It's hard to imagine we used to get along without them. Once upon a time, we simply had whatever pregame Keith Jackson wanted to give us a few minutes before kickoff.
Nowadays, from the moment the NFL boys on Fox are giving us the latest BCS Standings (hot off the press on Sunday) to ESPN's College GameDay crew (on a campus near you every Saturday) we are inundated with College Football preview shows.
Each week, we get countless hours of coverage, breakdowns, and prognostications, and after analyzing all the in-studio talent, these are the best at dropping their knowledge:
1. Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN College GameDay
Love him or hate him, you always tune in to hear what he has to say. His picks may not always be spot-on (something tells me he may choose some with his heart and some just for fun) but the former Buckeye QB's analysis, both on the GameDay set (technically not in-studio every week) and alongside Brent Musberger each Saturday is usually spot-on.
2. Mike Mayock, NFL Network College Football Now
He takes a little getting used to, but he breaks down tape and can spot NFL talent as good as anyone on the tube. I highly recommend his coverage of the NFL Draft as well.
3. Jesse Palmer, ESPN College Football Live
Now before you go thinking I have a thing for pretty boy QB's (or former "Bachelors") take a listen to what the former Gator has to say. I see a smooth transition to GameDay once Herbstreit decides all that travel is a bit too much.
4. Trevor Matich, ESPN College Football Live
The former BYU center brings a nice change of pace and fresh lineman perspective to the daily broadcast.
5. Tom Luginbill, ESPNU Inside the Polls
If you can suffer through whatever Coach Gottfried is spitting out, there is usually some good stuff from Tom, and he is always on top of the recruiting scene.
6. Doug Flutie, ABC College Football Countdown
Maybe I'm a little biased (huge fan when he took home the Heisman at BC, but then again who wasn't?) but I like his take from the QB's perspective.
7. Charles Davis, NFL Network College Football Now
I seem to agree with the former Tennessee DB more than just about anyone on this list.
8. Robert Smith, ESPN College Football Live
The former Buckeye RB seems to do his homework and isn't quite the homer you might expect him to be.
9. Mark May, ESPN College Football Live
I know Notre Dame lovers are not going to like seeing this, especially with Dr. Lou being noticeably absent. However, the former Pitt great is often right and quite often makes Mr. Holtz wish he had either not shown up that day, or perhaps just not said anything at all.
10. Craig James, ABC College Football Countdown
The former SMU RB barely makes the list, just ahead of Joe Schad and Lou Holtz, but only does so because I just couldn't possibly include...
The Not-so-Honorably Mentioned
Trev Alberts and Brian Jones, CBS Inside College Football
These two former LB's seem like they're having fun, but I'm just not getting it.
Desmond Howard and Lee Corso, ESPN College GameDay
The whole mascot head thing has just about run its course, and I'm still not sure what the former Heisman winner adds to the telecast.
Terry Donahue, NFL Network College Football Now
Great coach, but...
Bruce Feldman, EPSN College Football Live
Good writer, Meat Market was a decent read, but the jury is still out for TV.
Nice guy, but...