News came down from the Tiffany Network today that CBS College Basketball analyst Billy Packer will not be back with CBS next year and for the first time in 35 years he will not be calling the Final Four on television. I say good riddance. It wasn't that he was abrasive on the air. There are lots of people who have been that through the years on TV and radio. Howard Cosell was one of those types. It was that not only was he abrasvive but he was not informed on the game anymore.
Packer was stuck in the old way of thinking that if you weren't part of his beloved ACC or a power school then you had no place at the college basketball table. What he never realized was that was exactly who was paying his bills for the past 15+ years. The reason the NCAA Tournament has been so successful for CBS and for him was because of the Cinderella factor and Cinderella almost always came from those non "power" schools.
Billy showed his true colors in two seperate occasions in the past few years. First was on Selection Sunday a couple years ago when the Missouri Valley Conference and Colonial Conference received three bids apiece and Packer was outraged about it. Criticizing the Valley and the selection committee mercilessly that they had the audacity to put that many teams in "his" tournament. It wasn't, of course, that he had any basis for his criticism. Packer even admitted he hadn't seen even of these teams play. How is it possible that one of the main voices of NCAA Basketball hasn't seen any of these teams play. As it turned out it he had to apologize on the air at the Final Four when George Mason made it.
My second moment that always stuck in my head was when St. Joseph's was on their magical run with Delonte West and Jameer Nelson. They had only one loss and were one of the top teams in the country. They lose one game in the A-10 quarters and Billy Packer declares that they don't deserve a #1 seed and there were all sorts of teams that could beat St. Joes. Again he had to eat crow as St. Joe's made it all the way to the Regional Finals.
You don't have to be a cheerleader to be a great analyst. I don't care for the Dick Vitale's of the world either who are way over the top the other way. But at least Dick is informed about what is going on in the college basketball world even though he still is way too enamoured with the ACC and the General. Clark Kellogg is as clued into college basketball as anyone in the country. He is smooth on the air and will be a tremendous improvement over Billy Packer whose act was not only tired and stale but uninformed.
As far as I am concerned the broadcasting world is a little brighter tonight because Billy Packer is not in it.