This Sunday (noon ET, ESPN) ESPN’s annual College Football Playoff Selection Show will reveal the CFP and New Year’s Six Matchups. In preparation, coordinating producer Drew Gallagher positions reporters on pertinent college campuses across the country to deliver live coverage before, during and after the big announcement is made.
“The decision is mostly based on geographical logistics. Wherever reporters are on Saturday will determine where they can get to on Sunday,” Gallagher said. “For example, Tom Rinaldi and Maria Taylor are doing sideline for the ACC Championship game – they need to go to campuses that are drivable from Charlotte so they can be in position to do TV early Sunday morning for SportsCenter.”
Taylor will be stationed at her alma mater, the University of Georgia and Rinaldi will be at Clemson University to deliver coverage on Sunday morning. Depending on Saturday’s outcomes, some of the reporters’ assignments may change.
“Saturday’s games affect the decisions as far as what we need from each campus. For example, if Auburn loses on Saturday we likely won’t need much coverage (if at all) on Sunday,” Gallagher said. “But we need to put reporters in place for all the ‘what if’ scenarios for the playoff.”
But no matter what happens reporter Marty Smith is just excited to be a part of it all.
“The opportunity to cover college football for ESPN is one of the great joys of my life,” said Smith, who spent time at both Miami and Clemson this week for SC. “So to be a part of the campus coverage team for our Selection Show and experience first-hand the joy that accompanies the validation of a great season for these coaches, players, faculty and students is fulfilling, authentic and inspiring.
“I’m reminded of that every single year and I’ve never covered the same school twice,” he said. “This year I’m with Coach [Nick] Saban and The [Alabama Crimson] Tide. Gonna be a nail-biter after their loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl. I can’t wait! God bless college football!”
Anna Negron produced the illustration above using photos from ESPN Images.