NCF Nation: Brent Musburger

Tide's McCarron turns media consultant

March, 14, 2013
AJ McCarron has his hands full with being Alabama’s starting quarterback and gunning for what would be the Crimson Tide’s third consecutive national championship in 2013.

But in his spare time, he’s also serving as a media consultant for his girlfriend.

Maybe you’ve heard of her.

She’s Katherine Webb, the former Miss Alabama who posed in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and was recently referred to by Vanity Fair as the “modern-day Cindy Crawford.”

McCarron offered a hearty chuckle when told Webb emerged from the Discover BCS National Championship more popular than him.

“Probably so,” he said. “She’s been asking me for advice the whole time. Even though she was Miss Alabama and all that, she had never been through any of the paparazzi deal, and it all came at her at once so fast.

“She’s still learning how to handle everything and will text me or call me for advice. I just have to tell her, ‘Listen, I've been going through this for three years almost.’ I do my best to help her every way I can.”

Webb was introduced to the world, so to speak, during the telecast of Alabama’s 42-14 beatdown of Notre Dame. The ESPN cameras found Webb in the crowd, and broadcaster Brent Musburger glowingly remarked about her beauty.

Some fans accused Musburger of going too far with his comments, and ESPN later issued an apology.

McCarron, though, said he already knew that Musburger was going to mention Webb during the broadcast and thinks the whole thing was way overblown.

“He didn’t say anything out of line, and he told me they were going to show her,” McCarron said. “I told him where they would be sitting earlier that week at practice.

“He helped boost her career, which is awesome.”

As for McCarron’s career as a celebrity, he’s done his best to keep a low profile ever since the Crimson Tide left South Florida back in January with their second straight national title.

He’s become good friends with Texas A&M’s Heisman Trophy quarterback, Johnny Manziel, but joked that he’s not quite the jet-setter that Johnny Football has become.

“He’s my boy, but I can’t keep his pace,” McCarron said. “We keep in touch and were down at the Super Bowl together. He was trying to get me to go hang out with him and go to all the events, but that’s just not me.”

Needless to say, McCarron doesn’t do a lot of malls and restaurants. He knows better.

“I’m such a homebody. I just never go out, really,” he said. “I have the friends I hang out with come over to my house, and we chill there and play Xbox and watch movies and hang out there. I guess that’s pretty boring, but that’s me.”

Video: Remembering Joe Paterno

January, 22, 2012
Matt Millen, Mike Ditka, Lou Holtz, Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Nick Saban remember Joe Paterno.

Best case-worst case: Oregon

July, 22, 2010
Ninth in a series looking at potential dream and nightmare scenarios for all Pac-10 teams, starting at the bottom and working up from my vote in the Pac-10 media poll.

Understand: These are not predictions. They are extreme scenarios and pieces of fiction.

Up next: Oregon

Best case

"Nate Costa is our quarterback," Oregon coach Chip Kelly tells reporters on Aug. 23." "But Darron Thomas is going to play, too."

A reporter asks, "Are you concerned that..."

"No," says Kelly.

"I mean to say, might it become an issue that..."

"No," says Kelly.

Both Costa and Thomas play and play well in a 50-13 win over New Mexico. With LaMichael James on the sidelines serving a one-game suspension, Kenjon Barner rushes for 156 yards and two touchdowns.

"Truth is, when our offense is rolling like that, getting a break isn't such a bad thing," Costa says.

James returns to score two touchdowns and run for 133 yards in a 35-17 win at Tennessee.

"I know from my 'How to talk like an SEC coach' class that we're supposed to act like no body plays good football outside the SEC," new Volunteers coach Derek Dooley says. "But, man, that is a really fast team. They could play with anybody in our league."

Three men in seersucker suits and panama hats seemingly appear from nowhere behind Dooley. They grab him by the shoulder and whisper in his ear.

"Er, just kidding," Dooley says. "Just ignore the Pac-10's consistent success against the SEC. Nothing to see there."

The Ducks whip Portland State and survive a sloppy performance against a rugged Arizona State defense. Stanford's Andrew Luck throws three TD passes at Oregon, but Thomas leads a nifty 80-yard drive for the winning score late in the fourth. The Ducks, now ranked fourth, improve to 7-0 after easy wins over Washington State and UCLA. They average 485 yards on offense and surrender just 287 yards on defense. Combined, Costa and Thomas average 254 yards passing and 88 yards rushing per game and their twin efforts lead the conference in passing efficiency.

"This is almost like USC's bowl game," Kirk Herstreit says from the ESPN "College GameDay" set in front of the Coliseum. "If the Trojans win this game, they have a good chance to go undefeated. That means they could even end up ranked No. 1 in Lane Kiffin's first season."

A Matt Barkley TD pass to Ronald Johnson gives USC a 28-24 lead with two minutes left. Costa and company take over at the Ducks 20. James takes a first-down screen for 20 yards. A reverse to Barner moves the Ducks into USC territory. On third and 10, Costa finds Jeff Maehl for a first down at the Trojans 28. Under pressure, Costa scrambles for a first down at the 7-yard line with 40 seconds left. After an incomplete pass, James rushes for five. The Ducks use their final time out with 17 seconds left. Costa dumps a pass to Barner, but he's knocked out of bounds at the 1.

On fourth down, USC stops Costa on a spread-option play. The Coliseum releases its pent-up, NCAA-sanctions-induced frustration.

"I think Chip Kelly is challenging the spot," Brent Musburger says through the din.

Touchdown. Oregon wins 31-28.

"The Ducks look like the best -- the most complete -- team we've seen this season," Chris Fowler says.

Oregon returns home triumphant and avoids a let-down against Washington after intercepting Jake Locker twice. At California, things go splat. Perhaps it's back-to-back emotional victories followed by a road trip to Berkeley with a bye week ahead. Whatever the excuse, the Ducks turn in a lethargic performance and a late comeback attempt falls short in a 28-24 loss. Oregon drops from No. 2 to No. 6 in the rankings.

The Ducks trounce No. 17 Arizona 38-20, which sets up another Civil War for the Roses at No. 9 Oregon State.

With two minutes left, Oregon trails 27-23 and faces a fourth-and-3 from the Beavers' 33-yard line. Kelly has no choice but to go for it. Costa drops back and, under pressure, shovels the ball to James, who breaks to his right toward the sideline. One yard. Two yards. But at the marker Stephen Paea grabs James from behind. A battle of wills ensues. And the 180-pound James drags the 300-pound Paea, perhaps the strongest player in college football, forward for the first down.

And then he slips away and high steps into the endzone for the win. Later, most folks agree it was the moment that won James the Heisman Trophy.

The Ducks, one of four teams with only one loss, finish behind Alabama and Ohio State in the BCS standings even though they are ranked No. 2 in both the final human polls.

"Coach Kelly, have you noticed that the folks who do the computer polls all wear seersucker suits and panama hats?" a reporter asks.

"Yes," says Kelly.

The Ducks bludgeon Boise State 42-14 in the Rose Bowl and split the national title with Ohio State.

Worst case

A week after winning the quarterback competition with Nate Costa, Darron Thomas posts an uneven performance in an easy win over New Mexico. The sophomore clearly has skills both as a runner and passer, but he fumbles once and frequently tries to force the ball through tight coverage, though only one pass ends up picked off.

Those issues are even more glaring at Tennessee, where a crowd of 105,000 seems to be distracting the young QB. The Ducks trail 10-7 at halftime, and coach Chip Kelly makes a switch, inserting the senior Costa.

Costa isn't spectacular, but he doesn't make mistakes and he leads two second-half scoring drives as the Ducks escape 21-17. The Ducks improve to 4-0 with wins over Portland State and Arizona State.

But the ninth-ranked Ducks yield three TD passes to Stanford's Andrew Luck in a 30-24 home loss. After needing overtime to slip improving Washington State, and a fourth-quarter comeback to survive a challenge from UCLA, USC pounds the Ducks 35-20, knocking them out of the national rankings.

Then hated rival Washington comes to town.

Locker, who ranks just ahead of Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers in most Heisman Trophy polls, is asked if he's aware of how Oregon fans constantly tweak him as all hype and no substance.

"No, I've never heard that," Locker replies. "I love Oregon fans. A lot of fans in the Pac-10 are obnoxious. But Oregon fans are gracious and mellow. Like Michigan fans."

Locker rushes for 205 yards and two TDs and passes for 310 yards and two scores as the Huskies roll over the Ducks 41-17, ending a six-game losing streak in the series.

"Wow," says Rece Davis back in the ESPN studios. "If Jake Locker isn't atop your Heisman Trophy contender list, I don't know what you're thinking. Who would have thought that Autzen Stadium would provide him such an accommodating stage to record a signature performance."

Oregon bounces back with a win at California and beats Arizona in overtime.

The Ducks find themselves in the unusual role of spoiler when they visit Oregon State for the annual Civil War. The Beavers must win in order to go to their first Rose Bowl since 1965.

Rodgers, who ranks just behind Locker in most Heisman Trophy polls, is asked if he's aware of how Oregon fans constantly tweak him and say he isn't as good as LaMichael James.

"No, I've never heard that," Rodgers replies. "I love Oregon fans. A lot of fans in the Pac-10 are obnoxious. But Oregon fans are gracious and mellow. Like Michigan fans."

Rodgers rushes for 225 yards and three touchdowns and catches 10 passes for 107 yards and a TD as the Beavers roll over the Ducks 44-14.

Wow," says Davis back in the ESPN studios. "Seems like Oregon is the team to play to make a Heisman Trophy statement."

Locker wins the Heisman. Rodgers finishes second and announces he's coming back for his senior season.

A 31-24 win over Texas in the Alamo Bowl earns Washington a 10-3 finish and a final No. 9 ranking. The Beavers beat Iowa 28-24 in the Rose Bowl and finish 11-2 and ranked fourth.

Oregon loses the Las Vegas Bowl to Utah and finishes 8-5.

Phil Knight converts to Buddhism, gives his fortune to the United Way and moves to Tibet. Chip Kelly goes with him.

Tyrone Willingham comes out of retirement to become the Ducks head coach.

Posted by's Tim Griffin

I came across an interesting list of the top 50 broadcasters in history, which was released earlier this week by the American Sportscasters Association. And by my count, at least 12 of the selections had some connection at one point in their careers with Big 12 football or earlier derivations of Big 12 schools in previous conferences.

The most notable inclusions are two announcers who made much of their livelihood broadcasting college football over the years. Keith Jackson of ABC Sports was listed as No. 8 in the poll. He provided a homey, traditionalist feel that really matched the sport. During his career, he often broadcast games from the old Big Eight and Southwest conferences. He punctuated his career with the broadcast of the memorable 2006 Rose Bowl national championship game between Texas and USC.

The late Chris Schenkel was listed at No. 25. He was the voice of NCAA Football when I was growing up in the 1960s and 70s. I still remember his broadcast of the legendary game between Nebraska and Oklahoma in 1971. And I feel fortunate that I've got a battered VHS tape of that game somewhere buried in my personal effects.

And current ABC-ESPN broadcaster Brent Musburger is listed at No. 44. He broadcasts most key Big 12 games and was at the conference's championship game in Kansas City last month. Although he's worked almost every sport during his career, college football seems to be a special passion for him.

Here's a look at the members of the top 50 with links to the Big 12 schools during their careers.

  • Curt Gowdy (No. 4) -- Broadcast Oklahoma A&M and Oklahoma football and basketball games before leaving for the New York Yankees and other assignments.
  • Keith Jackson (No. 8) -- Longtime voice of ABC's NCAA football.
  • Jack Buck (No. 11) -- Occasionally called Missouri football games while working at KMOX radio in St. Louis.
  • Ted Husing (No. 12) -- Broadcast college football games on CBS radio in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Harry Caray (No. 18) -- Occasionally served as play-by-play announcer for Missouri in the 1960s.
  • Bill Stern (No. 20) -- Prime radio voice for college football on NBC Radio in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Chris Schenkel (No. 25) -- Voice of ABC's college football package in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • Ray Scott (No. 28) -- Although more widely known for his work with the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s on CBS, he was a radio play-by-play announcer for Nebraska in the early 1980s.
  • Harry Kalas (No. 41) -- Before becoming the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies, worked for the Houston Astros. While there, he called Southwest Conference football games.
  • Brent Musburger (No. 44) -- Still calling Big 12 football games with ABC and ESPN.
  • Pat Summerall (No. 45) -- While more widely known for his NFL broadcasts, he occasionally has called college games, most recently this year's Cotton Bowl.
  • Merle Harmon (No. 46) -- An early play-by-play announcer for Kansas in the early 1950s.

I was a little disappointed that a couple of college football radio voices from back in the day weren't included. Kern Tipps, the legendary Texas broadcaster, deserved inclusion. And while Nebraska broadcaster Lyell Bremser didn't receive much national acclaim, Cornhusker fans still revere his memory and consider him the gold standard in broadcasters. You can still download his voice for telephone ring tones to this day.

Anybody else with a connection to the Big 12 merit entry onto the list? You can rank the top sportscasters yourself here.