NBC called a few audibles with its Notre Dame broadcasts.
One will only require a change in channel – plus a cable subscription – when the Shamrock Series against Boston College at Fenway Park gets moves to NBCSN. That’s NBC’s cable sports station better known for its EPL and Formula 1 programming than its inventory of American football.
Another change will be a difference of voice from the booth, where Doug Flutie replaces Mike Mayock as lead analyst. Flutie transitioned into that role late last season as the schematically smart Mayock shifted to the sidelines in November for games against Louisville and Northwestern.
Apparently Mayock’s football smarts were too much for some at NBC when former NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol criticized Mayock for being too wonky with his analysis of the Irish, even though he was wildly popular with many of Notre Dame’s more hardcore fans.
“(Mayock) would not listen,” Ebersol told the Sports Business Journal in May. “(NBC Executive Producer) Sam Flood did everything to get him to knock off (the jargon).”
The change means Flutie, who won the Heisman Trophy at Boston College, will be on the call when the Irish face the Eagles on Nov. 21 in Boston. Of course, Mayock is a Boston College alumnus too, having played defensive back in Chestnut Hill.
Dan Hicks returns as the play-by-play man with Kathryn Tappen back as sideline reporter. She replaced Alex Flanagan last season.
NBC’s on-site studio team will change too, with former Miami linebacker Jonathan Vilma joining Liam McHugh and Hines Ward for the pre-game and halftime shows.
When Notre Dame kicks off against Texas at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 3 it will mark the 25th season of Irish football on NBC. USC and Boston College will also kick off at 7:30 p.m., with home games against Georgia Tech, Massachusetts, Navy and Wake Forest set for traditional 3:30 p.m. kicks.