Power Ranking College Football's Best TV Commentators
Like the referees, college football announcers should be a side note to the game. They are rarely applauded and constantly maligned by the general public, but their job is invaluable to the game.
Some people who will not be named—cough, Craig James, cough—aggravate fans to no end while others consistently do a great job.
Here are the 15 best commentators in the business.
Lead Photo Courtesy of Madison.com
15. Rod Gilmore
You'll mostly find Rod Gilmore on ESPN's Friday night and Saturday night college football telecasts, but he's also been the voice behind ESPN's Goal Line in days past.
But of course we couldn't mention Gilmore without mentioning "the Play" in 1982: Cal's infamous kick return touchdown against Stanford, where the Cardinal band found itself on the field prematurely.
Gilmore was actually on the field. Unfortunately he was on the field for Stanford.
14. Mike Mayock
Mike Mayock is best known as an NFL Draft Analyst for the NFL Network, but he's been Notre Dame's color guy paired with Tom Hammond since last season.
A straight shooter who really knows the game well, Mayock gave Notre Dame commentating the facelift it needed.
13. Desmond Howard
One of only four men to win both a Heisman Trophy and be named a Super Bowl MVP, Desmond Howard's name carries a lot of weight well beyond the reaches of Ann Arbor.
Another member of ESPN's College Gameday crew, Howard's been on set since 2005.
12. Lee Corso
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Lee Corso has been a staple of the ESPN GameDay program since 1987, traveling to different campuses across the country week after week with Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Chris Fowler.
Let's not forget Corso's most popular claim to fame: Mascot heads. Each week Corso will don the head of one team's mascot as his pick of the week.
Sure, he's starting to make less and less sense as the years pile up, but he's a part of the game at this point.
11. Bob Griese
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Bob Griese's resume is about as long and impressive as anyone in football. He has two Super Bowl rings with the Miami Dolphins and a place in the College and Pro Football Hall Fame.
Griese's most recent gig is doing ESPN's Saturday afternoon games with Brad Nessler (play-by-play) and fellow color commentator Chris Spielman.
10. Verne Lundquist
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He isn’t necessarily the best at any one aspect, but he’s really good at everything. The best part about him is that he knows he’s not perfect and when he butchers a player’s name, he’s not afraid to admit it.
It is because of that that he is one of the most relatable announcers. CBS did a great job paring him with...
9. Gary Danielson
Once you get over his love affair with SEC, Danielson is a fantastic announcer. He can break down a play better than almost anyone and is enjoyable both as a casual fan and “expert.”
8. Joe Tessitore
Unfortunately for Tessitore, he gets squeezed in along with Rod Gilmore on Friday night games, but his work is really underrated.
He's always solid with the play-by-play and makes having to listen to Gilmore manageable.
7. Chris Spielman
Spielman isn’t going to over-announce the game and that is a huge plus. When he has an opinion, he’s not afraid to say it, like when he talked about Terrelle Pryor.
Agree with him or not, he’s going to make sure you get the information he sees fit, which is usually spot-on and done in a timely way.
6. Todd Blackledge
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Blackledge is a solid announcer, but his best work comes on his “Taste of the Town” segments. It has become his signature and is something fans are excited for when watching his games with Brad Nessler.
The two make a great pair for the ESPN Saturday prime time game.
5. Brent Musburger
You either love or hate this guy; I love him. Yeah, he can repeat himself so much that someone made a drinking game about it, but he has a fantastic voice and you know it’s a big game when he’s doing the play-by-play.
It’s nearly impossible for me to hear “foot race” or “you are looking live” without doing a Musburger impression.
4. Sean McDonough
College football may not be his best sport, but there is a reason why McDonough announces a lot of different games. Consistent and effective, you don’t really notice that he’s there which is the way it should be—unless something crazy happens.
As a Virginia Tech fan, I’ll always remember his calls in the 2009 game against Nebraska, which were simply spectacular.
3. Kirk Herbstreit
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Herbstreit has really improved his analysis over the years and is much more than one of the talking heads for ESPN and College GameDay. He and Brent Musberger have a great connection that comes off extremely fluid while watching.
2. Chris Fowler
One of the nicest and most knowledgeable guys in the game, he used to do the Thursday night games but is such a good announcer that he does the major tennis tournaments and was the main man for ESPN’s coverage of the 2010 World Cup.
You can always count on him for a dose of sanity while watching the sometimes impalpable College GameDay.
1. Brad Nessler
There’s nothing really negative to say about Nessler. Everyone seems to either like him or not notice him as an announcer, which sometimes can be the best thing for a game.
He has a great voice, knows college football and can complement just about anyone in the studio.