The Saturday morning college football pregame show sphere is difficult to break into. ESPN's College GameDay is essentially synonymous with CFB Saturdays after over 30 years of airing weekly in the early-morning timeslot. Any other show that has entered the arena in the last decade or so ends up chasing GameDay in the ratings and relevancy department. There's a niche to be carved out, of course, but it's a tall task to challenge College GameDay for supremacy on Saturday mornings.
That didn't deter Reggie Bush when Fox Sports' Brad Zager approached him in Atlanta in February 2019 about joining Big Noon Kickoff. Bush had spent the two previous years working as a studio host for NFL Network; going into sports media was something he always felt would be a natural transition once he was done with his playing career. Now heading into his fourth season as an analyst on Big Noon Kickoff, Bush is very happy with what he's built so far with his colleagues and what the future holds for the show.
"I think the chemistry we were able to build, that's what accentuated the show," Bush told The Big Lead at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey at the Icons Series tournament. "Obviously me and Matt [Leinart] go way back to when we were just 18 years-old playing college football. Matt is my brother. I've known Brady [Quinn] for a long time, played against him at Notre Dame and I've gotten to know his family very well, love them both. Then Rob, man. Rob Stone is like a machine. He's always grinding. His energy is so important and so vital to the show. And then when you interject me into all that, I think I can bring culture, flavor, some comedy.
We all have the experience to back it up. We know what we're talking about. I think it's just a perfect combination of all these different cast members who all have a great relationship."
For the last three years, Bush and his counterparts on Big Noon Kickoff have worked to pivot that chemistry into a quality viewing experience for the audience. It paid off in 2021 as the show enjoyed high ratings over the course of the season and peaked with two huge wins over College GameDay late in the season. Big Noon Kickoff beat College GameDay in terms of viewership leading into the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry matchup in November before beating GameDay again, this time in terms of ratings, ahead of Michigan-Ohio State nearly a month later.
Bush hopes to keep the momentum going in 2022.
"I hope [the viewers] see we're the most relevant college football show," said Bush when asked what he wants the audience to take away from their viewing experience of Big Noon Kickoff. "We have some great players, great coaches, and that's who people want to hear from. They want to hear from people who have the experience of winning championships, winning Heisman trophies, and playing at an elite level or coaching at an elite level. I think that breeds success, you know, when you have guys who have been there and done it.
They know what they're talking about. The viewer can trust that the analyst knows what he's talking about. I can't say the same for other shows."
For his part, Bush is excited to get back on the road and revel in the college football crowds. He explained to The Big Lead that the fans are what separate college football from any other sport, and the way Big Noon Kickoff embraces the fun side of fandom is why they're the best college football show in the industry.
"When you're in college football, you're on the road and you're getting 10,000 screaming heads behind you. That brings so much energy to the show. I think when people turn on our show, they see it's fun. People like to have fun and they definitely want to have fun while watching football.
I think that's what we bring. We bring the fun side to college football. Our fans are amazing. They love our show and they support us and that's why I think we're the No. 1 college football show on TV. "