Kirk Herbstreit discusses conference realignment, Playoff expansion and future of college football
When Oklahoma and Texas announced their intent to join the SEC in July, it sent the college football world into a frenzy.
A devastating loss for the Big 12, what kind of impact would this move have on the rest of the sport’s landscape?
While we have not seen any other programs change their conference affiliation since, the other three Power Five conferences not involved in the Longhorns and Sooners’ move – the ACC, B1G and Pac-12 – have reportedly discussed forming an “alliance,” giving those 40 league members a chance to work together and schedule high-profile non-conference matchups.
With all this, plus the possibility of expanding the current four-team College Football Playoff, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, one of the most informed minds in the sport, joined “The Pat McAfee Show” Monday to offer his thoughts moving forward.
“It feels like we’re headed to four premiere, huge, 16-team conferences, and it feels like those four conferences maybe will pull away one day from the NCAA, go out and hire a commissioner, whoever that might be, and just kind of create their own world,” he said.
“I don’t think next week, but within the next three-to-five years, maybe that could happen.”
As for the College Football Playoff, which has included Herbstreit’s alma mater – Ohio State – four times in its seven-year history, he does not see any changes until the current format agreement expires following the 2025 edition.
"It feels like we're heading to 4 premiere big huge 16 team conferences & it feels like those 4 will pull away 1 day from the NCAA.. Go out & hire a commissioner & create their own world"@KirkHerbstreit shares his thoughts on the future of college football #PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/rAbfR8Cyeo
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 16, 2021
“I see this full cycle, it was a 12-year cycle that started in 2014, I think it will go all the way through to make a change,” he began. “There’s too much going on right now for them to be able to say, ‘Hey, let’s change it in 2025.’
“I just don’t see that happening. I think it will be a full, entire 12 years, and then they’ll make changes. Everybody’s going to respond to what the SEC has done by flexing its muscles by bringing in Texas and OU to what they already have.”
A member of ESPN’s flagship pregame show, College GameDay, Herbstreit and the rest of the crew – Lee Corso, Rece Davis, Chris “Bear” Fallica, Desmond Howard, McAfee, David Pollack, and Gene Wojciechowski – will head to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Duke’s Mayo Classic between No. 3 Clemson and No. 5 Georgia on September 4.