“College GameDay” has become an ESPN institution during football season and a huge event on whatever campus it sets up at on Saturdays.
James Miller, author of the ESPN oral history “Those Guys Have All The Fun,” took a deep dive into GameDay with the latest episode of his “Origins” podcast. He interviewed several of the show’s key stars, and provided an in-depth history of how the show evolved from humble beginnings to the biggest event of college football Saturdays.
One of the most revealing moments of the podcast came from Desmond Howard, the Heisman Trophy winner who has been part of the show since 2005. He was talking about the chemistry with different team members, and noted a difference between Erin Andrews, who was a reporter/contributor to the show for two seasons (2010-11), and Samantha Ponder, who replaced Andrews for five years (2012-16).
“It was my first time working with Erin, so I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t know what the expectations for her were for the show,” Howard said. “So, I just went with the flow. As long as those guys were happy with what she was doing and her contributions, I was like, ‘So be it.’ In the meetings she had some stuff going on with ‘Dancing With the Stars’ or whatever. So, she was kind of like into that Hollywood scene. I remember we’re in a meeting and she was talking about Perez Hilton and I remember looking at her and asking, ‘Who is that? Is that Paris Hilton’s sibling?’ But she was like reading something from a Hollywood website. And I would look at [Lee] Corso and he would have that old-man silence that was loud as hell. So, he would sit there, but his silence was deafening. I could tell it was working his nerves.”
Andrews was a contestant on the popular ABC reality show in 2010 before taking over hosting duties in 2014, two years after she left ESPN for Fox Sports.
“You know what I am saying? She had the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and the whole…