Lee Corso has sailed through ESPN College GameDay shows in traditional college football hotbeds like Tuscaloosa, Gainesville, South Bend and Baton Rouge. But the excitement of the Coogs House proved to be a little too much for the veteran analyst.
The 76-year-old Corso found himself losing it as he made his pick for the SMU-Houston game. Traditionally the highlight of GameDay, Corso dons the headwear of the mascot of the team he's going with — to the loud cheers or jeers of the crowd, depending on the choice. Only in Houston, Corso added a few choice words to the routine.
"You brought out the Cougar in Corso," Chris Fowler said.
Corso feigned like he was going to pick SMU to upset 11th-ranked Houston, picking up a Mustangs megaphone. But he tossed that aside with a "Ah, fuck it" — pulling on UH's Shasta cougar mascot head instead.
Corso's F-bomb could clearly be heard on air — and it carried across Cullen Circle where hordes of Cougar fans watched the show live from the grass. The bit of spontaneity caused one of Corso's GameDay co-hosts to almost fall out of his chair on the stage (Kirk Herbstreit) and another to look like he wanted to disappear into the table (Chris Fowler). Celebrity guest picker Carl Lewis started clapping.
"You brought out the Cougar in Corso," Fowler said on air.
"That's Corso," Lewis said later. "He's crazy."
Fowler also playfully rebuked "Shasta" for his potty mouth before College GameDay went off the air, but soon ESPN had Corso back on during its broadcast of the Nebraska-Michigan game, reading an apology. "Earlier today on College GameDay while picking the SMU-Houston game I got a bit excited and used an expletive that I shouldn’t have used," Corso said to the camera. "I apologize and can promise it won’t happen again”
Hey, at least Corso turned out to be right. Houston ended up winning 37-7 to go to 11-0, moving two wins from a BCS bowl berth.
Soon the network was in full damage control, telling reporters it would have no further comment.
Whose House? Coogs House!