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) Continue reading