DALLAS — Gerry DiNardo laughs at the change in how people perceive him from when he was a football coach to being a football analyst.
“You spend your whole life as a coach, and people don’t think you know anything,” DiNardo said. “Then you become an analyst, and people think you know everything.”
He certainly knows something. Otherwise he wouldn’t have spent the past eight years working for the Big Ten Network, which brings him here for his insights into Monday night’s Ohio State-Oregon matchup in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
DiNardo said Ohio State is the more talented team, but Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota is Oregon’s “X factor.”
“He could make the difference,” DiNardo said. “But if Ohio State stays hungry and keeps this chip on their shoulders, they have a chance.”
DiNardo, who coached LSU from 1995-99, splits his time between Chicago (home of the Big Ten Network) and Destin, Florida, but makes frequent trips to Louisiana. After Ohio State’s Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, he said he and wife Terri went fishing out of Port Fourchon with LSU team doctor Brent Bankston and his wife.
The DiNardos also own a DeAngelo’s restaurant in Bloomington, Indiana, which began as a partnership with Baton Rouge restaurateur Louis DeAngelo.
Got you covered
They say everything is bigger in Texas. So is ESPN’s coverage of Monday’s game.
Similar to its coverage of last year’s final BCS title game, ESPN is rolling out its “CFP Megacast” initiative on a variety of platforms. Here’s a look at what you can see:
ESPN: Traditional game coverage, with Chris Fowler (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst), Tom Rinaldi and Heather Cox (sideline reporters) on the call.
ESPN2: “Film Room” will feature conversations and breakdowns from ESPN analysts and guests, including Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen.
ESPNU: Ever wanted to know what hockey analyst Barry Melrose or soccer star Julie Foudy thinks about a big football game? Here’s your chance, with “ESPN Voices.”
ESPNews: More talk on strategy and matchups from ESPN analysts in “Off the Ball.”
ESPN Classic: “Sounds of the Game” will present audio from 100 microphones throughout AT&T Stadium as well as pregame and halftime performances by the bands.
ESPN3.com: Channels featuring the Ohio State and Oregon radio networks, the view from each school’s student section, tons of graphics and social media reaction and a view of the game from the above-field “spider cam.”
ESPN Radio: “Monday Night Football” announcer Mike Tirico and Todd Blackledge will handle the call here.
ESPN Goal Line: The channel will provide a split-screen view of the game with immediate replays of every play, statistics and the ESPN Radio broadcast with “Command Center.”
ESPN Deportes: Call of the game in Spanish.
All of the features will be available on WatchESPN, ESPN International and ESPN Deportes.
Herman the hermit
Tom Herman has been pulling double duty this week as Ohio State’s offensive coordinator and the newly named head coach at Houston.
Right about now, his blood stream is probably about 25 percent coffee.
“From 6 to 7 in the morning, I try to take some notes and jot some things down” for Houston, Herman said. “For about an hour at lunch, I make a few calls and get those notes to the people that need them. Then from 9 at night to about midnight, I’m calling recruits and talking to the athletic director and my assistants.
“From about 12:30 to 5:30, I sleep, then I get up and do it again.”
The other hours, he’s preparing for Oregon.
Ohio State will be the home team and wear its traditional-looking scarlet jerseys — with a slight twist. They will feature black numbers on the shoulders, a tribute to Ohio State’s 1968 national championship team.
Oregon, known for its dozens of uniform and helmet combinations, will wear neither of its traditional colors (green and yellow): It will wear white and silver helmets, white and sliver jerseys and silver pants.
Oregon wore the home pewter gray version of this uniform combination when it played LSU at AT&T Stadium to open the 2011 season.
Baby Bair watch
Two Oregon players — wide receiver Darren Carrington and running back Ayele Forde — will miss the game because of reported suspensions for marijuana use.
Offensive tackle Stetzon Bair could miss the game because he and his wife, Bethany, are expecting their first child, a son.
Saturday was Baby Bair’s due date, so Dad knows he could get a call to go home to Oregon at any moment.
“As soon as I get the call, I’m out of here,” he said. “The doctor thinks he’s going to (be overdue), so we’re good. That’s what I’m hoping for.”
Wherever he is Monday night, Bair said, “It’s going to be awesome.”
From the Useless Trivia Dept.: The new CFP trophy is taller and heavier than any of the trophies from the four major professional sports.
The trophy, made of 24-karat gold, bronze and stainless steel, is 38.5 inches tall and weighs 65 pounds. By comparison, the NHL’s Stanley Cup is 35.25 inches tall and weighs 34.5 pounds.