Depending on where your sports passion lies, you may be already counting the days until the fall when your college or NFL team's aspirations start anew. With that in mind, here is a look at things to ponder on the sports media landscape as we wind our way to the start of the 2012 season.
10) Will Fox Feature Gus Johnson More?
You can debate it both ways. In some regards Gus Johnson at Fox and FX elevated his status as he called big time games like the Big Ten Championship and the Cotton Bowl. At the same time, he's almost completely disappeared from the NFL scene and was totally off the radar when this year's NCAA tournament rolled around. It's not hard to imagine that a good chunk of sports fans haven't seen/heard from him in over five months.
This year, Fox will have substantially higher quality and quantity of games thanks to their new agreement with the Pac 12 and will even have some games on Fox opposed to FX. This bodes well for Johnson, but the big question will be how many double duty weekends Johnson will pull as he was only rolled out once for an NFL game last year.
Johnson was basically the 8th string announcing team and with more games going to the Thursday night package, if things stay the same, the 8th string announcing team will probably get as much play as a 3rd string holder.
While Johnson's appeal can be divisive, the fact of the matter is that Fox's announcing talent is lacking across the board (play by play and analyst). Johnson and his partner, Charles Davis, on merit and fan sentiment alone would immediately be the #1 or #2 team based solely on quality and likability.
With more Pac 12 games on their plate in NFC markets, I'm clamoring for Johnson to get more NFL games. Nobody is really craving for announcers on the lower end of Fox's totem pole - Dick Stockton, Chris Myers, Sam Rosen, etc. If Fox lets Johnson waste away for another year away from the NFL as well as the NCAA tourney, it's going to leave many disappointed once again.
9) Where Will Hard Knocks Land?
We know that a handful of NFL teams have declined. We also know the Jaguars are game although I think NFL Films and HBO are probably hoping they find a team with a bit more intrigue and star power than Jacksonville. You'd also assume HBO would like to avoid a repeat team so that would rule out Dallas, Kansas City, and Cincinnati.
HBO's successful seduction of an NFL franchise isn't always a given but coming off a one year hiatus, you'd think that we'll hear something definitive by the end of June on a new team and perhaps something in the next couple of weeks.
Some teams that haven't been tied to rumors that I'd like to see pursued would include:
- St. Louis
I can't fathom another year without Hard Knocks so let's hope we get our answer to the question sometime in the coming weeks.