After years of frustrating plenty of college basketball fans with his crotchety, no-fun act on CBS’ March Madness coverage, the Eye has thought better of Billy Packer, saying it will not bring him back for another season with Jim Nantz, preferring to promote Clark Kellogg instead to be its main color commentator for college basketball.
Again, I have no quarrel with the ditching of Packer (although the split seems very mutual, as Packer told the Miami Herald he’s tired of commentating). Somewhere during the last decade, the crabby act got really old and tired, plus his admission of not being a fan of sports along with his “fagging out” joke on Charlie Rose didn’t endear him any further (this isn’t even getting into the mess he started with St. Joseph’s Phil Martelli over its #1 seed in 2004 or calling Allen Iverson a monkey). Nantz is hard enough on me as play-by-play; while Packer can be considered about as college basketball as Dick Vitale, I’m not gonna miss him all that much.
But I’ve got to side with Lozo on this: why Clark Kellogg? He may be next in line at CBS (and it’s probably because he works solely for CBS), but they have a more talented analyst in their midst during March who ought to be working Final Fours for them: Bill Raftery. I mean, having Raf give us an “ONIONS!” or a “Send it in, ____!” during the game is damn near a highlight in and of itself. He mixes great analysis with fun, and it’s clear he loves the game.
However, Kellogg is as good as we’ll get, because CBS won’t have its lead color guy for college basketball come from the ranks of guys they hire as contractors from ESPN — which is what really might have killed off any chance of getting the best analyst in this sport from getting its most plush job.
Photo: AP/Michael Conroy