Gus Johnson will call play-by-play action for FOX during Saturday’s Kansas State-TCU showdown in Fort Worth, and that is good news for fans watching from home.
Johnson is the most exciting, enthusiastic and entertaining voice in college football.
Give him a good game and he will make it better. K-State fans may never forget his Sweet 16 call a few years back.
I spoke with FOX college football analyst Charles Davis, who will provide commentary alongside Johnson during Kansas State-TCU game, earlier this week about what it is like to work a game with Johnson.
His answer was fascinating.
"It’s a lot of fun," Davis said. "I consider myself fortunate to sit in the booth next to him, because I know that people tune in for Gus. And because they tune in for Gus, any of us who are around him, if we are up on our game, we have the chance to be a part of something pretty special.
"Ultimately our games are judged by what Gus can do during them. If the game gives us excitement, gives us big plays, gives us special moments, then Gus’s calls will nail those and we get to go along for the ride with him. That’s a pretty neat thing for all of us."
Davis thinks Johnson compares to some of the best play-by-play announcers we’ve seen in the past few decades.
"His voice is synonymous with big games," Davis said. "I remember back when I was growing up if I heard Keith Jackson’s voice I immediately thought it was a big game. It didn’t matter if he was calling a tidily winks contest I was going to check it out. Brent Musburger became that voice in college football in recent years. Pat Summerall as a play-by-play man in the NFL with John Madden alongside him was up there, and Al Michaels, too. In our world today Gus goes into that pantheon."
I also asked Davis what he thought a broadcast would sound like if he switched places with Johnson and let Johnson provide color.
"He is a very smart announcer, and I don’t think he gets enough credit for that," Davis said. "Everybody focuses about his big play calls and his lines, ‘Oh my goodness!’ And ‘Ha ha!’ And all the other great stuff he does. If you really monitor his games he is only doing it when it is called for. He’s not doing it on third and one when the score is 43-17. He is doing it when it is called for and he is nailing it. He has an innate sense of timing that way.
"I’ve always said he could slide over and do my job because he is smart and he understands the game. But if I slide over and tried to do his job people would be changing the channel in a hurry. People tune in for Gus."