ESPN is refreshing its college football programming by adding new personalities and pairings to the network’s studio coverage on Saturdays. Changes are coming to pregame, halftime and postgame programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.
Starting with ABC, Anthony “Booger” McFarland will join a studio crew which includes national championship-winning coach Mack Brown, and SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi. McFarland launched his ESPN career on the SEC Network after a nine-year playing career in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. He also starred in college as a member of the LSU Tigers. Over the past three years McFarland has appeared regularly on the platform’s studio coverage, while increasing his profile on SportsCenter, College Football Live and Mike & Mike.
Negandhi, has anchored the Women’s Final Four, Scripps National Spelling Bee and the Special Olympic Games, in addition to hosting SportsCenter, College Football Live, NBA Tonight, NFL Live, Baseball Tonight and Outside the Lines. He has covered a plethora of major sporting events including the College Football Playoff, Super Bowl, World Series and the NBA Playoffs. He was elevated to his role on ABC following the passing of John Saunders.
After signing a new contract, Jesse Palmer is ready to tackle the challenge of being a studio analyst on ESPN this season. The former Florida Gator quarterback previously called ESPN’s Thursday night prime time game for close to a decade, as well as SEC Saturday Night on the SEC Network for the previous three years.
This season, Palmer will join forces with fellow analyst and former Big Ten first team and NFL All-Pro wide receiver Joey Galloway. The two former gridiron stars will follow the lead of ascending host and anchor Adnan Virk on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Palmer will remain involved on ABC’s Good Morning America. Galloway will continue to appear on a number of network shows.
Perhaps the network’s biggest splash is the addition of former head coach Chip Kelly. The former mastermind of Oregon’s offensive attack will join ESPN2’s studio coverage each Saturday, while also appearing on SportsCenter on Fridays and Sundays to provide analysis on college and NFL games. Kelly spent the past few seasons in the NFL coaching the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers.
Joining Kelly on ESPN2 will be former Miami first team All-American and national champion Jonathan Vilma. The two football analysts will work alongside host Chris Cotter each Saturday. Vilma is entering his second year with ESPN and will remain involved as a contributor on ESPN shows throughout the week.
“The personalities and college football experience in each of the three studios will provide the viewers the perfect dose of entertainment, perspective and insight,” said ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting. “Each studio will provide viewers something a little bit different, which is the perfect set up as fans watch a variety of games and networks each Saturday.”