If you follow college football, you know that Friday was a big day for the Big Ten. The conference added Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12 after previously expanding with the inclusion of USC and UCLA. When the universities officially join on Aug. 2, 2014, it will become the largest athletic conference in the nation with 18 teams.
There's also a new addition calling Big Ten games this season: New York Islanders play-by-play man Brendan Burke. Earlier in the week, NBC Sports announced its full lineup of college football broadcasters for the 2023 season, and it includes the 39-year-old announcer.
Burke has had a relationship with NBC Sports since 2017. Earlier this summer, he became the lead play-by-play broadcaster for Peacock's MLB Sunday Leadoff Package of exclusive morning games. This new assignment will presumably add some Saturdays to his busy schedule.
Friday was the seven-year anniversary of Burke being named the new Islanders TV announcer, replacing Howie Rose (it was also his wedding anniversary, congrats!). Whenever Burke adds to his résumé, Islanders fans get nervous that it means they will lose him to an opportunity that has more national appeal than calling hockey games for MSG Networks. Not to worry, when asked on social media if he'll be back this season, Burke responded, "Counting down the days."
Last summer, there were rumors that he was the front-runner to be John Sterling's eventual replacement to call New York Yankees games on the radio. That didn't materialize, but Sunday mornings MLB package did. “It’s kind of a perfect fit for somebody who is trying to do baseball but still have somewhat of an offseason to recharge from what I have just gone through with hockey," Burke told Newsday back in May.
With baseball season ending just as the hockey regular starts, the MLB package of games didn't interfere with the Islanders' regular season schedule. Fans have grown accustomed to Burke's NHL on TNT schedule taking him away from the Islanders, but we'll have to wait and see whether his slate of Big Ten football impacts his ability to call games. The Islanders play seven Saturday games during the season's first two months and ten before the calendar turns to 2024.
If Burke is on a college campus and not inside a hockey rink on some Saturdays, Bridgeport announcer Alan Fuehring has shown he is more than capable of stepping in as he awaits his own breakthrough opportunity in the NHL.