ESPN To Kick Off College Football Season With MegaCast Production at Ohio State/Indiana Opener

ESPN is bringing back its MegaCast production format for Ohio State at Indiana on Thursday, Aug. 31 (8 p.m. ET) to begin the 2017 college football season. The multi-network creation, which has only been deployed for ESPN’s College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship games in the past, will feature the traditional telecast on ESPN and six alternate offerings for fans on ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN3.

“The Buckeyes and the Hoosiers, a College Football Playoff contender on the road vs. an in-conference opponent, offered a special opportunity to start the season in a huge way,” says senior coordinating producer Ed Placey. “The importance of the game, combined with it being on a Thursday, provides us with ideal conditions to utilize the MegaCast production for college football fans.”

Kirk Herbstreit on the Traditional Telecast with Dave Flemming, Laura Rutledge
The traditional game telecast (ESPN) will feature ESPN’s main analyst Kirk Herbstreit making a rare Thursday night appearance, as he gears up for a busy opening weekend. Dave Flemming will be alongside Herbstreit in the booth and Laura Rutledge will on the sidelines. Both Flemming and Rutledge will call Thursday games throughout the season, with the analyst to be determined on a game-to-game basis.

Coaches Film Room to Feature National Championship Head Coaches, Limited Commercial Breaks
A MegaCast fan favorite, Coaches Film Room (ESPNEWS) is headlined by National Championship-winning head coaches Mack Brown, Gene Chizik and Les Miles. Additionally, Mark Helfrich, who won the Pac-12 as the Oregon head coach and led the Ducks to the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship, will also join the specialized room equipped with various camera angles, clicker technology and telestration. ESPN analysts Tom Luginbill and Greg McElroy, who regularly call games together, will be the “grad assistants” rounding out the squad.

A number of times throughout the night, Coaches Film Room will remain live during commercial breaks on the other networks, allowing for the former head coaches to discuss what has happened and predict what is coming during a pause in the action.

Homers Telecast Calls the Game from a Fan’s Perspective
The Homers Telecast (ESPNU) will once again feature subjective, team-specific announcers. Watching and reacting from the sidelines throughout the game, Dan Dakich (Indiana) and a to-be-named personality (Ohio State) will serve as the quasi-‘game analysts’ with a decidedly partisan view. Joe Tessitore and Adnan Virk will serve as the play-by-play commentators, with Tessitore paired with Dakich and Virk with the Ohio State homer. The two pairs will switch off calling the action based on game circumstances, while at times calling the game simultaneously.

All-22 Production Makes MegaCast Debut; Command Center, Data Center and Sky Cam Return
The new All-22 angle highlights alternate camera angles and/or supplemental information offerings on the MegaCast:

  • All-22 (ESPN3): Viewers can watch the game the same way coaches and players review their performance. This angle, shot high above the end zone, will show all players on the field making it easier to diagnose plays and player performance.
  • Command Center (ESPN Goal Line and ESPN3): A split-screen with simultaneous multiple camera views, such as the main traditional camera angle, the SkyCam view and isolated camera feeds of players and coaches. Enhanced statistics and real time drive charts supplement the game action.
  • Data Center (ESPN3): On-screen graphic content ranging from analytics, real-time drive charts, win probability updates, curated social media reaction and more.
  • Sky Cam (ESPN3): A continuous feed of the camera that maneuvers above the field of play and often provides a behind-the-offense look at game action.

College GameDay Highlights ESPN’s Pregame Presence in Bloomington, Ind.
ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot begins its 25th year of road shows by making its first-ever trip to Bloomington, Ind., prior to the season-opening Big Ten showdown and will televising for two hours (6– 8 p.m.) leading up to kickoff. Prior to the season debut of the premier college football pregame show, College Football Countdown (5 p.m.) and College Football Live (4 p.m.) will also air from Bloomington, Ind., on ESPN. All three shows are expected to originate from a set from inside Memorial Stadium.

Lee Corso highlights the cast of pregame commentators, as the former Indiana head coach (1973-82) makes his own return to Bloomington, Ind. Rece Davis will host College GameDay and be joined by all the regular analysts: Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, and David Pollack. Maria Taylor will make her College GameDay debut in Atlanta.

Adnan Virk will host both College Football Live and College Football Countdown, joined by Joey Galloway and Jesse Palmer. The trio will be ESPN’s main studio team throughout the entire 2017 season.

Indiana is the 69th different school to host College GameDay and Bloomington, Ind., is the 80th different city to host the show. This is the 38th Ohio State game from which College GameDay has originated (home and away), the most of any school except Alabama.

Pregame Field Pass on ESPNU Provides Alternate Pregame Show
ESPNU will air Pregame Field Pass (7 p.m.), an alternate pregame show live from the sidelines during the final hour before kickoff. The one-hour special will have Tessitore, Virk, Galloway and Palmer narrating the scene at Memorial Stadium as the Buckeyes and Hoosiers take the field for pregame routines and warmups. Guests, both planned and unplanned, will join the show, which leads into the MegaCast’s Homers Telecast. The new pregame concept made its debut prior to last season’s College Football Playoff National Championship.

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