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Friday, November 03, 2006

Wolf In Sheep's Clothing?

We had a number of people send us the link in the Detroit News which detailed some comments ESPN/ABC college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit made about Michigan on his radio show in Columbus. And they weren't all that complimentary.

Although the headline "Herbstreit Rips U-M on Radio" was a bit over the top, the story does point out that Herbstreit, who hosts a daily show on Columbus' WBNS, is a Buckeye through and through. He does a good job of appearing unbiased during the Gameday braodcasts, as well as while doing color commentary during games, but Michigan fans should not forget that he grew up in Ohio, played for the Buckeyes, and still lives in Columbus. While he doesn't hide this fact during his daily radio gig, the only time you'd really know he was a Buckeye on TV is when he's had his kids - wearing his #4 jersey - climb on his lap during Michigan Week.

So when you're watching Herbstreit, and staring into his blue eyes, just remember that while he might be conciliatory to Michigan on TV on Saturdays, he's been much more critical of the Wolverines during the week.

Although, I have to admit we did agree with Herbstreit when, speaking about Michigan's fans not sticking around for last Saturday's Northwestern game, he said, "If you're a Michigan fan, honestly, help me to understand, you have a team that is No. 2 in the country, you only get a chance to see them play at home six or seven times and you bail in the second quarter?"


Anonymous said...

There is no doubt that Kirk is a Buckeye, but he does a pretty good job staying reasonably unbiased on ESPN. Nothing he's said that was in the DetNews article hasn't been said (or felt) by UM fans already -- it was a pretty fair assessment of UM football right now. He has made similar comments/criticism regarding the Buckeyes in the past. In 2004 he criticized the Buckeye's offense heavily on his radio show and paid the price with some Buckeye "fans".

Anonymous said...

It just occurred to me. From the photo of Herbstreit vs. Illinois, the Illini haven't changed their helmets since 19freaking89???! I guess they really feel their onto a top notch brand recognition scheme with "Illinois" emblazened N.Y. Giants-style on the side?
What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Herbstreit was the starting QB for Ohio State and ran the option a lot.
I don't recall that he was much of a passthrower.
I like his ESPN commentary, however.

Anonymous said...

Man, you guys squat to piss don't you. Truth hurts. Herbie is the shit. I love to listen to him and Corso make their picks, then bet with Herbie and against Corso.

GC said...

This is the guy who, in '97, tried his damnedest on ESPN Gameday to lobby for Nebraska, desperately searching for stats to "show" that they were better than UM. He found all of four, IIRC, for which Neb had (slightly) better numbers than UM. No other comparisons were made during the entire show as he, Corso, and [whatsizname] sang the praises of the team that had to cheat to beat Missouri.

Unbiased? Feh.

matsut said...

That's a sweet nine-year grudge you've got going there, gc.

Anonymous said...

I got a big kick out of both Herbie and your midget Heisman winner's unchecked glee when Sparty choked in the ND game.

Cliff Keen said...

I like Herbstreit but before he calls Steve Breaston "worthless," he should look at his own career for tOSU.

One-year starter, no Big 10 titles, no bowl wins, and no victories over Michigan (sorry but a 13-13 tie doesn't count even if Gordon Gee declared it one of the greatest wins in tOSU history).

If Breaston is worthless, Herbstreit is 10 trains behind and losing ground fast.

Anonymous said...

uhhh...I don't "stare into Herbstreit's blue eyes."
That would be gay.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see that big of a deal on Herbie's comments, and I kind of agree with him on the UM fans jetting early because of the weather.

I found the second part more interesting where ESPN rebuked the announcer for saying "that may be kind of gay" and then he apologized and said that really didn't represent him. Will somebody let their balls drop and stick up for what they say. From politicians, to sports guys they all apologize when they say something knowing dam well they meant it when they said it, so just say that, I meant what I said, I stand by and bring it if you don't like it!!!

Anonymous said...

Here's a guy who spent the first 3 weeks talking about the power and prowess of a "great Notre Dame team." Remember? Charlie Weiss and the great ND offense were going to be too much for anyone to handle?

Anonymous said...

I don't "stare into Herbstreit's blue eyes."
That would be gay.

As gay as "tenderly" "caressing" the ball when you catch it? Because as Brian Kinchen pointed out, that is kinda gay too.

Actually, Bucknut or not, I have to admit Herbstreit impressed me with his objectivity during the bowl against Nebraska last year, I kept waiting for his scarlet and gray to show, but ended up liking his commentary very much.

Anonymous said...

I admit- I have stared into his blue eyes.

But, the worthless comment is just mean. Yes, he is an OSU grad. Yes, a former player. Yes, a resident of C-bus. BUT, you are also a big time ESPN guy. Steve has not lived up to expectations or his ability, but to call him worthless is over the line. Pick apart our offense, etc.... parts of the game, but leave the childish, mean, name calling to OSU bloggers.

I DO enjoy him on saturdays. He has ranked Michigan #2 for a good part of the year.

The other thing that bugs me (other comentators do it too) is praise, praise, praise a player one minute for making great plays & then totally dog him the next. IE- Drew Stanton in the MSU/ ND game. PIck an opinion & go with it. Herbie does it & so do others.

I will say it again. Herbie, you are entitled to your opinion, but leave the name calling out of it.

Hopefully, Stevie B. will burn him with his own words Nov. 18. I can dream.

Anonymous said...

Herbstreit's claim to fame is guiding his team to a 13-13 tie '92. 'nuff said.

srudoff said...

Outside of a poor choice of the word "Worthless", how can you disagree with his analysis of Breaston? What HAS he done since his freshman year?

100 yard receiving game? Nope
Catch more than 7 passes in a game? Nope
Catch 2 Td's in a game? Nope
Run for a TD? Nope
Complete a pass? Nope
Return a Kickoff for a TD? Yep - once last year
Return a punt for a TD? Yep - once in 2004

While not "worthless" as a player, he's been "worthless" in Michigan's offensive scheme. He runs two patterns, the WR screen and the slant. He's effective in the WR screen if he gets a good initial block. On the slant, I've seen him drop as many as he catches.

He was all world his freshman year and has sucked ever since. Most of my Michigan friends agree and I'm sure you would too if you looked at the numbers.

Again, poor choice of words from Herbie but nothing was off about his analysis

.02 cents

Anonymous said...


without Breaston Michigan loses to both Penn State and Iowa. Did you bother to watch the '05 RB? Yep, you're right, he has sucked since his freshman year.

Andy said...

Kirk still has never beaten Michigan

Anonymous said...

"without Breaston Michigan loses to both Penn State and Iowa. Did you bother to watch the '05 RB? Yep, you're right, he has sucked since his freshman year."

I think that you just made his point for him...unintentionally of course

Having two good games since his Freshman year doesnt really merit all of the hype that Steve receives. He is a good punt returner and a marginal receiver. I know that he has had his fair share of injuries over the year's as well. I think that he is healthy this year and is still not performing.

I am sure that the same argument could be made with TG on the buckeye side, but OSU at least uses him in ways that make sense...

MGoBlue93 said...

I hope Steve Breaston has enough pride that he tapes the word "worthless" to his locker, folds it up on a piece of paper and places it inside his helmet, writes it on his eyeblack (like Reggie Bush and '619'), and puts it up on post-its all over his house, textbooks etc...

I hope this national calling out (Colin Cowherd was in ripe form this morning regarding Breaston before I had the chance to turn the channel) lights a fire under Breaston's ass the size of the US bombing the Chinese embassy in Kosovo... and if it does, I'm grateful he's on our side!

srudoff said...

Let me speak for all Buckeye fans in saying that I hope LLLoyd Carr goes way out of his way to help Breaston prove everyone wrong. The more passes to him, the better.

Anonymous said...

Let me speak for all Wolverine fans: fuck off.

mp said...

While Breaston has certainly been disappointing more and more often since his freshman year, to say he's done nothing since is not entirely true. He did set the Rose Bowl record for all-purpose yards his sophomore year.

That said, he does need to learn how to catch a football.

Vince Hopkins said...

First, I'm a Buckeye fan through and through but I have to tell you that your website is one of my favorites...I enjoy your commentary and sense of humor...you guys do a great job.

Secondly, I have to say that the Detroit newspaper took some liberties with Kirk Herbstriet's comments and didn't present the entire story. Following is a transcript where Kirk explains what he was saying and I think even the staunchest UM fans would agree with what he did say in regard to Steve Breaston's career at Michigan.

Here are the comments...

Rick (New York): When you call Steve Breaston "worthless", and promise to meet Eddie George at his restaurant for the OSU "victory party" over U-M, don't you lose your credibility as a national journalist? I bet you don't even have the guts to answer this question.

Kirk Herbstreit: (3:27 PM ET ) First of all, I did not call Steve Breaston worthless. I called his production in the Michigan offense worthless since his freshman year. That was probably said more out of frustration for Steve and wishing that he were more of a factor because of his ability to make big plays. I really regret that the newspaper painted me into a corner, making it look as if I called Steve worthless, which I never did. And I would never call any player worthless. But the facts are the facts and he has not been involved in this offense consistently since his freshman year.

Kirk Herbstreit: (3:27 PM ET ) The other thing that really ticked me off about that article was the headline that said that I feel that the Michigan defense will fail against Ohio State. I NEVER said Michigan's defense would "fail". I simply said they would not be able to dominate the Ohio State offense the way they've enjoyed dominating everybody they've played up to this point. I take a lot of pride in the fact that I'm an objective analyst, and anybody who's listened to me analyze Michigan over the last 11 years on ESPN, if they were being honest with themselves, would have to say I've always been fair to Michigan. If there's any regret that I have, it would be in using the word "worthless" to describe Breaston's productivity in the Michigan offense. That was not a term that I would ever use about a player and the person who he is. And it was clearly misconstrued, misrepresented and mean-spirited by the paper. I will continue to be objective and I will continue to enjoy seeing Michigan play well. As far as Eddie George's party, for me and my travels, I don't get a chance to see former players very often and I took Eddie's comments about a get-together as just that, win or lose that a bunch of former players were all going to get together. I hope all of the Michigan fans understand that this was clearly an attempt to paint me into a corner, as being anti-Michigan, which is the furthest thing from the truth. I've talked with Bill Martin, the Athletic Director and I have a call into coach Carr. And I'm looking forward to seeing Michigan win their next two games and I literally can't sleep because of my excitement about the Maize and Blue and Scarlet and Gray meeting to decide which of the two teams will play for the national title.

Finally, I apologize for any abuse you might receive when you're in Columbus later this month. Unfortunately in every group of 100,000 people there are always going to be a decent share of jerks...I hope you avoid them but chances are you'll probably cross a few of their paths. I know when I took my 9 year old son to the 1997 OSU/Michigan game in Ann Arbor, I was pretty shocked when a UM fan in his mid-50's got in my son's face and yelled, "Your going down today, you little pussy!" When my son asked what did that mean, I told him "It mean's that man is a jerk!" Not all the people wearing maize and blue...but definitely that man.

Keep up the great work and may we be treated to a game for the ages on November 18!

Yost said...


I have to agree in that I don't think Breaston has lived up to his potential. Does he convert some 3rd downs? Yes, but he drops just as many balls.

He hasn't become the star most Michigan fans thought he would.

surrounded in columbus said...

yeah, it's a wierd day when srudoff is actually right about something, but stevie has not become what everyone thought he'd be. stevie has had some huge moments, but they've been few & far between, separated by long stretches of disappointment.

that aside, it will be interesting to see what herbie says about michigan for the next 3 weeks. it won't be easy for him to do anything but bash us/predict doom w/ out conflicting w/ his opinions on 1460.

Anonymous said...


Say what you want, Herbie should NEVER call a player worthless or is role in an offense worthless... period. He's no frickin' heisman winner himself. He is a dumb-ass ESPN commentator. I say this as a person who does enjoy him on gameday.

Vince Hopkins-

This is what I read...

blahlahblah..WORTHLESS.. blahblahblah... WORTHLESS.. blahblahblah.

When what you get paid to do is write & speak then do it professionally.

Again, I say this as someone who does enjoy him on gameday, but he does need to watch himself.

Vince Hopkins said...

"When what you get paid to do is write & speak then do it professionally."

The same applies to newspapers, doesn't it?

BaggyPantsDevil said...

It doesn't bother me that Kirk Herbstreit thinks Ohio State will win big, he did once think the Miami Hurricanes were the best team in college football this seasons. He's an alumni and a former player so it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that deep down inside he's rooting for the Buckeyes every week. I think he does a good job on ESPN and makes a good effort to appear unbiased there.

What I do find offensive—and Herbstreit should know better—is the use of the word "worthless" in reference to Steve Breaston's performance on the field, contributions to Michigan's offense, or whatever Herbstreit was referring to. First, it completely ignores some significant efforts on Breaston's part and, second, it's extremely disrespectful to a student-athlete. Nothing Breaston has ever done or failed to do deserves having "worthless" used to describe him or his efforts.

I also think folks should lay off some of the criticism of Breaston. The disappointment people feel speaks less to his shortcomings as an athlete and more to our own unreasonable expectations as fans. In high school, he was a quarterback. When he came to Michigan, he was so small the other players nicknamed him "Pop Warner" because he looked like a little kid. We were all amazed with Breaston's kick return abilities when he was a redshirt freshman. Then he started getting hurt.

I'm sure his slight build contributed to the injuries since he plays a very physical game with guys who routinely outweighed him by 100 pounds. Over the years he's bulked up, if you can call being 6'1" 180 pounds bulky, but the extra weight has robbed him of some of his speed and elusiveness. Breaston didn't really have a good option here, either remain speedy in the 160's and risk being broken in two or add some weight to become less fragile and lose a step or two. I think Breaston has done a good job working with what he has and finding a niche where he was able to contribute—sometimes in a spectacular fashion—to his team. And, I can't recall the soft-spoken Breaston ever boasting about being the next Braylon Edwards or Anthony Carter.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, baggy pants devil. Stevie B. has ALWAYS been one of my favorite players. I have met him at the women's football academy & what a great guy. He has been plagued by injuries & I am sure has had a hard time figuring out his role. He deserves so much more respect. Wouldn't it be nice to see him have an AWESOME day Nov. 18 & shut everyone up for good?

Long live Stevie B!