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FX, Gus Johnson shine in first college football telecast

by Mel Bracht Published: September 3, 2011

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.

FLIPPING CHANNELS

* 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.”

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by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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