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College Football on TBS

College Football on TBS was the presentation of the Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) cable channel's regular season college football television package.


  • History 1
    • Initial coverage 1.1
    • 2002-2006 coverage 1.2
      • Theme music 1.2.1
  • Commentators 2
    • Play-by-play 2.1
    • Color commentators 2.2
    • Sideline reporters 2.3
    • Studio hosts 2.4
    • Studio analysts 2.5
    • See also 2.6
  • References 3


Initial coverage

TBS became the first cable station to nationally broadcast college football live when it began airing games during the 1982 season.[1][2] The games were aired under a special "supplemental" television contract with the NCAA.[3][4] ESPN followed later the same year, starting with a simulcast of the Independence Bowl match-up between Kansas State and the University of Wisconsin on December 11, 1982, which was the first college football game shown live on ESPN.

When TBS (or WTBS as it was officially known at the time) first broadcast college football in 1982, they aired a package of live Saturday night[5] games. WTBS was only able to show teams that had not been on national television in 1981. There were a maximum of four teams that had been on regional television on two occasions. Meanwhile, ABC and CBS had the right to take away a game from WTBS as long as it did so no later than the Monday before the game. Bob Neal and Tim Foley were the booth commentators for WTBS during this period. Meanwhile, Craig Sager, Paul Hornung[6] and Pepper Rodgers[7] anchored the pregame show for WTBS.

By 1984, WTBS started (primarily) carrying SEC[8] games.

2002-2006 coverage

TBS dropped college football after the 1992 season and left the field for several years. However, it again broadcast college football games from 20022006,[9] showing Big 12 and Pac-10 matchups. These were broadcast on the network as part of a sublicensing agreement with Fox Sports Net, who is the national cable parter for both conferences. TBS' coverage was originally known as Big Play Saturday, but this was dropped before the final season. The network aired two games a week for the first four seasons of the contract but dropped to one for some weeks during the final season.

Theme music

Nickelback's (featuring Kid Rock and Dimebag Darrell) 2003 cover of Elton John's "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" was used as the theme song for TBS' Saturday Night College Football telecasts. In the show's open, the song is accompanied by a drumline and cymbalists, while clips of the two teams playing the night's featured game are interspersed throughout.[10]

TBS would also use the NFL on TNT theme c. 1997 for their Carquest/ Bowl and Senior Bowl coverage and their Saturday Night College Football coverage from 2002-2003.



Color commentators

Sideline reporters

Studio hosts

Studio analysts

See also


  1. ^ WTBS, Ted Turner's superstation, also has carried college football this year for the first time. But WTBS isn't as polished as ABC or CBS and never had a chance to make our TV Bowl.
  2. ^ The NCAA said O.K., but the other college football broadcasters—WTBS, Ted Turner's SuperStation, and ABC—wouldn't allow CBS to broadcast extra games without extracting several pounds of teleflesh. Turner wasn't even disposed to let CBS move a Division I-A game from Saturday to Sunday without the network making what it considered unreasonable concessions. For example, he wanted CBS to promise not to schedule college telecasts opposite the proposed NFL Players Association All-Star games, the rights to which he owns.
  3. ^ "Turner Cable TV Gets N.C.A.A. Football Pact". New York Times. January 28, 1982. Retrieved 2006-09-06. 
  4. ^ College Football has aired frequently on TBS throughout the years. Here's a nice Quantel-made promo for a matchup between West Virginia and Maryland.
  5. ^ Next month the College Football Association (CFA) will award its Saturday night cable TV rights for '85. "We're going to take a serious swing at it," says Turner. Last year ESPN paid $9.3 million for the CFA. This year, only Turner may know where the bidding will stop. ESPN has to be uneasy. Says its president, Bill Grimes, "Turner was our competitor last time, on the USFL. Since we edged him out for it, I'm sure he'll be more motivated than last time."
  6. ^ And oh, yes, there's a third winner of sorts, Paul Hornung, co-host of the Saturday studio show on WTBS, the Turner superstation (see box). When the NCAA controlled TV, it kept Hornung off college games because of his NFL suspension for gambling and his closer identification with the pro game.
  7. ^ OUR FIRST ANNUAL SHAME-ON-YOU AWARD—To WTBS-TV, Ted Turner's superstation, for allowing the NCAA to have veto power over its football announcers. TBS had to get rid of Pepper Rodgers and Paul Hornung when the censors from Shawnee Mission, Kans., found them unsavory.
  8. ^ You have your choice of either another CFA game on ESPN or an SEC matchup on WTBS, the Ted Turner superstation.
  9. ^ TBS dropping Big XII football games
  10. ^ "OSU v Texas Tease". YouTube. 2006-12-15. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  11. ^ Thulin will begin his third-consecutive year as the play-by-play announcer for TBS' 2004-05 college football coverage.
  12. ^ Davis will serve as the analyst for TBS' college football coverage of the Pac-10 and Big 12 for the third consecutive year.
  13. ^ Erin Andrews returns to provide atmosphere pieces from the site that showcase the tradition and pageantry of these two great conferences.
  14. ^ For the third consecutive year, he will also report from the sideline for TBS' Pac-10/Big 12 college football coverage.
  15. ^ "Turner Newsroom: Home". Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  16. ^ Following a successful seven-year career in New York as a stage actor, television commercial and voice-over artist, Kevin Christopher switched career gears and signed on as the Sports Anchor for Turner Broadcasting's TBS Evening News in the spring of 1980. For the next seven years he was the main studio anchor for Atlanta Braves baseball, Atlanta Hawks basketball, NBA basketball, SEC College football and the Sunday night Coors Sports Page highlight show, as well as a contributor to CNN and Headline News.
  17. ^ Marc Fein will serve as studio host for TBS’s coverage of Big 12 and PAC-10 college football in 2006. He previously handled sideline reporting duties for the networks’ college football coverage in 2004.
  18. ^ He also hosted college football games on TBS Superstation for the 2002-03 season, dubbed Big Play Saturday.
  19. ^ He was a sports anchor for CNN while also serving TBS Sports as the anchor of College Football Scoreboard for four years (1982-85).
  20. ^ Turner Sports announced today that legendary Oklahoma Sooners linebacker Brian Bosworth will join TBS Superstation's Big PlayStation Saturday this season as a studio analyst for its pre-game, post-game and halftime shows.
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