Good broadcasters can elevate college football telecasts from the already high level of entertainment the games themselves provide.

Most SEC fans probably think their own play-by-play guy, color analyst and sideline reporter are the best in the conference. Alabama’s Eli Gold, Auburn’s Rod Bramblett and many others have had some great calls over the years.

If we could mix and match, our dream team would be Gus Johnson, Todd Blackledge and Tom Rinaldi.

While those broadcasters are wonderful, there are also a number of great national broadcasters who have called SEC games. With all of the talent in the industry, it was hard to narrow each group to five people.

Nevertheless, here are the top 5 college football broadcasters by category:


1. Gus Johnson — Fox Sports

No one does it like Gus. Even if you don’t know his name, you know his voice. He doesn’t call SEC games very often — Fox Sports mostly broadcasts Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 games. When he does get a chance to call SEC battles, it’s a treat for all watching. Johnson slams excitement into a game with his passion for the sport. His March Madness highlights are legendary, but Johnson owns the college football world on TV as well.

2. Brad Nessler — CBS

Fans were thrilled upon hearing that Nessler was set to replace Verne Lundquist at CBS for the 2:30 marquee SEC game of the week. The longtime broadcaster will fill in flawlessly. He has called a myriad of games for ESPN over the years that all types of sports fans remember. His talent expands far beyond college football, but he thrives during Saturdays in the fall.

3. Joe Tessitore — ESPN

Tessitore has climbed up the ladder as of late, taking over Nessler’s previous role as the prime time play-by-play broadcaster on ESPN. Previously, he worked on SEC Nation, ESPN’s 30 for 30 and a number of other projects. Now, Tessitore is making his mark in the college football world, including being named to Sports Illustrated’s 2016 broadcast team of the year.

4. Tim Brando — Fox Sports

Brando was on CBS for what seemed like a lifetime. “SEC on CBS” thrived when he was in the lead role. Now, he calls the early college football games for Fox Sports with his old co-worker Spencer Tillman. Brando has succeeded in a number of areas in the sports broadcasting world. Chalk up calling games as one of them.

5.  Chris Fowler — ESPN

Like Nessler, Fowler had giant shoes to fill when he replaced Brent Musburger in the booth. People were curious to see how Fowler, known more for being the host on ESPN’s College Gameday, would perform in ABC’s biggest game of the week. Their questions were answered. Fowler has been graceful on Saturday nights and has shined during the last three National Championships. Being paired with Kirk Herbstreit, his colleague on Saturday mornings for so many years, has helped.

Honorable mention: Mike Patrick — ESPN

Who we miss: Brent Musburger — formerly ESPN


1. Todd Blackledge — ESPN

Blackledge isn’t as popular as some of the guys listed below, but he’s the best of the bunch. The former Penn State quarterback is one of the best in the business in dissecting a game while not making overly complicated statements. He’s been partnered with Lundquist, Nessler and other broadcasting icons over the years. The fact that Blackledge is no longer doing “Todd’s taste of the Town” is one of the biggest travesties in college football.

2. Kirk Herbstreit — ESPN

Many SEC fans hate “Herby,” but there really isn’t any reason they should. Hebrstreit doesn’t act like a know-it-all. In fact, he does a great job expanding on what happened during the game and why. He doesn’t mind speaking his mind rather than just giving cookie-cutter answers. And, oh yeah, he’s a part of the best pregame sports show in the country: College Gameday.

3. Spencer Tillman — Fox Sports

Tillman was a fantastic analyst working for CBS, teamed with Tony Barnhart and others. Now, he’s moved on to a color role with Fox Sports. Tillman and Brando form a great tandem for the network’s early game each Saturday. Tillman is highly respected for his skill as an interviewer.

4. Gary Danielson — CBS

Like Lundquist, Danielson has been a staple of SEC football for a long time. The former Purdue quarterback doesn’t back down from criticism, but rather embraces it. Now, he enters a new chapter of his career, changing mates in the booth. He’s been partnered with Nessler before, and they should pick up right where they left off.

5. Joel Klatt — Fox Sports

Klatt is an unfamiliar name for most SEC fans. He joins Johnson every Saturday night on Fox Sports, mostly for Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 games. Southern football fans should tune in for the UCLA-Texas A&M game not only for Johnson, but Klatt as well. The former Colorado quarterback has a wealth of knowledge and a smooth delivery.

Honorable Mention: Jesse Palmer — ESPN

Who we miss: The late Frank Broyles


1. Tom Rinaldi — ESPN

Not only are his stories on College Gameday fantastic every week, Rinaldi brings everything full circle on Saturday night in prime time. He is the voice you want reading you stories when you go to bed. Rinaldi could read the back of a shampoo bottle, and you would still listen. There could be a dull moment in the game action, and his voice will focus you right back in. No one holds a candle to him.

2. Tracy Wolfson — CBS

Wolfson doesn’t receive enough credit for her brilliant work on the field. At times, she was overshadowed by Lundquist and Danielson. Each year, she has to ask high-profile coaches tough questions during the biggest conference matchup of the week. It’s not an easy job, but she handles it with flying colors.

3. Holly Rowe — ESPN

Rowe’s battle with cancer hits close to home for me — I lost my mom to the disease. Rowe has gone through so much over the course of her life, but she refuses to let any of the obstacles stop her. She has earned the respect of many during her lifetime as a great college football sideline reporter.

4. Maria Taylor — ESPN

At only 30 years old, Taylor is well on her way to becoming a great college football sideline reporter. ESPN had enough confidence in her abilities to throw her into the Primetime spot along with Folwer, Herbstreit and Rinaldi. Young talent is still talent, and Taylor has plenty of it.

5. Tom Luginbill — ESPN

Categorized more as a field analyst, Luginbill soaks in every aspect of a game. He is a thoroughbred when answering questions from Dave Pasch and Greg McElroy. His charisma on-screen is evident on top of his keen sense to divulge information perfect for the moment. It’s easy to tell that Luginbill researches and studies the matchups and players thoroughly before he grabs the mic on the sidelines.

Honorable mention: Laura Rutledge — ESPN

Who we miss: Kaylee Hartung — formerly ESPN