Good Bull Hunting: Rece, you've had the opportunity to cover the 12th Man and the Cameron Crazies. How would you compare the two atmospheres?
Rece Davis: I think its more of a intimate emotion with the Cameron Crazies. They're right on top of it and (with the 12th man) its almost like it's a cloud that's hovering over Kyle Field when they start swaying and rocking the stadium. Both are great, they're unique. I don't think you could say that one is better than the other, but they're both awesome. They're both fun.
GBH: You're beginning to build your own brand as a studio host now and announcer....
Rece: I should hope so! I'm getting old!
GBH: Well, its really starting to catch on with fans who appreciate your levity, particularly with our readers and those of other SB Nation sites like Everyday Should Be Saturday. You mix in a lot of humor and obscure references. The other day you used an NWA reference...
Rece: (laughing) You know what? I know what you're talking about. You're talking about the "Straight Outta Compton" line with the freshman receiver Rodgers who is from Compton (during the Las Vegas Bowl). I'm going to promise you something you're not gonna believe, but I'm gonna tell you anyway. I did not plan that. I got hammered on Twitter, "Oh how long you been planning that?" But on that one, I don't know why I said it. It's just....I don't even know! For some reason after he caught the pass and I called his name I just had a passing glance at my gameboard and I noticed that he was from Compton, and I just...I just said it! I try to have fun with it, with college football, because I think that people watch games to have fun. You're never going to satisfy the "hard core" fan if you're not always talking positively about his team. And that's fine, because one thing that fans don't quite get, nor should they get, is the fact that we don't look at the game strictly through the prism of their team. We try our best to look at it through a prism of objectivity with fairness and how it relates to the big picture. I think that's where sometimes fans start to lob in the "You're biased! You hate my team! Everybody hates my team!" and that kind of thing.
GBH: I think people appreciate your fairness. Even with personalities like Kirk Herbstreit, whom everyone knows went to Ohio State, he still has that level of fairness. Fans appreciate that.
Rece: You know, if Kirk (wouldn't) try to tell you that he doesn't care about Ohio State, that he's some kind of droid or cyborg, that's not human. He cares about Ohio State, but that doesn't keep him from being fair about them or being critical of them when necessary. The same goes for David Pollack or Jesse Palmer or anyone who just went to school and played. They care. You know, if they didn't care they probably wouldn't enjoy the sport. And because of that, I think college football analysts are a unique breed. They like to poke fun at each other. They like for us to have fun when we're calling the game. Now, they don't want things to become the midnight amateur hour at the Chuckle Hut, but if you can throw in some fun, its good.
For instance, I take credit, and enjoy taking credit, for dubbing Les Miles "The Hat" because I thought he wore his hat funny. And now, there's Todd Graham at Arizona State. Todd's a good friend of mine, but for some reason he just named his offensive coordinator "Deputy Head Coach." Which meant that now I'm calling him "The Sheriff." So you gotta have some fun with it, with stuff like that. And you guys at SBNation and Everyday Should Be Saturday, you guys get to go a little farther over the line than we do sometimes but its still fun.
GBH: Speaking of that, of the blogs and Twitter and how fans can now give you feedback, how do you think that has changed college sports or broadcasting college sports?
Rece: I think you know what a lot of the fans are thinking a lot sooner. Now you don't have to wait for it to arrive in an email or before that in a letter. Now you know what they're thinking, but you always have to remind yourself that it's not the majority and you can't get caught up in it. It doesn't mean you're dismissive, it doesn't mean you're condescending towards them, because they might very well have an excellent point that you need to pay heed to. But you also have to realize that you might be reacting to one person out of several million that are watching. So you can't overreact to everything you see on social media.
GBH: Last question. Let's talk about "Final Verdict" (with Mark May and Lou Holtz). What's your decision making process, how do you facilitate it?
Rece: Well a lot of it is a subtle way to get my opinion out there, and the other is that sometimes I listen to them to see who makes the better point. You know there was one case this year in which I wanted Mark to say something, and if he'd have said it he would have won. He didn't say it, so Lou won. And sometimes, if Lou's threatened to wreck the furniture in the studio, then he HAS to win because he gets really mad because he's competitive and he doesn't like to lose. It's not an act. He's very angry when he loses.