EUGENE, OR - DECEMBER 02 : Head coach Rick Neuheisel of the UCLA Bruins shows his feelings about an official's call in the second quarter of the Pac-12 Championship game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium on December 2, 2011 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
It looks like Pac-12 has their first big names for their new network. The announcement was made earlier today.
The Pac-12 Networks have taken the historic first step in building its on air team by turning to three of the most dynamic leaders the Pac-12 Conference has ever seen, signing Ronnie Lott, Rick Neuheisel and Summer Sanders as on air personalities and the initial faces of the Pac-12 Networks, it was announced today.
As former Pac-12 student-athletes at USC, UCLA and Stanford respectively, Lott, Neuheisel and Sanders combined to lead their teams to five Conference titles, three Rose Bowl crowns and two national championships. Sanders, who has enjoyed a successful broadcasting career for the last two decades, will have a multipurpose role as a host and expert analyst for a variety of shows and events, while Lott and Neuheisel will serve as football analysts.
If I had to guess, this will be the three person team manning the Pac-12 Network Studios on Gameday for whatever pregame or postgame coverage the conference has planned for the college football season. There's also the possibility that Neuheisel and Lott might do some games, but I'm guessing the majority of the time will be spent in the studio with Sanders.
I wouldn't call this a potential Inside the NBA crew here (can you really top antics like this?), but if these guys are meant to be the in-studio talent, there's a lot of potential.
Sanders is an underrated host. She's been doing a lot of good stuff in a lot of different sports and has two decades of experience under her belt, she's done men's and women's basketball and plenty of Olympic coverage (which the Pac-12 will be specializing in covering for much of the season). She's been under-the-radar for awhile, so it's nice to see her get back in the sports game on a prominent level.
More importantly, she has a sense of humor. I know this because I watched her do this to herself for two years, and it was great.
Hopefully the conference keeps her loose. She's a pro, but she's a fun pro. She should be really good at this!
As for Neuheisel, I'm guessing he's here to play straight man (although he's a pretty good wisecracker too). Rick's the coaching personality, someone who provides post-game analysis and gets you thinking about the game. He's also a guy who has recent experience, so he can provide an insider perspective of the various coaches in the conference and do some cool things in that regard.
I'm not sure if Ronnie Lott can be the Charles Barkley of this show, but he can provide a player perspective. He's probably more likely to play off Neuheisel and break down Xs and Os after the game while also giving that player perspective. He's a bit more removed from the TV thing (he hasn't done any real football work in over a decade), but it'll be interesting to see how he does in the studio.
That said, there could be hope on this front, at least based on this 30 seconds of tape.