LISLE, Ill., Sept. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- College football season is finally here. It's a time of year where fans gather together at football stadiums across the country to cheer on their favorite team. It also signals the start of football tailgating season and Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, is ready to fire up the grill. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121115/CL13186LOGO) To kick off college football - and tailgating - season, and to help unveil their newest line of smoked sausage, Eckrich hosted a special event today featuring Emmy-winning college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit and Operation Homefront at the Notre Dame versus University of Michigan football game in Ann Arbor. Wounded warriors, active duty and military veterans and their families from the Ann Arbor area were invited to attend the 'Ultimate Tailgate" Saturday afternoon prior to the big game. The guests thought they were there just to eat, enjoy the camaraderie of fellow military families, and attend the football game. But that wasn't all. Just as the grills fired up, Kirk Herbstreit joined the tailgate armed with packages of Eckrich's new Kirk Herbstreit "Ultimate Tailgate" smoked sausage. The popular football analyst spent time with the guests, signed autographs and thanked them for their service. After spending time with Herbstreit, the special guests enjoyed the Ultimate Tailgate smoked sausage before taking in the game. Kirk Herbstreit "Ultimate Tailgate" smoked sausage is the newest product line from Eckrich. Products available include Original Natural Casing Rope Smoked Sausage and Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links. "What a great experience. Being here with these military families, honoring and thanking them for all they have done," said Herbstreit. "I am really proud to partner with Eckrich on this product line, but also to be a part of all that they are doing with Operation Homefront to support our military families. Hosting events such as this Ultimate Tailgate are the least we can do to celebrate our brave men and women and thank their families who sacrifice so much."