What’s covered in today’s weekly media column (linked here): Five good questions with Lee Corso, the ESPN “GameDay” studio analyst who’ll be on site in front of the Coliseum on Saturday morning, trying to decide if he’ll pick USC or Stanford to win that night’s game, along with Dan Patrick’s “Occupy GameDay” plans, and more rumblings from DirecTV about dropping Fox channels starting on Tuesday.
The print edition includes this graphic:
ESPN’s Lee Corso is 8 for 8 on regular-season “GameDay” picks when on the set in L.A. prior to a USC or UCLA game (not counting Jan. 1 Rose Bowl visits to Pasadena):
Oct. 30, 2010: Oregon at USC (Corso picked Oregon, Ducks win, 53-32)
Sept. 13, 2008: Ohio State at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 35-3)
Nov. 25, 2006: Notre Dame at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 44-24)
Sept. 16, 2006: Nebraska at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 28-10)
Dec. 3, 2005: UCLA at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 66-19)
Nov. 27, 2004: Notre Dame at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 41-10)
Oct. 9, 2004: Cal at USC (Corso picked USC, Trojans win, 23-17)
Oct. 17, 1998: Oregon at UCLA (Corso picked UCLA, Bruins win, 41-38)
Note: In 200 previous “GameDay” predictions, Corso is 137-63 (69 percent), and 6-2 this season (75 percent), coming off an incorrect pick of Wisconsin to beat Michigan State last Saturday.
What’s not covered in the column: A couple more questions with Corso, the show’s only original remaining member (since 1987) and celebrating his 25th season:
Q: Just once on an L.A. trip, why couldn’t ESPN bring Mel Brooks (left) onto the set of “GameDay” just to mess with the viewers that early in the morning?
A: I don’t know, that’s all up to ESPN. I know last time in was in L.A. (last season) we brought Will Ferrell on and I picked Oregon to win and we had a fight on the set. That was a lot of fun.
What Corso failed to mention: Corso was wearing a giant “Corso” head before he took it off to put on the Ducks’ gear. See that video above.
Q: What’s your most vivid memory of coming into the Coliseum as a coach (he coached for 28 years, including 17 as the head coach at Louisville, Indiana and Northern Illinois)?
A: Joey Browner. I’ll never forget him. There’s a 6-foot-9 defensive back returning punts for touchdowns against us (Sept, 13, 1982, in a 28-7 USC win over Corso’s Indiana team, earning Browner the Sports Illustrated college player of the week mention). I thought the Trojan horse would collapse from running all over the place that day. The year before, I arranged for USC to come to come to Bloomington (Indiana) because I promised the athletic director that I’d deliver a Rose Bowl team to Indiana that season. I didn’t tell him it would be USC coming to play us. And that score was 0-0 going into the fourth quarter, and Marcus Allen scores three touchdowns against us, and we lose 21-0.
Here’s more from another Q-and-A done with Corso last week for the ESPN “Front Row” blog by Rachel Margolis (linked here) prior to his 200th pick:
FR: What has it meant to you to be a part of College GameDay for all 25 years?
LC: It has meant so much to me — such a big part of my life after coaching. I love that GameDay has grown so much in the last 25 years, and the fact that it is now an event- not just a show. I love seeing how the cities, colleges and students rally behind College GameDay, and to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the students is great.
FR: Does it surprise you how popular College GameDay has become and what do you think the reason is?
LC: No, not in the least. The secret behind our show is that it is done in front of a live audience — that is the one thing we do compared to the other studio shows at ESPN. It is unbelievable to be on that stage with the crowd behind us.
FR: What has changed the most since you started going on the road?
LC: So much has changed — a longer show, new faces, but the biggest thing is the popularity. The fact that the show has grown so big, and that the fans are so enthusiastic is electrifying. They get up so early in the morning and they flock to the set, or spend the night to get a great spot in the crowd. That is what keeps going and inspires me the most.
FR: How did you start using the mascot heads to make your final selection of the show?
LC: I believe it was the Ohio State-Penn State game, a top five matchup, in 1996. Brutus the Buckeye walked by Kirk and I the day before the show. I said to Kirk (Herbsteit) if you get me that mascot head, I will put it on tomorrow. I won’t have to say anything and they will know who I pick. So that is how it began. The crowd, the truck and ESPN went crazy and I said I think I have something here!