Appearing on the Dan Patrick Show, Kirk Herbstreit defended the size of the College Football Playoff field and the committee’s decision to include Alabama over Ohio State in the 2017 final four.
“I think I’m an example of what the committee ended up doing,” said the ESPN analyst and Centerville native who was a captain at Ohio State, noting he felt Saturday morning a win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship game would probably give Ohio State and edge over the Crimson Tide.
“Then I watched the Ohio State-Wisconsin game and I don’t know if the committee looked at it the way I did, but after the Ohio State-Wisconsin game, if you’re asking me if the goal is to put the best four teams in, I said Alabama.”
The Buckeyes beat the previously-undefeated Badgers 27-21, hanging on in the second half after staking out a 21-7 lead early.
“Despite them winning the game, I felt that Alabama should be the team that should go ahead of Ohio State,” Herbstreit said. “I don’t know what the committee looks at. I know there are coaches on the committee. At the end of the day when you watch 12 or 13 weeks of college football, I personally believe the best four teams are in the College Football Playoff.”
Herbstreit predicted the Crimson Tide will look the part in January after injuries have time to heal.
“Listen, I went to Ohio State. I was a captain there. If anybody wants to pull out the pom-poms and say Ohio State should be there, you’d think it would be me. I’ve always for 22 years said what I think for better or for worse, and I’m just telling you after watching all these teams play, Alabama is better than USC. I don’t care what the numbers show. I don’t care what conference championships they’re playing in. Alabama is a better team.”
He also said, somewhat bizarrely, “at the end of the day” the committee doesn’t have to have reasons” for going with the Crimson Tide if they believe Alabama is among the top four and pointed out OSU coach Urban Meyer didn’t make a big deal about his team being left out.
As for expanding to an eight-team playoff, he said he likes the debate generated by the four-team field every year.