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Sifting through the wreckage of football announcer jargon

Nick Faldo Images Photo by John Filo/ CBS via Getty Images

A submission from a man who goes by Bayou Frog Fan...


Through the orgies of consumption that were Weeks 1 - 3, you briefly forgave CBS for putting Gary Danielson and his bottomless adoration for Nick Saban on the air. About now, you’ll start listening to the telecast and realize the fraud that network television perpetrates in plain sight. Let this primer serve as a beacon guiding you through the turbulent waters of truly awful college football announcing.

It all starts with…


“Get off to a fast start” – The ultimate in throwaway analysis when you and Verne have been up swilling Pappy with hosts from the alumni club until 4 in the morning. You think Pat Riley ever said “Hey, Magic… after you get to half court, just dribble around for a little while?” Try to avoid throwing your remote control through the patio screen when you see Greg McElroy spit this one at you with a straight face.

“Stay out out 3rd and long” – Thanks for the heads-up, Lombardi. This evil twin of “Get off to a fast start” is what happens when the graphics intern is scrambling while Herbstreit raids the catering tent. There’s a reason we never saw Ken Dorsey sneak the ball on 1st down back when Miami was cashing all those checks from Nevin Shapiro. God forbid someone mention that Josh Allen has a bad habit of whipping the ball into Row L in early downs, but give the viewing audience something, you hacks.

“Avoid turnovers” – This one is college football’s version of the “Keep your hand out of this machine” sign. It’s OK to keep the running back’s recent frottage arrest out of the broadcast, but when sore Twitter thumbs leave his ball security lacking, just let us know. Advertisers treat the viewers at home like docile livestock, but the announcing team shouldn’t have to pander to the lowest common denominator.

“Take what the defense gives you” – We’ll hear even mild CTE sufferers let this bad boy off the chain. Ask any 10 people on the bus to Norman and they’ll tell you that taking advantage of the defense is EXACTLY THE POINT of successful offensive football. Just don’t ask anyone who’s ever seen Cam Cameron call a game.

“Execute the game plan” – It’s a re-wording of “be successful”. Why not suggest that the team fire serial domestic abusers from the coaching staff? I know of a fan base who might really benefit from that.

“Create mismatches” – If coordinators in the NFC West want to keep their jobs, they don’t stroll into planning meetings with “I’ve got a really good feeling about throwing at Marcus Peters this week.” You know what else creates mismatches?... Recruiting. A coach’s ability to adapt is far more valuable than their playbooks. Just remember that schemes are like strippers… they’re all sexy until you find out how crazy they are.

“Establish the run/pass” – For all that is holy, can we just stop using this reference? It’s right there with “tequila doesn’t make you fight” on the list of theories that have been statistically disproven. Few programs can bust open a bank vault though a prolonged series of headbutts [shaking head at Bama’s backfield depth chart]… the rest of the coaching staffs in the country will actually have to do their jobs. We’ll never reclaim the time we wasted listening to Todd Blackledge refer to the strategic wizardry that resulted in some poor cornerback biting on play action. Let’s resolve to put a quarter in the “How do these drips still have jobs” jar whenever they say it and donate the proceeds to charity. Then perhaps some good will become of the charade.

“Win at the line of scrimmage”Spoiler alert: Dabo Swinney has never stepped into the defensive line huddle and demanded that they arrive at a cordial understanding in the trenches. Even if Brady Quinn couldn’t tell us what a 5-tech is or does with a pistol to his head, the audience deserves more than “Win at the line of scrimmage”. Consider decaf if he’s calling the Fox early game.

“Play the field-position game” – I want to give Todd McShay credit for using this phrase as a subtle way to let the fan base (usually B1G) know that the coach has zero confidence in his team and will definitely punt on 3rd and 2 inside the opponent’s 50. I won’t.


“RPOs” – Does anyone know what an RPO is? Has it ever been explained to us? The SAW films make so much more sense to me after Brian Griese explains RPOs for the eleventy-seventh time. Television finally discovered a way to explain a 3 yard slant route where Roquan Smith peeled off and drilled the Christ out of some poor wide receiver. Hurray! Never mind that I’m quite confident that half of RPOs are just bad play-action calls.

“This guy has great field awareness… he’s a field general… a coach on the field” – Jelly fish have strands of nerve cells instead of brains and I don’t know a single person who would mess with them. Stop telling us that success on the field is critically dependent upon anything more than the ability to detect changes in environmental temperature and pressure.

“He’s better when he gets into a rhythm… as the game goes along” – If it was that important, they’d also mention when players are so out of shape that they break down in the 4th quarter. Don’t praise people for doing what they’re supposed to do. That’s how Nick Fairley became a first-round pick.

“Defensive backs are just wide receivers who can’t catch, LOLZ” – Carved into the Rushmore of stupid analysis. Try these on for size: Offensive linemen are just power forwards who binge eat. Linebackers are just defensive linemen who need a head start. Quarterbacks are just sex-addict-javelin-throwers. Jim Harbaugh is just a Mark Dantonio who can’t beat Ohio State. See where I’m going with this?

“He’s just a COMPETITOR” – If they loved competition so much, guys like Lincoln Riley wouldn’t hang 50+ on UTEP. Give me a guy who hates competition so much that he has Kentucky pole-axed by the second quarter so that my biggest afternoon concern is dodging unsolicited vasectomy stories at the post-game tailgate.

Enjoy the season and demand more from your announcers.