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One-Time ‘Bachelor’ Joins ESPN’s College Football Crew

One week before the 2008-09 college football regular season kicks off, ESPN announced that Jesse Palmer, a former New York Giant quarterback and one-time star of ABC’s The Bachelor, will serve as an analyst during the network’s primetime telecasts on Thursday nights.

Palmer (left) will join returning play-by-play man Chris Fowler, analyst Craig James and sideline reporter Erin Andrews beginning with the North Carolina State vs. South Carolina game on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. ET.

Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Lisa Salters will return for their third season on Saturday Night Football Presented By Southwest Airlines series, broadcast television’s only weekly primetime game airing each week at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

ESPN officials said Fowler will continue to host its popular College GameDay show each week with James returning to work in the studio with host John Saunders and analyst Doug Flutie on Saturday pre-game, halftime and post-game reports on ABC, including the half-hour College Football Countdown show at 3 p.m. ET.

Palmer will also serve as a studio analyst on College Football Live, ESPN’s daily college football show at 3:30 p.m. ET and Saturdays, primarily on ESPN2 with host Wendi Nix.

Former Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione will join ESPN Radio as an analyst on the weekly schedule of games. Dave Barnett will handle the play-by-play call with reporter Joe Schad.

Brand Nessler and analysts Bob Griese and Paul Maguire will call top Saturday broadcasts on ABC with reporter Stacey Dales, who worked the sidelines on ESPN2’s Saturday primetime games last season.

Mike Patrick, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe will work Saturday primetime games for the third consecutive year. Ron Franklin, Ed Cunningham and Jack Arute return to work Saturday afternoon games on ABC and select ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts.

Analyst Rod Gilmore, who worked ESPN Radio’s regular-season games last year, will join Joe Tessitore on Saturday and Friday and ESPN and ESPN2 telecasts.

Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Larry Coker returns for his second year as an analyst on ESPNU Saturday afternoon games.

Rece Davis, Lou Holtz and Mark May, ESPN’s Saturday pre-game, halftime, post-game and College Football Final studio crew will also work some select ESPN and ESPN2 weekday games.

Former University of Washington and NFL quarterback Brock Huard will join ESPN as analyst on select games with commentator Bob Wischusen.

Analyst David Diaz-Infante, who worked primarily on ESPN regional games last year, will call ESPNU’s Saturday primetime games with commentator Clay Matvick. And former Tulane and NFL quarterback Shaun King, who has served as an NFL analyst for ESPN on First Take, NFL Live and ESPNEWS, will work as a college football analyst on select ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Classic games, network officials said.