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Why ESPN’s College Gameday Continues To Work

Jason Barrett

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In 1987, a gallon of gas cost 89 cents and The Bangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian” finished at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

It also was the year ESPN debuted a college football pregame show. It starred Tim Brando, Beano Cook and Lee Corso, and it was called “College GameDay.”

Much has changed in 28 years,but the show has only grown. What started as just your typical pregame studio show has become an ingrained part of the college football culture – and a show that has widely been recognized as one of the best pregame programs in all of sports.

Through the first five weeks of the 2015 season, College GameDay was averaging a record 1.992 million viewers on TV and an additional 41,000 average minute impressions on the WatchESPN streaming app. That’s an all-time high for the show since it moved to a three-hour format in 2013, according to ESPN.

But it hasn’t just been one thing that has caused College GameDay’s popularity to soar. If you ask ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit – who is part of the show’s current cast along with Rece Davis, Desmond Howard and Corso – it’s a mix of things.

One of those reasons, Herbstreit said, is the growing popularity of football as a whole.

“I just feel like the last eight or nine years, we’ve been in a really good spot as far as the sport has grown immensely,” Herbstreit said Wednesday during a call to promote Allstate’s It’s Good Sweepstakes. “I think as the NFL has become kind of ‘the’ sport in our country, college football has gone along for the ride. So I think football – major college football and the NFL – kind of separated themselves from everything else based on attendance and ratings and things like that.”

Then there’s the actual content of the show, ranging from Corso’s weekly mascot headgear pick (which he has done more than 250 times since 1996) to straight news, analysis and feature stories.

“You might be crying one minute and laughing the next,” said Herbstreit, who has been on the GameDay set since 1996. “It’s really a mix of emotions when you watching a show of ours.”

To read the rest of the article visit Newsday where it was originally published

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Matt Ryan Joining CBS Sports As Guest Analyst This Weekend

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan is joining CBS Sports this weekend as a guest analyst.

Ryan will appear on That Other Pregame Show on CBS Sports Network at its regularly scheduled time of 9:00 AM ET before joining The NFL Today at 2:00 PM ET on CBS. The NFL Today — which usually airs from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM ET — begins at 2:00 PM ET before the network’s coverage of the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills at 3:00.

He will bring a fresh perspective to the CBS shows, after defeating two of the four remaining teams in the AFC.

The on-air opportunity could be viewed as a tryout of sorts for the 37-year-old quarterback. Ryan struggled in his first season with Indianapolis, playing in 12 of the team’s 17 games after being benched at the behest of owner Jim Irsay. Ryan was later reinserted to the starting lineup after the franchise fired head coach Frank Reich and replaced him with ESPN NFL analyst Jeff Saturday, before he was ultimately removed once more.

It is not the first broadcasting role Ryan has held. In 2020 — while still a member of the Atlanta Falcons — he hosted a 12-hour radiothon on 680 The Fan for Advance The Lives, a charity focused on combatting systemic barriers Black youth face in the greater Atlanta area.

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Mike Tirico: I Sound Like I Want to Be At The Game Because I Do

“People have said ‘When we watch the game, we feel like you want to be there,’ and I do.”

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Mike Tirico has received high marks from critics for his work over the closing weeks of the NFL season, as well as his initial playoff game that saw the Bengals defeat the Baltimore Ravens in thrilling fashion. He told ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy he has been blessed with nice compliments.

“They’re fun. They’re why you do this. It’s why you’re sitting there on a Tuesday night at 10 o’clock asking ‘Do I have to watch another game of Jacksonville’s?’ It pays off. People have been very kind. The nicest thing that I’ve received from people that has made me– to be brutally honest with you — feel good is that people have said ‘When we watch the game, we feel like you want to be there,’ and I do.

“Other than being at home with my family, there’s no place I’d rather be. And every week, before I do the game, I take a little picture on my phone during the national anthem from our spot. It’s just great to look back. You’re sitting in the best spot, with all these cameras and all these TVs and all these stats. A 17-time Emmy Award winner in Cris Collinsworth right next to you. You are so lucky to do this, and I enjoy every second of it.”

Tirico’s excitement and enthusiasm were compared to his NBC cohort Al Michaels, who received heavy criticism for a perceived lack of enthusiasm as the Jacksonville Jaguars completed one of the largest comebacks in NFL history to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers in the Super Wild Card Round. Michaels dismissed the criticism as “internet compost“.

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Tom Brady To Take a Month Before Deciding To Return to NFL or Go to FOX

“Maybe he doesn’t want to broadcast, and that’s a standing offer. It’s not like he has to take it right now.”

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Tom Brady is 45 years old. His future will be a source of speculation every year at the end of the NFL season. The end of the current season is no different, but a 10-year, $375 million deal with FOX is an element that has not been in the mix before. Jordan Schultz says that could stretch out the timeline before we get any certainty from the GOAT.

“He wants to take a month or two to really evaluate everything he has,” The Score’s NFL insider told Pat McAfee on Friday. “That means on the field, off the field, I think there are a couple of really important things to consider.”

Those things for Tom Brady are his family and his goals. Schultz pointed out that Brady has two kids living in Miami, which makes the Dolphins a realistic option for next season. He also has a son living in New York, so the Jets cannot be ruled out. The Las Vegas Raiders were also mentioned as a potential landing spot.

Schultz described Brady’s deal with FOX as “the elephant in the room” right now. The dollar figure is making the decision hard, but it likely will not be the determining factor.

“The thing you miss the most is the guys and the camaraderie, maybe not the grind of football, but those guys and those experiences,” Schultz said. “You don’t get that in the booth, but you do get the money and the lack of stress.”

Complicating the decision is the fact that Brady is not under a time crunch with FOX. The network doesn’t appear to be taking the offer off the table if he is not in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt by a pre-determined date.

“Maybe he doesn’t want to broadcast, and that’s a standing offer. It’s not like he has to take it right now.”

Jordan Schultz says that based on what he has heard, it is more likely that FOX will have to keep waiting. While it isn’t clear exactly what Brady’s goal for 2023 is, Schultz said he would be surprised to see Brady retire now.

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