Blacksburg, VA - Sept. 30, 2017 - Alumni Hall: David Pollack on the set of College GameDay Built by the Home Depot (Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)
Between an X Ambassadors concert and ESPN's College GameDay, TCU's Campus Commons is pretty packed at the moment.
But College GameDay is taking up most of the space, with its stage and games like cornhole and skee ball spread across the lawn in preparation for Saturday's broadcast. ESPN talent is roaming the campus as well, including Rece Davis and David Pollack, who stopped to chat with media Friday about what they like about TCU and Fort Worth as a whole.
On Fort Worth...
Davis: "It's a beautiful place. I've been here many times over the years to call games and for various other reasons. My sister lived in Fort Worth for a number of years, so I've spent a lot of time here."
Pollack: "It's interesting when you go from town to town, just looking at houses and restaurants. I've been told about this Mexican place [Joe T Garcia's] like 35 times, this same restaurant ... they keep saying the same name over and over and over again. But it's always fun to see new towns and new places and new facilities. That's a real fun part of our job."
Pollack: "I've never been here before ... I brought my son and a couple of his buddies, and they've been having a blast. We got here yesterday. Went in the facility, looked in the facility — these facilities are awesome. Playing all the arcade games is awesome. The locker room stuff is cool. Everything about it so far has been a lot of fun."
Davis: "It's a spectacular campus — a rising school, I think, that has very wisely used the football success to bolster their student recruitment as well. It's something that you see successful programs across the country do both athletically and academically. Those two things do not have to be mutually exclusive. This is a good example of a place where it's not."
On the TCU fanbase...
Davis: "This is an enthusiastic fanbase. My impression of it is that they don't panic when you have a little bit of a down year by your own lofty standards, like last year. A lot of that may be a product of what [head coach Gary Patterson has] done here, and they know that he's going to be fine. I don't get the sense that every time something goes sideways at TCU, that the fans start going, 'Oh my gosh, the sky is falling. We've got to change. What are we going to do?' So I think there's a little bit of perspective and a whole lot of appreciation for what's been accomplished here."
On why ESPN chose TCU over Sundance Square...
Davis: "While Sundance Square is awesome — and it's been a great location for us, for playoff games and for opening games of the season and so forth — when the season's going on and there's a big game, there's nothing like the vibe on campus, right? That's a cool place, Sundance Square, but the vibe's here. We want to be able to capture that."
On Saturday's program...
Davis: "The one thing I think that is special about this show is this is the 300th headgear for [Lee] Corso. Nobody else has put on 299 headgears on either, but 300's a nice round number, and sports fans like nice round numbers. There will be some fun with that. There will be some moments that I think people will enjoy. Gary's going to join us on the show, and Gene Wojciechowski has done a really good piece on Kenny Hill. Those are among the many things."
On TCU's current offense...
Pollack: "I love [Darius] Anderson running the football. I just like the way he runs the football. I know he's tough. Coming into the season, nobody talked about him. But he, to me, looks like a feature back. He squares his shoulders up, runs behind his pads, he runs bigger than 200 pounds, got quickness, got elusiveness but got power, I think it really helps. Another thing too that people don't know as much is this offensive line's really good. We talk a lot about Oklahoma coming into the season? TCU's got a got a great offensive line too, so I think when you have defenses that are going to give up a lot of points, but now you have an offensive line that's physical enough that you can just lean on the run game, and use Kenny Hill as a game manager-type guy, let him run some speed options, I think that can be a winning formula. I don't think Kenny Hill's the type of quarterback you want dropping back 40 times a game."
On what TCU needs to do to be a playoff contender...
Davis: "Win games. I don't mean to be flippant, but that's the formula for everybody. I think maybe that TCU might be in a better position if they were to become Big 12 champions than maybe some Big 12 champions in previous years, and they have Oklahoma to thank for that. With Oklahoma having beaten Ohio State, and given the Big 12 a real signature win and really establish themselves, the Sooners I mean, as a leading contender for the College Football Playoff, they've put the Big 12 in a really good position. Now if TCU beats Oklahoma — which if memory serves, that game's in Norman — so if you win that game there, then you really enhance your resume."
On the Gary Patterson statue...
Davis: "I don't know if you noticed or not, but Gary's a little bit of a creature of habit ... there's a statue of Gary on campus, isn't there? There should be a robot instead. The robot should do this." [Davis bends down to tie his shoes and pull up his pants over and over.] "And if the robot's not working well, it should change its shirt."
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