Kirk Herbstreit is entering his 23rd season this fall as one of the faces of ESPN's College Gameday, and his 13th as the lead analyst on ABC's Saturday Night Football. The former Ohio State quarterback has become one of the game's top voices, and one that is certainly not shy about sharing his predictions for the season to come.
"Herbie" recently sat down with USA Today at ESPN's headquarters to discuss the 2018 season, and the Nittany Lions were a frequent topic.
Trace McSorley. How about it? He’s the Baker Mayfield of this year as far as intangibles, what he means to this team, attitude, how he plays with a chip on his shoulder. … I’m not talking first (overall) pick, just what he means to his team in 2018 reminds me a lot of Baker. I think that’s how Trace will play this year. And I think they’ve got a chip because people made it seem like it was more about Saquon Barkley, and I think they’re out to prove to people, “No, no, no, we have more in this program than Saquon Barkley.”
Best Coach (Non-Saban)
I think James Franklin is a great coach. I’m a huge fan. He won at Vanderbilt, he won at Penn State. Think about what he inherited … I know Bill O’Brien did a good job. But he’s made it cool to go to Penn State again. You know how hard that is after all they went through? When kids in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey say, “I’m going to Penn State,” it used to be like, “Oh, that’s your only (major) offer.” He did that.
I’m going to go Alabama and Clemson … just, like, put them in. And then I’m going to go Penn State and Washington.
Clearly Herbstreit sees big things for Penn State this fall, led by one of his top coaches in the game, and the Nittany Lions' record setting quarterback.
Herbstreit will get an early look at what seems to be his favorite to win the Big Ten when the Nittany Lions travel to Pitt for a primetime clash on Sept. 8. That game will air on ABC, with Chris Fowler joining the call. That pair of course teamed up for one of the most memorable calls in recent Penn State history.
Chills. Every. Time.