Kirk Herbstreit’s Shout-Out and Its Significance


On Tuesday, August 27th, I was flipping through television channels and landed on SportsCenter. The host was interviewing Kirk Herbstreit about this upcoming season. Herbstreit is one of the premier announcers and hosts for College Gameday on Saturdays during the college football season. Allow me to paraphrase the conversation. He was asked the question, “what games are you looking forward to that other people need to pay attention to?” Kirk answered, “The UNC-USC game. It’s going to be South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney versus UNC’s Bryn Renner. Renner has really improved last season and now that UNC is bowl eligible this year, the Tar Heels are looking to upset South Carolina in Columbia.” This is an important statement for a number of reasons.


Reason #1 it’s important: Kirk Herbstreit is the face of college football analysis

Let’s be honest here, Lee Corso has been off his meds since 2007. He’s memorable on College Gameday but in the same way your uncle is memorable when he got too drunk at Thanksgiving last year. I’m not a fan of Mark May or Lou Holtz, personally. And well, I never remember Chris Fowler’s name until I look him up online. Desmond Howard is good but he’s relatively new. This isn’t slamming anyone. It’s to make the point that, through and through, when I think college football Saturday afternoons on ESPN I think Kirk Herbstreit’s analysis (and Erin Andrews on the sideline of course). In the interview, Kirk had admitted he had been doing analysis for 18 years. 18 seasons, it has been his job to analyze the college football landscape and know the teams, conference structures, rivalries, and big names. He’s the man with the knowledge. Then, he picks UNC-USC as the game for the national audience of Sportscenter to pay attention to? No matter how the game turns out, that is a major accomplishment for the Tar Heels.

Reason #2 it’s important: He mentioned the progress Bryn Renner’s made

It’s one thing to say a game is important because there are two nationally-recognized schools going head to head. It’s a completely other thing to say this will be a good game between two talented programs, led by these specific star players. Everybody in North Carolina understands that UNC is not only a basketball school anymore. We’re on the upswing. It’s important that people like Kirk Herbstreit recognize it. By him recognizing it and spreading the message of Chapel Hill’s rise in the game of college football, others will begin to take notice as well. The national spotlight is squarely on Renner’s shoulder this game and now the Sportscenter’s audience knows that as well. There was no mention of All-American Giovani Bernard’s departure to the NFL in Kirk’s answer. It was simply focusing on the strides UNC has made and the individual rise in performance Renner has made under the tutelage of Larry Fedora.

Reason #3 it’s important: It was on Sportscenter

Some people don’t like college football. Ridiculous, I know, but true. Some people would never turn on College Gameday on Saturday afternoons. Some people would never watch Kirk Herbstreit. However, there are significantly more sports than just football on Sportscenter. There’s a broad spectrum of audience members that would never watch College Gameday that now know UNC is on the rise in college football. They now know Bryn Renner’s name. Some viewers might have tuned in to watch baseball clips or news on summer league NBA. It doesn’t matter. They now know that UNC vs. USC is going to be a “game to keep their eye on”, according to a college football analyst. That will mean more eyes on the outcome.