Every Saturday morning in fall, I wake up and turn on ESPN at 10 a.m.
It’s a ritual.
Getting Saturday started with ESPN’s “College GameDay” was something I’ve done since I was a kid.
Nothing is better than waking up with Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and one man that quarterbacked the “GameDay” crew.
For 24 years Chris Fowler was the man on the right side of the “GameDay” desk — left side of the TV screen — welcoming you to another day of great games on “your college football Saturday.”
On Sept. 5 Fowler was replaced by Rece Davis and will return for his second year on “ABC Saturday Night Football” in the booth with Herbstreit.
Fowler’s backdrop each weekend was a college campus with a sea of signs waving behind him as he did what he did best – making viewers feel like they were part of the show.
When he took over as host in 1990 it was a simpler show. Only Fowler and “coach” Corso sat on a quiet set in Bristol, Conn.
But as college football grew, so did the show — but one could argue that as the show grew, so did college football.
The show underwent a major change in 1993, as “GameDay” went live with the first “on the road” show taking place in South Bend, Ind., when No. 2 Notre Dame hosted No. 1 Florida State.
Fowler was the ring-leader of the circus that was “GameDay.”
He was there in 1996 when Corso put on a facsimile of Brutus Buckeye’s mascot head for the first ever head-gear pick.
He and I were there in 2005 as Penn State fans stood in rain-soaked State College when the No. 18 Nittany Lions upset No. 6 Ohio State on a wet October night.
And then there was 2008, when Corso fired off a round from a musket at the Red River Rivalry game that sent Fowler and Herbstreit ducking for cover, laughing along the way.
There was chemistry with those three that just worked.
They were all friends and Fowler made you feel like one too.
He was the man who had to apologize after commercial breaks for crazy actions or an occasional swear word that popped out of Corso’s mouth.
But there is no need to apologize for 24 years of dedication and hard work that made each and every Saturday morning special and memorable.
Saturday mornings won’t quite be the same.