In another century, Verne Lundquist remembers calling a Dallas Cowboys-Los Angeles Rams game on the radio on Thanksgiving Day 1971 while perched in a corner of the broadcast booth was a TV showing another “Game of the Century” as Nebraska beat Oklahoma 35-31.
“We were giving incidental attention to the Cowboys beating the Rams,” Lundquist admitted.
Saturday, another potential “Game of the Century” will have the full attention of Lundquist and his CBS Sports broadcast teammate, Gary Danielson.
Like most everyone else who follows college football, there is an excitement for the CBS duo to be involved in calling the showdown between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama at 7 p.m.
If that wasn’t true, then CBS wouldn’t have gone through the trouble to create a second prime-time slot this season - the network showed Alabama at Florida in prime time on Oct. 1 - giving scheduling concessions to fellow Southeastern Conference TV partner ESPN.
CBS also promised to televise the 2012 LSU-Alabama game in prime time from Tiger Stadium.
At the same time, there is a consistency to the approach that permeates CBS’ coverage of top SEC football showdowns throughout the season.
“We’re not stupid,” Lundquist said. “We understand this is a game with huge implications for both teams and the national football scene. But we will do this and will do our normal homework, have our normal production meeting, normal meetings with players and coaches, and Saturday night we will go on and do the best we can as we do every Saturday.”
Danielson said it’s the high-wire nature of sporting events like Saturday’s game that he finds so compelling.
“It’s a misnomer that people like to watch competition,” said Danielson, a former Purdue and 13-year NFL quarterback who has been CBS’ lead college football analyst since 2006.
“I think people like to watch competition with extreme circumstances. Verne has done a lot of ice skating (broadcasts), but without a gold medal at the end, I ain’t watching it.”
What Danielson isn’t watching - or doesn’t want to see - is a rematch between the Tigers and Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship Game.
“I really believe the system is flawed in college football,” Danielson said. “It’s exciting, but not fair to the players who fight for conference championships and the national championship.
“Why have conferences? Why not let everyone be independent? If conference championships don’t have consequences, why do we do this? It’s clearly not fair to the winner to have them play again.
“No rematch for me.”
Though the game has generated a Super Bowl-like atmosphere of hype and excitement, CBS college football producer Craig Silver said the network won’t go over the top with its plans for the actual broadcast.
Silver said CBS will be adding two cameras (high speed and a sideline camera to help capture the game’s atmosphere) and a video replay machine, bringing the total to 15 cameras and 12 replay machines.
“It’s pretty big every single week,” said Silver, who added that CBS will have a crew of about 75 people working the game. “We’re just adding a few things around the edges to enhance it.”