Kirk Herbstreit Harrisonburg, VA – October 23, 2015 – James Madison University: Kirk Herbstreit on the set of College GameDay Built by the Home Depot (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

There may not be a man in America busier this coming Labor Day weekend than Kirk Herbstreit.

With college football season kicking off, the ESPN analyst faces a schedule that’s exhausting just to look at:

  • On Wednesday, Aug. 30, he will fly to Bloomington, Indiana.
  • On Thursday, he will call the Indiana-Ohio State game at Memorial Stadium (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), with play-by-play man Dave Flemming. Afterward, he will fly to Atlanta.
  • On Friday, he hopes to sneak off to Nashville to catch his sons’ high school games. Then, back to Atlanta.
  • On Saturday morning, he will join the College GameDay team at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, site of Alabama-Florida State.
  • On Saturday night, he will call the Crimson Tide-Seminoles clash (8 p.m., ABC), alongside Chris Fowler.
  • After catching his breath Sunday, he will stick in Atlanta on Monday to call Tennessee-Georgia Tech (8 p.m., ESPN), next to Rece Davis.

The biggest challenge, Herbstreit told Awful Announcing in a phone interview Friday, will be finding time to sleep. If he doesn’t, his voice might not survive the weekend.

“The adrenaline allows me to physically be OK and mentally to be sharp,” Herbstreit said. “But my voice is the one thing that gets challenged when you do this much TV at one time.”

Herbstreit has a reputation as both a hard worker and a frequent flyer. He has often called two games in the span of a few days and routinely flies on Saturdays from the site of GameDay to the site of the Saturday night ABC game. But never before has he worked three games in a single weekend.

The obstacles of such an assignment are obvious. He’ll be working with three different play-by-play men and two different production teams. He’s never called a game with Flemming and admits he might be “a fish out of water” with the unfamiliar Thursday night crew—though he insists that’s nothing a pregame dinner can’t alleviate. And as for working with Fowler and Davis, “That’s almost like riding a bike.”

An even bigger concern could be the mass of information Herbstreit will be forced to store in his brain at once. It’s hard enough learning the names, backgrounds and tactics of two teams for a single broadcast. Doing so for six, while also prepping for the wide lens of GameDay, seems Herculean.

So is Herbstreit worried that studying for six different teams will limit his ability to become a true expert on any one or two? Eh, not really.

“If I did three games in the middle of the year, that might come into play,” he said. “But when you have basically the entire month of time to prepare yourself, then there’s still plenty of time to get what you need and be as prepared as I would be if I were just calling one game.”

This overloaded Opening Week schedule was not Herbstreit’s idea—his bosses at ESPN suggested it—but he sounds legitimately excited about the assignment. Somehow, he views calling three games in one long weekend not a burden but a privilege.

“I love it,” he said. “They could ask me to do four. If I could physically make it around to do the four, I would do it.”

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports,, and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.