbstreit- 2 of 3

Given that the CFP committee decided to put this year's semifinal games on NYE, it would make more sense to have the stronger of the two games on last.

What better way to close out 2015 than with an epic confrontation between the No. 3 Michigan State Spartans and the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide.

New Year's Day Games:

Fiesta Bowl Original Prediction: Sean McDonough/Chris Spielman

Actual Announcers: McDonough/Spielman- 3 of 4

This very team covered the same bowl last season and it is a no-brainer to have them back on board.

Plus, you get the benefit of sideline analyst Todd McShay on your HDTV. 


Rose Bowl Original Prediction: Brent Musburger/Jesse Palmer

Actual Announcers: Musburger/Palmer- 4 of 5

The Rose Bowl Game gets its wish by keeping this prestigious contest on Jan. 1, but given that the semifinal games will have been played the night before, it makes sense to bring Musburger back to Pasadena after a one-year hiatus.

Next to the legendary Keith Jackson, when you think of the Rose Bowl, Musburger comes to mind. 

This SEC Network tandem of Musburger and Palmer will get the chance to call the biggest bowl game outside of the CFP Final Four in terms of rankings as No. 6 Stanford and No. 5 Iowa will square off in Pasadena.

Sugar Bowl Original Prediction: Dave Pasch/Brian Griese

Actual Announcers: Bob Wischusen/Brock Huard- 4 of 6

I will admit that I was completely off-base on this prediction, but the duo of Wischusen and Huard deserve the opportunity to call the Sugar Bowl with Oklahoma State out of the Big 12 and Ole Miss out of the SEC.

This game has the potential of both offenses putting up points all night long.

Also, it is New Orleans and New Year's night— two things that can not be beat for college football fans.

4 of 6 is not too shabby given the unpredictability of what teams would be slotted into the six games in a 36-hour span.

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.