ESPN provides average but solid broadcast for bowl game


I opted to decline the generous offer from the NIU athletic department of $125 for transportation, a hotel room and ticket for the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, LA.

Instead I hit the couch and tuned into ESPN to watch the Huskies take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs.

Though the outcome, a 17-10 loss, was not in the Huskies’ favor, some solace can be taken away from a solid broadcast by ESPN.

Pam Ward and Ray Bentley called the game and showed solid chemistry overall. Bentley, a former NFL linebacker, made some good points throughout the broadcast. Throughout the game Ward showcased her knowledge of the game with organized and thoughtful comments.

The two had their down moments though.

In the first quarter of the game, Bentley stumbled while praising LT linebacker Quin Harris and his 3.8 GPA.

“He’s a special guy,” Bentley said. “Anybody who can major in… I can’t even think of what it is.”

To the rescue came Ward who helped deflect the awkwardness, saying the major must be very difficult if Bentley couldn’t remember what it was. Bentley then recalled that Harris’ major was exercise physiology.

His memory was most likely was refreshed by an ESPN employee telling him the major through his headphones.

Ward also stumbled on some names throughout the broadcast, referring to LT quarterback Ross Jenkins as Chandler Harnish on one occasion—nothing to lose sleep over.

With TV comes commercials and there were plenty Sunday night. Shreveport used the bowl game to showoff famous people from Louisiana say how great of a state it is. Todd Walker, former Chicago Cub second baseman, is apparently an icon that the city feels can help attract tourists, which I found puzzling.

NIU and LT had their university commercials on the air after NIU scored in the first quarter. NIU’s message asked viewers the question, “What’s your genius?” and suggested to find it at NIU.

It didn’t make me call my brother, a high school senior, and tell him to hurry up and apply to NIU, but it also didn’t make me want to transfer either.

In the end, ESPN turned an average game featuring two average programs into a somewhat entertaining viewing experience. Not bad for a Sunday night on the couch.