Tuesday, September 21
"1st and ten" for viewers
 
 Beginning this week and throughout the season, ESPN will provide college football viewers a clear view of the line offenses must reach for a first down through the use of "1st and Ten" on Thursday and Saturday primetime telecasts. The pioneer technology will make its debut on ESPN's college football coverage Thursday, Sept. 2, from East Lansing, Mich., site of Oregon vs. Michigan State at 8 p.m. ET.

A technical advancement developed by SporTVision Systems in conjunction with ESPN, "1st and Ten" debuted on the network's NFL coverage last year. It displays a computer-generated yellow line that appears to be painted across the football field at the first down marker. Generally, it is utilized through ESPN's three main cameras with the line remaining in the same place no matter how the cameras move, pan, tilt or zoom. Viewers clearly see the location of the first down line, most importantly when a receiver hooks back to catch a pass, a quarterback scrambles downfield to keep a drive alive, or when a running back struggles for that extra yard.

"'1st and Ten' enhances our college football coverage," said Jed Drake, ESPN's vice president, remote production. "It presents the college fan an unobtrusive visual aid that tremendously improves appreciation of on-the-field action."

ESPN's Thursday Primetime telecast features Mike Tirico as play-by-play commentator with analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, and sideline reporter Dr. Jerry Punch. Saturday Primetime features Ron Franklin (play-by-play) with Mike Gottfried (analyst) and Adrian Karsten (sideline reporter).

How it works ... sounds simple, it's NOT!
While creating a line on the field may sound easy, the technology behind "1st and Ten" is extremely sophisticated. The location of the first down yard line is entered into the system's computer, which also gathers data on the cameras' pan, tilt, zoom and focus functions. Using this information, the system "knows" where in each frame of video the line should appear. The computer then analyzes the line 30 times per second and determines whether the images in the frame of video are field, a player, the ball, a referee or something else.