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Kirk Herbstreit Entertains Regions’ Clients with Football Predictions and Stories from Behind-the-Scenes

Regions’ Private Wealth Management and Commercial Banking Speaker Series kick off with ESPN College GameDay analyst speaking to clients in Nashville.

Sept. 17, 2014 - It was during a break in filming as ESPN prepared for coverage of the BCS title game between Florida State and Auburn last January that Kirk Herbstreit got a strange look followed by an odd request from one of his guests.

Alabama football coach Nick Saban, on set to help break down the game, said he wanted to talk to Herbstreit away from the chaos.

Saban’s question was surprising: He wanted to know what Herbstreit, the College GameDay analyst, thought of Alabama adding controversial former Southern Cal coach Lane Kiffin to the staff as offensive coordinator.

In Herbstreit’s mind, the odd pairing seemed perfect. “If there was one guy that could get away with (hiring Kiffin), Nick Saban could,” Herbstreit said.

Herbstreit shared this anecdote and other opinions and predictions Tuesday with a packed house at the Nashville Hilton, kicking off Regions’ 2014  Speakers Series in front of an engaged audience of the bank’s Private Wealth Management, Commercial, and Business Banking clients. The Speakers Series continues Thursday in Birmingham, Ala., with 1985 Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson and concludes next month with former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz speaking in Tampa.

Regions has been the official bank of the Southeastern Conference for 20 years and is a major partner in the new SEC Network, making the connection between college football and banking a natural fit throughout the 16 states Regions serves.

“Kirk represents high character and the professionalism he brings to his craft,” said John Parker, Regions’ Private Wealth Management Executive. “With our sponsorship of the SEC and with our brand recognition, this is the type of event we want to be associated with.”

In a comfortable sit-down session, moderated by Jim Schmitz, Middle Tennessee Area President for Regions, Herbstreit provided insights on the 2014 college football season and the movers and shakers of the game. For instance: 

  • Herbstreit liked the BCS, but thinks the new, four-team College Football Playoff will take the game to another level. While he’s not totally sold on defending champion Florida State, he believes the Seminoles are the favorite three weeks into the season.
  • He explained the Big Ten’s fall from grace but also offered a prediction that would surprise many. Despite a loss at Oregon, Herbstreit believes Michigan State “can win out” and make the field of four, joining his current predicted list of FSU, Alabama and Oregon.
  • Herbstreit believes the College Football Playoff will eventually expand to eight teams after two to three years. Why? Because the quest to determine the top four is going to leave worthy teams left out on an annual basis.
  • A former Ohio State quarterback, Herbstreit recounted his surreal audition for College GameDay when it suddenly dawned on him: “I’m sitting next to Lee Corso!”
  • Herbstreit’s goal as a College GameDay rookie is the same today. “My goal is to outwork every single analyst out there.”
  • His typical Tuesday has him on the phone with college coaches, preparing for the Saturday ahead, and doing regular live updates on ESPN shows including SportsCenter. Each week, ESPN parks a satelite truck outside his home so he can do the shots from his office.

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