I Miss Keith Jackson

Going through the archives of The Rivalry on this Sunday morning, I found a little piece on Michigan-Ohio State 1974, the game where the Michigan kicker missed the winning field goal. but might have made it, but instant replay was unavailable and what the hell it was 35 years ago.

I mention this classic showdown because my all time favorite announcer, Keith Jackson, was paired in the booth with none other then Joe Paterno to call the game. It's a dream matchup - Paterno's respect for the game and its players oozes from his wonderful East Coast-tinged voice while Jackson does the play by play with his straightforward country charm. I grew up, just like every other 25 year old college football fan, listening to Keith Jackson narrate the best CFB games from say 1990 until 2003. He never really hit the Madden Wall (you know, where the voice is iconic but the analysis is garbled/unintelligible). If you happened to be by a TV in early September of any given year, Jackson's voice would be heard and you would know that fooball was being played at a campus near and dear to your heart. Bill Simmons threw out a wonderful hypothetical sometime ago - Wouldn't it be great if Keith Jackson narrated your life? Imagine the possibilities: "Graham has put on a magical showing during this romantic date and he's moving in for the kiss, Woah Nellie, it looks like she's turned away. Not this time ol boy,"

People have mentioned the "100 days until CFB" date has been passed. I'm glad this is threshold has been noticed - it gives me hope that after this damn Bar Exam, I will be able to grab a beer and hear someone announce that the 2009 college football season is under way. And the thing is, I don't really care who is in the booth during the first game I watch. Kermit the Frog, Mike Tyson, Dick Cheney, Stewie from Family Guy...If football is being played, that's enough for me. But this old video, combined with every other classic game that Jackson was a part of, makes me think of that distinctive voice resonating through my TV as Summer winds down and thoughts turn to campuses and pigskin...

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