This week’s “View from the Press Box” podcast features long-time ESPN broadcaster Chris Fowler, who will call Saturday’s Michigan-Penn State game with Kirk Herbstreit, and Pat Forde, national college columnist for Yahoo Sports.
In the conversation with Fowler, he discusses being a play-by-play broadcaster and the challenges of that role, and he touches on tennis late in the interview as an anchor of the network’s coverage of the four Grand Slams. Mostly, he breaks down the Michigan-Penn State game and the first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings.
Fowler said Michigan’s 42-13 loss at Penn State last year has clearly been on the minds of the Wolverines.
“It does haunt them a little bit,” Fowler said. “I think they’ll be keyed up and ready to go and will have great intensity from the beginning, which is not something that has been a given with that team. They came out a little sleepy at Northwestern and put themselves in a hole that almost blew their entire season. I would not expect that given the energy of that building, that opponent.
“Frankly, as someone who roots for close games and doesn’t really care about the outcome, I’m just worried for Penn State that they’re not going to be able to match that intensity, and if they don’t, things can get out of hand and the Wolverines are not an easy team to come from behind against.
"I don’t care how explosive you are on offense, I wouldn’t like Penn State’s chances if they don’t come out and match Michigan’s intensity, and fall a couple touchdowns behind, which they’ve certainly done a couple times. I just want a close, competitive game, and I hope Penn State can hang, but I’m a little bit skeptical.”
Forde has his finger on the pulse of college athletics and spoke on several topics during the conversation.
Here are some highlights:
On the bizarre way Maryland handled things this week: “The whole thing was so strange and poorly managed and the leadership – my God – what were they doing? What were they thinking? They finally are getting it right.”
On Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson: “He’s been exactly what they need. He’s a guy who can make more plays than the previous guys.”
On Michigan’s chances at OSU this year: “Ohio State has issues … look beatable. To use Jim Harbaugh’s quote, “bitterly disappointed,” echoing Bo Schembechler, the fan base would be entitled to be bitterly disappointed if they don’t win this year.”
And speaking of Harbaugh’s bitterly disappointed comment, did he think J.T. Barrett was short?: “Yes I did. Yes I did. I hate to re-litigate that and I don’t care where the officials live or came from. I thought he was short and I don’t understand why they don’t have a more sure way of measuring first downs.”
On OSU coach Urban Meyer and rumors he may not return to coach next season: “I would not be surprised if he’s done after this year, at least at Ohio State and at least for now. This is a pretty significant health situation.. Urban is my favorite narcissist in college football. Everything that happens to him is so dramatic. I don’t want to downplay his health situation but when things get to this stage with him it seems like it’s time for something to have to change like it did at Florida. I would not be shocked if this is his last season at Ohio State. I’m not predicting it, but it would not surprise me.”
Switching gears to basketball, what about UM coach John Beilein: “It’s very impressive that at his age he’s doing his best work, I would say. What he’s done the last few years there has been outstanding, and he just seems very comfortable where he’s at and has the full support of the school, as he should.”
On former Fab Five member Chris Webber returning to UM as honorary captain for the football game: “He was a Michigan hero on a team that was generationally important. They were really fun to cover and really good at basketball. I think he should be welcomed back and everyone should move on and remember the good times.”
Here are the starting times of the three segments:
► :20: Yahoo Sports writer Pat Forde
► 28:00: ESPN's Chris Fowler
► 63:00: Angelique's mom
There's also a book giveaway for the second straight week.
You can win a free copy of Angelique's book, "Michigan Man: Jim Harbaugh and the rebirth of Wolverines football."
Just leave a comment or like the podcast on SoundCloud and you'll be eligible for a weekly random draw.