ESPN College Football Thursday Primetime

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College Football Primetime
StarringMatt Barrie
Mike Golic Jr.
Molly McGrath
Country of origin United States
Running time3 hours (approximate)
Original networkESPN or ESPN2
Original releaseSeptember 3, 1992 (1992-09-03) –

ESPN College Football Primetime is a live game presentation of Division 1-FBS college football on ESPN or sometimes ESPN2. In the past, the presenting sponsor was Cooper Tires, but since the 2006 season, the current presenting sponsor is Applebee's. The game telecast airs every Thursday night at 7:45pm ET during the college football regular season. The game is preceded by a 30-minute segment with Matt Barrie, Joey Galloway and Jesse Palmer, all of whom also appear on the halftime report. This game telecast is also presented in high definition on ESPNHD.

It has broadcast games from numerous conferences including the SEC, ACC and the Big East. This game is often seen as the ESPN Game of the Week along with the Saturday night telecast.

The most visible voices of ESPN College Football Primetime over the years have been Mike Tirico, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso, but none remain in the booth, with Tirico and Herbstreit being promoted and Corso cutting back on his schedule. The current commentators are Matt Barrie on play-by-play and Mike Golic Jr. as analyst since 2020.


On the November 2, 2006, Thursday night telecast of #3 West Virginia Mountaineers' 44–34 loss to #5 Louisville Cardinals delivered an average of 4,916,000 households (based on a 5.3 rating), the biggest household audience ever for a Thursday night game on the network and the second-biggest college football audience ever for an ESPN game (any day or time slot). The previous Thursday high was an average of 4,097,000 homes for the Virginia Cavaliers 33–28 win over #2 ranked Florida State Seminoles, played exactly 11 years earlier November 2, 1995.

The most-watched game in ESPN history also occurred in 2006 as an average of 6,318,000 homes tuned into the September 4, 2006 Labor Day game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Miami Hurricanes.




Game features[edit]

  • Starting Lineups: The starting lineups are presented during the first possession of each team's offense and defence.
  • Impact Players: Following the starting lineups, Palmer and Pollack run down the top two or three impact players on each team's side of the ball.
  • Halftime Report: Adnan Virk, Joey Galloway and Jesse Palmer present the halftime report, which features analysis of the first half, highlights of earlier games and a look at other happenings in the sports world.
  • SportsCenter In-game: This segment appears during various time in the game, when Adnan Virk gives up to the minute highlights when something big happens in another game.

By year[edit]

Game Play-by-play Analyst(s) Field Reporter(s)
1997 Mike Tirico Mike Gottfried or Todd Blackledge Jerry Punch
1999 Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit
2004 Jill Arrington
2005 Kirk Herbstreit Erin Andrews
2006 Chris Fowler
2007 Doug Flutie and Craig James
2008 Craig James and Jesse Palmer
2010 Rece Davis Jenn Brown
2012 David Pollack and Jesse Palmer Samantha Ponder
2015 Joe Tessitore Kaylee Hartung
2016 Dave Flemming Jesse Palmer Laura Rutledge
2017 rotating analysts
2019 Adam Amin Matt Hasselbeck and Pat McAfee Molly McGrath
2020 Matt Barrie Mike Golic Jr.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Video on YouTube
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2008-12-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)