ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit has been around the Big Ten conference his entire life, so when the nation’s hardest working college football analyst looks into his crystal ball, it certainly comes based with a historical perspective. Herbstreit’s Big Ten pedigree comes naturally, as his father Jim, was co-captain of the Ohio State squad in 1960, as well as being an assistant coach on the staff of Woody Hayes in Columbus. Kirk later followed in his father’s footsteps, first attending Ohio State in 1989, and then being named captain in 1992.
So when Herbstreit looks at the internal strife currently at Rutgers, with several players being dismissed and coach Kyle Flood being suspended, and the in-season firing of Maryland head football coach, Randy Edsall, both schools have found their Big Ten path being littered with land mines. He does not think that these events should have been unexpected.
“When Maryland and Rutgers made the move to come into the Big Ten, it was a big opportunity and a much bigger stage, and it was a change for their alumni and their fan bases. I think as they have learned in the first couple of years, it’s very different for Rutgers from the Big East, and with Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference,” Herbstreit said in an exclusive interview. “It’s a very different culture that they are adjusting to, and I think it’s more taxing on their team physically.”
While Maryland has reportedly set its sights on a significant coaching upgrade over Edsall, who was 22-34 in four plus years with the Terrapins, that kind of upgrade might not come to fruition. “The bar at Maryland and the expectations, in my mind, should be high. It’s great to hear that kind of commitment with a [new indoor] facility, and if you’re making that kind of commitment, if I’m in charge, you want your team to win at a very high level,” Herbstreit explained. “But some people think that Maryland will always struggle in the Big Ten. That’s a very tough division that Maryland is part of, with James Franklin getting things going at Penn State, Ohio State, with what Jim Harbaugh is doing at Michigan, and with what Michigan State is already doing.”
Herbstreit does not only talk a good game; he also wants to share his passion for the college football with other fans. Herbstreit and college football sponsor Allstate have teamed up for the “It’s Good Sweepstakes,” which will award one lucky winner and three friends with a trip to New Orleans for the 2016 Allstate® Sugar Bowl® before traveling to Phoenix for the 2016 College Football Playoff National Championship. The winner will receive $100,000 and a meet and greet with Herbstreit as part of the grand prize package. Fans can enter the sweepstakes at AllstateCFB.com.
“The greatest thing about my relationship Allstate is that they are dedicated to college football. When they asked me to join their team a few years ago, I was excited because of their commitment to the sport.”