ESPN College GameDay co-host Kirk Herbstreit waits for a break...

ESPN College GameDay co-host Kirk Herbstreit waits for a break during the telecast from The Junction before Mississippi State's game against Auburn in Starkville, Miss., on Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014. Credit: AP / Rogelio V. Solis

If you follow Kirk Herbstreit on Twitter, you're bound to see it happen.

The ESPN college football analyst will quote-retweet a troll -- one who likely has called him "biased" or "an idiot" or some other mean-spirited comment -- and add a witty retort, essentially putting said troll on blast in front of all of his nearly 843,000 followers.

Why does someone of Herbstreit's stature bother with the trolls?

"It's become a sport to me," he told Newsday on Wednesday with a laugh. "I actually enjoy it. It sounds crazy."

In an age where anybody can make an anonymous Twitter account and start spewing things at anyone, Herbstreit has found a way to deal with the nastier users while entertaining everyone else in the process.

His approach is straightforward and effective.

"I always kill them with kindness," he said during a call to promote Allstate's It's Good Sweepstakes. "'Hey, have a great Sunday! Nice to hear from ya! Take care!' Like, I'll deal them just a quick little backhanded compliment."

A quick tap of the mute button later, it's over -- troll dispatched.

"No harm, no foul," he said. "It's good entertainment."

It's a far cry from Herbstreit's early days on Twitter, when he tried to, as he put it, "reason with" those who had nothing nice to say. That didn't work too well.

"What I learned very quickly was they're just angry at life," he said. "They're not angry with me or you, they're angry with everybody. If they're not cursing me out, they're on to the next guy cursing that person out. They're just in a bad spot in life, or whatever it is."

That's not to say that Herbstreit deals solely with the underbelly of Twitter. Scroll through his timeline, and for the most part it's all pleasant Q&A between Herbstreit and college football fans.

"95 percent of the people that communicate with me are just wonderful, fans, they love the game, they're passionate, they ask great questions," he said. "But you have the lunatic fringe from each fanbase."

Herbstreit often is amazed by what that "lunatic fringe" will leave in his mentions, but he doesn't take anything they say personally. And disposing them in such a public manner is all about the amusement, both for him and his followers.

Said Herbstreit: "That's all I'm trying to do is kind of make light of it and have fun with it."

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