Do you want to take your appreciation of Gus Johnson to a whole new level? Do you want an easy way to explain to your friends how awesomely over-the-top Gus Johnson was during last night's game? Do you want a system that can quickly and clearly tell people that they should tune to CBS for another sure-to-be-famous Gus Johnson moment? Behold, the Levels of GUSCON.
GUSCON 5 - This is the base level of Gus Johnson calling a game. He's calling an ordinary play, setting up Len Elmore or Steve Tasker for analysis, reading a promo for "How I Met Your Mother," what have you. Basically any unremarkable thing Gus says on the air is in this level. If he's stuck calling a 25-point thrashing and there are no exciting plays, GUSCON 5 can stay in effect for the entire game. The Internet mourns openly when these games happen.
Incidents of GUSCON 5: Yesterday's Ohio State-George Mason beatdown, and sadly many others.
GUSCON 4 - This level can be hit under several different circumstances. It can be any big dunk (Ian Eagle would call this a "man dunk"), or impressive shot, or long play, or a touchdown, or the last basket in a scoring run that makes the other team call a timeout. At GUSCON 4, Gus is excited, but not at the level that he often hits with the game on the line.
Incidents of GUSCON 4: Too numerous to list. They happen at least a few times in every game Gus calls.
GUSCON 3 - Now we're getting into vintage Gus Johnson, and we can get there in a lot of different ways. GUSCON 3 is where Gus punctuates a big play with a classic phrase that everyone remembers. When the clock hits two minutes and the scene is set for a dramatic finish in an NCAA Tournament game and you hear Gus's voice starting to rise, you hit GUSCON 3. When there's a fourth-down conversion in a two-minute drill and the offense is moving into position for a game-winning score, that's also GUSCON 3.
(Side note: This is the level at which the Internet declares a Gus Johnson alert and tells you to change the channel to whatever game Gus is calling.)
The YouTube clip parade begins after the jump...
Incidents of GUSCON 3: Pretty much any game that is close going into the final two minutes. Other specific examples include... "He's got getting away from the cops speed!"
And of course, "My name's Al Harrington, I get buckets!"
GUSCON 2 - This is when YouTube clips get made. Someone just made a clutch shot, the other team came right back without calling a timeout, the clock's running down, and Gus is shouting his call. It's time to grab onto something sturdy because the roof might be about to come off.
Now, here's an important point to make. There's obviously another level beyond GUSCON 2. Gus Johnson has been doing this for 15 years, and he has so many excited, amped-up calls that you have to start making some tough choices. So a lot of what you might think would qualify for GUSCON 1 can't hit that level because there's something even more amazing beyond it. Many of the great calls of Gus's career only hit GUSCON 2 for this reason. And Gus has become more excitable over his career, so it's impossible for any of his earlier calls to go past this level.
Incidents of GUSCON 2: "The slipper still fits!" If this had happened in 2009 instead of 1999, it might have been a GUSCON 1.
Gonzaga's Adam Morrison banking in a last-second three against Oklahoma State in 2005. This came close but settled in GUSCON 2.
Matt Sylvester hitting a deep three for Ohio State to upset #1 Illinois in 2005.
Another GUSCON 2 incident I couldn't get a specific clip for was the Jordan Crawford 30-foot, last-second, overtime three-pointer in the Xavier-Kansas State game in last year's Sweet 16. Click here and skip ahead to about the 6:00 mark.
GUSCON 1 - The big one. It happens maybe once or twice a year, and we're setting the bar high here on purpose so that we don't devalue this level. GUSCON 1 calls aren't merely for the clutch, last-second, game-winning play. There also has to be a degree of difficulty, or some kind of bizarre, unexpected wrinkle. Or it could be a series of incredible events at the end of a game that combine together to push Gus's call over the top into GUSCON 1.
Incidents of GUSCON 1: The last-second Brandon Stokley tipped-ball touchdown against the Bengals in 2009.
The end of the UCLA-Gonzaga Sweet 16 game in 2006 -- best known as "Heartbreak city!"
The end of the Pac-10 Tournament final a couple weeks ago, where Arizona tied it with a three and then Isaiah Thomas won it for Washington at the buzzer. "Cold blooded!"
Seth Petruzelli putting the #BEATEMDOWN on Kimbo Slice in his CBS debut in 2008. Gus may have sold this one a little too much.
Feel free to share your own GUSCON moments in the comments.