Both Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff and ESPN’s College GameDay were live on location from Ann Arbour, Michigan Saturday ahead of the Wolverines hosting the Ohio State Buckeyes. And both shows saw some unusual commentary from panelists on their reporting colleagues.
On GameDay, that saw Desmond Howard say Pete Thamel should “put his big boy pants on” and get in the crowd of fans around the set, doubling down on that even after learning of threats to Thamel. The Big Noon Kickoff incident wasn’t quite as dramatic or problematic, but it did see an unusual move.
That came with Bruce Feldman saying that the Texas A&M Aggies (who just fired Jimbo Fisher) think Ohio State head coach Ryan Day “might be open to their pitch” if the Buckeyes lose to the Wolverines for the third-straight year, with that coming at the end of a list of other potential A&M candidates.
And that kind of loss likely would lead to some calls for Day’s head despite his overall success (56-6 as a head coach). So it’s somewhat understandable why from the Aggies’ perspective, they might think that (even if Day wasn’t all that interested in that move in reality). But right after Fox aired Feldman’s report, panelist Urban Meyer (who coached Ohio State from 2012-18) immediately downplayed it in strong terms:
"The Aggies I think are optimistic that if [Ohio State doesn't beat Michigan], that (Ryan Day) might be open to their pitch."- Bruce Feldman on the Texas A&M coaching search
"I love you Bruce, but no way."- Urban Meyer pic.twitter.com/Q1QP2rUWrq
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 25, 2023
It’s certainly pretty unusual to see a panelist immediately pour cold water on a report from the show’s own reporter. And part of what’s interesting here as well is that if Meyer’s objection here was to the idea of Day taking the Texas A&M job, he easily could have done that without disparaging Feldman’s report (which said nothing about any level of actual interest from Day, just that Aggies’ figures thought he might at least “be open” to a pitch if he loses this game).
Meyer could have just said “I don’t think Ryan Day would leave for that job” or something. Instead, he shot down Feldman’s report, and did so seemingly unnecessarily. (Unless he has his own information that Texas A&M is not considering targeting Day, in which case, he should have been more specific in saying that). So this wasn’t a great look for him, or for Big Noon Kickoff. And it once again shows the importance of separating the reporter and analyst lanes; Meyer absolutely could have weighed in on this, but he should have made it clear he was offering his opinion rather than disputing Feldman’s report.
[Awful Announcing on Twitter]