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Former Coaches Go Back to Their High Schools in New ESPN Series

Starting Sunday SportsCenter will follow four former coaches and current ESPN talking heads as they visit their old high schools. “Back to School” will feature Mike Ditka returning to Aliquippa, Pa.; Herm Edwards going back to Monterey, Calif.; Lou Holtz visiting East Liverpool, Ohio; and Lee Corso heading back to Miami, Florida. Unfortunately it will not feature any clips from the Rodney Dangerfield movie.

In addition to making surprise visit to their old schools, the four coaches visited some of their favorite hometown spots and shared time with family and friends.

“What these ‘Back to School’ features do is allow viewers to see where these guys got their start – both on the field and off – and provide our former coaches a chance to go back and interact with the community they grew up in,” said Glenn Jacobs, ESPN senior coordinating producer.

The schedule goes like this: Holtz on SportsCenter Sunday at 10 a.m.; Corso, Monday at 9 a.m.; Edwards, Tuesday at 9 a.m.; and Ditka, Wednesday at 9 a.m.

 

Longhorn Network Preparing For Friday Launch

Want to know what the world will be missing out on during the debut of the Longhorn Network?

Well, the homeless home of the University of Texas will go live Friday at 6 p.m. CT from the South Mall on the UT campus. The College GameDay crew will join Lowell Galindo, Samantha Steele and Kevin Dunn during a two-hour show that will preview the upcoming Longhorns football season.

The No. 4-ranked Texas women’s volleyball team will take on Pepperdine in the first televised sporting event on the Longhorn Network at 8 p.m. CT. Carter Blackburn and Heather Cox will call the action and Steele will report from the sidelines.

Texas All-Access will wrap up the evening, providing access to football coach Mack Brown and the UT program as they prepare for their Sept. 3 home opener against Rice.

 

Fiesta Bowl Moved Up To Jan. 2

With the NFL lockout resolved, the 2012 Fiesta Bowl has been moved up from Jan. 5 to Jan. 2.

The BCS originally left the evening of Jan. 2 free in case the NFL had to push their season back due to the lockout.

The Fiesta Bowl will now be played right after the Rose Bowl, which is on Jan. 2 next year because New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday.

 

 

Video: New ESPN Promo for Monday Night Football

This is the first of three new 3o-second spots for Monday Night Football on ESPN, and it premieres today. This spot, called “Animal Control,” features an animal control officer who gets called to a home visit at an inopportune time.

Pretty funny stuff.

Future MNF promos will work off a similar theme of job abdication and debut closer to ESPN’s regular-season doubleheader debut on Sept. 12. Those spots are called “Plumber,” “Construction Worker,” “Food Inspector,” and “Police Officer.”

NFL Sunday Ticket Is Coming To Your PlayStation 3

Starting this season, NFL fans that don’t have DirecTV can now get the NFL Sunday Ticket on their PlayStation 3.

Be prepared to shell out $339.95 for the PS3 service and DirecTV customers that are subscribed to the Sunday Ticket will have to pay an additional $50 to use their gaming console as an additional receiver.

“It’s our attempt to open up the universe a bit to people that can’t get DirecTV – students, people who live in big apartment buildings and people who live in New York City – and it’s a new revenue stream for us,” DirecTV senior director of product management Alex Kaplan told Multichannel News.

The one advantage DirecTV customers have is they can make monthly payments throughout the NFL season instead of coming up with $340.


The NFL Has A Special Place In Josh Elliott's Heart

Former Sports Illustrated writer Josh Elliott successfully made the transition from print to broadcast in 2005 when he was hired by ESPN as the host of Classic Now (RIP). Following a successfully stint on SportsCenter, Elliott left the sports world for a newsreader position on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Despite leaving the print world, the former NFL writer still gets the itch to write, especially when training camps are in full swing.

There’s still part of my genetic makeup that feels like in early to mid-August, I should be in a rental car, driving the back roads of Wisconsin and parts of America, on my way to far flung college campuses that are beset by infernally hot weather, to go talk to a bunch of professional athletes who are literally having the worst time of their lives,” said Elliott in an exclusive interview with mediabistro.com “The NFL will always have a real special place in my heart. It’s the secular religion in this country.”

For more of our interview with Elliott, check out “So What Do You Do, Josh Elliott, Good Morning America newsreader?”

 

Time Names Bleacher Report and Grantland Among 50 Best Websites of 2011

The sports website Bleacher Report gets a lot of grief in the sports blogging community. The Sports Pickle, a satire site run by the esteemed D.J. Gallo, recently ran this mock-up of Bleacher Report‘s newly redesigned front page, and it hits on all the perceived shortcomings of the upstart website — spelling errors, annoying slideshows that boost page views, untimely columns about staid topics, stupid columns about stupid topics, etc.

Nevertheless a lot of people read Bleacher Report, which claims to be the 4th-largest sports media site in the U.S. with 20 million monthly readers. Mind you, this traffic is no doubt buoyed by some voodoo search engine optimization, which seems to put BR articles at the top of most sports-related Google searches. Perhaps that helps explain why Time magazine named Bleacher Report one of its Top 50 websites of 2011. Here’s the write-up from Harry McCracken, a name we believe to be real.

At Bleacher Report, the sports reporting isn’t performed by a tiny staff of full-time journalists – it’s done by thousands of fan-contributors, which is why it feels so deep and so passionate. The standard of quality is markedly higher than at some community-created news hubs, where “citizen journalist” can be a synonym for “poorly paid amateur.” Like a sports-themed variant of the Huffington Post, the site has a penchant for wacky lists and sideshows. Many of them, like “50 Bold Predictions for the Rest of the MLB Season,” are nicely done, not just fluffy filler. Read more

Nothing Says 600 Home Runs Like Condoms

It’s not everyday a baseball player hits 600 home runs.

It’s also not everyday that a guy gets his teammates 600 condoms as a result.

Both of these scenarios came to fruition for Jim Thome in the last 24 hours.

“As a congratulatory gift for Thome’s incredible feat, NuVo sent the Minnesota Twins 600 condoms,” the condom company said in a release. “NuVo hopes this offering to the team will help keep the Twins players and their partners safe during their celebrations!”

That should be just enough to get the Twins through their next road trip.

 

Musburger and Lundquist To Be Honored By National Football Foundation

Broadcasting legends Brent Musburger and Verne Lundquist are co-recipients of the 2011 Outstanding Contribution to Amateur Football Award from the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. The two will be honored at the NFF’s annual awards dinner on Dec. 6 in New York City.

“We are thrilled to honor both Brent and Verne, two of the best announcers our sport has ever known,” said NFF president and CEO Steve Hatchell. “Millions of fans have had their fall Saturdays enriched by their exceptional storytelling abilities, and they stand atop the broadcasting profession as true masters of capturing the drama of the gridiron. We are all truly fortunate to have been in their audience for so many years, and we look forward to honoring them.”

Lundquist, aka, “The Golden Throat,” is CBS’ lead play-by-play announcer for college football. The 71-year-old was the Dallas Cowboys’ radio man from 1967 to 1984. Nationally, he worked for ABC Sports from 1974 to 1981, CBS from 1982 to 1995, and TNT from 1995 to 1997 before returning to CBS in 1998.

Musburger, one of the original members of CBS’ tremendous pregame program The NFL Today, has been the top broadcaster at ABC Sports since 2006. He works the channel’s college football primetime series with Bob Davies and Kirk Herbstreit, among other duties. Like Lundquist, Musburger has called many of the world’s best sporting events.

Kansas State Launching HD Online Network

It’s no Longhorn Network, but Kansas State is launching their own high-definition digital network at the end of month called K-StateHD.TV.

Wildcat fans will have access to over 100 live athletic events during the 2011-12 season, classic K-State games and replays, press conferences, originally programming and on-campus performances.

K-StateHD.TV goes live on Aug. 30 with the Wildcats’ volleyball home opener against Creighton. K-State’s football season opener against Eastern Kentucky will be broadcast live exclusively on K-StateHD.TV, the first time in school history that a live home football game will be made available solely online. Read more

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