Countdown to Coverage: College Football’s Best Podcast
“College football fans demand content, and they aren’t going to wait for ESPN to devote 2 minutes to their favorite team or conference on SportsCenter to get it.”
College football season is nearly here.
Forget last Saturday. It’s called Week 0 for a reason. Do you really want to believe the first game of the 2022 season was 3-9 Northwestern and 3-9 Nebraska playing halfway around the world?
Here at Barrett Sports Media, we are celebrating college football from a media angle. All week long, our editors and resident college football superfans, Arky Shea, Demetri Ravanos and Garrett Searight, will be looking at the best the media has to offer in terms of college football coverage.
The entire schedule is as follows:
MONDAY: Best Local Show
TUESDAY: Best National Radio Show
WEDNESDAY: Best College Football Podcast
THURSDAY: Best TV Show
FRIDAY: Best TV Play-by-Play Booth
College football fans demand content, and they aren’t going to wait for ESPN to devote 2 minutes to their favorite team or conference on SportsCenter to get it. We want something insightful, long-form, and on demand.
Podcasts are thriving in sports media and no sport has a wider variety of options than college football. From insiders to analysts to people that just know how to connect the dots from Spider-Man to Ryan Day, the medium is full of entertaining people talking about college football.
These are our choices for the best college football podcast.
THE SHUTDOWN FULLCAST by Demetri Ravanos
College football is our most gloriously dumb sport! I want a show that embraces and appreciates that. Enter The Shutdown Fullcast, the only show I have ever heard explain Georgia football using the Fourth Book of Maccabees. Holly Anderson, Spencer Hall, Jason Kirk, and Ryan Nanni know their stuff and know there is value in chaos. I genuinely look forward to Wednesdays. This is the one podcast I consume the second it hits my feed.
There is a level of creativity to The Fullcast that you won’t find on most shows. Could Andy Staples preview the ACC Coastal while sustaining a Jeff Goldbloom impersonation for nearly an hour? Did The Solid Verbal develop the theory that Mack Brown forces his opponents to shake his hand longer after a loss because it is how he feeds on their youth? SB Nation used to have the most fun college football coverage online. That ended the day it let The Shutdown Fullcast get away.
THE SOLID VERBAL by Arky Shea
It won’t take you long to become a member of the “Verballer-hood” once you give The Solid Verbal a chance. Unlike a lot of shows, you only need one episode to hook you. The combination of co-hosts Ty Hildenbrandt and Dan Rubenstein grab the ordinary fan with legitimate analysis of the college football world pretty quickly. They, quite astutely, span the country with their thoughts and give you more than enough “football” content to keep you satiated. But, it’s the parts outside the fray that make this show worth your download.
These two spend just as much effort into breaking down the bizarre tapestry that has long set college football apart from everything in this universe. The two subtly take you into a rabbit hole of silliness that you never truly realize you’re chest-deep in until it’s too late. Just take the story of the University of South Carolina looking for a new name for their live mascot as a great, very recent example. While naming suitable suggestions to replace the bird’s current name, Rubenstein suggested, earnestly, that the university embrace pageantry.
“I just think we need to incorporate a level of royalty to American college football live mascots,” Rubenstein would say. “We need to fully lean into what Texas A&M has done with Reveille. They’ve elevated her to a position of ceremonial authority.”
THE ANDY STAPLES SHOW by Garrett Searight
As a big college football fan, both figuratively and literally, The Andy Staples Show is my podcast. Staples is as clued in as any reporter in the sport, and I don’t know that I can remember a time I heard him say or report something that made me think “that ain’t true”.
Meanwhile, the cuisine of college football is an often slept on portion of the equation that makes it America’s finest sport. I don’t see anybody else focusing on their food during their podcasts. You know what I need to survive? Sustenance. Only one college football podcast is doing that, my friends. And its The Andy Staples Show.
Study Finds 58% of College Students Have Gambled on Sports
“Overall, 58% of students say that ads make them more likely to gamble and 70% believe that consistent sports gambling is a way to supplement their income.”
Sports betting is reaching a younger audience in a big way according to a study commissioned by the NCAA. When asked if they had ever placed a bet on a sporting event, 58% responded that they had.
Students that live on campus are even more likely to lay money down. 67% of them said they had placed a bet on sports before.
Advertising is clearly working on this demographic. Of the respondents that live on campus, 63% report having seen sports betting advertising. Overall, 58% of students say that ads make them more likely to gamble and 70% believe that consistent sports gambling is a way to supplement their income.
In recent years, schools have reassessed their relationship with sportsbooks. In fact, the study comes on the heels of Alabama firing baseball coach Brad Bohannon for allegedly providing inside information to a gambler and student-athletes at Iowa and Iowa State were ruled ineligible for placing bets on games.
College sports on TV and radio are havens for sportsbook ads. The NCAA may look to take more steps to address its relationship with gambling, but it is hard to imagine that will change.
The American Gaming Association revealed in February that the US betting market generated $7.5 billion in revenue last year. That is a 75% increase over 2021.
Dave Portnoy Unsure if Barstool Will Renew His Contract in 2025
“There’s a part of me that thinks I’d be like, ‘Okay, I’m done.’”
Penn Entertainment finalized its acquisition of Barstool Sports from The Chermin Group earlier this year for approximately $338 million, bringing with it the loyal, dedicated following of the digital sports and entertainment brand and now, the future of Barstool’s founder, however, is in doubt.
Dave Portnoy recently appeared on The Kirk Minihane Show and expressed uncertainty regarding whether or not he would reach a contract extension with Penn National. He is not sure what the brand’s parent company is thinking regarding his future, and he publicly opposed the firing of Ben Mintz earlier this month.
“Who knows where I’ll be in three [or] four years,” Portnoy said. “I think Dan [Katz], which I would say is very good for Barstool, is clearly locked in for a long time. He’s creating this huge fantasy factory there. I think it’s great for Barstool.”
Barstool Sports has launched a sportsbook that is in the midst of being licensed in different locales around the United States, and Portnoy is aware sports betting is a priority for Penn National over the ensuing years. If his contract was not renewed upon expiration, Portnoy would have to consider several options regarding what to do in the future.
“Would I just do a podcast a week that’s totally unfiltered? Would I enjoy doing that? Maybe,” Portnoy said, noting that his contract expires in a little less than 2 years. “There’s a part of me that thinks I’d be like, ‘Okay, I’m done.’”
One of the things he has considered though is launching a pizza review show on Netflix, perhaps similar to what Anthony Bourdain did during his time as a celebrity chef.
One thing he is not interested in doing is cultivating an entirely new media business, but he genuinely does not know what Penn National is thinking as it pertains to his future with the brand.
Certainly though, Penn National wants to ensure it retains gambling licenses, and having controversial Barstool Sports personalities could at times complicate the situation. Moving on from Portnoy has the potential to redefine the brand itself, something that could ultimately prove harmful in the eyes of its dedicated legion of consumers.
Meta Cuts Sports Partnerships Leaders Rob Shaw, Kevin Cote, Dev Sethi
“I was fortunate to be surrounded by top notch people, and while it is emotional to say goodbye, I have no doubt our paths will cross again soon.”
Another round of layoffs has gotten underway at Facebook’s parent company Meta. Among those being let go are three executives in sports-related roles.
Meta’s Director of Global Sports Partnerships Rob Shaw, Director of Sports Partnerships Kevin Cote and Dev Sethi all confirmed in LinkedIn posts on Wednesday that their positions had been eliminated.
Shaw and Cote had been at Meta and Facebook since 2014, while Sethi joined the company in 2015.
“Those years have been full of innovation and transition within the sports industry, and it was my great pleasure to be a leading advocate for how technology can bring people closer to their passion of sports,” Shaw wrote. Before Facebook, he was the vice president of content and media at Bloomberg Sports.
“I was fortunate to be surrounded by top notch people, and while it is emotional to say goodbye, I have no doubt our paths will cross again soon,” Cote wrote. He noted that working with various athletes, teams and leagues worldwide on business and social needs, partnerships with high-profile athletes, original programming, live sports and working on athlete partnerships were some of the highlights of his career.
Sethi expressed pride in the work he did at Meta and was thankful to work in a position he could put his heart and soul into.
“I’ve been lucky to marry my passion for sports with my professions for years now, and my hope is to continue that marriage in whatever lies ahead,” he wrote.
The shedding of these jobs is part of a larger swath of cuts at the social media giant. Some 20,000 jobs at the company are being eliminated, and that dates back to November when Meta laid off its head of media partnerships and regional leaders in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
Meta at one time had rights to broadcast MLB games live on Facebook. The company has partnered with leagues like the NFL and the NBA, as well as the UFC to bring sports-related content into Web3 and the Metaverse. But the focus has shifted away from live sports rights into AI and alternate reality.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.