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Fifth Edition of College Football Playoff on ESPN Prompts Fond Memories of Prior Four

Saturday’s College Football Playoff Semifinals are the fifth such contests to take place during the CFP Era and all of the games have been – and will be – on ESPN (Saturday, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET).

To mark the fifth iteration of the CFP, Front Row asked the five commentators who have worked every CFP so far for their top memories.


Chris Fowler

“New Year’s Day, 2015. Standing in the booth at the Rose Bowl. . . minutes before Florida State and Oregon kicked off in the first ever CFP Semifinal game. . . and realizing that a new era of College Football was here. . . that moment and the excitement I was feeling will always stay with me.”

“Then, last season’s National Championship between Georgia and Alabama will be the game I always remember. . . for not remembering. I’ll explain: I was a little under the weather, so I had to focus a bit harder than usual, concentrating throughout the entire game, which turned into an all-time classic. When it ended and after we get off the air and I came down from that emotional high, I realized the game was blur to me. I can typically recall very precise details from the games I have worked, but because of being sick and the steps I had to take to overcome that, in the end that game turned out to be a blur for me.”


Kirk Herbstreit

“The inaugural CFP will always be memorable to me on and off the field. From a football sense, the way Ohio State made the playoff – a convincing win in the Big Ten Championship – and then to follow that up with an upset of Alabama and then a win against Oregon – all with Cardale Jones, their third string quarterback at the beginning of the year – was admirable [for me] as an analyst.”

“Then, personally, due to my connection with Ohio State, for me to be able to be there, and call their national championship victory against the Ducks was special. I know how much the win meant to a lot of people I am close with. I am lucky enough to get to do a lot of big games, and a number of them are memorable, but that game will stick with me forever.”


Todd Blackledge

“The hype and energy inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome prior to the CFP Semifinal featuring Alabama-Ohio State in year one was something I will never forget. There was a palpable buzz in the air generated by the first year of a new system and two major brands in the sport competing. And then the game kicked off and absolutely lived up to the hype. That entire New Year’s Day is something that will always stick with me and is one of my career highlights.”


Holly Rowe

“Clemson scoring a touchdown with :01 left with a pass to former walk-on Hunter Renfrow in 2017. Deshaun Watson told his coach in timeout, ‘trust me.’ And Dabo Swinney did. Hunter, who leads all players with 31 receptions in College Football Playoff games, said on why he was always so good against Bama, ‘we have so many other good players, I think they just forget about me.’ They did what few have, beat Bama for a title.”


Tom Rinaldi

“A memory of the first CFP came at the very end of the championship game. I had been assigned to cover Ohio State. When the Buckeyes won, I ran out onto the field to do the interview with Urban Meyer. After locating him, I stood next to him waiting to go live. While we did, Ezekiel Elliott came by and was catching pieces of confetti on his tongue as if they were snowflakes. Meyer burst out laughing. It’s an image I don’t know that I’ll ever forget.”


Amanda Brooks and Keri Potts contributed to this post.
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