Why ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit is calling the College Football Playoff from home

By | December 30, 2020

As a fitting way to end the 2020 college football season, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit will work from home on New Year’s Day, the biggest day on the college football calendar.

Herbstreit was due to be on site for “College GameDay” and for the Sugar Bowl, but he revealed Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. He says he and his family are “doing fine” but that it’ll force him to perform his broadcast obligations remotely.

Usually, Herbstreit joins play-by-play man Chris Fowler on ESPN’s top college football crew. In a regular bowl season, that’d mean calling the Rose Bowl, but they’re working the Sugar Bowl between No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Ohio State after the Rose Bowl was moved to Texas.

Additionally, Herbstreit is a staple on ESPN’s “College GameDay” pregame show every Saturday. That program will run Friday from 9 a.m.-12 noon ET, and Herbstreit will join in but from his home. He’ll then do the Sugar Bowl call from his home, as well, joining Fowler, Maria Taylor and Tom Rinaldi for that broadcast.

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Herbstreit already worked from home once before this season. During Week 4, he came in close contact with a COVID-19 infected person, leading Herbstreit to work from home for both “College GameDay” and that night’s game between Miami and Florida State.

ESPN’s had a number of positive COVID-19 tests among its personalities, including most recently former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy. He was due to call the Alabama vs. Notre Dame Rose Bowl game for ESPN Radio, but he tweeted Tuesday that he won’t be doing that after a positive test. 

Herbstreit would line up to call the national championship game with Fowler and their crew on Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. Depending on the exact timing of protocols, it’s likely Herbstreit could return to an in-person role for that matchup at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.