Folwer, Herbstreit Talk College Football Championship, Dynasties, More With Media

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has released the transcript of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit’s recent discussion with the media about Monday’s college football championship.  The pair opened the discussion with a talk on Alabama’s domination in the college football realm.  From there, the discussion turned to talk of offensive coordinators, the Heisman vote, and players’ skills among much more.  The full transcript of the conference is included below.
The College Football Playoff National Championship title game will be once again be called by Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. The duo participated in a media conference call today to discuss the matchup between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson, which will take place Mon, Jan. 9, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Transcript of the conference call is available below.

 

  1. Could both of you comment. Alabama is obviously extending their run to nearly a decade. We’ve seen dynasties come and go. How much is too much of one team dominating the conversation? Do you feel like people are getting bored with Alabama being here every year? Or does it make for more drama that someone has to try to knock them off?

 

CHRIS FOWLER: Maybe the answer is both. I think anytime any team rules the top of a sport, or any individual for that matter, a certain percentage are going to get fatigued. On the other hand you get an opportunity to frame something that is among the most incredible stories in the history of the sport.

You’re not supposed to be able to dominate at the top any more the way Alabama has done. They’ve defied conventional wisdom by doing that.

On the one hand you’re describing an incredible reign, sustained achievement. On the other hand, there are many people, even within the SEC, that would like to see a fresh story, new people at the top.

That’s what makes it so difficult to do what they’ve done. You wear a huge target and you wear it year after year and you manage that and you overcome that.

So in one respect you turn up to a game like this, one of the major plot lines is marvelling at what Alabama is continuing to do. Not that there has always been this many games, but nobody has ever gone 15-0 at the highest level of this sport. They have a chance to do it, as Clemson did last year. Five in eight years, that’s not supposed to happen.

On the other hand, you have this dynasty. Plenty of people I’m sure would love to see them toppled and love to see someone else take over. That happens throughout sports, throughout history.

KIRK HERBSTREIT: Speaking for myself, I enjoy it in sports, just being a fan of sports, whether it’s college basketball, even Chris following tennis with some of the individuals that get on like a Roger Federer type of run, a Tiger Woods in golf, what we used to see with maybe a team like Bobby Bowden and Florida State, now with what we’re seeing with Nick Saban, some of the Nebraska teams in the ’90s.

I can just speak for myself. I love it. I love when we have a program that raises the bar and that everybody is aiming for. We kind of mock it and tease it, Hey, we want ‘Bama kind of thing. Yet when I think you talk to the coaches and players in this sport, whether it’s in the SEC or around the country, they see that coach and they see that brand. That’s who they’re trying to bring down.

Whether the viewers at home get tired of Alabama, I guess it’s up to each individual. For me personally, I really enjoy it.

 

  1. With all the supposed drama over the OC, seems like at Clemson, a couple of names that people didn’t know, like Tony Elliott and Jeff Scott have done a remarkable job these couple of seasons following Chad Morris, which Dabo could have gone out and gotten anybody to take that position. What do you think of the job they’ve done? And Dexter Lawrence, what has he brought to the line as such a young guy on Clemson’s side of the ball?

 

KIRK HERBSTREIT: I would just say I’m glad you brought that up because you’re right. Seems like the next few days, a lot of talk about Lane and Sark. Unless you’re really a diehard Clemson fan, what has gone on notice was initially Dabo Swinney looking around and bringing in Chad Morris.

If you looked at how their offense was evolving, they were okay, but they weren’t as consistent. I think that game against West Virginia was maybe a wake-up call for them in that bowl game.

When they brought in Chad Morris and that offensive style, they brought it to a whole different level. When it looked like they got things going, you’re right, he had an opportunity to become a head coach. A lot of us wondered what direction he might go.

The proof is in the pudding. What Tony and Jeff have been able to do, that offensive staff, they’ve been blessed to have Deshaun Watson to help them. They are cutting edge. They’re innovative. I thought the game they had against Ohio State is a classic example of what they’ve been able to do in attacking a team’s weaknesses, being innovative and creative, having a quarterback that understands it. They’re doing it at a very fast pace.

I think that’s the exciting matchup for me personally in this game, not just Deshaun Watson, but it’s going to be Tony Elliott, Jeff Scott and Deshaun in that offense.

After what they did to this defense a year ago, matched up now against Nick Saban, you’re already hearing the Alabama players come out saying, We were embarrassed, this time it’s going to be different, they’re going to get the real Alabama.

I think we all want to see the real Alabama defense against Deshaun Watson. Those coordinators have done a hell of a job.

CHRIS FOWLER: What’s interesting, too, they’re both ex-Clemson walk-ons. When they sit in a room together, they finish each other’s sentences. Very interesting dynamic. Sometimes the co-offensive coordinator thing, which has become a little bit en vogue, it’s difficult, problematic. But those guys’ personalities blend very well.

Obviously their styles during the week and on the day of the game blend very well. I’d echo what Kirk said about the creativity. When you have a month to prepare, Urban Meyer and his staff – rightfully so – have gotten a ton of credit. A lot of brainpower in that Ohio State defensive side of the ball, with Schiano helping out, Bill Davis as a consultant, Fickell, of course.

It was a mismatch in terms of creativity, innovation and preparation for that game on Clemson’s side. It was a masterful game plan, play calling. Of course the execution, but Watson really helps. I’m glad you brought it up as well. Those guys have gotten not nearly enough credit.

For Lawrence, I thought Dexter had a quiet game. You always expect to call his number a lot. We have done Clemson a bunch this year and marvelled at this guy. You can’t look at him and think this is actually a true freshman. What was he like in high school a year ago? How fearsome would it have been to carry the ball against that guy? He’s broken in.

I think the productivity, to use the scout’s phrase, which means just a whole bunch of tackles. You’re not supposed to have that many tackles at that position. You’re not supposed to have that many tackles as a true freshman.

You put those two together, it’s one of the most startling defensive seasons that I’ve ever seen because of the nature of the position and his youth and how well he’s played it.

KIRK HERBSTREIT: Fourth on the team in tackles, which again, you don’t see that for a defensive lineman. His personality for a young guy in this world of five-star recruits, high profile, kind of what’s in it for me, me, me, he just kind of has fit into that group seamlessly with Watkins up there, Wilkins, who is a high-profile guy a year ago. Ferrell is another freshman that’s playing well for them. Austin Bryant. They have a big-time, high-level group there they just keep rotating big bodies in there. You’d think he’s been there for three years the way his personality has been in there.

CHRIS FOWLER: They have a way to chart efficiency. The number of impact plays per snap. He’s number one on the team for that. That says a lot. They refer to tackles or pressured or batted balls. In that metric, he’s number one on the defense, which says a whole lot, given the quality of players they have over there.

 

  1. This game with Clemson’s offense versus this Alabama’s defense is almost the irresistible force paradox. Can Clemson move the ball on this Alabama team, and what are they going to have to do to be able to do that? Alabama, it’s so hard to score on them. Then we’ve seen so many teams kind of ascend to this height, but is Clemson one of the teams that is built for sustainability? Has Dabo built the kind of program where they might not win five of eight, but can they make multiple trips into the College Football Playoff?

 

KIRK HERBSTREIT: Number one, there’s so many things there. Clemson’s offense has an ability, because of the system and the quarterback, to score on anybody that they play, providing that Deshaun is kind of on. Last year he was, what, 30 of 47, for 405 yards and four touchdowns against them. They had ample amount of time to prepare for them.

When I watch ‘Bama, the one thing they’ve kind of been spoiled with, is they have an ability to stop the run, and keep two safeties deep to prevent any kind of deep passes downfield. That’s kind of an oxymoron in today’s college football, when you have an ability to keep two safeties back, and also at the same time stop the run. They did it against Washington. Did not have a quarterback run game.

If they do that against Clemson, you’ll see Deshaun Watson run it 20 to 25 times until they get out of that look, then they can start to throw the football.

That will be a little bit of a game within the game, is how Alabama is going to try to play with their safeties, and whether or not they can stop the run and take away the deep ball at the same time.

If they’re effective in doing that, Clemson will punt, like Washington did, almost every series. You got to make them pay for that would be the big thing.

Then just getting Deshaun Watson into his flow, which means to me running and throwing. I expect him to carry it at least 20 times in this game. I think the matchup on the perimeter against Humphrey and Averett, the other corner, will go a long way in determining how this game goes as well.

The ball is going to have to get out fast because of that pass-rush. That means the receivers have to work their tails off to get open and get separation.

CHRIS FOWLER: I don’t see why they wouldn’t move the ball and score points. Alabama came off a shutout in last year’s semifinal. Clemson lit them up. They didn’t have Mike Williams or Deon Cain in that game. When you look at Monday night, the two most dangerous receiving weapons potentially, Cain isn’t as productive or consistent as Leggett, but he certainly has the ability, those guys weren’t even out there last year, especially Williams, who is a complete difference maker.

Deshaun, as Kirk said, has to be sharp, pre-snap, post-snap, process things as quickly as he did against Ohio State, which is a serious challenge. At times they made it look really easy, but it isn’t easy to do what he did. His mind works very quickly. The execution is amazing, as good as we’ve seen in this sport.

He throws picks, that’s what he has to be worried about. You cannot get baited into interceptions. You cannot give Alabama a defensive touchdown. Every opponent goes into the game saying the same thing, yet they fall prey to it. Washington makes a bad decision, throws a ball out there in the flat. Anderson takes it back to the house. It’s a different game right before halftime. That’s the kind of mistake that teams make again and again with them.

Deshaun has made them pretty frequently. They overcame a couple of interceptions. That’s not a good formula to try to do against Alabama.

I think that there’s probably some sleepless nights and some anxious moments on the Alabama side as they get ready for this offense, knowing what happened last year.

Clemson’s program, you watch how Clemson is recruiting. You watch how they recruit in the region. Even to get into recruits somewhat nationally. They have a fertile recruiting area around there.

What they have to sell is a little bit different. They sell it in a different way than some programs. It really is this people first, family, loving environment. Yes, you can win a championship. Yes, you can get to the NFL. But you’re not going to come here and be a cog in the wheel. You’re not going to be a piece in the process. You’re going to be an individual that we look after and take care of and nurture.

I think that’s a message that seems to resonate really well to parents and players. Clemson has a whole lot to sell. I think he and his staff are recruiting as well as just about anybody. I don’t see why it wouldn’t be sustainable.

KIRK HERBSTREIT: I think they’ve reached that status of an elite program. It’s been five or six years now that they’ve been able to recruit consistently. They have a brand-new, multi-million dollar facility which they’re moving over to which will be great to kind of continue. You know how it is with facilities, kind of showing the commitment to the program.

The big thing will be just continuing to get quarterbacks, which they’ve done. They have some guys that already signed, a guy who is a junior, a verbal.

Dabo has a way about him. It’s very, very real. I think parents feel that when they talk to him. I think he has a pretty good track record of recruiting at a very high level, graduating kids, taking care of them.

For him, if you bust your tail, aren’t a five-star recruit, you’re a walk-on, you do everything right on and off the field, he’s going to play you. He does it. That word gets out. So it’s not just about the Deshaun Watsons. It’s about the entire roster. It’s hard to keep an entire roster happy and win at the same time.

I think because of his personality and appreciation for top to bottom on the roster, being a former walk-on, he has a really unique ability to relate to every single guy on the team. That to me, with the resources that they have, the facilities that they now have, there’s no reason that Clemson is going to go away anytime soon.

 

CHRIS FOWLER: That’s a great example. Look at this year’s team. I’ll give you a couple quick examples. Gallman, not highly recruited. Jordan Leggett, not highly recruited. Boulware, barely recruited. Renfrow, walk-on. Mike Williams wasn’t a six-star guy either. His talent is obvious. Deshaun, obviously everybody wanted.

The team is built around guys with different kind of backgrounds. Yeah, they have plenty of the five-star guys, they’ll continue to get them. They’ll also continue to get guys that maybe aren’t as heralded and just really developing. I think those guys will always have a place in Clemson’s program.

Then you look at what happened with Watson graduating in three years, Williams graduating, Leggett graduating all in December, all as juniors. You just throw that out there to parents and players and say, This isn’t spin, this is reality. It’s a very strong selling point.

 

  1. Nick sort of downplayed the change in offensive coordinator based on Alabama’s ability to game plan and script certain situations. How legitimate is that excuse or defense? As an offense, how do you expect Sarkisian and Jalen to respond when things don’t go necessarily as planned?

 

KIRK HERBSTREIT: I think the thing that at least I’ve heard him talk about is, he feels like it’s being blown out of proportion because it’s kind of business as usual as far as the workweek. The preparation for any college offense, I think sometimes we tend to lock in on who the coordinator is. When you get behind closed doors, you realize there’s five or six guys kind of watching film together, formulating a plan together, all that. Sark has been obviously around. That’s why I think he’s saying it’s business as usual.

I think the major difference that even Nick Saban can’t predict is going to be the four hours on Monday night. Steve Sarkisian hasn’t been the quarterback coach or the running back coach or kind of normal involvement as an assistant coach. He’s been an offensive analyst. I don’t even know what that means. But I know there are some limitations on Saturdays in the fall what he can and can’t do.

Now you go from that role to you’re standing on the sideline calling the plays in an up-tempo offense with a true freshman quarterback. To see that won’t be potentially a factor one way or the other is not right. Of course it is.

It might be better, by the way. We don’t know if it’s going to be better or worse. It’s without question going to be different. He hasn’t even called plays in a scrimmage. Now he’s calling plays in a national championship. I’m talking about this offense. Obviously he’s done it at Washington and USC. By the way, he’s more than capable of doing it.

In these circumstances with this offense, we’ve never seen it. So it’s definitely a big storyline during the game itself.

I think Mike Locksley’s role and what he’s allowed and not allowed to do, he’s been an integral part behind closed doors and dealing with a true freshman quarterback in Jalen Hurts. With this system, where Alabama used to be more power football. Now it’s more up-tempo, quarterback run game, which is right where Mike Locksley has been most of his coaching career.

Both of them are going to be involved in a very unique way in this preparation without Lane Kiffin being there.

CHRIS FOWLER: Interesting, too, you mention the true freshman quarterback. It’s his 15th game, but it’s a championship game. Anybody that played them will say the feeling is different. Even though you’re poised and mature for your age, it’s a championship game against a very complicated defense, a defense that is known for throwing a whole bunch of stuff at people. They’ve confused far more experienced quarterbacks than Jalen Hurts in the past with what Venables does.

I think you can expect another aggressive, grab-bag approach that doesn’t make it easy on the quarterback. I think if they can’t line up and smash you, Scarbrough can’t make 120 yards after contact like he did the other day, it certainly makes the play-caller’s chore a little more difficult.

I think it’s fascinating. I really do. If Sarkisian hadn’t been on a big stage in a pressure situation you’d be more concerned. What Kirk said is right. There is rush when you call plays. There is unfamiliarity with the system when you jump into a system and do it for the first time and it’s in the ultimate game. I don’t care who you are. But at least he has been there in a big moment.

What’s interesting is we’ve seen plenty of circumstances where it’s almost play calling in the name of vanity. I don’t think Saban wants that. I think there was not much tolerance for that when a play-caller goes in there and tries to get ‘too cute,’ or call plays to show how smart you are. I don’t think that’s what Sark is going to be charged with doing, even though it’s his very first time doing it on a massive stage.

You have to call plays around what’s going to work best with the personnel you have on offense against that defense. That does require some discipline, it really does, because Clemson doesn’t make it easy on you.

KIRK HERBSTREIT: Your point about how do you call the game to the best of your ability. If you watched their game against Washington, as much as they struggled with continuity, self-destructing with penalties, they did a good job with the special teams of pinning Washington inside the 10 yard line a number of times.

As a play-caller in a game like this, as good as Clemson’s defense is, sometimes a punt is okay. Sometimes playing field position and relying on that Alabama defense to try to get a short field with a turnover, especially with Deshaun Watson sometimes turning the ball over through the air, that’s sometimes okay.

That will be a big message I would think to Jalen Hurts this week, is throwing it away, not taking sacks, not turning the ball over, punting the ball and playing field position. Worst case is not necessarily a bad thing for ‘Bama with the defense and special teams that they have.

CHRIS FOWLER: What’s so fascinating is we just don’t know how well they’re going to stop Clemson’s offense. The chore becomes different. If it doesn’t become a field position kind of game, you have to open it up. Then it becomes more interesting what they’re calling on offense.

KIRK HERBSTREIT: He’ll call the play, like any coordinator will, based on the flow of the game, how well their defense is holding up, field position, things like that.

 

  1. I’ve been banging this job for a couple years now. I’d like to ask you guys, why has there not been more public pressure for reform when it comes to the timing of the Heisman vote? A lot of people out there think that Deshaun Watson should have been back-to-back Heisman winner, let alone the winner this year with the way Lamar Jackson finished. It’s not just Watson. You have 2005 Reggie Bush against Vince Young. A lot of people thought that Vince Young might come out on top if the vote came out after that game. Baker Mayfield, the way he played against Auburn. Most coveted award in all of sports. Why can’t we have the vote after the most important game has been played?

 

CHRIS FOWLER: I mean, they’ve done it 82 years, and they’ve done it this way. It’s tradition. Obviously when the award was conceived, post-season play wasn’t what it is. I don’t think that they see any need to shift it.

Your argument is passionate. You definitely have a horse in the race in your mind. I think if you looked at year’s past, sure the winner might have been different had it been different after the bowls or the playoffs. That would have happened quite a lot over the years.

The voting is done at the end of the season. In some ways there’s a fairness to it in that you do have a chance to be involved in the award, even if your team isn’t in a major bowl or in the playoff.

Listen, I think you can have whatever opinion you want. I don’t reveal my vote. Obviously enough people felt that Lamar Jackson had done enough throughout the totality of the season to survive some turnovers and some losses down the stretch. Clemson fans obviously wouldn’t agree.

Having said that, as brilliantly as Deshaun plays, stats become a big part of evaluating a player. You could argue too much. But he threw a lot of interceptions, a lot of interceptions for someone who would have won the Heisman, regardless of how productive he is.

A few of the picks early in the season might have gotten in the way of people voting for him. Who knows what went into their decisions.

To your point, I don’t think that’s going to change. I think they’re going to continue to award the trophy at the end of the regular season.

 

  1. I would like to know what are some of the key matchups that you all believe can determine the outcome of Monday’s game? Also, do you think there are any experiences that Clemson can draw on so that they can possibly pull out an upset from last year?

 

KIRK HERBSTREIT: I think the biggest matchup is going to be Deshaun Watson against the defense in general, the coverage, the multiple coverages. Obviously the offensive line is going to have to help out, the receiver’s going to have to win. I think in general Nick Saban’s mind and angst after last year’s performance, how he decides to defend Deshaun Watson is going to be a great matchup.

I think if you’re looking for just one-on-one type of stuff, we talked about Mike Williams, Deon Cain, Hunter Renfrow who had a huge game last year against these guys. They match up favorably.

If you’re going to attack Alabama in any way, you’re going to do it through the air. These guys have the quarterback and receiver to give them a chance to be effective with some downfield passers. The receivers against the secondary. Deshaun against Nick Saban I think is going to be a great matchup. Then with all the talk about Sark coming in to take over, it’s not just going up against any defense, he’s going up against a defense right now of Brent Venables that’s coming out against a shutout against Ohio State and is probably playing with as much confidence if not more confidence than any defense in the country, including Alabama.

Specifically on that side of the ball, I would say, to me, the Alabama offensive line, which is not your traditional dominant offensive line, especially on the inside, how do they hold up against a really, really good defensive front from Clemson I think is another matchup that could go a long way in determining how the game goes.

CHRIS FOWLER: I like that matchup, too. I think you look at Alabama’s offensive line, it’s very left-handed. Robinson over there. Pierschbacher is a good guard. But Clemson’s guys, the rotation we talked about earlier, which is basically four sophomores, a couple freshman, one junior and one senior who keep each other fresh, all of them can make impact plays. All of them cannot just eat up blocks, but invade the backfield when they need to. It’s hard to do that against ‘Bama.

I think if you looked at this offensive line, the very high standards they have at that program would not rank as one of the great ones they had. Opponents would tell you that.

I think it’s a terrific matchup. If you can clog the middle, let the linebackers run, do what they do behind you, it forces Alabama into some uncomfortable situations.

I like that matchup, too.

KIRK HERBSTREIT: I think as far as experience, last year’s experience is the best experience that gives them confidence. I mean, in their minds they blew the on-side kick, they let a kickoff return get out from Kenyan Drake. But I think in their minds they probably gained more confidence in standing in the middle of the rain going toe-to-toe with Alabama for four quarters than anything else that they can look at on film.

They’ve been there, they’ve done that. They competed. They didn’t secure things in special teams. They ended up losing the game. But it wasn’t as if they got blown off the field and had to regroup and think, Oh, my gosh, what are we going to do this time. They were right there stride per stride, had a quarterback play out of his mind in that game. I think a lot of us left that stadium thinking Deshaun Watson is a bad man, including Nick Saban.

Alabama won the trophy, but Deshaun Watson won a lot of people’s hearts that night, for sure. If I’m a Clemson player, I’m looking at that film knowing that I can play with Alabama.

 

  1. With Deshaun’s propensity to throw interceptions, Alabama’s ball hawking defense, say Deshaun throws two or three interceptions, Alabama takes one back to the house, how much of an impact do you think that will have on the outcome of the game?

 

CHRIS FOWLER: I don’t know. Study the impact of pick-sixes in most games. It’s extremely favorable for the defense that can create one.

I don’t know. I’d defer to Kirk in how able Watson is able to change what has become a pretty frequent pattern. He trusts his guys to make plays to an extreme degree.

A lot of his picks aren’t necessarily awful decisions. They’re 50/50 balls that he has so much belief that a Leggett or a Williams can win that matchup, so he’ll put the ball up there. Against guys as good as Alabama has got, you’re not going to win all of them. They win their share.

Whether or not he regulates that, modulates that, the instinct to allow his guys to make plays, plays a little bit more cautiously.

It’s devastating to give up a pick-six, especially if the game is not a shootout. Clemson almost survived all the special teams issues that Kirk just described and they still had a chance at the end despite all that. But, boy, you’re living with a slim margin for error when you do that.

Alabama is hard enough to score on without letting their defense get in the end zone, so… I’m sure that’s going to be talked about a lot at Clemson. If you give up a turnover, you ask your defense to go out there as they did against Ohio State and minimize the damage or prevent the other team from getting in the end zone.

Remember Alabama’s offense had great field position throughout almost the entire game against Washington. Definitely in the first half. They only scored one touchdown. They had the ball at midfield or in plus territory a lot, and didn’t cash in. Even if you give up a turnover and don’t let them score, the defense has got to go out there and try to prevent the damage from happening.

KIRK HERBSTREIT: Yeah, all of college football games are games of momentum swings, back and forth, sudden change, how your own defense responds to a turnover. If there’s a pick-six, I think in Clemson’s case, you’re very fortunate to have a quarterback that’s played a ton of football, has an ability to bounce back from mistakes. If you look at his track record, it’s not like he goes in the tank after he potentially throws a pick or a pick-six.

I’ve always been really impressed by him. We’ve called a lot of his games. Just when you think the average quarterback, Wow, he threw a pick in Tallahassee, what is he going to do? He gets the ball back the next series, it’s like it never happened.

Yes, it will obviously affect the game, momentum, energy in the stadium, score on the scoreboard. I don’t think it would lead to potential further damage just because he may throw a pick.

I think he needs the defense to step up, like Washington did last week, when they were put in some tough spots.

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ESPN’s ‘CGD’ To Broadcast Live From University of Tennesse Campus This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will be live in Tennessee this weekend.

The worldwide leader in sports’ flagship college football show will be live in Knoxville, TN for this weekend’s matchup between the Volunteers and Gators.  Broadcast begins at 9am ET.

Rece Davis will host the broadcast.  He will be joined at the desk by the team of analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack, and contributors Chris Fallica, Jen Lada, Samantha Ponder, Tom Rinaldi, George Whitfield and Gene Wojciechowski.

College GameDay Live will air live from the College GameDay set beginning at 1:30pm ET.  Samantha Ponder, Desmond Howard and David Pollack will be on hand for the broadcast.

More information on ESPN’s College GameDay built by The Home Depot is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

 

 

 

Website: http://www.espn.com/college-football

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/CollegeGameDay

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Kirk Herbstreit Talks 2016 College Football Season, More In Media Conference Call

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit took part in a conference call Wednesday with members of the press in which he discussed the upcoming college football season.  During the call, Herbstreit talked about College GameDay’s season opening appearance at Lambeau Field, the major matchups for the 2016 season, and a number of other topics.  The transcript of that call is included in whole below.

I’m down here in South Carolina, Deshaun Watson at Clemson looks like he’s poised for a big year. What are the challenges when somebody who may have only tangential been part of it, steps into that glare and spotlight? We saw a few years ago Jadeveon Clowney was supposed to have a big final year, and things didn’t work out as well as he wanted. What are some of the things you have to embrace to excel in that kind of spotlight?

Kirk Herbstreit: I think that’s a great question for a lot of the players that are back this year. Anytime you have a big freshman or sophomore year and you come back for your third year, you hear a lot of people talking about, just don’t get hurt and just get ready for the NFL, your lifelong dream. And while that is a big goal, obviously, and it should be for all these players, to me when you start worrying about things like that, that’s really when you hurt your own cause. Whether it’s going on to the NFL or helping your team win, I think the best thing to do is not forget what got you to that point. It was an attitude and approach that was selfless. It was not worrying about getting hurt.

In fact, Deshaun last year was coming off of an ACL, and probably pushed his rehab just to be able to try to get ready for those first couple games and maybe was a little bit ahead of schedule.

I remember early calling a few of their games, they were kind of protecting him a little bit, but he wanted to be out there. So I would be shocked if he changed his attitude and his approach because I just think that’s his DNA. That’s how he’s wired. I don’t think any agents or anybody’s going to be able to get to him and tell him to take it easy.

But you do see that happen from time to time. I personally think, as long as he focuses on the team goals and what they can accomplish this year, and that’s an important thing, then I think everything else will fall right into place.

I’m focusing on LSU-Wisconsin. One, was part of you hoping you were going to be at that game? And two, where’s LSU right now as a program considering how close Les got to being fired at the end of last season.

Kirk Herbstreit: I’m sorry — on the first part?

Were you hoping you were going to maybe be assigned to that game because it’s probably going to be spectacular?


Kirk Herbstreit: Oh, yeah, Game Day will be there, and I’m looking forward to being there for a couple of days, looking forward to just seeing — I’ve never been to Lambeau, so really looking forward to taking in the atmosphere. I would have loved to be able to stick around for the game, but as you know I’m flying to Dallas for the USC-Alabama game.

I think LSU for many people is kind of a very trendy pick. There are a lot of people with 17 or 18 starters back that feel that LSU is destined to win the SEC and get into the playoff and maybe win the national title.

I think if you look at them on paper, despite all the criticism and despite whatever Les Miles maybe faced a year ago, this team was sitting in a pretty good spot as they got ready for the month of November on their trip down to Tuscaloosa. They were, I think, number four in the country at that time. That kind of tells you what the state of their program was.

They lost to Alabama and they seemed to lose control and they lost three in a row. They bring almost everybody back from a year ago. The one question about them is are they going to be willing to open up their offense and be more balanced and be more multiple? Against many of the teams they play, they run the football with Fournette and that’s good enough and sometimes it’s not, and they have to be willing to kind of get teams off guard a bit with Brandon Harris, a veteran quarterback now and a great group of receivers.

That’s the one question mark people have about them is what will their quarterback do and what will the offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron do with this experienced group? Is he willing to use more of an imagination or will he be fairly conservative? Then of course, Dave Aranda comes over from Wisconsin, which adds a twist, I think, to this game as well.

They’re coming off a really bad year defensively. They gave up 24 a game, which is the worst, I think, since going back to the late ’90s. So they need to improve on that side of the ball too.

I’m covering Kentucky here in Lexington for the AJC, but basically in Lexington. Before Mark Stoops was fired at Kentucky, you were one of the only people to toss around his name as a candidate, even before he was fired. What did you see in him then, and what are realistic expectations for the Kentucky program now heading into its fourth year?

Kirk Herbstreit: Well, going back to, I guess five years ago, I just saw a very talented, experienced coordinator. I think getting away from his brother, Mike, who is at Arizona and he was the defensive coordinator and kind of getting out on his own and he ended up at Florida State and having a great deal of success. I knew what kind of leader he was. I knew what kind of recruiter he could be. I just thought if he finally got an opportunity to be his own guy, he would have a chance to do pretty well.

As we know, trying to get Kentucky to compete and be a consistent winner in the SEC East is very challenging. They’ve made some strides. But I know that that fan base would love to get to a bowl game and love to be more competitive in the SEC.

If you look at the team, I think the change at quarterback with Drew Barker taking over I think will help them. I think they really turn the ball over too much and they just seem to be a little bit out of sorts offensively.

So you have a new scheme, a new quarterback with Barker. They’re loaded in the back field with Kemp and Williams. So there’s a lot, I think, to be excited about offensively with, as I said, the new attack.

Then, this is a young defense. They’re not quite there as far as where they need to be on the defensive line, and they’re going to have to be kind of creative and aggressive.

But I look at their schedule, and if there’s a game that’s going to decide if they go to a bowl game or not, I hate to say it’s the opener, but I think it is. I mean, if they beat Southern Miss, I think that schedule all of a sudden looks a lot more attainable and a bowl becomes more attainable than if they were to lose that game and go to the Swamp in week two.

So I think they need to get off to a good start and hope for the best. But I think you’ll see improvement this year for sure.

I wanted to get your impression of the Sooners and the very ambitious non-conference schedule with Houston and Ohio State in September?

Kirk Herbstreit: I love it. I appreciate Joe and Bob agreeing to play those games. It’s great for us as fans to be able to get excited to watch OU and in two big games before they even get to conference play. One big thing about scheduling that in September is the winter conditioning. The spring football and especially the two-a-days, you get the players attention because they know what’s coming up they know what’s going to be challenged. OU has been able to accomplish that this year with the schedule.

I think everybody knows about Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine

Samaje Perine, the talented back field that they have. I think that’s the obvious thing. The questions are: Where would they be with the offensive line? Who is going to step up and take over for Sterling Shepard? They lost a lot of not just play makers, but leaders on defensive side with Dominique Alexander and Striker and Tapper and Zack Sanchez. They lost kind of the heart and soul of that side of the ball. So who is ready to take over would be big.

I think they’re going to be really good on the back end, but I’m anxious to see their front seven and how they develop. And the schedule of Houston and Ohio State, two of the first three weeks, they’re going to have to be ready to go on the defensive side of the ball, because they do not want to get into shootouts against teams like Houston and Ohio State.

Are you picking them to get to the playoffs?

Kirk Herbstreit: As you know, I did a year ago, and I am looking at the Big 12 at TCU, I think, to kind of surprise people. Now that they went through so many injuries a year ago, I think they’ll be a lot better on that side of the ball. I think Kenny Hill could make them pretty dynamic on offense. So I think TCU could be the team to beat in the Big 12.

Checking in to see why you decided to pick Minnesota to come out of the west? What do you like about them? How do you think Coach Tracy Claeys will do in his first season at Minnesota?

Kirk Herbstreit: I’m excited to see what they can do this year. I think first the Big Ten West is wide open. You can talk to any different analyst and maybe get a different answer on what they think might happen. I think conventional wisdom, I guess, would be the Iowa Hawkeyes because of the year that they had a year ago and having C.J. Beathard back and a lot of great players on the defensive side of the football.

There are some people that like Nebraska. There’s talk about Wisconsin, Northwestern, you name it. The reason I like Minnesota is I think that their front seven defensively is going to be very, very stout. I think they’re going to be physical up there. I know they’re inexperienced on the back end, but I think they have a history of playing outstanding pass defense, and I’m kind of counting on, even though they’re young, I’m counting on them to still be solid in the secondary. And I think a lot of people are really sleeping on their offensive play makers.

You’ve got a veteran in Mitch Leidner who has played a ton of football, and I think he could have a great year. They’ve got some great backs that not a lot of people know much about. They always seem to have a good nucleus on that side of the ball. There are some concerns like every team in that West has. But they don’t play Ohio State. They don’t play Michigan State. They don’t play Michigan. They get Iowa at home.

So if they can beat Oregon State to open the season on Thursday, I think there’s a real shot that they could be sitting there looking at maybe 8-1 when they get ready to go to Nebraska on November 12th. Maybe I’m crazy, but I have kind of a weird feeling about them having a great year.

I think you’re aware there’s been a lot of hype for Michigan this season and a lot of them haven’t been in the playoffs. Do you think that’s too early or do you think it’s a fair assessment going into Harbaugh’s second year?

Kirk Herbstreit: No, I think if you look at what he did in his first year and what they have coming back, there’s obvious reason to be optimistic about what they can accomplish this year. I still would make the argument that the roster that he inherited in these first couple years will be the least talented roster that he coaches while he’s in Ann Arbor because of the way they’re going to recruit, or they do satellite camps or sit in their backyard in Ann Arbor. He’s going to recruit his tail off and he’s going to get very, very high-caliber skill players at receiver, running back and quarterback. I think — I personally think they’re about a year away.

With that being said, it’s pretty obvious that they’re going to be 7-0 getting ready for the big arrival game against Michigan State in East Lansing. They’ve got to go to Iowa, and they’ve got to go to Ohio State. If those three games were in Ann Arbor, I might be saying something a little bit different. But I just have a hard time imagining them going on the road in those three games and being able to win all three of those. Even two of them, I think, would be tough to do.

I think they’re about a year away from being the team that everybody is kind of excited for them to be. But I still think they’re going to be one of the Top 10 best teams in the country.

I wanted to ask you about the games that you’re going to be at next week. First off, do you think it’s more important for Ole Miss to have Chad Kelly have a big season or do you think it’s more important for Chad Kelly to have a big season? And second of all, what do you think of the dynamic of Lane Kiffin facing his old team?

Kirk Herbstreit: As far as my job analyzing these teams and watching teams excel, if Chad Kelly has a big year individually and their team goes 7-5, nobody cares about Ole Miss or Chad Kelly. If Ole Miss knocks off Florida State, they find a way to beat Alabama, week three, all of a sudden, they’re 3-0, ranked in the top 5 in the country, now everybody cares about Ole Miss and Chad Kelly.

So I think it’s much more important for Ole Miss for Chad Kelly to go out and play well and not feel the pressure to live up to the standard that he set a year ago where he was such a great player in his first year of Hugh Freeze’s offense, running and throwing and avoiding the disastrous play for the most part. So as long as he doesn’t feel like he has to push it himself or force himself out there to make plays, then I think he can have another monster year.

As far as Lane Kiffin going against his former team, USC, I think he’ll downplay it to everybody in the media. I think he’ll try to kind of poo-poo it even. Like this is just another game. We’ve got to get ready. We’ve got to find a quarterback. We don’t know what we have. But I do think that deep down there is something a little bit special for him going up against USC. Just to remind the USC folks what they let go. He’s a human. He has a competitive spirit. If anybody ever left one job and got fired to go to and he got hired in another job and you’re going back to play that school that fired you, I think anybody would be crazy to say that it wasn’t a little bit special or there’s a little bit more incentive there.

So it will be there. How it will impact the game, I don’t think it will. But I think privately deep down, I think Lane Kiffin’s incredibly fired up to have an opportunity to coach Alabama offensively against USC.

Saw that you picked Auburn as your sleeper in the SEC. Just wanted to have you expound on that as to why you’re optimistic about Auburn when seemingly most of us in the media, certainly in the SEC media picked him to finish quite low in the SEC West. Why are you optimistic about the Auburn Tigers this year?

Kirk Herbstreit: I think that’s a big part of it. I think that this team just seems to be Jekyll and Hyde over the last four, five years. They’re either really, really good or really, really inconsistent. If you go back and think about where they were, I think it might have been 2013, we actually had a “College Gameday,” I think it was ’13, where they played Mississippi State in Starkville. There were a lot of people excited about that team and what they were going to do. Actually it was 2014. They were at No. 2 in the country and Mississippi State was at No. 3, and they lost that game. It seems like from that game on they have not been able to get back to being the kind of team that they can be.

I think, in fact, in the last two years in conference play, they’re 6-10. Just have struggled.

I think if you look at that and you look at their roster and you look who they have at quarterback, I can see why the media said that this team’s not going to compete, even in the back field with the tailback situation. For me, it’s more of I think the defense is going to be really, really good. I think they’re going to play with a chip on their shoulder. I think they’re going to be mad at the world when they play this year, and I think defensively they’re going to stay in almost every game that they play.

Then it’s just a matter of the head coach, Gus Malzahn and offense finding ways to put enough points on the board to win. But I would be careful just by looking at 8-5 two years ago, 7-6 last year, 6-10 in conference play over the last couple years. I think it’s easy to look at this and say that this thing’s heading into the wrong direction. I just think there’s a little bit more backbone to the program than maybe all of us realize on the outside. And I think it will be led this year by the defense. I think, as I said, I think the defense is going to be one of the best in the SEC.

Obviously, calling from Louisville, I was wanting your thoughts on Louisville and Lamar Jackson and the chances they may have to make some noise with Florida State and Clemson in that division?

Kirk Herbstreit: Well, they’re the sleeper this year in the ACC with all the talk about Florida State and Clemson. There are a lot of people talking about Florida State and Clemson both getting into the playoff. I think this year the ACC is deep as I can remember it. Because, while everybody wants to talk about Florida State and Clemson, there is Louisville who is obviously going to be competitive, Miami, North Carolina. I think Pitt could be better. Virginia Tech has a new coach and a new offense. It’s going to be an interesting run this year.

We know about Lamar Jackson. They’ve got all the skill coming back. I expect James quick to have a big year this year. I really think that they get Florida State at an interesting time. I was at the game two years ago when they played on a Thursday night and they had Florida State on the ropes and it looked like they might win that game. And Papa John Stadium, as you were probably there, it was live and it looked like this was going to be their moment and they just couldn’t hold on. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be another game like that. We’ll see this time if Bobby Petrino’s team can find a way, and then a couple weeks later they’re on the road at Death Valley and Clemson.

So they’re going to know really where they stand within the first five weeks of the season, and whether or not they have what it takes to be competitive enough to be that surprise team and push Florida State or Clemson down. They get a chance to play them both.

So other than those two games, I know they have Houston late in the year. I mean, worst-case scenario, I can’t imagine this team not getting to ten wins this year. So I think they’re going to have a great year, and I think it’s going to come down to how they play against Florida State and how they do on the road against Clemson.

Is there anybody that Lamar Jackson brings to mind that you’ve seen like that?
Kirk Herbstreit: There have just been so many of them in the last few years, the guys that can run and throw. I feel like when I watch him, you better hold your breath when he takes off to run with the football. I think he averaged close to six yards a carry a year ago. What’s ironic is Bobby Petrino’s known over the years of having quarterbacks, whether they’re dual-threat guys or pocket guys, he’s trying to find ways to dissect a defensive secondary to throw the football.

To me, I think Lamar Jackson, if I were coaching him, and I’m sure this is what they’re focused on, it’s really more about consistency. I think at the latter part of the year, we start to see them really figure out his skillset. I think in the last five games they average like 35 points a game. In the first few games it was more like 28 points a game. So I think they have a handle on what he does well. But, no, the kid at Houston this year, Lamar Jackson and Greg Ward are similar in how they attack defenses. But I still want to watch Lamar play more this year to see more of him and to see how he develops as a passer before I really compare him to anybody.

I want to ask you about Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. What traits distinguish him from others in college football? And just in general, what do you consider the potential and pressure points for Penn State this season?

Kirk Herbstreit: He reminds me of some of the great Penn State backs back in the day. He has tremendous balance, kind of low center of gravity; players seem to bounce off of him because of his strength. He’s got great quickness and acceleration. He’s just a guy that’s been blessed with that rare combination of quickness and speed and power. So he’s a handful, and when he gets his momentum started, he’s tough to bring down.

That was in more of a pro-style offense. I’m really looking forward to, of all the players that I’ve talked about today, Saquon Barkley in this new offense where they’re going to be a lot more tempo, a lot more spread, more quarterback run threat, I think he may be the beneficiary of the new system and what Joe Moorhead’s bringing in there. I think he’s going to get the ball in space more, which could be really dangerous, and I expect him to have a really big year.

Not to mention, they’ve got great wide receiver play, so they should be able to have balance. And as teams load up on the running of the quarterback and Barkley, they should be able to make him pay for that with one-on-one opportunities on the outside.

I think if their pressure points to me, the obvious one is the defense save line, after what they lost a year ago, and just lose a group of guys like that and experience and the production, and then a year later just throw anybody out there, no matter what four-star, three-star, five-star, whatever it is, and expect him to live up to what they did a year ago. So that’s the biggest one for me.

I think the back end, the back seven at linebacker and secondary, I think they’re going to be outstanding with a new scheme, new defensive coordinator. And I also think the quarterback spot. It was almost these last couple years with Hackenberg, it just seemed to be — it just didn’t fit with what James Franklin was trying to do, after what Bill O’Brien had done. It just kind of seemed to be out of rhythm or out of sorts offensively. And there’s been a lot of talk about a more mobile quarterback and that’s what James Franklin wanted and he has it. So until we see it, I would say the quarterback spot in this new system, that’s the one question mark for me on offense and the on defensive line. We’ll know a lot September 10 when they go over to Pitt.

ESPN Networks Kick Off Coverage Of The 2016 College Foootball Season This Week

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The wait is nearly over.  The 2016 college football season kicks off this Friday, August 26. And ESPN will have full coverage of Week 0.

The 2016 college football season kicks off this Friday night on ESPN when California and Hawaii face off live from ANZ Stadium in Sydney, Australia. ESPN will carry full coverage of the game beginning at 10pm ET.  Allen Bestwick, Mike Bellotti and Warren Smith will have the call for the game.

Friday’s live international event will be followed up Saturday night by a matchup between defending Big South Champion and #6 ranked Charleston Southern on the road against five-time defending champion and #1 North Dakota State at 7:30pm ET.  Adam Amin, Mack Brown, and Molly McGrath will have the call for that game live from Fargo, North Dakota.  It will mark the first time that the trio will have worked together on an ESPN broadcast.
As an additional bonus for college football fans, ESPN will air a special one-hour edition of College GameDay Saturday morning at 11am.  Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, David Pollack and Lee Corso (via satellite) will look ahead at the season to come in this week’s special season preview edition of College GameDay.  The weekly college football broadcast will officially launch its 2016 season next Saturday, September 3rd from Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin ahead of the Badgers’ game against the LSU Tigers.

The full broadcast schedule for the ESPN networks’ college football preview shows is noted in whole below.

Date

Time (ET)

Show

Commentators 

Network

Mon, Aug. 22

7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

2016 SEC College Football Preview Show

Matt Schick, Tom Luginbill, Kevin Carter

ESPNU

 

8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

2016 ACC College Football Preview Show

Anish Shroff, Mike Bellotti, Charles Arbuckle

ESPNU

Tue, Aug. 23

7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

2016 Big Ten College Football Preview Show

Brendan Fitzgerald, Tom Luginbill, Jason Sehorn

ESPNU

 

8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

2016 Big 12 College Football Preview Show

Anish Shroff, Kevin Carter, Jason Sehorn

ESPNU

Wed, Aug. 24

7 p.m. – 8 p.m.

2016 Pac-12 College Football Preview Show

Brendan Fitzgerald, Mike Bellotti, Charles Arbuckle

ESPNU

 

8 p.m. – 9 p.m.

National College Football Preview

Matt Schick, Mike Bellotti, Tom Luginbill

ESPNU

 

8:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

The Herbies Preseason Special

Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit

ESPN2

Sat, Aug. 27

11 a.m. – noon

College GameDay Season Preview

Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, David Pollack, Lee Corso (via satellite)

ESPN

Sun, Aug. 28

1 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

The Heisman Trophy Preview Show

Joe Tessitore, Desmond Howard, Danny Kanell

ESPN

 

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Championship Drive: College Football Season Preview

Rece Davis

ESPN

More information on the ESPN networks’ coverage of the 2016 college football season is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CFBonESPN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/espncfb

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Sets Up Big 10 Championship In This Weekend’s CGD Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This weekend is going to be a very busy one in the world of college football. That is because this weekend is championship weekend for college football. And ESPN’s College GameDay will be live this Saturday morning ahead of just one of those championships.

ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will be live Saturday morning in Indianapolis ahead of the Big 10 Championship game between Michigan State and Iowa. This weekend’s broadcast, which will come live from Pan Am Plaza, will be the second time that the Emmy® Award-winning program will have broadcast there. Rece Davis will anchor the broadcast. He will be joined at the desk by analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, and David Pollack. Contributors Samantha Ponder, Tom Rinaldi, and Gene Wojciechowski will also be on hand for additional commentary. Saturday’s broadcast begins at 9am ET on ESPN and runs until noon.

Friday afternoon on ESPN College Football Live will come live from the College GameDay Built by The Home Depot set. It begins at 2pm ET. Samantha Ponder, Desmond Howard, and David Pollack will be at the desk for the weekly broadcast. More information on this weekend’s broadcast of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/collegegameday

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CollegeGameDay

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Previews Big 12 Conference Showdown This Week On CGD

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Listen up Sooner Nation. ESPN is coming to town this weekend.

ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will come live from the campus of Oklahoma this Saturday morning. The broadcast, which runs from 9am ET to 12pm ET, is in advance of the Sooners’ annual “Bedlam” game against in-state rival Oklahoma State University. The Big 12 opponents will be the featured game of the week on Saturday Night Football on ABC presented by Wells Fargo. Oklahoma (10 – 1) is ranked at #3 in the college football playoff standings, having moved up four spots from last week’s rankings. Oklahoma State (10 – 1) fell six spots this week to #10 in the rankings.

Saturday’s live broadcast will mark the fifth time that College GameDay Built by The Home Depot has come live from Oklahoma’s campus. Rece Davis will anchor the broadcast. He will be joined at the desk by ESPN college football analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and David Pollack as well as contributors Samantha Ponder, Tom Rinaldi, George Whitfield, and Gene Wojciechowski. On a related note, Desmond Howard will be off this weekend. That is because he will be in Ann Arbor, Michigan as his #21 jersey will be retired ahead of the Wolverines’ rivalry game against The Ohio State University. Howard will have live segments from Michigan throughout Saturday’s broadcast of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot.

Kirk Herbstreit will have the call for Saturday night’s game between the Sooners and Cowboys. He will be joined in the booth by Chris Fowler. Reporter Heather Cox will also be on hand for additional commentary and news throughout the game. More information on this week’s edition of College GameDay Built by The Home Depot is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/collegegameday

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CollegeGameDay

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN’s CGD To Broadcast Live From Ohio State This Weekend

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is headed to the Buckeye State this weekend.

This weekend, ESPN’s College GameDay Built by The Home Depot will come live from the campus of Ohio State University. It marks the first time since 2010 that the Emmy Award-winning college football broadcast will come live the the campus of The Ohio State University. Saturday’s broadcast will come live from The Oval in front of the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library beginning at 9am ET and will run until noon eastern. The broadcast is in anticipation of Saturday night’s showdown between the #2 Buckeyes and #9 Michigan State Spartans. That game will be the feature match on Saturday Night Football on ABC presented by Wells Fargo. Kickoff for that game is scheduled for 3:30pm ET.

Rece Davis will anchor Saturday morning’s broadcast. He will be joined at the desk by analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and David Pollack. Contributors Samantha Ponder, Tom Rinaldi, George Whitfield, and Gene Wojciechowski will be on hand for additional commentary an reports. Herbstreit will have the call Saturday night on ABC. He will be joined in the booth by Chris Fowler. Reporter Heather Cox will also be on hand for additional commentary and reports.

Friday afternoon, Samantha Ponder, Desmond Howard, and David Pollack will be on site for ESPN’s weekly broadcast of College Football Live. That broadcast will begin at 2pm ET. Over on ESPN Radio, Doug Kezirian will anchor ESPN Radio’s broadcast of College GameDay. He will be joined by Brad Edwards and Trevor Matich for the broadcast. Maria Taylor, Joey Galloway, and Andrea Adelson will be on hand for additional commentary. Broadcast begins at 3:30pm ET on ESPN Radio affiliates nationwide. More information on this weekend’s edition of College GameDay Built by the Home Depot is available online now along with all of the latest college football headlines at:

Website: http://espn.go.com/college-football

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/collegegameday

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CollegeGameDay

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.