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Tom Rinaldi’s emotional letter ahead of ESPN departure before College Football Playoff bowl games

Tom Rinaldi, ESPN, College Football Playoff semifinal bowl games

Longtime ESPN reporter and network fixture Tom Rinaldi said his farewells on the set of “College GameDay” as he prepares to join FOX Sports, spending his last day breaking down the College Football Playoff semifinal matchups.

The New Year’s Day slate of football games is loaded, with the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats taking on the Georgia Bulldogs before the College Football Playoff semifinals. Later, Alabama and Notre Dame will face off in the Rose Bowl (this year at AT&T Stadium in Texas) and Clemson and Ohio State match up in the Sugar Bowl (in New Orleans).

However, ESPN began coverage of the day by honoring Rinaldi, who has become one of the foremost network personas after joining the worldwide leader in 2002.

“GameDay” host Rece Davis lauded Rinaldi’s professionalism and friendship as the crew said their respective goodbyes:

“You’ve been a confidant, the conscience of this show,” Davis said, via Justin Tasch of the New York Post. “You’ve welcomed me with open arms, and as I told you when you told us the news that you’re moving on to the next great opportunity, friends first. No matter what. I appreciate your friendship and everything you’ve meant to this show and meant to me personally.”

Rinaldi spoke at length about the joys of his experiences at ESPN, though he is bound for greener pastures.

Rinaldi will have an opportunity to cover some of the top events for FOX Sports, including the Super Bowl. Of course, the first two weeks of the new year is sort of the Super Bowl for college football fans with the national championship on deck after settling the semifinal Peach Bowl and Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

Rinaldi recently spoke about his decision to join FOX:

“It is a once in a lifetime to have the opportunity to contribute, in whatever ways, to the Super Bowl, to the World Cup to the World Series, those are once in a lifetime opportunities, and they are properties that only Fox has,” Rinaldi said, via Tasch. “It really is for the next.”

Although Rinaldi is on to his next adventure, the “GameDay” crew made it abundantly clear he will always be near and dear to their hearts.

 

Ed. note: This story was updated to fix an error that stated Clemson and Ohio State were playing in the Peach Bowl when it’s the Sugar Bowl.