If you were ambivalent about Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Todd McShay calling last week’s USC-UCLA game for ESPN, perhaps you have an opinion now.
One less indecisive.
One more problematic.
The trio has been asked to do a repeat performance at the Coliseum for ESPN’s coverage of No. 12 USC (8-3) vs. Notre Dame (4-7) at the Coliseum (Saturday, 12:30 p.m.).
McShay loves these kinds of assignments so he can show how much he knows about ranking talent.
Griese doesn’t seem to care one way or another.
Levy has always been one of our stick-around-and-watch favorite “SportsCenter” anchors, and as a play-by-play man, we continue to hold his studio work in high esteem. You can’t call a game as if you’re reading from a “SportsCenter” script. Or going off-topic so much so that it appears the game in front of you is a distraction. Or trying to talk chummy stuff with Griese to show the audience you actually know each other.
Leave it to Levy to continue to gleefully mention last week that USC quarterback Sam Darnold’s grandfather was once the Marlboro Man commercial spokesman, but never give his name. Not even in a graphic later about Darnold’s athletic lineage.
(Or was it the producer’s call to not mention his grandfather’s name? You know we have ways of finding this stuff out if you just ask Twitter):
Stop laughing. Grow up. pic.twitter.com/b4HtPTfegm
— Jack A. Wilson (@JACKaWILSON) November 20, 2016
Then there was this post by famed statman Marty Aronoff:
From the iconic Rose Bowl I am about to work the 84th meeting between crosstown LA rivals So. Cal (7-3) at UCLA (4-6), 10:30 ET on ESPN. pic.twitter.com/xmGRrpMGVc
— Marty Aronoff (@martystats) November 20, 2016
If you added the wins, losses and ties of the USC-UCLA series, you’d come up with 84, true. But that was the 86th meeting, because USC vacating the wins in 2005 and ’06 didn’t count in that W-L-T total, but they were actually played. Tickets were sold. People attended. Believe us, it happened.
So FYI from the press notes: Notre Dame and USC are meeting for the 88th time coming up. The Irish lead the series 46-35-5, not counting USC’s 2005 win that was vacated as well because of NCAA sanctions.
== The rest of the Pac-12 rivalry games that matter this weekend (in order of importance) when it comes to whether or not USC represents the South Division in the Dec. 2 Pac-12 Championship game at Santa Clara:
= No. 22 Utah (8-3, 5-3) at No. 9 Colorado (9-2, 7-1), Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Channel 11 (Joe Davis, Brady Quinn, Jenny Taft)
= No. 5 Washington (10-1, 7-1) at No. 23 Washington State (8-3, 7-1), Friday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 11 (Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, Shannon Spake)
= Arizona State (5-6, 2-6) at Arizona (2-9, 0-8), Friday at 6:30 p.m., ESPN (Dave Lamont, Ray Bentley, Quint Kessenich)
= Oregon (4-7, 2-6) at Oregon State (3-8, 2-6), 1 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Roxy Bernstein, Glenn Parker, Kate Scott)
Oh, and then there’s:
= UCLA (4-7, 2-6) at Cal (4-7, 2-6), 4 p.m., ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich)
= Rice (3-8) at No. 24 Stanford (8-3), Saturday at 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Ted Robinson, Yogi Roth, Cindy Brunson)
== More rivalry games worth setting time aside for:
Saturday morning/afternoon kickoffs, as they should be:
= No. 3 Michigan (10-1, 7-1) at No. 2 Ohio State (10-1, 7-1), Saturday at 9 a.m., Channel 7 (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Samantha Ponder, Tom Rinaldi) Note: ESPN College GameDay starts at 7 a.m. EDT/4 a.m. PDT for a five-hour show from outside Ohio Stadium. This is the sixth time the show has originated from the site of the Michigan-OSU game (’97, ’02, ’03, ’06 and ’07).
= No. 13 Auburn (8-3, 5-2) at No. 1 Alabama (11-0, 7-0), Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 2 (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson)
= Georgia at Georgia Tech, Saturday at 9 a.m., SEC Network (Dave Neal, Matt Stinchcomb)
= Virginia at Virginia Tech, Saturday at 9 a.m., ESPN2 (Jason Benetti, Kelly Stouffer, Paul Caracterra)
= Kentucky at No. 11 Louisville, Saturday at 9 a.m., ESPN (Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, Dr. Jerry Punch)
= Kansas at Kansas State, Saturday at 9 a.m., FS1 (Brian Custer, Petros Papadakis)
= Illinois at Northwestern, Saturday at 9 a.m., Big Ten Network (Cory Provus, Glen Mason)
= Mississippi State at Mississippi, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., SEC Network (Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer, Kaylee Hartung)
= Minnesota at No. 6 Wisconsin, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Big Ten Network (Kevin Kugler, Matt Millen)
= San Jose State at Fresno State, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., CBSSN (John Sadak, Eric Davis)
Saturday late afternoon/evening kickoffs, which add to the drama:
= No. 15 Florida at No. 14 Florida State, Saturday at 5 p.m., Channel 7 (Joe Tessitore, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe)
= South Carolina at No. 4 Clemson, Saturday at 4:30 p.m., ESPN (Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy, Tom Luginbill)
= No. 17 Tennessee at Vanderbilt, Saturday at 4:30 p.m., SEC Network (Tom Hart, Andre Ware)
= Utah State at BYU, Saturday at 7:15 p.m., ESPNU (Mark Neely, Dan Hawkins)
Friday bonus-day kickoffs:
= North Carolina State at North Carolina, Friday at 9 a.m., ESPN (Adam Amin, Mack Brown, Molly McGrath)
= TCU at Texas, Friday at 12:30 p.m., FS1 (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman, Bruce Feldman)
= Baylor at Texas Tech, Friday at 3 p.m., ESPN (Clay Matvick, Dusty Dvoracek, Shelly Smith)
== The best of the rest:
= LSU at Texas A&M, 4:30 p.m., ESPN (Dave Flemming, Jesse Palmer, Laura Rutledge)
= No. 20 Houston at Memphis, 9 a.m., Channel 7 (Tom Hart, Andre Ware)
= No. 19 Boise State at Air Force, 12:30 p.m., CBSSN (Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor, Jenny Dell)
= No. 16 Nebraska at Iowa, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7 (Allen Bestwick, Mike Bellotti, Kris Budden)
= Toledo at No. 21 Western Michigan, 2 p.m., ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Anthony Brcht, Allison Williams)
= Cincinnati at Tulsa, 5:30 p.m., ESPN2 (Mike Corey, Rene Ingoglia)
= Rutgers at Maryland, 9 a.m., ESPNEWS (Mike Couzens, Al Groh)
= Purdue at Indiana, 9 a.m., ESPNU (Anish Shroff, Ahmad Brooks)
= Central Florida at South Florida, 9 a.m., CBSSN (Dave Ryan, Corey Chavous)
= Duke at Miami, 12:30 p.m., ESPN2 (Eamon McAnaney, John Congemi)
= No. 25 Navy at SMU, 12:30 p.m., ESPNU (Kevin Brown, Clint Stoerner)
= No. 18 West Virginia at Iowa State, 12:30 p.m., FS1 (Aaron Goldsmith, Ben Leber)
= Michigan State at No. 7 Penn State, 12:30 p.m., ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams)
Late afternoon/night kickoffs
= Western Kentucky at Marshall, 4 p.m., ESPNU (Bill Roth, John Gregory)
= Colorado State at San Diego State, 6 p.m., CBSSN (Rich Waltz, Adam Archuleta, Cassie McKinney)
= Wyoming at New Mexico, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2 (Adam Amin, Anthony Becht)
Bye week: No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 10 Oklahoma State