For years I have suffered through Rod Gilmore’s commentary during ESPN’s college football coverage. If I had access to my blogs from years ago, I’d pull up some classic mistakes. Ed Cunningham used to be the worst, but he stepped away two years ago. Now Gilmore has taken the throne. It is one of those situations where I expect a terrible broadcast, but somehow his horrible performance still shocks me.
The mistake from Saturday night’s game that has been featured throughout the Internet is Gilmore inserting a “G” in the incorrect place when trying to spell the word “FIGHT” because one person with body paint had stepped away temporarily. Although this was humorous and sums up what kind of night Gilmore had, those who spent nearly four hours watching this game realize that his entire evening went that way.
Jason Benetti was Gilmore’s partner for the contest. I usually like Benetti’s work, but one person can dramatically impact the fan’s enjoyment. For example, when paired with Bill Walton, Jason can be quite enjoyable.
Gilmore seemed to be wrong with almost every prediction. When Fresno decided to kick a field goal and it was against his initial comment, Gilmore quickly backtracked and supported the decision. That actually made his commentary worse. At least he should have stuck to his guns.
Before halftime, Gilmore thought that Fresno should kneel down. Even if you think that, seeing guys lined up out wide should indicate that they are not going to simply take knees. With four seconds remaining, Rod decided that they would obviously throw the ball based on what we had seen on the previous plays. Wrong again.
At another point, Gilmore felt that Fresno needed to kick a field goal. They were lined up to go for it, but the coach apparently changed his mind after a timeout was called. USC took the timeout. Otherwise, it appeared that he would have been wrong here as well. Gilmore thought that Fresno had called it at first. Technically, this means that he was wrong even when getting something right. Again, Gimore probably would have been wrong if the other team didn’t give coach Jeff Tedford an opportunity to reconsider the decision.
Finally, Gilmore thought USC needed to punt on fourth and short when leading late in the game. Naturally, that didn’t happen. He did not predict the decision correctly, but there is something to be said for his thought process. We can debate it, but that philosophy isn’t crazy. At least by Gilmore’s standards. It was very similar to USC going for a first down in their classic championship game against Texas nearly 14 years ago. A good analyst might have pointed that out. Unfortunately, we did not have one calling the game.