Kirk Herbstreit sprints into college football season

When college football season starts, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit doesn’t walk. . . or run. . . he sprints!

During the fast approaching college football opening weekend, Herbstreit will call three games in five days, all in prime time, beginning with Ohio State at Indiana on Thursday, Aug. 31 (8 p.m., ET, ESPN), followed by ABC’s Saturday Night Football featuring Florida State versus Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 2 (8 p.m.), and concluding with Tennessee versus Georgia Tech on Monday, Sept. 4 (8 p.m., ESPN). The latter two games are part of the 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game series.

Oh, he also will work College GameDay Built by The Home Depot as normal on Sept. 2 (9 a.m. – noon, ESPN).

Yes, Herbie will be on your TV screen (or mobile device. . . it is 2017 after all) for at least 13 hours in that span. It’s safe to say that is a college football opening weekend record.

“Kirk is one of the best analysts in all of sports and the backbone of our entire college football coverage,” said ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting. “Opening weekend is our biggest regular season week of the college football season and having him on the air as much as possible is a benefit to the fans because of his passion and knowledge of the game.

“How do you get ready for something like that? It’s just constant, constant preparation,” Herbstreit told the Indianapolis Star, who profiled his opening weekend on Sunday.

“I’ve never done three games in five days,” Herbstreit than told the Columbus Dispatch. “You always want to be ultra-prepared. That’s always been my style.”

“Traditionally, Kirk has called two games opening weekend, on Saturday and Monday,” said Fitting. “When he and I had a conversation over the summer about the possibility of adding a third game to his opening weekend, he couldn’t have been more fired up about it.”

“I love it,” Herbstreit told Awful Announcing. “They could ask me to do four. If I could physically make it around to do the four, I would do it.”

That third game added to Herbstreit’s opening slate will feature the Buckeyes, most likely a top 3 team when the AP poll is announced next week and a favorite again to make the College Football Playoff. Herbstreit will call his alma mater’s game on the road versus intra-division Big Ten opponent Indiana.

“It’s very rare to have a game of this magnitude on opening night,” Herbstreit told the Indianapolis Star. “Coming to Indiana with a game this big and so much at stake in the conference is exciting, creates a buzz.”

Herbstreit will be the first Thursday night analyst of the season, as ESPN plans to rotate the position each week, pairing different voices in the booth with play-by-play commentator Dave Flemming. Laura Rutledge will be the sideline reporter each week in addition to her new role hosting SEC Nation each Saturday. Additional Thursday night analysts will be announced in the coming weeks.

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