06 February 2015

Rece Davis to replace Chris Fowler on College GameDay

For the first time since 1990, College GameDay will have a new host and it will be Rece Davis. James Andrew Miller broke the story yesterday (and confirmed last night by ESPN) that Davis will take over for Chris Fowler, who became ESPN's lead college football play-by-play broadcaster last year. Fowler had hosted GameDay since 1990 after taking over for Bob Carpenter (the original host was Tim Brando) and was the host when the show became a sensation when it began to originate from campuses.

This is a move that makes a ton of sense for all parties and here is why.

Fowler has been one of the important institutions on College GameDay but with his new gig on Saturday Night Football often requiring him to travel from the GameDay site to the Saturday Night Football site, it did not seem like him doing both roles was going to be a long-term solution. And indeed it wasn't as now Davis, whose contract was about to come up for renewal. And as Fowler was able to use his leverage to get a promotion to getting the top play-by-play spot, Davis, who Richard Deitsch speculated could have been targeted by CBS as a potential replacement for Verne Lundquist on their SEC package,was able to secure a promotion for himself.

Davis has shown himself, like Fowler, to be a versatile host and broadcaster for ESPN over the years and is well-deserving of getting the GameDay spot, and I think Davis will slide in very smoothly as the new host. However as Lee Croso will turn 80 in early August, there could be some changes in store sooner or later for the program.

Davis will no longer be doing the Thursday night games on ESPN which he has been doing since 2010. Deitsch reports that Joe Tessitore, who is currently doing Saturday night games as well as hosting SEC Nation on Saturday mornings on SEC Network, is the current favorite to take over the Thursday slate. Dave Flemming, Beth Mowins and Dave Pasch are also in that mix.

One of the positives of this promotion for Davis is that he gets liberated from the shenanigans he is surrounded by in the ESPN college football studio on Saturdays when he works with Mark May and Lou Holtz. Holtz is likely retiring soon so we could see some much-needed wholesale changes to that group but Deitsch speculates that Adnan Virk could be Davis's replacement.

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