ABC’s No. 1 college football broadcast team changes gears Saturday night, shifting from the overly enthusiastic Brent Musburger to the low-key Chris Fowler.
With Musburger taking a new assignment with the SEC Network, Fowler will make his debut as the Saturday night play-by-play announcer on the Oklahoma State-Florida State game, working with analyst Kirk Herbstreit and reporter Heather Cox. He’s excited about the opportunity, which will include calling a semifinal game and championship game of the new College Football Playoff.
“I feel great about the challenge,” Fowler said recently in a conference call. “Saturday should be busy. ... There’s nothing you would rather be doing when you love the sport, getting people ready for games in the morning and then calling a game at night.”
Fowler, 52, will continue to host ESPN’s “College GameDay,” working with Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, David Pollack and several other contributors. They will be in Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas, for Saturday morning’s show to preview the OSU-Florida State game.
In the booth, don’t expect Fowler to cultivate trademark phrases such as Keith Jackson’s “Whoa, Nellie!”
“I don’t put a lot of thought into trying to cultivate a style,” Fowler said. “I try not to sound annoucery. I don’t try to make it about me or my catch phrases. I just short of try to document the action. Stay out of the way when you’ve got good drama. Entertain people when the drama on the field is flagging a little bit.”
His familiarity of working with Herbstreit — the pair have worked 19 years together on “College GameDay” — should make for friendly conversation.
“I think it will sound like two guys who are very passionate and enthused about it,” Fowler said.
Fowler said he is used to working long days from his job as ESPN’s primary tennis voice.
“Tennis makes you do five- or six-hour matches sometimes,” he said. “You call matches in the afternoon, you call another long one at night. I feel like I will be able to do that with no problem. Time management during the week is a challenge, but I’ll sort that out.”