Jay Bilas Survival Pool

I'm worried about Jay Bilas's job.

For those who aren't college basketball junkies, Jay Bilas is a former Duke player who is currently the best college basketball analyst in the business. He's smart, well-spoken, funny (listen to him banter with Bill Raftery and Sean McDonough when the three of them work games together), and extremely knowledgable about the game. Whenever he does a game, he clearly does his homework, and learns more than the token one or two facts about each team that most announcers do. When he does studio analysis, he always has his facts in line, and while he sometimes takes strong positions, he's never obnoxious about it.

You might think that this would guarantee him a career as a college basketball analyst. The problem is, Bilas works for ESPN, and the Worldwide Leader in Sports doesn't have what I'd call a good track record when it comes to quality analysts...

I mean, look at the history of their football show. A few years back, they had put together what was absolutely the best NFL pre-game show in the business, with a line-up of Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Sterling Sharpe, Steve Young, and Chris Mortenson. Those guys did a fantastic job of breaking down the games for the week, with enough banter to keep things light, but not so much that they slid into shtick.

Now look at what they're putting on air this year: Berman and Jackson are still there, but now they're matched with Michael Irvin, Mike Ditka, and Ron Jaworski. With the exception of Berman and Jackson, they've gotten louder and dumber at every position.

Or look at their NBA coverage. They used to have David Aldridge, who was the best pro basketball analyst going: cool, calm, always in command of the facts. They dumped him, and replaced him with Stephen A. Smith, who is quite frankly the most annoying jackass on ESPN, which is really saying something considering that they employ both Michael Irvin and Woody Paige. Again, the trend is always toward louder and dumber.

I look at Jay Bilas, and I can't help thinking his days are numbered. He's articulate, well-informed, and the picture of class: he's David Aldridge to Doug Gottlieb's Stephen A. Smith. It's only a matter of time.

So, how much time does he have left? Leave a guess in the comments, or try to convince me that I'm wrong.

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Jaworski seems to me to be a very knowledgeable football analyst.

By PhysioProf (not verified) on 27 Nov 2006 #permalink


I like Jaworski OK. I tolerate Woody and Skip when I'm home sick on Cold Pizza. Irvin is OK, but overall you are right, its louder, and not better. I hate it when Clayton and Salisbury "argue" and diss one another in a planned segment. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Works on PTI cause Wilbon and Kornheiser have been doing this to one another for 20-30 years!

The problem with Jaworski isn't so much the content as the delivery. What he says may not be idiotic, but he's so smug about the way he says it that he still comes off as a jackass.

Irvin and Ditka are completely worthless, as far as I'm concerned. You can predict Irvin's position on any issue by asking "what position would somebody with class take?," and you can be sure he'll do the opposite. Ditka is just completely insane, as far as I can tell, and just says random things in an effort to be controversial.

I used to block out time on Sunday mornings to watch their pre-game show, but not any more. These days, I use that time to either blog or get some work done, and only tune in for the games.

Ever see that video on youtube of the guys heckling Stephen A. Smith? "Everything I say is impo'tant!"

I have to believe that if Jay somehow gets replaced at ESPN that he'll land somewhere. Doesn't he also do some work for either CBS or ABC already, or is that my imagination?

I guess I don't want to take up the challenge of convincing you you're wrong about ESPN + Bilas, because I think you have a good chance of being right on this one, just don't worry too much about it, Bilas will land on his feet.

By Tom Renbarger (not verified) on 27 Nov 2006 #permalink

With the exception of Berman and Jackson, they've gotten louder and dumber at every position.

Berman gets louder and dumber with every passing momment. I ain't wanna be with leather no more.

Ha ha Jay Bilas... the best college basketball analyst in the business????? I still remember him standing up on the podium and jumping up and down demanding a revote for the 65 team selection into the NCAA Finals because Texas A&M got picked as one of the teams (blasted #5 seed Syracuse and was within one shot of beating Final 4 team LSU, oh yeah.. A&M is currently # 8 in the nation and #1 in the Big 12. I think he was really upset that Eastern Mizzou or some other team from a Missouri conference was left out. Yeah, Jay...wouldn't have been such a big deal if your hold face didn't turn red and a visually obvious blood vessel that was about to pop in your neck while demanding the entire selection committee get fired for incompetence.