Even though we’re about halfway through this college football season, ESPN is already setting up their plans for next year. College football will celebrate its 150th anniversary and ESPN will be there to chronicle the sport so many people love.

ESPN announced two 11-episode docuseries, which will debut September 2019 and will profile the first 150 years of college football. These shows will be a cornerstone of ESPN’s larger “College Football 150” initiative, which will start on January 2, 2019.

The first series, titled The American Game, will take a look at various topics throughout the history of college football and how it has become an “integral component of the American landscape” as well as a “cultural phenomenon.” Various topics include the overall evolution of college football, integration, the bowl system, the Heisman Trophy, and the relationship between college and the pros. The American Game is set to premiere September 17, 2019 and will run every Tuesday.

The second, titled The Greatest, is going to be more of a countdown/debate type show where a panel of 11 people from ESPN rank the top 11 in a certain category that will cover the scope of college football history. Topics for The Greatest haven’t been revealed (it’s implied in the trailer that one topic will be live mascots), but the rankings will serve as a platform for reflection and remembrance on the history of college football, as well as spark debate among those at ESPN and within college football fans. The Greatest is set to premiere September 19, 2019 and run every Thursday.

Both shows are produced by Herzog & Company, who also produced CNN’s Decades series (The SixtiesThe SeventiesThe EightiesThe Nineties, and The 2000s) as well as The History of Comedy. Those shows were great and are highly recommended, so I’m looking forward to seeing what ESPN brings to the table here.

In the back of my mind, I’m wondering how these shows will portray college football. I’m not saying that ESPN needs to fully dwell on the negative aspects of the sport, but there have been plenty of negative incidents throughout the sport’s history, to go along with the good, and an accurate portrayal of the history of college football shouldn’t only focus on the positive. That may go against the kind of 150th anniversary celebration ESPN might want to have, but if they want to create the kind of high quality programming CNN had with their shows, it would better serve them to go this route.

[ESPN Media Zone]

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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