Although he hasn't been happy with his ESPN assignments in recent years, veteran sportscaster Ron Franklin says he isn't ready to cut his ties with network. He recently agreed to a two-year contract with much fewer assignments — 35 a year compared to up 60 in past years.
"When the money came forward, I realized I couldn't do better initially with my freelance work than what they were going to pay me," Franklin said. "So I thought, 'No sense in cutting off your nose to spite your face' so I said, 'Let's give it a try for two years.'"
Franklin, 68, an Austin, Texas, resident, said he is excited that most of the assignments will be in Big 12 country. He's hoping that he and broadcast partner Ed Cunningham will be assigned to the Florida State-OU game at 2:30 p. m. Sept. 11 as new Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher makes his road debut.
"Against a formidable opponent as OU, that's a real test for the Seminoles," Franklin said.
Since Franklin will call 17 football games this season, his basketball assignments will be trimmed the most. In past season, he had done up to three basketball games a week and the travel had taken a toll on him.
"I hate to cut back on anything, particularly basketball, but I think that's the smart thing to do," he said.
After calling "Big Monday" games from 1992 to 2008, he and analyst Fran Fraschilla were replaced by Brent Musburger and Bob Knight this past season. Franklin still called Big 12 games on Wednesday and Saturday nights.
Franklin said he is glad the Big 12 was able to stay together following the defections of Nebraska and Colorado.
"I don't care what anybody says, they can do it with 10 teams," he said. "I think people are going to be surprised at what's going to happen."
In football, he is expecting Texas Tech "to step up" under new coach Tommy Tuberville.
"They can play offense, but now I think they are going to start playing a brand of defense that they haven't played. And A&M is not going to be down forever, and then you consider an Oklahoma State or a Missouri. I may be dreaming, but gosh, I think this conference could wind up in a very short period of time with five teams in the top 25.
"And quite frankly, basketball came out the winner in this thing. They can play a double round-robin. I think that's terrific."