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Jason Benetti calling three bowl games for ESPN — within 9 days

The White Sox’ TV voice will call the Hawaii and Alamo bowls on TV and the Fiesta Bowl on radio. In between, he’ll squeeze in a Bulls game.

Jason Benetti, with White Sox analyst Steve Stone, is thrilled to be traveling again. “This is what I’ve been longing for,” he said.
Ron Vesely/White Sox

Jason Benetti is making up for lost time. More specifically, lost travel.

In a span of nine days, Benetti will call three college football bowl games, two for ESPN TV and one for ESPN Radio. Amid all that, he’ll call a Bulls game to boot.

“When I was talking publicly about not traveling last year, my soul needs to go places,” said Benetti, the White Sox’ TV voice who was confined to Chicago for most of the baseball season because of the pandemic. “I missed it, and I missed being around the people. This is what I’ve been longing for.”

Benetti will call the Hawaii Bowl (Memphis-Hawaii) on Dec. 24 and the Alamo Bowl (Oregon-Oklahoma) on Dec. 29 on TV. He’ll call the Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma State-Notre Dame) on Jan. 1 on radio. He’ll be joined by analyst Andre Ware and sideline reporter Paul Carcaterra on all three broadcasts.

That’s trips to Honolulu, San Antonio and the Phoenix area — but there’s one more. After calling the Hawaii Bowl, which kicks off at 3 p.m. local time, Benetti will fly to Chicago. He’s scheduled to arrive around 1 p.m. Christmas Day, then spend the holiday with his parents. The next night, he’ll call Pacers-Bulls at the United Center, then head back on the road.

ESPN asks its broadcasters about their willingness to work on holidays. Benetti called the Hawaii Bowl, which mostly has been played on Christmas Eve, two years ago and enjoyed it. So he had no problem going back. ESPN assigned him to the other bowls. Again, fine by him.

“It’s awesome,” Benetti said. “It’s everything I’ve missed since the pandemic hit.”

Remote patrol

  • Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will call Bears-Packers on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” but sideline reporter Michele Tafoya is off. Kathryn Tappen will fill in. Also, NBC News political correspondent Steve Kornacki returns to “Football Night in America” to analyze NFL playoff probabilities.
  • Play-by-play voice Mike Monaco has filled in on Sox and Bulls games this year. Now he’ll fill in for Blackhawks TV voice Pat Foley. Monaco will call games Dec. 15 and 21 and Jan. 1.