The Big Lead College Football Media Draft


We here at The Big Lead are excited about the upcoming college football season. We’re suckers for the pageantry, non-conference cupcakes and fight songs. But if there’s one thing we love the most, it’s the media members who cover the sport. With that in mind, we held our first-ever College Football Media Draft.

Each writer was tasked with building their own network of talent. The goal was to assemble the best team for the upcoming year as opposed to the long-term. Each network had nine hires, one for each of the following categories:

  • Play-by-play announcer
  • Booth analyst
  • Studio host
  • Studio analyst
  • Studio analyst
  • Sideline reporter
  • Reporter
  • Columnist
  • Flex

Here’s how it all shook out.

Ty Duffy Network: Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Joel Klatt (booth analyst), Scott Van Pelt (studio host) Kirk Herbstreit (studio analyst), Rick Neuheisel (studio analyst), Holly Rowe (sideline reporter) Bruce Feldman (reporter), Dan Wetzel (columnist), Marcus Spears (flex)

Normally, I like to be clever and throw people off in the first round. But, having the number one pick, you have to go the obvious route. Klatt, Neuheisel, and Rowe were steals in the later rounds. Best move was probably waiting to draft a play-by-play man, knowing I would still get solid production from that position. My biggest regret is that McElroy did not slide to me in the fourth round.

Stephen Douglas Network: Steve Levy (play-by-play), Jesse Palmer (booth analyst), Adnan Virk (studio host), Tim Tebow (studio analyst), Lee Corso (studio analyst), Molly McGrath (sideline reporter), Travis Haney (reporter), Ty Duffy (columnist), Jordan Rodgers (flex)

Draft Grade (by Stephen Douglas): A++
My first pick was Tim Tebow (#2 overall) because he IS college football. Also, he brings the perspective of a professional baseball player, which you don’t often get in the world of college football. I then picked up Corso because you can never have enough zany old guys. Palmer and Levy give me the most handsome booth possible. Molly McGrath has experience as a reporter and host. I didn’t realize I needed a reporter, so all the big names were gone and that’s how I ended up with Travis Haney whose name I found by Googling “best college football reporters.” I still consider him a great value so late in the draft. And speaking of value – Jordan Rodgers was just hired by ESPN, so obviously he’s very good at what he does. Finally, columnists are like kickers – never draft one before the last round.

Jason Lisk Network: Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Ed Cunningham (booth analyst), Chris Fowler (studio host), Robert Smith (studio analyst), Brock Huard (studio analyst) Allie LaForce (side reporter), Brett McMurphy (reporter), Andy Staples (columnist), Clay Travis (flex)

I went with the idea that those who facilitate others, by calling for play-by-play and hosting shows, were the scarcest options. Analysts, often comprised of former players, were more plentiful and I would still have good options if I waited. I was pleasantly surprised that Fowler slipped to the second round, so now I have two guys that can rotate play-by-play and hosting duties. I also added Clay Travis so that I can get people riled up and talking, and branch into the Periscope market post-game.

Kyle Koster Network: Brent Musburger (play-by-play), Gary Danielson (booth analyst), Rece Davis (studio host), Danny Kanell (studio analyst), Desmond Howard (studio analyst), Kaylee Hartung (sideline reporter), Thayer Evans (reporter), Pat Forde (columnist), Tom Rinaldi (flex)

I couldn’t be happier with my draft. A powerhouse broadcast team will bring a great mix of nostalgia and BIG GAME gravitas to the booth. An all-star studio show will be competently carried by Davis, who is a master at setting up others. Kanell will drive conversation and controversy. Rinaldi is the sleeper of the draft and allows my network to corner the tear-jerking market. Viewers of the KKN will laugh, cry and always know the spread.

Ryan Glasspiegel Network: Verne Lundquist (play-by-play), Doug Flutie (booth analyst),  Rob Stone (studio host), Steve Spurrier (studio analyst), Greg McElroy (studio analyst), Taylor Rooks (sideline reporter), Pete Thamel (reporter), Paul Finebaum (columnist), Steve Sarkisian (flex)

To address the elephant in the room, Paul Finebaum is not a columnist. However, I’m bending the rules because this is a made-up exercise in the first place, and given that he’s an opinion-based talk host I’m gonna go ahead and call him a columnist in the present atmosphere.

To say I’m ecstatic with my roster would be an understatement. Verne during his victory lap season on CBS. Spurrier to generate headlines. Taylor Rooks on her ongoing ascent toward superstardom. Really, there’s not a hole anywhere on the squad.

Ryan Phillips Network: Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Todd Blackledge (booth analyst), Tim Brando (studio host), Matt Leinart (studio analyst), David Pollack (studio analyst), Sam Ponder (sideline reporter), Stewart Mandel (reporter), Ted Miller (columnist) Todd McShay (flex)

Having the last pick in the first round was rough, but I think it’s obvious my roster turned out fantastic. Johnson and Blackledge form a powerhouse boot duo, and Sam Ponder has the chops and sense of humor to mesh well with Johnson and Blackledge in-game (plus, Blackledge knows all the best spots to eat in every American college town). My studio trio of Brando-Leinart-Pollack would be must-watch television, and Todd McShay was the steal of this draft. His versatility and Stewart Mandel’s outstanding reporting help put this roster over the top. Meanwhile, Ted Miller has done fantastic work as a Pac-12 columnist at ESPN for years and is due for a move to the new biggest network on the block.

Here is the full draft:

First Round

  1. Ty Duffy: Kirk Herbstreit
  2. Stephen Douglas: Tim Tebow
  • Jason Lisk: Joe Tessitore
  • Kyle Koster: Rece Davis
  • Ryan Glasspiegel: Verne Lundquist
  • Ryan Phillips: Gus Johnson

Second Round

  • Phillips: Todd Blackledge
  • Glasspiegel: Paul Finebaum
  • Koster: Brent Musburger
  • Lisk: Chris Fowler
  • Douglas: Lee Corso
  • Duffy: Bruce Feldman

Third Round

  • Duffy: Scott Van Pelt
  • Douglas: Jesse Palmer
  • Lisk: Clay Travis
  • Koster: Danny Kanell
  • Glasspiegel: Steve Spurrier
  • Phillips: Stewart Mandel

Fourth Round

  • Phillips: Sam Ponder
  • Glasspiegel: Greg McElroy
  • Koster: Gary Danielson
  • Lisk: Brett McMurphy
  • Douglas: Molly McGrath
  • Duffy: Joel Klatt

Fifth Round

  • Duffy: Dan Wetzel
  • Douglas: Adnan Virk
  • Lisk: Andy Staples
  • Koster: Pat Forde
  • Glasspiegel: Pete Thamel
  • Phillips: Tim Brando

Sixth Round

  • Phillips: Matt Leinart
  • Glasspiegel: Taylor Rooks
  • Koster: Kaylee Hartung
  • Lisk: Allie LaForce
  • Douglas: Steve Levy
  • Duffy: Rick Neuheisel

Seventh Round

  • Duffy: Brad Nessler
  • Douglas: Travis Haney
  • Lisk: Robert Smith
  • Koster: Tom Rinaldi
  • Glasspiegel: Rob Stone
  • Phillips: Todd McShay

Eighth Round

  • Phillips: David Pollack
  • Glasspiegel: Doug Flutie
  • Koster: Desmond Howard
  • Lisk: Ed Cunningham
  • Douglas: Jordan Rodgers
  • Duffy: Holly Rowe

Ninth Round

  • Duffy: Marcus Spears
  • Douglas: Ty Duffy
  • Lisk: Brock Huard
  • Koster: Thayer Evans
  • Glasspiegel: Steve Sarkisian
  • Phillips: Ted Miller