While college and pro football teams move toward the regular season, working to make cuts and set their rosters, TV networks are doing the same with broadcast teams -- and this year it seems those TV teams have hardly any room for newcomers.
Plus, with the season just days away, most changes have already been made. For example, ESPN announced its shakeups to college football crews (including the addition of Brian Griese) and its iconic and important "College GameDay" studio show (a larger role for Erin Andrews) weeks ago.
Still, there were a few high-profile changes recently. They include:
-- NBC Sports adding NFL Network draft guru Mike Mayock as color commentator on its package of Notre Dame games;
-- CBS College Sports naming former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach as a game analyst; and
-- Fox Sports adding both former NFL coach Jim Mora and Super Bowl winning quarterback Kurt Warner to its roster of NFL game analysts.
All of the moves could be winners, with Mayock perhaps set to be the most successful. He's already proven he knows what he's doing when working for NFL Network and the Notre Dame job will expose him, and his expertise, to a broader audience.
Plus the move should be a win-win -- with Mayock getting on-site exposure to a variety of college football teams that will enhance his base of knowledge to share draft expertise on the NFL Network.
Both Mora and Warner seem likely to transfer well to TV, too. Unfortunately, Mora (who previously coached the Seahawks and Falcons) will reportedly work in a three-man booth and he might be good enough to shine on his own without having to battle for airtime. Likewise, media darling Warner certainly haves the expertise and seems to have the ability to transfer that information easily.
The colorful (and deposed) Leach could be the wild card in the bunch. He certainly has the skill set that makes TV analysts strong -- he's entertaining and knowledgeable -- but he's also controversial before he even begins his work, and that's not always a good thing.
Still, he's going to work in front of the smallest TV audiences of the bunch (it's not as if CBS College Sports rivals a network in terms of distribution), which should give him time to hone his skills and find success. Plus, he's probably unlikely to jump back into coaching anytime soon, so the TV gig might be most important for him. If he works at it, he could be good.
And he should work at it, because it's probably his lifeline to remaining in football. That's because Mayock is a proven talent and both Mora and Warner could get another chance in front of the camera or as a coach or consultant (in Mora's case). With Leach, the fallout of his departure from Texas Tech, including a high-profile spat with ESPN analyst Craig James's son, make it hard to believe he'll have an abundance of coaching options.
He might be darn good at TV, though, and that would be OK.