Kirk Herbstreit has Ohio State playing … Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship Game this year.
While Kirk Herbstreit played it safe by tabbing his Ohio State Buckeyes to win the Big Ten East, he went out in a cornfield alright by selecting the Nebraska Cornhuskers to win the Big Ten West.
Although Nebraska is the most prestigious program in the Big Ten West currently, the Cornhuskers are still living their life of No Ragerts since leaving the Big 12 behind for Big Ten pastures. Doing so essentially cut off their recruiting pipeline in Texas, as the Cornhuskers no longer play any teams hailing from The Lone Star State on the regular. This is a big reason why they have been so bad.
Here is Herbstreit picking his alma mater to come out of the Big Ten East this season, alright.
"“My sense is that Ryan Day is a master motivator,” said Herbstreit Thursday on ESPN’s Herbie Awards show. “Remember when they lost to Clemson at the end of the ’19 season and they felt they could have won and should have won, they were on a mission, even through COVID, to get Clemson. And they ended up playing them and dominating that game. I kind of sense the same thing with Michigan and the way they lost up in Ann Arbor. It really fueled this team in the offseason. So they get Michigan at home. I think Michigan’s gonna have a great year, but coming to Columbus I think will be tough. I think Ohio State will win the East.”"
While that is all totally logical, how sure are we that Herbstreit isn’t secretly Herbie Husker here?
"“And then I think, look at this, I got Nebraska. Remember they were 3-9 last year, all nine losses within one possession. They found ways to lose games. I think Scott Frost can have a great year with Casey Thompson at quarterback.”"
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost has not led his alma mater to a bowl game since going undefeated with the 2017 UCF Knights. He has taken a pay cut already and has a new athletic director in Nebraska legend Trev Alberts. Although the Cornhuskers should push towards bowl eligibility, can you even imagine if they lost to Northwestern in Dublin to fall to 0-1 in Week 0?
Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and even Purdue would have been safer picks for Herbstreit to make.
Kirk Herbstreit picks Nebraska to win Big Ten West because he is Herbie Husker
While there is a lot to like about Casey Thompson coming over from Texas to quarterback the Huskers, as well as Mark Whipple leaving the Pittsburgh Panthers behind to come coordinate the Nebraska offense, anything short of a bowl bid will be seen as another catastrophe for this once-proud college football blue-blood. It is unfathomable how bad things have gotten over in Lincoln…
Admittedly, this might be Herbstreit using wishful thinking, bargaining, praying or whatever, that Nebraska finally gets it together and stops being so terrible. It may have more to do with him not having any strong leanings towards a Big Ten West winner and he is going for broke here. While we will give him credit if he ends up getting the last laugh, what happens if Alberts tarmacs Frost?
Ultimately, Hebstreit has earned the benefit of the doubt to go out on a limb like this. He is the top college football analyst at ESPN for a reason. His analysis is tremendous, and maybe he knows something about Nebraska, and maybe even more about Northwestern, than we would ever want to admit? For now, he is going down with Nebraska by not believing in The Big Bang Theory curse.
The only time you are going to see Nebraska have a good time this year in on Better Caul Saul.