Title: Herbstreit & Fitzsimmons
Length: 50 minutes and 9 seconds
Cast: Kirk Herbstreit and Ian Fitzsimmons
Sponsors: Seat Geek
Extra: Powered by ESPN, the podcast can be found on ITunes or the ESPN app.
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit and ESPN Radio host Ian Fitzsimmons team up for a weekly podcast that centers entirely on the college football season. To be honest, before I gave this podcast a listen, I expected it to be very similar to the College Gameday or studio show format that has been so popular with ESPN. However, I didn’t find that to be the case. Instead of 50 minutes of hard-hitting college football talk, Herbstreit and Fitzsimmons showed a lot of their personality, which made the opening minutes of the show very entertaining. I especially liked Fitzsimmons’s role of driving the podcast, which kept the show on-track with good flow. As any great host can do, Ian does a great job of setting up topics and discussions for Herbstreit to analyze.
After a few minutes of banter between the hosts, Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield joined the show to talk about his start to the season. This is where Herbstreit and Fitzsimmons set their podcast apart from the rest. It may help having the backing of a major brand like ESPN, but featuring, quite possibly, the most polarizing player in college football is something that most other podcasts can’t provide. Mayfield is a big draw, and I was anxious to see if Herbstreit and Fitzsimmons would be able to bring out his personality and ask original questions. Much to my enjoyment, that was certainly the case.
As a media member that covers Oklahoma, I’ve heard just about every question that Mayfield can be asked. However, Herbstreit threw in several questions that I had never considered or heard of. The originality of the questions from both hosts, kept me thoroughly entertained throughout the entire interview with Mayfield.
Following the interview, Fitzsimmons does a marvelous job of re-setting things and teasing an upcoming conversation with Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. From there, he goes into a Seat Geek read. I liked the fact that he teased the interview before the read. By doing so, he gave me a reason to stick around through the ad because of the relevance of the next interview.
Once again, Herbstreit and Fitzsimmons do a fantastic job with another guest (Mullen). These days, we’re accustomed to ‘coach speak’ in media settings, where everything that’s said is taken with a grain of salt. That’s why I love hearing coaches on a podcast, because, more times than not, it seems you’ll get better answers and lot more truth. Such was the case with Mullen, as he laid out the reasons for last year’s disappointment and what he truly expects from this season. Mullen is one of the more well-spoken head coaches you’ll hear from, and when informative questions are thrown his way from Herbstreit and Fitzsimmons, the segment really shines.
After Mullen exits the show, both Herbstreit and Fitzsimmons spent time breaking down the big games for the upcoming weekend. This is a staple of any podcast that’s centered on football, but the roles of the two hosts are clearly defined, which makes the flow a lot sharper. Herbstreit provides excellent insight to all six games mentioned, while Fitzsimmons sets everything up and includes key points from each game.
The two interviews with Mayfield and Mullen are what set this podcast apart from the rest. Sure, anytime you can get big-name guests, it’s impressive, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect. With Mayfield being the Heisman front-runner and Mullen potentially being the hottest head coaching commodity this offseason, it brings relevance along with the big names. That’s key. I love to hear from big names, but I love it more when they’re the big story. All in all, I would definitely recommend this podcast to any college football fan. It has great info along with good humor and quality guests.
Give props to ESPN for pairing Herbstreit and Fitzsimmons together as a duo. With Fitz’ extensive radio background and Herbie’s expertise on the sport, it’s really a great blend of personalities.
Also, the production value with opens and closes is very well done. That’s to be expected with a product that’s made by ESPN, but it can’t be stressed enough how good production can greatly benefit a podcast.
To hear the episode click here.