For the first time in Big 12 history, a conference home game will be televised by ESPN. Under a licensing agreement announced Tuesday with Fox Sports Net, ESPN will televise up to five Big 12 games in prime time this season. There’s a good likelihood an OU game would be shown by ESPN, and OSU also is a possibility for the network.
ESPN will offer the Big 12 more exposure than Fox Sports Net. ESPN reaches 93 million homes, while FSN is in more than 81 million homes through its 22 regional networks.
Only one telecast has been announced, an attractive one at that — Florida State at Colorado at 9 p.m. Sept. 15. ESPN also will show games on Oct. 6, Oct. 20 and Nov. 3, and possibly Oct. 13.
Here’s a look at possibilities for telecasts, which also could wind up in the afternoon on ABC and or at 11:30 a.m. on FSN Southwest:
Oct. 6: OU-Texas is a lock for an ABC afternoon telecast. OSU at Texas A&M would be a good telecast for ESPN. Iowa State at Texas Tech, Nebraska at Missouri and Kansas at Kansas State also are possibilities.
Oct. 13: Missouri at OU, OSU at Nebraska, Texas A&M at Texas Tech and Texas at Iowa State would top the list of potential telecasts.
Oct. 20: Texas A&M at Nebraska, Texas Tech at Missouri, OU at Iowa State and Kansas State at OSU look to be the best games for television.
Nov. 3: Texas A&M at Oklahoma, Texas at OSU and Nebraska at Kansas would be the best candidates to be televised.
ESPN has not yet announced its broadcast teams for the fall. Last year, Mike Patrick, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe handled the ESPN prime-time games and Ron Franklin, Ed Cunningham and Dr. Jerry Punch covered the ESPN2 primetime games.
Jeff Van Gundy to call NBA finals: Jeff Van Gundy couldn’t get the Houston Rockets to the finals, but he will be a part of ABC’s telecast team that will broadcasts the finals. The former Rockets coach adds some spice to the lackluster team of play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and analyst Mark Jackson.
“Jeff has added a new dimension and great chemistry to our NBA playoff broadcasts, bringing a fresh, unique perspective to the games,” said ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson.
Twenty five years after he left KTUL-8 to form a sports production company, nationally known sportscaster Chris Lincoln is back at the Tulsa station. Lincoln, 59, made his return Monday as sports director, replacing Jack Bunds who was fired after Wednesday’s 6 p.m. newscast.
After leaving KTUL in 1981, Lincoln and Jim Wilburn, the station’s top salesman, built Winner Communications into the nation’s largest independently owned sports production company, producing more than 3,000 hours of programming a year for 15 networks. Lincoln and Wilburn sold the majority of Winnercomm, which is housed in a six-story building in Broken Arrow, to outside investors in February 2006, although Lincoln still works as a consultant for the company.
Tulsa viewers should enjoy the colorful and opinionated sportscaster who has covered a variety of horse races over the years, including an international series from 1998-2003. He missed his first Kentucky Derby in 20 years due to the recent birth of his first grandson.
“It’s a lot easier to get to Norman and Stillwater than it is to Dubai and Hong Kong,” he said during a telephone interview Thursday.
Viewers will notice a much thinner Lincoln than in his previous stint with KTUL. Ater undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2003, he originally lost more than 200 pounds. “Before my surgery, I was 420 pounds with a 62-inch waist. Now, I’m 230 pounds with a 38-inch waist. I do an hour or hour and a half workout every morning. I’m very careful about taking my protein drink in the morning. I can’t eat very much; my stomach is reduced in size. That’s what’s frustrating, I never was a big eater. I just had that metabolism problem. No matter what I did, I just couldn’t lose the weight.”
A few of his other opinions:
On revamping KTUL’s Sunday night sports show, “You Make the Call”: “That’s a crap show, God Almighty! I see it as more of a sports conversation show and feature-type interviews with more preproduced-type stuff.”
On TV weathermen, who generally rule Oklahoma TV stations: “Please just put up the seven-day forecast and get off the air! I always look at weathermen as major-league players. They just have to hit 1 out of 3 and they can stay in the big leagues.”
On his favorite sports: “My No. 1 passion is college sports, especially college football play-by-play. I hope to get some opportunities to get to that down the road. I’m just a young kid, compared to Bob (Barry) Sr.”
Fight to be replayed: If you didn’t fork out $54.49 to watch the Oscar de la Hoya-Floyd Mayweather bout last Saturday, you can watch Mayweather’s split-decision victory at 9 p.m. Saturday on HBO for no additional charge.
Classic NFL games: Beginning this week, the NFL Network (Cox 252) will start carrying classic NFL games on at 7 p.m. Thursdays, with a replay at 3 p.m. Fridays. The first game will be the Chicago Bears’ 24-23 comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals from last season. The Bears rallied from a 20-0 deficit in the Monday night game. Each game features the original announcers and network graphics.
Although it’s only been three weeks since the Hornets played their final game at the Ford Center, fans can relive some of their fond memories of the team through the eyes of star guard Chris Paul in a program at 6 p.m. Thursday on the NBA Network (Cox 256). The program focuses on the Hornets’ two seasons in Oklahoma City and some of what they have given back to the community.
Toyota’s “Tundra Turnaround,” the first of four half-hour shows on the network narrated by Andre Aldridge, looks at Paul’s effort in helping to refurbish the basketball court at Capitol Hill High School. Toyota provided funding for the project. “There are so many people that helped me get in the position I’m in,” Paul said. “I felt the least I could do is to give back to others.”
From meeting with Mayor Mick Cornett to receiving insights from Hub Reed, a 6-foot-9 Capitol Hill alumnus who went on to play in the NBA, Paul reveals a bond to Oklahoma City that will exist long after the Hornets’ return to New Orleans. “It’s not just a court,” said Paul, who spoke at the dedication ceremony for the new court. “It’s a sign of hope.”
In a segment at a coffee shop near the school, several former Capitol Hill standouts, including Reed and ex-New York Yankees pitcher Tom Sturdivant, reminesce about the school’s proud athletic history.
Paul received the NBA’s Community Assist Award for September 2006 and has partnered with Toyota on several programs, including NBA TV’s Toyota’s Moving Forward Moments and his Chris Paul Foundation.
Subsequent episodes of “Toyota Turnaroud” will look at efforts to restore basketball courts in Indianapolis (Jermaine O’Neal), Houston (Clyde Drexler and Elvin Hayes) and New Orleans (Bob Lanier).