Kirk Herbstreit: “I Think There Will Be An Asterisk No Matter What” (Photo by USAToday Sports)
Clemson fans got their week started off with a bang with the release of the AP Preseason Poll, another poll that had the Tigers sitting at the top. This is the second straight year that Clemson has began the season atop the AP poll.
Then came the news of the College Football Playoff (CFP) Selection Committee releasing the dates for their ranking reveals this fall. Another sign that they are getting ready to crown a champion at the end of the 2020 season.
Despite all these things, there are two Power-5 conferences that won’t be in the chase, and this is why ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit thinks people will look back on this season and try to put an asterisk beside the last team standing.
Earlier this month, the B1G and the Pac-12 announced that they were postponing their football seasons with “hope” to pick it up in the spring of 2021. This means that teams like Ohio State and Oregon are no longer in the running for the playoff, so Herbstreit expects history may not look kindly at who ever Is crowned this year’s national champion.
Herbstreit was on 3HL’, a sports talk show on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville Monday, when he was asked about the legitimacy of a national title during this highly unusual season. He pointed out that Ohio State, Penn State, and Oregon may very well have been in some preseason playoff predictions and because of that, it will ultimately hurt the view of whichever team does win it all.
“I’ve thought about that, and I think there will be an asterisk no matter what,” Herbstreit said. “I just heard you guys before I came on talking about the AP Top 25. I think Ohio State was No. 2. Penn State was up there. Oregon was up there. All up in the top 10. If we just threw them in, for argument’s sake, and we asked the entire nation of analysts, ‘Who is going to be in your playoff?’”
“The consensus is probably going to be an Alabama or Georgia type of team, an Ohio State, a Clemson, and then an argument about is there a second SEC team or Big Ten team? Does Oregon make it? Does Oklahoma make it? That would be the discussion, so you’re really eliminating Ohio State, Oregon, and Penn State from the potential playoff.”
Even with those teams in the field, there’s a chance that a team from the ACC, SEC, or Big 12 could’ve won the national championship. Still, it’s going to be hard to judge the 2020 champ alongside others that played in years where the entire field of contenders played out theIr season.
“A lot of people would feel, with Trevor Lawrence, no matter who’s in it has a pretty good chance of making it into the playoff and into a national championship game,” Herbstreit said. “A lot of people probably feel that Georgia, Florida, or Alabama have a really good chance to make it too.”
“It’ll feel a little different, not having everyone in, but if you do make it through and we’ve got four teams standing there at the end, you’re still talking about some of the big boys … I think 10 or 15 years from now, there will still be somewhat of an asterisk. That’s how I feel, just because you don’t have the Big Ten or Pac-12 playing.”
The Big10 controversy is still ongoing and there are still some petitions out now in attempts to allow them to play but, as of right now, only three of the five major conferences will be vying for college football’s ultimate prize. Many will agree that it is going to feel a little different without a number of brand name programs in the mix like Ohio State, Penn State, and Oregon.
Herbstreit has been very outspoken during the Covid-19 sports down time. He was even called out by some fans for his comments a few months back and had to go back and explain what he was talking about when he stated back in March that he didn’t think there would be football in 2020. He later stated that his original comment about that was misconstrued.
Herbstreit has two different vested interests in this situation. First and foremost, his twin sons, Tye and Jake, are entering their second season at Clemson under head coach Dabo Swinney. Second, you have the fact that he is an Ohio State Alum And former Buckeye star. So you know that Herbstreit would love nothing more than to have what many expected to be a Clemson vs Ohio State national championship matchup.