What made it into the first media column of the new year:
What’s all this talk about an ESPN “BCS Megacast” you ask? Or don’t ask. We’ll tell you anyway. It’s a big deal. Especially if you’re not adept at handling more than one channel in a sitting.
Plus, notes on Vin Scully’s day of rest after the Rose Bowl festivities, why the NFL gave three cities a break in meeting the deadline for selling out their playoff games (think TV) and why getting a hug from Tom Rinaldi on camera may be a sign of weakness.
Notes we’ve added Friday morning:
== Will Leitch, a senior editor and writer at SportsOnEarth.com, has been added as a semi-regular to Fox Sports 1’s “Fox Sports Live” show starting Monday to talk about the BCS title game. (Yes, we had to go back to our DirecTV menu to remember that FS1 is on Channel 219). Read Leitch’s latest post on an appreciation of the “enduring mediocrity” of pitcher (and former Crespi High star) Jeff Suppan, who announced his retirement after 17 seasons on Thursday. (Really, only 205 pitchers in big-league history have faced more batters than Suppan?)
== Thanks to Joe McDonnell for offering heartfelt background on the passing of his friend and colleague, Dave Stone, one of the first broadcasters on KSPN-AM (710) when it made the switch to all-sports some 15 years ago. Stone died at 64 earlier this week after a long illness and ALS diagnosis. LARadio.com reports that McDonnell, Steve Futterman and Ted Sobel spoke at Stone’s services Thursday.
“Intelligent, well prepared, one of the most passionate people I’ve ever known,” said McDonnell. “He was one of my closest friends and his passing leaves a big void in my life.”
What didn’t quite make it in, but should have:
== More from Ben Platt on MLB.com covering Scully’s day as the Tournament of Roses Parade grand marshal.
== ESPN’s newest hire, Tim Tebow, will also be part of the BCS coverage in one way or another. Will he provide any value? That’s a matter of opinion.
== FYI: The call letters for the Kings’ flagship station at 1150-AM have changed from KTLK to KEIB.
== Justin Kutcher and Sean Elliott have the call for the USC-UCLA basketball Pac-12 opener from Pauley Pavilion on Sunday at noon.
== ESPN says the Rose Bowl Game’s 11.2 rating for Michigan State’s 24-20 victory over Stanford was a 17-percent increase from the 9.6 a year ago (when Stanford beat Wisconsin 20-14). The Fiesta Bowl had a 7.1 overnight rating for those watching Central Florida topple Baylor 52-42. That’s an increase of nine percent from those who watched the 2013 Orange Bowl between Florida State and Northern Illinois, which followed up the Rose Bowl then. ESPN also reports that the Dec. 31 Chick-Fil-A Bowl, where Texas A&M came back to beat Duke 52-48, had a 5.3 overnight rating, the best ever for the network outside a BCS game.
== With all the competing college football – including the lead-in to the Michigan State-Stanford Rose Bowl – Wednesday’s NHL Winter Classic played amidst falling snow at the University of Michigan between Detroit and Toronto had a 2.9 overnight rating for NBC. That ties the mar for the 2009 game as the network’s best for an NHL regular-season game, and was up 21 percent from the last outdoor game, in 2012 (last season’s game was canceled due to the NHL lockout). And how about an 18.0 local rating in Detroit for the hockey, followed by a 27.9 rating for the Rose Bowl on ESPN? Los Angeles had a 13.2 rating for the Rose Bowl, which ESPN says is the second best-rated bowl game on the network in this market since L.A. did a 14.6 for the Auburn-Oregon 2011 BCS title game. L.A. also did a 1.2 rating for the NHL Winter Classic, tied with San Antonio for 51st place of all the major markets.
== What’s left of the pre-BCS bowl game broadcast teaming up:
= ESPN’s Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe have tonight’s Oklahoma-Alabama Sugar Bowl (5:30 p.m., with Bill Rosinkski, David Norrie and Joe Schad doing it on ESPN Radio, heard on KSPN-AM 710)
= Fox’s Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Kristina Pink have Friday’s Oklahoma State-Missouri Cotton Bowl (4:30 p.m., Channel 11) (With Rob Stone, Eddie George, and Joel Klatt on the pre-game show from the Fox studios near Century City).
= ESPN’s Joe Tessitore, Matt Millen and Maria Taylor have Friday’s Clemson-Ohio State Orange Bowl (5:30 p.m., with Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman and Shannon Spake on radio)
= ESPN’s Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Dawn Davenport have Saturday’s Vanderbilt-Houston BBVA Compass Bowl (10 a.m.)
= ESPN’s Carter Blackburn, Danny Kanell and Allison Williams have Sunday’s Arkansas State-Ball State GoDaddy Bowl (6 p.m.)
= Also, ESPN2 has Anish Shroff, Kelly Stouffer and Cara Capuano on the Football Championship Subdivision title game — No. 1 North Dakota State going for its third straight title against No. 7 Towson — Saturday, 11 a.m., from Frisco, Texas.
== NBC has the U.S. Army All-American Bowl from the Alamodome in San Antonio (Saturday, 10 a.m., Channel 4), with Paul Burmeister, Anthony Herron, Lewis Johnson, Barton Simmons and Ross Tucker on the broadcast. Among the 11 players who are expected to declare their college of choice are tight end Bryce Dixon (Ventura St. Bonaventure High). NBC Sports Net has Friday’s skills challenge (3:30 p.m.)
== Fox Sports Radio filled out its new lineup by announcing that Steve Gorman will handle the noon-to-3 p.m. window previously occupied by Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman. Gorman, more famous for being the drummer for The Black Crowes, started his own sports show podcast in 2010 and has been a frequent guest on Jay Mohr’s 9 a.m.-to-noon show.
Again, on KLAC-AM (570), the Fox Sports Radio affiliate in L.A., local programming will replace the network feed from noon to 7 p.m. KLAC has yet to announce that Fred Roggin will handle the noon-to-3 p.m. shift with Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith going L.A.-only from 3-to-7 p.m.
== NBC Sports Net has the Boston College-Notre Dame hockey game that’s part of the Frozen Fenway series at Boston’s Fenway Park (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
== What’s going on with ESPN’s policy for approving advertisements? Its own ombudsman, Bob Lipsyte, questions that for himself and wonders if its recent acceptance of a Christian-based spot, after a threat of being exposed by Bill O’Reilly, will have created a slippery slope.
== Ralph Sheheen, Jeff Emig and Jenny Taft are the part of the Fox Sports broadcasting team for the AMA Supercross schedule that begins Saturday at Angel Stadium (7 p.m., Fox Sports 1). Ricky Carmichael, Jeremy McGrath and Kevin Windham will also appear as guest analysts during the season.
== Incorporated into the “NFL on CBS” pregame show leading into the Chargers-Bengals AFC wildcard game on Sunday is a Jim Rome sit-down interview with San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers, running back Danny Woodhead and wide receiver Keenan Allen.
== The sexiest sportswriters in L.A.? Should a list like this even exist?