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Kirk Herbstreit Explains Why 2020 Champ Will Have An Asterisk
Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

The 2020 college football season is here. Well, kind of. Revised schedules have been released, the AP Poll is out, and Heisman Trophy odds are trending, but everyone knows things are different. That’s why no matter what happens this year, Kirk Herbstreit believes the national champion will have an asterisk.

Herbstreit, the famous ESPN College GameDay analyst, has a powerful voice and opinion. When he talks, fans listen. Like everyone else, however, he is trying to understand if and how this plan to play will actually work.

With the Big Ten Conference and Pac-12 Conference postponing football due to the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 outbreak, the College Football Playoff will undoubtedly have a different look than ever before. Herbstreit believes that’s enough to taint the national title.

Kirk Herbstreit: 2020 Champ Will Have An Asterisk

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Kirk Herbstreit has a point. After all, three teams in the AP Top-10 — the Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, and Oregon Ducks — will not be playing football this season. Six more ranked football teams — Wisconsin Badgers, Michigan Wolverines, USC Trojans, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Utah Utes and Iowa Hawkeyes — won’t play, either.

How in the world can there be a true champion if some of the possible top contenders won’t even suit up?

That’s the point Herbstreit wanted to make while talking to “3HL” on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville, via 247Sports.

“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.”

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Sure, the Clemson Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Georgia Bulldogs and Oklahoma Sooners could make the CFP this year, even with some of those other teams playing. Trevor Lawrence very well could walk away with the Heisman Trophy without much competition.

The beauty of college football is the unexpected, though, and it’s hard to find purity in the fact that two Power 5 conferences won’t take the field.

“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,” Herbstreit said, via 247Sports. “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.”

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We all want NCAA football games this fall. We all want conference championship games. Most importantly, we all want the football players to stay healthy.

Whether it’s Clemson or Florida State in the ACC on ESPN, LSU or Tennessee in the SEC on CBS or any other CFB team taking the field, fans will watch.

Even if this season, and the champion, will have an asterisk next to it.

MORE: Kirk Herbstreit’s Wife: The Buckeye Cheerleader Turned Super Mom

Brett Regan About the author:
With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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