FX made its college football debut with a splash Saturday night with the Tulsa-OU game, led by solid play-by-play by former CBS announcer Gus Johnson and excellent commentary by Charles Davis and sideline analyst Tim Brewster.
The crisp production, including nifty highlight packages and a unique camera view from the Sooner Schooner.
Johnson, best known for his enthusiastic NCAA basketball tournament calls, brought his fun delivery to the telecast. Give Fox credit for hiring him to headline its college football game of the week.
After walk-on running back Dominique Whaley scored his third touchdown on a 32-yard run, he gushed, “If that doesn't get him a scholarship on Monday, nothing will.”
Davis said, “He showed everything on that play — vision, strength, breaking tackles, a little bit of speed and a dash of elusiveness.”
On Ryan Broyles' 10 catches for 142 yards in the first half, Johnson said, “I felt like I was watching a video game.”
Brewster, the former Minnesota coach, brought a coach's eye to his ground-level position. That was a big improvement over the usual inane reports from sideline reporters.
Fox's studio work wasn't up to the same level. Kevin Frazier, host of “The Insider,” was solid with the highlight packages. But Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen, who has a lot to learn about the college game, wasted little time mentioning Heisman Trophy candidates. He said Alabama running back Trent Richardson would be a finalist, although he ran for only 37 yards with three touchdowns in the season opener, and Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez would be a candidate.
* New OU radio announcer Toby Rowland stuck to his plan of not trying anything special for touchdowns, sticking with “Touchdown Sooners!”
* Although I didn't have access to Fox College Sports, I got a dose of OSU's 61-34 rout of Louisiana-Lafayette through Dave Hunziker's radio reports. Hunziker wasn't a big fan of the OSU uniform combination, orange numbers on gray jerseys, calling it “challenging to read.”
* Georgia easily had the ugliest uniforms of the day, a gaudy red that didn't help them in the Bulldogs' 35-21 loss to Boise State.
* After viewing radar of tropical storm Lee bearing down on Louisiana, ABC announcer Brent Musburger noted LSU had a quarterback of the same name. Jarrett Lee, replacing suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson, turned in a solid effort to lead No. 4 LSU to a 40-27 victory over No. 3 Oregon at Cowboys Stadium.
* Auburn's 42-38 comeback victory over Utah State easily was the best early game. ESPN2 announcer Beth Mowins, working with former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, chastised some of the Auburn fans who left when the Tigers trailed 38-28 with 2 minutes left. “Can we get a stopwatch on any of the fans that left to see if they are running a 4.3 40 to get back in here?”
* Former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins, proving he is a better announcer than coach, had an entertaining ESPNU debut in calling the Louisiana Monroe-Florida State game with Pam Ward. Noting two Seminoles players held towels to shield the play calls, Hawkins remarked, “I think most coaches could work in CIA undercover ops. They're paranoid.”
* Former Florida coach Urban Meyer also made his ESPN debut, bringing some of his coaching insight to a three-man booth with Dave Pasch and Chris Spielman.
* Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban entertained as the guest picker on ESPN's “College GameDay” at Cowboys Stadium. Sitting next to the NBA championship trophy, Cuban picked Oregon to beat LSU. Lee Corso went with LSU. Kirk Herbstreit didn't make a pick because he broadcast the game for ABC, although he had picked Oregon to win the national title.