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Lee Corso makes picks, tells stories at annual Kickoff Dinner

On Monday, legendary coach and broadcaster Lee Corso joined Florida Citrus Sports for its annual Team Selection Committee Kickoff Dinner presented by Lowndes and Vestal & Wiler.

 

In front of a capacity crowd of 180 at Linda’s La Cantina, Corso spoke about his career, his picks for this year and his longstanding relationship with the organization.

Lee Corso catches up with former Florida Citrus Sports executive director Chuck Rohe. Rohe served in his position from 1982 until 2002.

“I say this every year because I mean it — this is my favorite night of the year,” Corso said. “I can’t tell you how much I enjoy being around my friends, friends that I’ve known for a long time. It really makes me feel good because the friendship you find here, you’ll never find anywhere else.”

Corso also sent a message directly to members of the Team Selection Committee, offering his advice for how to make the most of their opportunities on the road on behalf of the Citrus Bowl and Camping World Bowl.

“The first thing I do — make sure you go around and see everybody,” Corso said. “Shake their hands and be nice to everybody. Not only the upper echelon, but the guys working the press box, working the sidelines. Because those guys are the guys that talk and say, ‘That guy from the Citrus Bowl was really nice.’ Make sure everywhere you go you talk to the people.”

As for his picks for this year’s bowl games, Corso said he chose Wisconsin and LSU to meet in the Citrus Bowl and Boston College and Oklahoma State to play in the Camping World Bowl.

“But don’t pick them,” Corso told host Greg Warmoth of WFTV with a laugh. “I haven’t picked anybody right this year.”

Here are some of the other opinions Corso shared during the Q&A portion of the event:

On College Gameday: This week I’m going to Eugene, Oregon. Stanford is playing Oregon, and I’ll tell you what, I’ve picked the duck 18 times and the duck is my favorite. People always ask, ‘Who’s going to win?’ and I say, ‘I’m not going to go that far to pick Stanford.’ I love that duck.

On his job: It’s like stealing. I fly first-class, I stay at a hotel under an assumed name, I get good food, I see the game, and then I fly back. And they pay me to do that!

On the origin of the mascot head picks: It was a Friday and I was going to pick Ohio State (on Saturday), and Brutus walked by and I said, ‘Herbstreit, if you get me that headgear and I put it on, I won’t have to say a word. Everybody will know I picked Ohio State.’ Next day, it’s my turn, I put it on and the crowd goes crazy, the truck goes crazy, the people at ESPN go crazy, and I said, ‘I think I’ve got a schtick here.’ I think I’ve done it 300-something times, and it’s amazing. I’m the only guy who makes a living putting someone’s head on.

On the Heisman Trophy race: Trace McSorley — I picked him in the preseason, from Penn State. He’s a great quarterback and a great player and he’s having a tremendous year. Two weeks from now, Ohio State goes to Penn State to play, and that’s going to be a fantastic game. We’re going to be there and it’s going to be one of the really great sights in college football.

On his CFP picks: The Final Four I picked before the season was Clemson, Georgia, Wisconsin and Washington. But the four best teams I’ve seen are Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia and Oklahoma. Oklahoma is really good.

On Alabama’s toughest challenge: They are tremendous, but they’ve got to watch out for someone around the corner, sneaking in. One game, I’m telling you right now, watch it — Mississippi State against Alabama. Mississippi State is the kind of team that can beat Alabama, because they’re not afraid of them, and they’re big, they’re strong and they’re mean. But Alabama is the best football team in the country by far.

On Florida: The gators look pretty good. (Dan) Mullen is a good football coach, and he knows how to develop quarterbacks (Franks) is a young kid, 6-5, he’s a good player, and I think Florida’s big game is coming up against Tennessee.

On Tim Tebow: With Tebow, what you see is what is what you get. He’s a genuine good person and he really wants to help people, and the great thing is that he can help people. And much more than on television and everything else, Tim Tebow should be one of our leaders.

On Burt Reynolds: Burt Reynolds and I were friends for 64 years, and I told the story on television — he was a good football player, and he got hurt, his knee, and he went home and took acting lessons in West Palm Beach. He came back to me and said, ‘Corso, I’m going to Hollywood to be a movie star,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, OK,’ but he did. He became the world’s No. 1 movie star for years. But you know what? He never forgot his teammates at Florida State. He never forgot us, he was a great human being, he was a great person, and I’m going to miss him very much.

The Team Selection Committee is an all-volunteer community that represents Florida Citrus Sports at games across the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Big 12, and participation is open to all active members of Florida Citrus Sports. To learn more about membership options, visit our information page.

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