The tradeoff is that he will work every Saturday night primetime game, doing color analysis for play-by-play man Brent Musburger. Herbstreit told BuckeyeSports.com the deal was proposed to him by the network earlier this summer.
"They said, ‘We want you to stay on GameDay,' " he said. "And they wanted me to stay on the Saturday night games with just Brent and I, but to be able to do that, because it takes so much time to do those two events, they said, ‘We're going to have to pull you off of Thursday.' " That was not exactly what he wanted to hear. "I was a little reluctant to come off of Thursday because I really enjoy that game, but I understood. The ABC Saturday night primetime game is a major priority and it takes a lot of work from a production standpoint to be prepared, so between that and all the work it takes to put into GameDay, those will be my focus."
Thus, he said being the solo color man on Saturday nights – last season he teamed with Bob Davie to provide color to Musburger's play-by-play – and not having the Thursday game to prepare for additionally will allow him to get more in depth in his prep work on both the Saturday morning show and the Saturday night game.
So for fans, the change should translate to more and better Herbstreit overall.
In addition, even if the extra work figures to cancel out any free time he might have gotten from dropping the Thursday assignments, Herbstreit should have at least some weeks he is able to spend an additional night per week at home with his wife and four young boys.
And there is one more twist to the move. When the taping of GameDay does not coincide with the game Herbstreit is assigned to call that evening, he will be forced to hop a plane and head from one campus to the other.
The wisdom of that strategy will be tested in the first week of the season when GameDay will be taped live in Blacksburg, Va., on the campus of Virginia Tech. Herbstreit's game that night is Tennessee taking on Cal in Berkeley, Calif. "I think it's doable and it's going to afford me an opportunity to work with a legend in Brent and also do a lot of the bigger games that are going to be on ABC this year, which will include the Rose Bowl at the end of the year," Herbstreit said.
Aside from Herbstreit, two other personalities are OSU ties will be working new assignments this fall.
Former Buckeye linebacker Chris Spielman will continue to do color alongside play-by-play man Sean McDonough, but the duo will shift from Saturday afternoon ESPN games to ones Friday night on the same network.
Former University of Miami coach Larry Coker, who served on John Cooper's staff for the 1993 and '94 seasons, will make his television-broadcasting debut on ESPNU this fall.