Pre-Game Show on VERSUS at 3 p.m. ET Includes Exclusive Interview with Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly
“This is a legitimate top-15 team.” – Mike Mayock on Notre Dame
“Look for a close game.” – Roland Williams
“This game will be a great measuring stick and a great test for the team.” Doug Flutie on Notre Dame
NEW YORK – September 1, 2011 – The NBC Sports Group kicks off its 28-game college football schedule this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC as the No. 16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the University of South Florida Bulls. This marks NBC Sports’ 21st year of broadcasting Notre Dame Football.
NBC will surround coverage of every Notre Dame broadcast with a pre- and post-game college football studio show on VERSUS, beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
COMMENTATORS: NBC’s Dan Hicks will step in to handle play-by-play for the first Notre Dame game of the season, while veteran announcer Tom Hammond is covering the World Track and Field Championships from Daegu, South Korea. Alongside Hicks will be analyst Mike Mayock, one of television’s premier college football and NFL Draft experts, is in his second season with NBC Sports as a Notre Dame game analyst, and sideline reporter Alex Flanagan.
VERSUS, to be re-branded NBC Sports Network on January 2, will provide pre- and post-game coverage from NBC’s “Football Night in America” studio at 30 Rock hosted by Liam McHugh with 1984 Heisman Trophy-winner Doug Flutie and Super Bowl champion and former NFL tight end Roland Williams starting at 3 p.m. ET. During Saturday’s halftime, Flutie will interview Notre Dame Quarterback Dayne Crist. Additionally, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk on NBCSports.com will join the studio crew at halftime to discuss the current NFL storylines.
MAYOCK ON NOTRE DAME: “This is a legitimate top-15 team in the country with three exciting playmakers on offense in Michael Floyd, Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood. Additionally, Notre Dame’s Defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco has done a phenomenal job getting the defense to improve from week to week last year, and this year he has even more athletes on defense.”
MAYOCK ON SOUTH FLORIDA: “If their quarterback plays a clean game, meaning if he doesn’t turn the ball over, I believe USF has enough playmakers on offense and team speed on defense to get this team into the fourth quarter.”
FLUTIE ON NOTRE DAME: “It’s a year of high expectations for Notre Dame and this game will be a great measuring stick and a great test for the team. This is Brian Kelly’s second year at Notre Dame and traditionally he’s had great results in his second year of coaching.”
FLUTIE ON SOUTH FLORIDA: “They are a much better team than a lot of people realize.”
WILLIAMS ON THE MATCHUP: “Notre Dame Nation is eagerly anticipating the sophomore campaign of Coach Kelly and the Irish. USF may be first-time guests, but Head Coach Skip Holtz knows the terrain well and will pull out every trick to disrupt Dayne Crist. Look for a close game.”
Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly will celebrate his second year with the team after leading them to an 8-5 record last season. USF Head Coach Skip Holtz will return to his alma mater to lead the Bulls against Notre Dame for the first time in school history.
NBC will air seven Notre Dame games this season, including the first Fighting Irish home primetime game in 21 years when they host No. 25 USC on October 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
NOTRE DAME EXTRA: For the second consecutive season, all of NBC’s Notre Dame games will be streamed live on NBCSports.com. “Notre Dame Extra” will feature a simulcast of the broadcast feed in full HD quality plus one additional online-only bonus camera. The video player will include picture-in-picture capability and full DVR functionality, allowing the user to pause the live video and even review plays in “slo-mo.”
Additionally, fans can watch live coverage of the Notre Dame and visiting teams’ bands at halftime, in-game highlights, as well as a live, online-only postgame footage that will include head coach Brian Kelly’s press conference. Click on Notre Dame Central at NBCSports.com to access Notre Dame Extra: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/25889627/. In-game reporter Alex Flanagan will once again tweet from the sidelines and Inside the Irish blogger Keith Arnold will participate in a live in-game chat.
NOTRE DAME CENTRAL APPS: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users can get complete NBC Sports coverage of the Notre Dame 2011 college football season with the Notre Dame Central apps. Users can get free, live access to every NBC Sports broadcast of Notre Dame football games. Plus, the app includes live scores, news, video highlights and much more. The iPhone and iPad updates for the 2011 season will be available prior to the Sept. 3 season opener against South Florida.
THE NOTRE DAME-NBC SPORTS RELATIONSHIP: The University of Notre Dame and NBC Sports continue their television relationship for the 21st consecutive season in 2011. On June 19, 2009, a five-year renewal to televise all Notre Dame home football games was announced, giving NBC Sports the rights to Fighting Irish home games through the year 2015. NBC Sports began its original contract with Notre Dame in 1991.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL ON THE NBC SPORTS GROUP: The NBC Sports Group will air a combined 28 college football games on NBC and VERSUS this season, featuring #16 Notre Dame and top-ranked teams from the Pac-12, Mountain West and Ivy League conferences. The increased coverage includes a new live studio show out of 30 Rock for all games on both NBC and VERSUS; the first home primetime Notre Dame game in more than 20 years on NBC; new on-air commentators, including College Football Hall of Famer Doug Flutie; a quadruple-header featuring several ranked teams on November 12; and a new one-hour college football show on VERSUS on Monday nights this fall.
NBC SPORTS’ 2011 NOTRE DAME SCHEDULE:
Sept. 3 South Florida 3:30 p.m. ET
Sept. 17 #17 Michigan State 3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 8 Air Force 3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 22 #25 USC 7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 29 Navy 3:30 p.m. ET
Nov. 12 Maryland 7:30 p.m. ET (FedEx Field in Landover, MD)
Nov. 19 Boston College 4:00 p.m. ET
–NBC SPORTS GROUP–