Later today, ESPN will provide multiple options for fans to experience the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship. ESPN Radio will have its own broadcast led by Mike Tirico on play-by-play and Todd Blackledge on color teaming with two reporters – Holly Rowe (Oregon) and Joe Schad (Ohio State) – roaming the sidelines. Front Row spoke with the reporters about the upcoming coverage.
This is your first game as a reporter for ESPN Radio this season. What are some of the differences in reporting for radio versus television?
HR: There are many differences. [Radio] doesn’t have the graphics or replays of television, so that leaves a little more room for storytelling, which I enjoy. It’s important to paint a picture of what you’re seeing for your listener and impart the moment and mood. Make your listener feel that they are right there on the sidelines with you!
This will be the seventh game this postseason that you’ll have covered. What are some of the storylines or moments that have stood out to you?
JS: Watching Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones flourish in just his second career start against a [Alabama head coach] Nick Saban-led defense at the Sugar Bowl was eye-opening. It was easy to sense that Jones carries himself with an unmistakable confidence not typical of a third-stringer.
What have been your impressions so far of the atmosphere in Texas?
JS: Texas is bigger and colder in January than you might think. But Ohio State and Oregon fans don’t seem to mind. Every time I come back to Texas, I love country music, brisket and tortilla soup a little more. Everyone here is happy to help and excited that the first-ever College Football Playoff Championship was awarded to Texas and the most impressive stadium in the country.
HR: There is a buzz here in Texas for this game. It is, what many feel, a true championship. I think that’s making this game bigger for all of us. I’m humbled and honored to be a part of this game in any way!