In the College Football Playoff National Championship game between the No. 2 Washington Huskies (14-0) and the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines (14-0), there will be a special star that all college football fans will be keeping an eye out for. However, this star is not a player for either team, but a furry four-legged friend.
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Ben Herbstreit, the 10-year-old golden retriever of ESPN and Amazon Prime Video analyst Kirk Herbstreit, has been seen with his owner in the past few months on the sidelines of the biggest college football and NFL games, with Ben wearing his own credential around his collar. Herbstreit shared a photo on X, formally known as Twitter, that Ben is groomed and ready for the CFP title game in Houston, Texas, easily making him the guest of honor for the championship.
Kirk Herbstreit is also a member of the Thursday Night Football crew for Amazon Prime Video, so the golden retriever also dabbles in NFL game appearances. Ben, the golden retriever, was spotted receiving cuddles from Aaron Rodgers and even participating in sideline drills to warm up for the Brown-Jets Week 17 game. Ben was shown in the broadcast booth with his owner and Al Michaels but left the play calling to him while he focused on his treat.
Football’s top dog:Kirk Herbstreit’s golden retriever Ben has become a fan favorite
Ben Herbstreit’s first college football appearance
In 2021, during a College GameDay show previewing the showdown between the University of Cincinnati against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Ben was first spotted accompanying his owner, who resides in Cincinnati.
Ben became a regular travel companion of Herbstreit’s in the 2023 season after his son, Zak Herbstreit, a 20-year-old tight end at Ohio State, was hospitalized for a heart condition. Although Zak has since returned to the team, he is currently receiving treatment and is not practicing. Therefore, Ben joins his owner as a certified emotional support animal during this difficult time for his family and brings a little bit of home on the road.
Now, Ben steals the spotlight from his owner, but Herbstreit doesn’t seem to mind.