Herbstreit on 710 ESPN Seattle: "If I made a mistake anywhere, I get offended because I feel like I'm with you trying to help you and your conference get more recognition."
Washington fans did not take kindly to comments made by ESPN’s popular college football analyst, Kirk Herbstreit, during “College GameDay” on Saturday morning.
In response to Chris Petersen’s comments last week about late kickoffs, Herbstreit said the Huskies “should be thanking” ESPN for airing their games at night.
On Tuesday morning, Herbstreit joined hosts Mike Salk and Brock Huard on 710 ESPN Seattle. These are Herbstreit’s opening comments during the interview:
“I’ve heard through Twitter and various other outlets that people are upset, and to a certain degree I can completely understand why people would feel that way. First of all, let’s just backtrack: Brock understands this working at a company like ESPN. It’s a bunch of different silos — you have a studio show like ‘College Football Live.’ I have no earthly idea what they’re talking about today. You have radio. You have (ESPN) dot-com. You have I don’t know how many broadcasts ESPN does with games that Brock does and I do, and the guys that did the Washington game. You really have no idea what they’re doing. So what I reacted to was more of listening and watching Pete, which was for me — for him to have an opinion about anything publicly tells you that he was really upset about something. And for him to kind of convey that to the media, you guys can probably count on one hand how many times he’s ever done that. I would think guys locally who cover the Huskies go there hoping that he’ll give them anything to talk about or any kind of quote other than those ‘Bull Durham’ quotes. So for him to go there (last Monday) was a little bit surprising and I think the thing when I go back and watch it on ‘GameDay’ — because I can’t speak for what those guys did during the game with cupcake and the other thing that I think Mark Jones talked about — for me it was just, I am a huge, I have been doing ‘GameDay’ since the ‘90s when Brock was playing and I love the Pac-12. And I take offense — not to the degree you guys do living out there — but I take offense when I’m in the SEC or the Big Ten at how either people are uninformed about the Pac-12 or kind of slight the Pac-12 or just don’t see the Pac-12. … They just don’t get the play (attention) that other conferences get. So I’ve taken a sense of pride on ‘GameDay’ and other shows of trying to make sure we as our show try to get the Pac-12, when it deserves to be out there, try to get them out there and get some recognition. So when (Petersen) said that, my mistake was I took that personally as an individual, that I feel like we as a show really try to battle for not only Washington for the whole conference.
“I’m not saying this because I work at ESPN; this is just a reality if you watch ratings. The greatest thing that happened as far as getting more exposure are those night games because they are on ESPN and because people in the Big Ten and the SEC and the ACC and the Big 12 get a little bit more familiar with the Washington brand and Myles Gaskin or Jake Browning. And they get a little more familiar hopefully with Bryce Love and Stanford. Other than just USC. It felt like forever it’s just USC is the 8 o’clock (Eastern time) ABC game, and I just thought, ‘Man, this is going to be great’ that ESPN’s going to finally have a relationship with the Pac-12 and they’re going to be able televise some of those games that otherwise are not seen or never even heard of. So when I said something like, ‘They should be thanking ESPN,’ that’s more of as a conference they should be happy to be on ESPN and be able to get the exposure. This was not me backhanding Chris Petersen — ‘how dare you question our authority.’ If you know me and have watched me for 22 years, I’m not that guy. I just don’t do that. I took it more as, ‘Man, Pete, you’re my guy. You should be happy that these games are at night. At least they’re on a big network on ESPN.’”
Herbstreit said that he didn’t realize until after Saturday’s “GameDay” show that Washington had played all of its games after 5 p.m. PT, and that he understood the frustrations about that. He also said he had a conversation Monday with Stanford coach David Shaw, who has been publicly critical of late kickoffs too.
“Believe or not,” Herbstreit added, “as much as I’m sure people are upset with me and makes for great ratings and we can get clicks and all that — ESPN, ahh, let’s get mad at ESPN! I’m on your side. I like the Pac-12. I like Washington. I like Stanford. I like USC. I love Washington State’s story this year. … It’s like steering the Titanic trying to get people when you get into arguments (about) who plays good football and who doesn’t and who has a great conference when you bring up the Pac-12. People roll their eyes as if we’re talking about JV football. I’ve been talking about this topic, Brock, since you played. So I guess the reason, if I made a mistake anywhere, I get offended because I feel like I’m with you trying to help you and your conference get more recognition. So if I made a mistake it’s, man, I’m on your side with you. This is a good thing. If it takes playing games at night, then so be it.”