ESPN College Football Analyst and co-host of College GameDay Kirk Herbstreit has concerns for the future of college football. Herbstreit has serious concerns about the future of college football as a whole as the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma take the first steps to leaving the Big 12 and joining the SEC.
Kirk Herbstreit fears for the future of college football
Kirk Herbstreit is one of the biggest advocates for college football as a whole. A former Ohio State football player himself, Herbstreit covers college football each season for ESPN and finds himself a fan of the traditional aspects of the sport as a whole. And that is what seems to concern him the most about the apparent upheaval of the Big12 and the move into the SEC.
The University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma were granted the ability to leave the Big 12 and were then invited to join the SEC, a move that will take place before the 2025 college football season.
This week on ESPN's SportsCenter, Kirk Herbstreit expressed his concern with the move that Texas and Oklahoma are expected to take:
“What’s becoming abundantly clear, and I hate to say this because I’ve always tried to fight it, is people are trying to stay at the top. They’re trying to compete with the SEC, and it’s all about money. It’s no longer about tradition. It’s no longer about the things that I think college football have always kind of tried to stand itself on top of and really look at and appreciate rivalries and tradition and things of that nature.”
Herbstreit does have a solid point with his comments. There is a lot more money on the line for teams in the SEC rather than teams in the Big 12. Even last season, a COVID-19 shortened season, SEC teams were still able to split a significant amount of money in revenue unlike other divisions.
One of the reasons that college football has such a big following and fan base is because of the tradition. There are rivalry games that generations of family members eagerly await each season. What would happen to the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State rivalry? Would the "Red River Showdown" between texas and Oklahoma be an SEC divisional game now, or would it even exist?
For college football fans, these are all questions and when it seems that universities make these moves simply because they are motivated by money, it brings a sense of disappointment for fans across the board.
As with Herbstreit said, if these teams make the move to the SEC, what over teams will want to leave the Big 12 or even another division. If there aren't enough big divisions, then the strength of schedule may be harder to determine when ranking teams for the College Football Playoff.