Former ESPN reporter Erin Andrews is looking forward to her career moving… (Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles…)
Erin Andrews was rumored to have many career options as her contract with ESPN expired this year, but the one she couldn't resist was Fox's opportunity to expand on her interest in college football.
Andrews is the host of the new "Fox College Saturday" pregame show that will debut at 4 p.m. Saturday, with the network televising the Associated Press' preseason No. 1 team, USC, against Hawaii at the Coliseum.
Fox also will use Andrews in its playoff baseball coverage, and she will conduct feature interviews on the network's NFL pregame show.
Andrews, 34, recently took a break from her preparation with her Fox college football colleagues Eddie George and Joey Harrington to discuss this new stage.
Is this a good show coming our way?
"We are excited. I hadn't dealt with Joey or Eddie since our audition. We wanted to decide if there was chemistry, and there is. We had a great time, dancing to 'Call Me Maybe' on our photo shoot. You can just tell there's something there, because the three of us live and breathe college football. This is what Kirk Herbstreit taught me at ESPN: Whatever journey you're on in this business, it doesn't work unless you love the sport."
There were so many rumors about where you were going: "Good Morning America," or something more prominent at ESPN. Why was Fox the best choice for you?
"It was a chance to grow, get better, expand my career. Plus, a chance to work the baseball postseason? Pinch me. Doing features on the NFL pregame show? Of course. This is what I was weighing for a month and a half. I'd confide in a lot of friends, some at ESPN. I kept hearing, 'It's a no-brainer.' A college football host, plus doing things I haven't been able to with the World Series and NFL."
Why the emphasis on college football?
"It's what I know. I have great contacts in college football. I worked it for 10 years, worked my tail off. I'm from the South, I'm an SEC girl, from the University of Florida. And Fox is working to get its college football programming off and running. The games we have are great."
Your ability to balance your feminine side with football knowledge is impressive. Do you feel you have to study more than others to get that credibility? And can you discuss the grit it takes to stand up for yourself in this business when the slings and arrows come, some from your own former co-workers?
"Thickening my skin, I'm still working on that; it's a work in progress. As far as my ability to balance my feminine side, yes, I want to look good. I want to get my nails done, my roots done, get nice clothes. There are former co-workers and naysayers who've asked why I'm so worried about that. Well, I could say, 'Do you know how much he paid for that suit?' I like being a girl, a tom-girl and a girly girl. But, oh, by the way, I also get jacked up by what's going to happen in college football this season, and the rule changes in the NFL. This job lets me be me. It's fun. It's time to enjoy it and not worry about the other people when they have their opinions. ... Wow, that was a good therapy session."
Have you toured the college football landscape?
"I've been out at USC, been trying to go to Norman (Okla.), and I'm always involved in phone conversations with coaches — Chip Kelly, Les Miles, Lane Kiffin."
What are your thoughts on USC?
"I'm excited in general for how good USC is. I worked the Stanford game last year. You could just tell — the USC vibe, their pumped-up energy is back. Selfishly, I can't wait for the opener. I'm so happy for college football that Matt Barkley stayed — he couldn't be a better person. And college football needs USC to be good. Their biggest concern is their health on defense."