SEATTLE — Chris Fowler opened the door and poked his head into conference room 142 in Gerberding Hall.
A swath of ESPN staffers looked up at him when he asked the question: “Can we announce the guest pickers yet?”
No. No they can not.
Fowler, one of the co-hosts of ESPN’s popular college football pregame show, College GameDay, was made available to reporters on Friday afternoon before GameDay airs live from the University of Washington campus for the first time at 6 a.m. Saturday.
And for now, the identity of the show’s “guest pickers” remains a secret. Typically, ESPN invites a person with ties to the school hosting the broadcast on the show to make their prediction for that day’s game.
Fowler did give a hint as to who it might be.
“It’s going to be one legendary male and one legendary female athlete with UW roots,” Fowler said. “Usually, Twitter is where it leaks out first.”
EUGENE A FAVORITE
Fowler was asked to name his favorite GameDay location throughout the years.
His answer might not sit well with UW fans.
“It would bother people to say that Oregon is one of our favorite places, but it is,” Fowler said. “They’ve been the measuring stick for all West Coast GameDays. … They love the Ducks and they’ve turned out in big numbers and we’ve had great times in Eugene.”
Desmond Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winner and one of Fowler’s co-hosts, agreed.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a show that we’ve done in Eugene, but it’s phenomenal,” Howard said. “It is absolutely phenomenal. I don’t know if they just go straight from the bars to the set. Whatever they do, it works.”
Kirk Herbstreit says he goes into “auto-pilot” on Saturdays during football season because his day doesn’t end when GameDay goes off the air.
In fact, that’s usually when it’s just getting started.
In addition to co-hosting GameDay, Herbstreit is a color analyst for ESPN/ABC. So he often leaves the set of GameDay at 9 a.m. (PDT), then hops on an airplane that takes him to the site of one of ESPN’s prime-time games later that night.
Saturday, for example, he’ll leave Seattle, get on a plane and fly to Oxford, Miss., where he’ll help call Ole Miss’ game against Texas A&M at 5:30 p.m. (PDT).
“They literally could tell me to fly anywhere,” Herbstreit said. “You don’t even realize where you’re going.”email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @ChristianCaple