For college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit, Saturdays in the fall are extremely hectic, starting with ESPN's “College GameDay” and ending with ABC's prime-time game — often the best game of the day. He wouldn't have it any other way.
For the former Ohio State quarterback, his love of college football makes it a pure joy. He enjoys watching as many games as possible, many from the “GameDay” bus.
“To me, it's almost for me like an addiction,” Herbstreit said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “I just love it, and if I can't watch it, it's a big problem for me. The best part of my job is when the show's over I get to watch the games.”
On some Saturdays, he will work “College GameDay” and then fly across the country to call a game with Brent Musburger and Heather Cox. Two weeks ago, he worked “College GameDay” in South Bend, Ind., previewing the Stanford-Notre Dame game, then flew to Baton Rouge, La., to broadcast the South Carolina-LSU game that night.
On Saturday, he'll have it easy. After working “College GameDay” in the morning and an afternoon of watching games on TV, he'll walk up to the OU press box to call the Sooners' game against Notre Dame.
In his 17th year with the show, Herbstreit, 43, said he is amazed that crowds at “GameDay” sites continue to grow.
“I just think that the sport in general has become so much more popular, along with the NFL, and I think our show is kind of symbolic of the sport,” he said.
“When we show up on your campus, people tend to look at it as a challenge: Here is our chance to show the country how good of fans we have, and really become a 48-hour infomercial as far as the exposure the university receives. It's been just incredible.”
Ratings actually are down slightly for the show this year, averaging a 1.6 as compared to a 1.7 in 2011.
“GameDay” will be making its seventh appearance in Norman and first since the 2008 Texas Tech-OU game.
Samantha Steele has replaced Erin Andrews, who left for Fox, as host of the 8 a.m. hour, working with analyst David Pollack. Host Chris Fowler is joined by Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard for the final two hours. Other contributors include Tom Rinaldi and Scott Van Pelt.
Herbstreit said a key to the show's success is that commentators work well together.
“We have authentic, genuine respect for each other,” he said. “There is no jealousy. We all have such enthusiasm and passion for the sport.”