SEC Network

First time, long-time for experienced crew of Musburger, Palmer and Taylor

Tonight, SEC Network will air its first college football game – No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 9 South Carolina at 6 p.m. ET. While the national network is only 14 days old, the voices in the booth are seasoned professionals.

Sportscasting legend Brent Musburger, analyst Jesse Palmer and reporter Maria Taylor are the SEC Network’s lead commentating crew and call the Top 25 matchup.

Front Row caught up with them in Columbia, S.C. and asked them about their first memories of working on an ESPN telecast and how they are settling into their new assignments.


Jesse on his first memory of being in the booth for an ESPN college football game:
“It was really cool (because it was a) [Steve] Spurrier South Carolina game, and I had played for him at Florida. This will be the fifth home opener I’ve done with ESPN. It’s come full circle now with my first SEC Network game also being a Spurrier matchup.”

Brent on his first memories in the booth at ESPN (originally ABC Sports):
“It was 1990 and I was reunited with Dick Vermeil. We had called NFL games together and were reunited at ABC. Here is my great memory – I’ve sent two guys back to coaching: Dick Vermeil and Bob Davie.”

Back When It All Began

ESPN college football analysts John Congemi and Trevor Matich first started their relationship with their current employer 30 years ago when they were members of the BYU and Pitt teams featured in ESPN’s first live regular-season college football telecast on September 1, 1984. In the video above, Congemi, the starting Pitt quarterback, and Matich, the starting center for BYU, look back on the 20-14 BYU victory and how television coverage has evolved since that day. Perhaps 30 years from now we’ll be sharing similar stories about the players involved in tonight’s SEC Network inaugural college football game.

Brent on working with Jesse:
“I’ve worked with a great deal of sports and analysts over the years, but to the best of my knowledge I’ve never been paired with someone born in Canada.”

Brent’s advice for Jesse on transitioning from a three man booth:
“You don’t have to wait for your turn. It’s always your turn. In all seriousness, I told him just to be himself. I’ve known Jesse for a long time. We’ll know more after this weekend. We’ll watch the tapes and talk about it.”

Jesse on nerves about working with Brent:
“I’m just trying to get the Aflac trivia question right.”

Maria’s memories from working her first sideline assignment for ESPN:
“I had Miami at Boston College and I was nervous out of my mind. It was a 3:30 kick, Bob Wischusen and Danny Kanell were up in the booth. Everyone was so great, but it’s still hard to know what to expect until you are down there. I remember coming on, the light goes red and I was talking so fast. Eventually the game slowed down, and so did I.”

Video produced by Mike Humes

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