Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NBC Analyst Haden Likes Hokies-Cardinals Matchup

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NBC Analyst Haden Likes Hokies-Cardinals Matchup

Article excerpt


NBC analyst Pat Haden arrives in town today in preparation for his 11th Gator Bowl, including the last six on NBC. Haden welcomes the relief of getting away from his home in Pasadena, Calif., where the build-up for this year's Rose Bowl for the national championship grows on a daily basis.

"There is more hype and attention about this Rose Bowl Game than any I can recall in the past 30 years," said the former Southern Cal quarterback, the Most Valuable Player in the 1975 Rose Bowl. The stadium is located a mile and a half from his home.

"It should be a great game. Vince Young is capable of winning any game by himself. But USC has never been better. I think USC will win the game, but it will be closer than the point spread says."

Haden sees a similar battle brewing in Alltel Stadium on Jan. 2. He likes the athleticism of Virginia Tech, but touts Louisville's offense as ". . . one that is capable of scoring 30 points in a game against anyone in the country."

He's also looking forward to seeing Virginia Tech quarterback Marcus Vick play for the first time in person.

"Marcus is a home-run hitter," Haden said. "When he's played well, he's gotten off to a good start, so watch in particular how he does early in the game. In his first year as a starter, he's probably a better drop-back thrower than his brother was at this stage."

While Virginia Tech is the team that has been in the national spotlight for the past 8-10 years, Haden says Louisville might be on the cusp of ascending to that level.

"I see this Louisville program heading to that same top national scene," Haden added, "especially if Bobby Petrino stays there. They could be at that level in three or four years. If I was a young coach in the business, I would be spending time with the Louisville staff."

Haden will be joined in the booth by play-by-play announcer Tom Hammond, who will call his seventh Gator Bowl, and sideline announcer Lewis Johnson.


There's speculation that ABC play-by-play legend Keith Jackson will wrap up more than 30 years of college football announcing with Wednesday's Rose Bowl between Southern California and Texas for the national championship. …

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