Skip to main content

Kirk Herbstreit is one of the most respected names in college football. His voice matters. And he’s never been afraid to use it. He did just that at the start of the 2020 college football season during an interview with an emotional tear-filled plea that focused on addressing social injustice and police brutality.

Now on the back end of the season, Herbstreit has a new target in his sights — the college football playoff. In a recent interview, the former Ohio State quarterback didn’t mince words regarding his opinion of the current college football postseason system. Interestingly, he had company from another voice in the game, ESPN colleague Paul Finebaum.    

Kirk Herbstreit rips the college football playoff

In this bizarre pandemic-influenced college football season, conference championships are finally here, and the college football playoff is right around the corner. During a recent appearance on the Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin Show, Kirk Herbstreit was asked his thoughts on the college football playoff system. He didn’t hold back.

“Our postseason is as bad as there is. We have got to figure out a system that opens up opportunities. Like right now, the season ends Jan. 12, I can already tell you in 2021, Ohio State’s coming out of the Big 10. Clemson’s coming out of the ACC. Alabama’s coming out of the SEC. I can tell you 2023… 

“Who is the fourth team? Is Oklahoma going to come out of the Big 12? Maybe USC? If that’s where we are, is that right? Is that healthy for the sport when 98 or 99 percent of the participants realize they don’t have a chance before the season starts? We’ve got to look at this 2020 year and realize that we have to tweak the system for the betterment of the sport. We’re at a fork in the road right now on a lot of levels and we’ve got to look at some potential changes.”

College Football Playoff numbers don’t lie

The College Football Playoffs four-team postseason system started in 2014. In those six seasons, Alabama has appeared in five of them. The Clemson Tigers have equaled the Crimson Tide with the same number of appearances.

Just one place behind Alabama and Clemson is — as Kirk Herbstreit suggested — Oklahoma with four appearances. Ohio State is next at three total invites.

Parity, or lack thereof, is a huge problem in college football as the playoff reveals each year, and it’s not getting any better. The sport is at a crossroads and in need of a major change as Herbstreit mentioned. 

Paul Finebaum agrees with Kirk Herbstreit

On the Thursday morning edition of ESPN’s Get Up, college football radio host Paul Finebaum agreed with Kirk Herbstreit’s assessment that the playoff system needs some serious retooling. 

“He’s right. The playoff needs to be expanded because otherwise it’s going to primarily be the same four every year. It’s bigger than just that. It’s attracting the country at a time when the competition is the fiercest. The weekend of the CFP championship game is also the same weekend as the NFL Wild Card. So when college football is at its zenith, it loses the country. And Kirk was right, when you know the same four are going to be in there every year and you know it in August, you have to let more people in, otherwise people will tune out.”

Paul Finebaum is right. Kirk Herbstreit is right. Now the question is — when will the NCAA and College Football Playoff get it right?