Thu. May 23rd, 2019

Fishman’s 2018 College Football Primer

With the “real” college football season kicking off last night, the long wait for football action is over.  As the former director of College Sports Programming at SiriusXM (2008-2015), I wanted to provide all the information you need to follow the 2018 College Football Season. Today there are more outlets for college football coverage than ever before. Here are my suggestions:

  • TV- Most Saturdays you can find live play by play of games on all of the ESPN channels, Fox Sports, FS1, ABC, Notre Dame on NBC, CBS and the CBS Sports Network. CBS leads the ratings every year with the Saturday afternoon SEC game of the week. The Top five viewing markets for College Football on ESPN last year were:  1. Birmingham, AL; 2. Columbus, OH; 3. Greenville, NC; No. 4. Oklahoma City and 5. Knoxville, TN. Outside of live play by play, you can get non-stop conference/team related college football programming on the Big Ten Network, the SEC Network, the Pac-12 Network, The Longhorn Network. 

  • Radio-SiriusXM dominates National College Football Coverage on the radio. This includes its college flagship-ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM. Additionally, the satcaster has added conference-only channels for the SEC, ACC, and Pac-12 on its app and streaming service. You can hear Paul Finebaum daily on ESPN Xtra on SiriusXM 81. Plus, you can hear nearly every college football game live on your SiriusXM or the SiriusXM App. On the local level, WJOX in Birmingham is a big time sports station in College Football’s #1 Market and my old partner Jonathan Hood is anchoring a big-time college football show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. 

  • Podcasts-There are about a billion (not exactly, but let’s go with it!) college football podcasts. My favorites are:  The Solid Verbal with Ty Hildenbrandt & Dan Rubenstein; The Audible with Stew and Bruce (Stewart Mandel/Bruce Feldman); The Cover2 Podcast by Athlon Sports (Mitch Light/Braden Gall); AP Top 25 College Football Podcast hosted by Ralph Russo. There are also a ton of conference and team focused podcasts headlined by Barrett Sallee’s SEC: Smothered and Covered.
  • Sports Writers: Nowadays, I would say these are the college football writers you should follow on Twitter. Like the podcasts, I’m sure there are some great writers who will not make this list. I’m focusing on national college football writers here. Please follow Brett McMurphy/Stadium Network(@Brett_McMurphy); Ralph Russo/AP (@RalphDRussoAP); Bruce Feldman/Fox Sports and The Athletic (@BruceFeldmanCFB); Dennis Dodd/CBS Sports (@Dennisdoddcbs); The Athletic CFB (@slmandel); Pete Thamel/Yahoo Sports (@PeteThamel); Andy Staples/Sports Illustrated and ESPNU Radio (@Andy_Staples); Matt Hayes/Bleacher Report(@MattHayesCFB);  Barrett Sallee/CBS Sports (@BarrettSallee); Adam Rittenberg/ESPN (@ESPNRittenberg)

Look at the coverage above. It’s a very 21st Century rundown of college football coverage. Satellite Radio, Podcasts, Conference Networks and Social Media. Imagine the same list 20 years ago in 1998. We would be talking about the network coverage and ESPN, newspaper writers, and certainly no channels dedicated entirely to college sports or college football.  

What I love most about the college football season is that literally every game matters. No wildcards, no mulligans. A 2-loss team has never made The College Football Playoff.  Auburn had a pretty good 2-loss argument last year but hey still didn’t make it! 

Enjoy the season. It’ll be over in the blink of an eye…