Word broke yesterday that Rece Davis will be replacing Chris Fowler on College GameDay. It's the best move ESPN could have made for more than one reason.
Fowler decided that after a quarter century of hosting GameDay, he wanted to transition to doing more play by play. He's certainly earned that right, and he's as great in the booth as he was on the traveling road show. This isn't a case of someone being forced out or anything uncomfortable like that.
Few people exude positive passion for college football like Davis does, and his work on the basketball edition of GameDay has been excellent. He's the perfect pick for replacing Fowler and keeping the tradition of the football GameDay going. Considering that GameDay is far and away the best sports pregame show, replacing one of the main characters is a huge deal.
Not only should Davis be a natural fit alongside Lee, Kirk, and Desmond, but it also will get him out of the purgatory of being saddled with Lou Holtz and Mark May. The obviously staged faux rivalry between those two is long past is expiration date, and Davis's talent was frankly being wasted by having to be attached to it. Hopefully ESPN will take this as an opportunity to completely rethink its studio and full day wrap-up coverage. I'd hate to see them do something like move Joe Tessitore up from SEC Nation and keep the Holtz-May mess going.
Ultimately, this is probably just the first of a couple moves for GameDay in the next few years. Lee Corso is 79—five years older than Uncle Verne and a year and a half older than Holtz, if you can believe it—and will be 80 by the time next season begins. There's only so much longer he'll be able to do the show. Davis stepping in for Fowler will keep GameDay feeling mostly the same, albeit with a slightly different flavor. Whenever it is that Corso decides to hang up his Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2, the show will have a much harder decision on personnel.