Block U caught up with ESPN College GameDay host Rece Davis and analyst Desmond Howard yesterday to talk about GameDay’s second trip in two seasons to Salt Lake CIty, the matchup between Utah and Washington and much more.
Davis joined the College GameDay crew last season, replacing former host Chris Fowler. Davis called Salt Lake “a beautiful setting” and said “the crowd was off the hook.” These reasons played a factor, but the biggest reason was “Utah is good again.” He talked about the difficulty of getting signature road wins this season. Davis was complimentary of the crowds at Rice-Eccles Stadium, “it gets loud in there.” “I think there is a great deal of respect [nationally] for the program as a whole,” Davis said, but he added that this year’s team is a little “wait and see” due to only having one win over a team with a winning record. He thinks that Utah could get a lot more attention nationally with a win over Washington. Davis touched on the depth of the Pac-12 not seen in the conferences Utah used to play in. The lack of early respect for Utah could be due to schedule and the lack of high profile nonconference games, according to Davis, he did say though “it is better to have attention at the end when the give out trophies.”
Howard joined GameDay in 2005 as an analyst after winning a Heisman Trophy at Michigan in 1991 and winning Super Bowl XXXI MVP with the Green Bay Packers. “It’s good to be back. It means you guys are doing something right with that football program,” said Howard. On the matchup, Howard said, “You never know with a game like this. I think it will come down to turnovers and stops on third down.” He praised Washington quarterback Jake Browning and the Washington defense and also spoke highly of Utah quarterback Troy Williams and running back Joe Williams. “I like this matchup. It is a slugfest.” Howard said Troy Williams cannot let the emotion get the best of him and cause him to play outside the offense. He does not think it will be a factor long into the game. “It is always great to go somewhere you do not go to routinely,” said Howard on coming to Salt Lake City. Howard takes winning the Heisman Trophy very seriously and being part of the Heisman fraternity. He said “you have to be special to be on my ballot.” “You shouldn’t have to find candidates; their performances should find you.” He does not have Browning on his ballot right now. Howard’s key for Utah to win is stopping the explosive plays from players like wide receivers John Ross III and Dante Pettis.
Be sure to listen to the full interviews with Davis and Howard and catch College GameDay live from Salt Lake City at 7:00 a.m. MDT.