OU football: ESPN crew has fun with Big 12

By Mel Bracht Modified: November 23, 2008 at 8:32 am •  Published: November 23, 2008
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photo - EOU / TEXAS TECH / COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME / PREPARE / PREPARATION: SPN College Game Day anchors Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit talk on the set at John Jacobson Track Field at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma,  on Friday November 21, 2008.      By Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman   ORG XMIT: KOD
EOU / TEXAS TECH / COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME / PREPARE / PREPARATION: SPN College Game Day anchors Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit talk on the set at John Jacobson Track Field at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, on Friday November 21, 2008. By Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

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The fans

Hours before the show, fans line up behind the stage, carrying homemade signs. Many of the signs promoted the merits of OU’s defense against Texas Tech’s high-powered offense.

"I foresee TECHnical difficulties.”

"OU defense will smash the Graham cracker; Sam (Bradford) is the real Heisman.”

At other campus stops for the GameDay crew, fans have thrown objects, including beer cans, golf balls, radishes and snowballs. Fortunately, a net covers the stage.

As fans watch the show on a jumbotron screen, they occasionally boo the commentary, such as when Fowler donned a Texas cap and extolled the merits of the Longhorns reaching the BCS final game.

"We actually love it when they boo,” Fowler said. "It shows they’re listening, they’re engaged.”

The bus driver

Bobby Stephens, 62, averages about 30,000 miles a fall, driving the bright orange Home Depot "College GameDay” bus to various campuses. Next week, if the show previews the Bedlam game, he’ll just have an 80-mile trip to Stillwater for its first appearance there since the 2004 Bedlam game.

A retired commercial airline pilot, Stephens says he enjoys meeting fans. He unexpectedly met a New Mexico policeman, who pulled him over to see if Herbstreit was on board so he could get his autograph.

The crew rarely travels on the bus, except for short trips to airports. The bus serves as a lounge after the show and allows the broadcasters to watch afternoon football games on its multiple screens.