SEC football makes its season debut on CBS this week with TCU looking for revenge against an Arkansas team that won in a double OT thriller last year in Ft. Worth. It’s undeniably the sexiest matchup CBS can give us this week seeing as how Auburn is playing at Clemson and thus part of ESPN’s ACC football inventory.
But CBS was always going to disappoint you this week. It was written in the stars since the summer of 2016 when the network announced that Verne Lundquist, the most delightful man to ever put on a headset, would be stepping down from his role on the SEC’s showcase game each week.
Now look, plenty of people have plenty of negative things to say about the team of Verne and perpetually disappointed step-father, Gary Danielson, but I contend everything that was hard to stomach about CBS’s college football broadcasts can be laid squarely at the feet of Danielson.
Like seriously, does CBS pay Danielson based on the number of times he mentioned the fastball offense? Because I feel like he showed that damn chart like three times per game last season. And if the game included either Auburn or A&M you could bump that up to three times per quarter.
Verne brought pizzaz to the broadcast! Want to know what happened this week with the NAIA-level Texas Wesleyan Rams? Verne always had a score ready. Want to know the weather in Steamboat Springs, Colorado? Good news! Verne is the town’s proudest resident. Are you a fan of American history? Verne freakin’ lived it!
Verne Lundquist was a veritable treasure trove of stories, a man with a smorgasbord of interests, and the owner of a laugh so infectious that it became as iconic as any of his biggest calls.
Gary Danielson, on the other hand, isn’t here for fun. Hell son, this is SEC FOOTBAW and Gary’s gonna make damn sure you know that it is serious business. I’ll admit that this comment comes from spending the majority of my professional career as a part of broadcasting teams, but Verne couldn’t have been paired with a less cooperative partner.
The man no-sold Verne’s jokes. He flat out ignored any comment Verne made about the atmosphere in or around the stadium. If we could only be left with one of these guys, we are left with the wrong one.
And in 2017, in an effort to get younger than the 78-year-old-to-be Verne, who does CBS bring in? Why, none other than 61-year-old spring chicken Brad Nessler. Way to reach out to the millennials, CBS. I assume the network’s only goal in replacing Verne Lundquist was to hire someone that never missed a minute of any of the CSNCISs that populate its primetime lineup and your Pop Pop’s DVR.
Look, Nessler is fine and non-offensive. Hell, he was the voice of the greatest sports video game franchise known to man, so you can’t hate him. But taking away Verne Lundquist and replacing him with Brad Nessler is like taking chocolate lava cake off the dessert menu and replacing it with unflavored shaved ice.
Fans of Verne Lundquist, like me, couldn’t have asked for a better farewell to his time in college football. He handled it with dignity and class.
And I gotta say, I am happy for him. He gave me so many laughs and good memories over the years, that it would be crappy of me to not wish him the happiest and most fulfilling retirement.
But why Verne? Why could your last act on air not have been to read out every unauthorized charge Gary Danielson made to his CBS credit card? Why couldn’t you have provided photos of Gary pilfering office supplies? Gary with no Verne is an even worse Gary than we’ve had before. I don’t know if I am ready to trust CBS to that Gary.