Sports Illustrated had a roundtable where they talked about various topics, but the best was part is where they discuss Craig James and they feel the exact same way nearly every single college football fan feels.
Which college football announcer/s are the least appealing for you and why?
Mandel: Craig James and Jesse Palmer. James' glaring conflict of interest (more on that later) aside, it's still two ex-jocks glad-handing each other and spewing clichés for three-and-a-half hours. I feel bad for Rece Davis, a true pro, who spends Thursday nights wedged between those two and Saturdays moderating the Mark May-Lou Holtz circus act.
Staples: Craig James, because he adds very little to the broadcast, and ESPN has sacrificed much of its journalistic integrity to protect him in the wake of his campaign to get Mike Leach fired at Texas Tech. If ESPN replaced James with any random ex-jock, viewers wouldn't complain a bit. Yet for some reason the network has bent over backward to protect James. It makes no sense.
Schroeder: Other than Craig James? Even aside from the helicopter-dad/Mike Leach/Texas Tech stuff, I'm not a big fan. And how can we leave aside that stuff? Since he is still employed, can we at least eliminate the weekly weird-workout feature with James (and Jesse Palmer) and the home team's strength coach on those Thursday night games? We get it, James was a big-time athlete and he's still able to toss around big tires.There are a lot of forgettable announcers out there. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. As much as I enjoy listening to him, Musburger walks a fine line. When he crosses it, he can override the game. I'll take a dialed-back, who-was-that-announcer broadcast and be more than satisfied.
Deitsch: That Craig James gets such prominent assignments remains a mystery on the D.B. Cooper scale. He is unpopular by any fan metric you choose, including performance and likeability. The fact that former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is suing James merely adds noise here. ESPN management says it values James for his relationships with coaches but what that ultimately leads to for viewers is little more than backslapping commentary. The network deserves to get crushed for keeping him on the air. I'm not as bothered by Palmer as some of the other guys but I agree with everyone on Holtz, whose act wore thin around the time Ron Powlus graduated from Notre Dame. Again, Holtz is an example of Bristol management having a tin ear with a broadcaster whose name far exceeds his value. Same with James
Do you trust Craig James when it comes to reporting on the Big 12?
Mandel: I wouldn't trust Craig James to report on sixth-grade volleyball. It's been established, via documented emails, that he not only encouraged a sitting Big 12 football coach's dismissal but hired a PR firm to intentionally manipulate coverage. And yet he's still walking into Big 12 coaches' offices every week to break down tape. Now he's running partisan political advocacy ads, which you would think would be a no-no for a television analyst (I seem to recall Lou Holtz getting in trouble simply for endorsing a candidate). How he's still on television (and in prominent time slots at that) is one of the great mysteries of modern civilization.
Staples: No. But I don't trust him when it comes to reporting on anything.
Schroeder: Does he report? I'm not sure how ESPN justified keeping him around. But he's still around. And now that Leach is no longer at Texas Tech, the immediate storm has passed. It would be unthinkable to have James in the booth for one of Leach's games (when Leach inevitably returns to coaching). Which is why it will probably happen. Until then, did you know James was a big-time athlete and he can still toss around big tires?
This is a great read and glad to see others in the field criticize Craig James.
h/t: Double T-Nation