By Ryan Berenz
FOX airs the first ever Pac-12 and Big Ten football championship games this weekend, with the Pac-12 game between UCLA and BCS No. 9 Oregon on Friday, Dec. 2, at 8:00pm ET and the Big Ten championship on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8pm ET. The Pac-12 game has UCLA visiting Oregon, while the Big Ten game has Michigan State vs. Wisconsin at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The winners will face each other in the Rose Bowl Jan. 2.
The Big Ten Championship between BCS No. 13 Michigan State (winner of the Legends Division) and BCS No. 15 Wisconsin (winner of the Leaders Division) should be exciting, if their matchup earlier this season is any indication. The Spartans pulled out a thrilling victory in the final seconds with a Hail Mary pass that was tipped and caught at the 1 yard line. An official review determined Keith Nichol crossed the goal line with the ball, giving MSU the 37-31 win and handing Wisconsin its first loss of the season.
So while the Big Ten title game could be awesome, the first ever Pac-12 championship game could be terrible. North Division champ Oregon is a 30 1/2 point favorite over the South Division’s UCLA (USC has the division’s best record, but is ineligible for postseason play). Worse yet, UCLA just fired coach Rick Neuheisel, but he’ll coach the team through this game.
Press release and more details from FOX:
FOX SPORTS AIRS INAUGURAL PAC-12 & BIG TEN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES ON PRIME TIME STAGE
Lead Broadcast Team – Johnson, Davis & Brewster – Call Both Games; Former Stanford & Michigan Standouts John Lynch and Dhani Jones Added
Big Ten Network Complements FOX Coverage
Two legendary conferences. Two historic nights. One exclusive network.
For the first time in their long, storied histories, two of America’s premier collegiate athletic conferences, the Pac-12 and the Big Ten, present their inaugural football championship games, live and in prime time on FOX. First up is the PAC-12 CONFERENCE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME on Friday, Dec. 2 (8:00 PM ET-conclusion), followed by the BIG TEN CONFERENCE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME on Saturday, Dec. 3 (8:00 PM ET-conclusion). Both games are preceded at 7:30 PM ET by live on-site pregame shows, while the Big Ten game is complemented by extensive coverage from the Big Ten Network (BTN).
Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and sideline analyst Tim Brewster, FOX Sports’ lead college football broadcast team, call the action both nights, despite the games likely being separated by over 2000 miles.
FOX COLLEGE FOOTBALL host Kevin Frazier, Heisman Trophy winning analyst Marcus Allen and Brewster anchor the pregame coverage, each night with a special guest analyst by their side. NFL on FOX analyst John Lynch, a former Stanford University All-American and All-Pac-10 safety, joins Frazier, Allen and Brewster on-set during the Pac-12 Championship pregame and postgame shows. On Saturday, former University of Michigan and three-time All-Big Ten linebacker Dhani Jones takes over as guest analyst for the Big Ten Championship coverage. After pregame duties conclude, Lynch and Jones, both former NFL standouts, join Coach Brewster on the sidelines to provide in-game analysis. Jones was a key member on the Wolverines 1997 National Championship Team. FOX COLLEGE FOOTBALL rules analyst Mike Pereira is also available each game to offer perspective on rules interpretation and controversial plays live from his FOX command center in Los Angeles.
The Big Ten Network (BTN) is scheduled to carry more than five hours of pre and postgame coverage of the BIG TEN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME live from Chicago and Indianapolis over two days. Leading up to kick-off, BTN airs the Big Ten Football Championship team press conferences on Friday, Dec. 2 (4:00-5:00 PM ET). Later, BIG TEN FOOTBALL REPORT: CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW airs (9:00-10:00 PM ET) with Mike Hall, Rosevelt Colvin and Tony Banks. The show features live reports from Lucas Oil Stadium with Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and Glen Mason. Game day coverage begins with BTN LIVE (11:00 AM-Noon ET) with Revsine, DiNardo, Griffith and Mason live from Big Ten Fan Fest. The same four are back just hours before kick-off with BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP PREGAME (6:30-7:30 PM ET) leading right into FOX Sports’ pregame coverage, and postgame with extensive analysis and highlights on the BIG TEN FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP POSTGAME. BTN also provides reports from Indy during the network’s basketball coverage on Saturday afternoon.
Brad Zagar produces the Pac-12 Football Championship Game for FOX Sports. Doug Freeman directs. Loy Maxon produces the Pac-12 Championship pregame and postgame shows. FOX College Football Coordinating Producer Chuck McDonald produces the Big Ten Football Championship Game. Rich Dewey directs. The Big Ten Championship pregame and postgame shows are produced by Don Bui. Roy Hamilton serves as Coordinating Pregame and Postgame Producer.
David Hill, Eric Shanks and Doug Sellars are the Executive Producers of FOX Sports.
Photo: Credit: John Fisher/ZUMA Press/Newscom