ESPN’s First Labor Day MegaCast Set for No. 20 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Florida State; Highlights Include Debut of Goodyear BlimpCast and Return of Coaches Film Room

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ESPN’s First Labor Day MegaCast Set for No. 20 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Florida State; Highlights Include Debut of Goodyear BlimpCast and Return of Coaches Film Room

  • MegaCast Provides Seven Ways to Watch ACC Top 25 Showdown Between Hokies-Seminoles
  • Five-Day, 60 Game Kickoff Week Schedule Features Best Teams and Signature Matchups:
    • 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Georgia, No. 4 Wisconsin, and No. 5 Ohio State Make Season Debuts
    • Only Top 10 Matchup Airs on ABC: No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn
    • Special Sunday Night Presentation on ABC: No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU
  • ESPN+ Begins Inaugural College Football Season Streaming More than 20 Games in Week 1 and 200 Showdowns Over the Next Three Months

ESPN’s networks will be the home of the best teams and best games throughout college football’s Kickoff Week, highlighted by No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Georgia, No. 4 Wisconsin, and No. 5 Ohio State’s opening games, No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn in the sport’s only top 10 matchup, No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU in prime-time Sunday night, and the season’s first conference matchup featuring ranked teams: No. 20 Virginia Tech is at No. 19 Florida State on Labor Day night receiving ESPN’s MegaCast production.

ESPN’s MegaCast Production Makes Labor Day Debut; Marty Smith and Ryan McGee Watch and Commentate from More than 1,000 Feet above Doak Campbell Stadium
ESPN’s Labor Day night, ACC Top 25 telecast featuring the Hokies-Seminoles is now bolstered by the network’s signature MegaCast production, which provides fans the traditional telecast on ESPN and six additional viewing options across ESPNU, ESPNEWS and ESPN3 via the ESPN App. The network’s lead commentating team of Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Maria Taylor will call the game on ESPN, the trio’s second game together in three nights and Herbstreit and Taylor’s third in five nights.

The first-ever Labor Day MegaCast is elevated by the premiere of Goodyear BlimpCast, as Marty Smith and Ryan McGee will be stationed inside the Goodyear Blimp for the entire game, providing live commentary from more than 1,000 feet above Doak Campbell Stadium. Fans watching on ESPN3 via the ESPN App will experience a three-box presentation with the majority of the screen showing the typical TV vantage point, and a smaller portion of the screen fixated on Smith and McGee. The third box will show the aerial view from the blimp that fans have grown accustomed to over the years. This is the first time a game telecast will be available exclusively from the blimp angle.

Mack Brown, Gene Chizik, Hugh Freeze, Todd Graham, and Jim Mora Man First Coaches Only Coaches Film Room
A MegaCast staple, Coaches Film Room, returns on ESPNEWS, with a new twist: Coaches only. National championship winning coaches Mack Brown and Gene Chizik, and former head coaches Hugh Freeze, Todd Graham and Jim Mora will team together, without the aide of another analyst to man the clicker and telestrator. The five football minds will be located in ESPN’s Bristol, Ct., studio watching the ACC matchup in real time, with an emphasis on breaking down the Xs and Os.

Additional MegaCast Viewing Options:

  • Command Center (ESPNU): A split-screen with simultaneous multiple camera views, which could include the main ESPN camera angle, the SkyCam view and isolated camera feeds of both head coaches. Enhanced statistics and real time drive charts supplement the game action.
  • DataCenter (ESPN3 via ESPN App): On-screen graphic content ranging from analytics, real time drive charts, win probability updates, curated social media reaction and more.
  • SkyCam (ESPN3 via ESPN App): A continuous feed of the camera that maneuvers above the field of play and often provides a behind-the-offense look at game action.
  • All-22 (ESPN3 via ESPN App):Watch the game the same way players and coaches study the game. This vantage point comes from high atop the stadium, providing a consistent view of all 22 players on the field at the same time.

Labor Day will mark the second consecutive year ESPN has activated the MegaCast for Kickoff Weekend, having made its early season debut on the season’s first Thursday last season for Ohio State at Indiana.

ESPN’s studio team of Adnan Virk, Joey Galloway, and Jesse Palmer will be live from Tallahassee, Fla., for College Football Countdown Presented by Hulu (7 p.m.) leading into the game.

Saturday Slate: No. 1 Alabama, No. 5 Ohio State and Top 10 Showdown between No. 6 Washington and No. 9 Auburn
ABC’s Saturday Night Football Presented by Wells Fargothe most-watched college football franchise on any network the last two seasons, will begin the 2018 season with the College Football Playoff National Champions and No. 1 Alabama playing Louisville in the 2018 Camping World Kickoff (Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. ET) from Camping World Stadium in Orlando.  The season debut of Saturday Night Football will cap a Kickoff Saturday tripleheader on ABC, with all three games featuring a top 10 team: No. 5 Ohio State hosting Oregon State (noon) will lead into the 2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff between No. 6 Washington and No. 9 Auburn (3:30 p.m.) from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The Huskies and Tigers are the only Top 10 matchup of week 1.

ABC’s Sunday Night Primetime Special Features No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU From AT&T Stadium
ABC’s will feature a special Sunday Night matchup for the third consecutive Kickoff Weekend, with this year’s game featuring No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Sean McDonough will be on the call, making his return to ESPN’s college football coverage, teaming with Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe.

Kirk Herbstreit, and Maria Taylor Begin Their Season on Thursday Night Prime-time Special
Before the aforementioned Saturday and Monday prime-time affairs, Herbstreit and Taylor will begin the season in West Lafayette, Ind., when Northwestern travels to Purdue (8 p.m.) for ESPN’s first Thursday night football game of the season (Aug. 30). The duo will join Dave Flemming, ESPN’s regular Thursday night commentator on the call. Both Herbstreit and Taylor will be South Bend, Ind., for the season premiere of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot on Saturday, Sept. 1 (9 a.m. – noon), before joining Fowler in Orlando and then Tallahassee.

ESPN+ Streams More than 20 Games in First Week, More than 200 Exclusive Games Throughout the Season
ESPN+, multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN, will stream more than 20 football games during the season’s first week, beginning a season where the subscription service carries more than 200 exclusive games.

Other Week 1 Highlights:

  • New Season, New School: Numerous head coaches will make their debuts with new schools on ESPN’s networks in week 1, including Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher (SEC Network) and UCF’s Josh Heupel (ESPNU) on Thursday, Aug. 30, UCLA’s Chip Kelly (ESPN), Mississippi State’s Joe Moorhead (ESPNU), Florida’s Dan Mullen (SEC Network) and Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin (ESPN) on Sept. 1, and Florida State’s Willie Taggert (ESPN’s MegaCast) on Labor Day night (Sept. 3). Ohio State’s Ryan Day will make his interim head coach debut, also on Sept. 1 (ABC), while UConn’s Randy Edsall makes his return as coach of the Huskies on Aug. 30 (ESPNU).
  • Back Where it Started: College GameDay Built by The Home Depot is kicking off its 2018 season campaign by paying homage to where it all began: The University of Notre Dame. (Saturday, Sept. 1, 9 a.m. – noon)
  • One Week, Two Shows: SEC Nation, SEC Network’s traveling pregame show airs two shows in three days, with the season premiere on Thursday, Aug. 30, in College Station, Texas, (7 p.m.) ahead of Texas A&M hosting Northwestern State on the same network (8:30 p.m.). On Saturday, Sept. 1, the show will be on location Charlotte, N.C. (10 a.m.), before Belk College Kickoff.
  • Live Herbie’s Life: ESPN’s social media team will document Kirk Herbstreit’s three games in five days Kickoff Week on multiple social media feeds, including on Twitter and Instagram.
  • Big Ten Access: ESPN will have special access with both Northwestern and Purdue prior to the two teams facing off on Thursday evening, with segments airing across multiple platforms and shows.
  • Highlights and Reaction: SportsCenter has extensive coverage throughout Kickoff Week, including following the special prime-time affairs on Sunday and Labor Day evening.

ESPN Game and Commentators for Five-Day Kickoff Week Schedule

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Thu, Aug. 30 7 p.m. No. 21 UCF at Connecticut
Clay Matvick, Dan Orlovsky, Paul Carcaterra
Central Connecticut State at Ball State
Jim Barbar, Mark Herrmann
Kennesaw State at Georgia State ESPN+
Chowan at Campbell ESPN+
7:30 p.m. Shorter at Samford ESPN+
8 p.m. Northwestern at Purdue
Dave Flemming, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor
Southeastern Louisiana at Louisiana-Monroe ESPN+
Savannah State at UAB ESPN+
8:30 p.m. Northwestern State at Texas A&M
Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic
SEC Network
Fri, Aug. 31 6:30 p.m. Monmouth at Eastern Michigan
Dan Gutowsky, Marcus Ray
7 p.m. Army at Duke
Roy Philpott, Tom Ramsey
9 p.m. Western Kentucky at No. 4 Wisconsin
Jason Benetti, Kelly Stouffer, Olivia Dekker
Sat, Sept. 1 Noon Oregon State at No. 5 Ohio State
Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy, Tom Luginbill
2018 AdvoCare Texas Kickoff: Ole Miss vs. Texas Tech from Houston
Mark Jones, Dusty Dvoracek, Molly McGrath
James Madison at NC State
Mike Corey, Rene Ingoglia
Coastal Carolina at South Carolina
Taylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb, Kris Budden
SEC Network
Villanova at Temple
Clay Matvick, Dan Orlovsky
12:20 p.m. Furman at No. 2 Clemson ACC Network Extra
12:30 p.m. Alcorn State at Georgia Tech ACC Network Extra
1 p.m. Massachusetts at Boston College ACC Network Extra
Shippenburg at Clarion ESPN+
2 p.m. Howard at Ohio
Dave Weekley, Hutson Mason
Butler at Youngstown State ESPN+
3:30 p.m. 2018 Chick-fil-A Kickoff: No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn from Atlanta
TV: Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Todd McShay
Radio: Bill Rosinski, David Norrie, Ian Fitzsimmons
ABC and ESPN Radio
Austin Peay at No. 3 Georgia
Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, Rocky Boiman
Central Michigan at Kentucky
Kevin Brown, Andre Ware
Marshall at Miami (Ohio)
Jim Barber, Bobby Carpenter
Cal Poly at North Dakota State ESPN+
Albany at Pittsburgh
Joel Meyers, Dustin Fox
ACC Network Extra
4 p.m. Eastern Illinois at Arkansas
Dave Neal, DJ Shockley, Dawn Davenport
SEC Network
UT Martin at Missouri
Mark Neely, Barrett Jones
SEC Network Alternate
6 p.m. Delaware State at Buffalo
Robert Lee, Jerod Cherry
South Carolina State at Georgia Southern ESPN+
Richmond at Virginia
Shawn Kenney, John Gregory
ACC Network Extra
No. 22 Boise State at Troy
Dave LaMont, Ray Bentley
North Carolina A&T at East Carolina
Josh Appel, Stan Lewter
Elon at South Florida
Drew Fellios, Forrest Conoly
Newberry at Western Carolina ESPN+
The Citadel at Woffard ESPN+
Limestone at Gardner-Webb ESPN+
Fordham at Charlotte ESPN+
7 p.m. Cincinnati at UCLA
Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard, Allison Williams
Louisiana Tech at South Alabama ESPN+
Mercer at Memphis
Mike Watts, Tyoka Jackson
Central Arkansas at Tulsa
Trey Bender, Watson Brown
VMI at Toledo
Michael Reghi, Barrett Brooks
Grambling at Louisiana ESPN3
Southeast Missouri State at Arkansas State ESPN+
Nicholls at Kansas ESPN+
Jackson State at Southern Mississippi ESPN+
7:30 p.m. Charleston Southern at Florida

Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic

SEC Network
Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt
Anish Shroff, Ahmad Brooks, Roddy Jones
SEC Network Alternate
Stephen F. Austin at No. 18 Mississippi State
Mike Couzens, Kirk Morrison
Mars Hill at East Tennessee State ESPN+
St. Xavier at Illinois State ESPN+
8 p.m. 2018 Camping World Kickoff from Orlando: Louisville vs. No. 1 Alabama
TV: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor
Radio: Marc Kestecher, John Congemi, Paul Carcaterra
ABC and ESPN Radio
10:45 p.m. BYU at Arizona

Adam Amin, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich

Sun, Sept. 2 Noon 2018 MEAC/SWAC Challenge from Atlanta: Prairie View A&M vs. North Carolina Central

Tiffany Greene, Jay Walker, Olivia Dekker

7:30 p.m. No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU from Arlington, Texas

TV: Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe
Radio: Bill Rosinski, David Norrie, Ian Fitzsimmons

ABC and ESPN Radio
Mon, Sept. 3 8 p.m. No. 20 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Florida State
Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor

Commentators may change and/or be added; Additional games may be carried and not all ESPN3 and ESPN+ games are exclusive  


Media contact: Derek Volner at 860-384-9986; [email protected] and @DerekVolner

Derek Volner

I currently lead ESPN’s NFL Communications, including Monday Night Football, NFL Draft and studio programming. Previously, I did the same for ESPN’s vast college football portfolio. I have been with ESPN since 2013.
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