Pat McAfee joining ESPN's 'College GameDay' college football pregame show, leaving WWE – USA TODAY

Cut those sleeves off. ESPN’s “College GameDay” has a new shot of life: Pat McAfee
The energetic host will become a full-time member of the iconic pregame college football show, McAfee announced on his daily YouTube show. The New York Post first reported the news of McAfee joining “GameDay” late Tuesday. McAfee, the former Indianapolis Colts punter turned media sensation, will make his debut in the role Saturday in Austin, Texas, ahead of Texas’ matchup against No. 1 Alabama. 
McAfee opened his program Wednesday by saying he and ESPN have agreed to a “full-time” role on the show for this season and next.
“I am a lucky (expletive) human,” McAfee said. “It is an honor. (“College GameDay”) is an institution. It is a Saturday staple.” 
McAfee retired from the Colts in 2017 and joined Barstool Sports. His Indianapolis-based mid-day show spun off from the site two years later and exploded in popularity in recent years on YouTube (1.94 million subscribers) and SiriusXM (McAfee ended his deal with Sirius last month). McAfee also agreed to a deal with ESPN in August that will allow he and his crew to simulcast “Saturday Night Football,” the network’s top college game of the week, on ESPN2 through Peyton Manning’s “Omaha Productions.” The first simulcast of six is scheduled for Oct. 1. 
“I can’t wait for Austin, Texas this Saturday,” McAfee said. “I can’t wait to talk college football.” 
The move to “GameDay” means his gig as a color commentator for WWE SmackDown has been put on hold, McAfee said. It is unclear how the agreement affects his deal with FanDuel; McAfee and the gambling giant are in the first of a four-year, $120 million sponsorship deal.
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Accompanied occasionally by former NFL linebacker A.J. Hawk and a cast of producers, McAfee blends comedy, professional analysis and insightful interviews with former and current football players. Former Colts linebacker Darius Butler will join him in-studio on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the upcoming football season.
“College GameDay,” in its modern version, has been on the air since 1993. Analyst Lee Corso, 87, is an original cast member and Kirk Herbstreit joined the show in 1996. Desmond Howard and David Pollack are the other analysts on the desk. Rece Davis took over hosting duties in 2015, replacing Chris Fowler. 
McAfee will also make select appearances on daily ESPN shows like “Get Up” and contribute to NFL coverage. 
McAfee contributed to “GameDay” in 2019 and belly-flopped off a boat into a river during one of his appearances.
“Didn’t really know if it was the perfect fit,” McAfee said of his first go-around at ESPN. 
“Pat is exceptionally talented and entertaining, and he was so well-received in his previous stint on ‘College GameDay’ that we’ve wanted to reunite him with the show ever since,” ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement.
This time he and ESPN appear to have both feet in the boat.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.


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