I’ve never wanted Kirk Herbstreit to be more wrong than now

Kirk Herbstreit (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Kirk Herbstreit (Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

Kirk Herbstreit said he’ll be shocked if the college football and NFL seasons take place. I’ve never rooted for him to be so wrong.

There is a growing fear that the college football season could be in jeopardy as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. ESPN college football analyst and co-host of College GameDay, Kirk Herbstreit, thinks the risk is too great and would be shocked if the NFL has fans at games and if there’s even a college football season in 2020.

Herbstreit is one of the smartest voices in college football but I’m really hoping he’s wrong here.

“I’ll be shocked if we have NFL football this fall, if we have college football,” Herbstreit said on ESPN Radio on Thursday. “I’ll be so surprised if that happens.”

The MLB announced on Friday that they will not resume the season if mass gatherings are still not allowed. Currently, the MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS and college sports have no potential return date set.

As much as some may wish to have a date set in the future when everything will be okay and go back to normal, it’s just not possible as medical experts and those combating the coronavirus work to solve this global crisis. With March Madness being canceled and the Olympics later postponing the summer games until next year, I am concerned about the viability of the college football season taking place.

Herbstreit notes the coronavirus vaccine that could take at least a year to a year and a half to distribute. With more than 100 student-athletes in a locker room and the coaching staff, training staff and all the other support staff that will be mingling in confined spaces, it is a risky notion to envision a scenario where that many people would be allowed to congregate. That’s before factoring in 100,000-plus fans at The Big House or any of the other massive college football stadiums this fall.

“Just because from what I understand, people that I listen to, you’re 12 to 18 months from a [coronavirus] vaccine,” Herbstreit said. “I don’t know how you let these guys go into locker rooms and let stadiums be filled up and how you can play ball. I just don’t know how you can do it with the optics of it.”

“As much as I hate to say it, I think we’re scratching the surface of where this thing’s gonna go.”

Herbstreit was on the Paul Finebaum Show later in the day where he said he wasn’t trying to create any drama, but was just “trying to be real.”

College football programs have already lost their spring practice and spring game. Some programs were able to get a few sessions in before the quarantine went into effect but the majority of programs are missing out on anywhere from a handful to all of their spring camp.

Auburn University announced on Friday that students won’t be allowed to return to campus until June 1, and that date may be adjusted depending on what happens over the next two months.

Provided the June 1 date is something other campuses adopt as a return date, that leaves about one month for college programs needing to know whether there will be a season starting as planned or if it will be postponed.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he’s looking at a July 1 date as a deadline as far as having enough time in a preseason camp to get ready to install an offense and defense and get the players in game shape for the rigors of the regular season schedule.

North Carolina coach Mack Brown admitted earlier in the week there is a growing concern among other coaches that the season may be canceled, postponed, and/or played without fans.

There’s just too much uncertainty right now. So much is changing by the day.

If fans want to make sure they are doing their part, they will listen to the medical experts and the CDC and practice social distancing, washing hands with soap and water, and staying at least six feet away from each other if you have to be in public for work.

This is why college football coaches like Nick Saban, Ed Orgeron, Ryan Day, Tom Herman and reigning Heisman winner Joe Burrow have been vocal about communicating the seriousness of the coronavirus and the implications it can have on the college football season if we don’t take action now.

If you’ve always wanted to prove Herbstreit wrong, well, now’s your chance to do your part by staying home. It’s the best chance we have at stopping this and saving the college football and NFL season.

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Next. Way-too-early 2020 rankings: 1-130. dark

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.