Herbie the Impaler

By Ramzy Nasrallah on January 19, 2011 at 11:30a
Arkansas was a good team. Until Ohio State beat them.Arkansas was a good, until Ohio State beat them.

[Ed: The following guest post was submitted by Ramzy Nasrallah. The fine folks at Bucknuts agreed to lend him out to us after we covered Dave Biddle's bail in New Orleans. What did Biddle do? He was nabbed for drinking a non-alcoholic beverage on Bourbon Street. Evidently that's a no-no down there.]

Remember when Kirk Herbstreit consistently brought value to your college football broadcasts? His delivery was just as crisp and articulate back then; his gelled-up tips were just as frosted and the custom suits were just as tailored. Jim Tressel’s hair was still mostly brown and you couldn’t get through an Ohio State game without hearing, again, about how the starting Buckeye quarterback was majoring in something called “molecular genetics.” It all came to you in stunning, standard definition. Yeah, it’s been that long.

During the 2004 season – still the only rebuilding year in the Tressel era that actually delivered rebuilding-type results – Herbstreit said on a live, national ESPN broadcast that if he had a son of college age, he would not send him to play at his alma mater in a Tressel offense. The Buckeyes were in the midst of a three-game losing streak and trying to figure out the whole Justin Zwick-or-Troy Smith situation, and one of its famous former quarterbacks in a highly visible position ignored that reality and instead chose to chastise his own school for having the audacity to rebuild.

That season marked the beginning of what has long since become the end of Herbstreit as a recipient of Most Favored Alumnus status. In case you didn’t hear, didn’t notice or have already forgotten, Herbstreit used his ballot to drop Ohio State three places in the final AP poll, from sixth to ninth. In case you didn’t hear, didn’t notice or have already forgotten, Ohio State finished the season by beating Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Arkansas was the second-place team in an extremely strong SEC West with a top-ten ranking. Try and process that without giving yourself a migraine.

There is no precedent or history to support how Herbstreit treated his alma mater in his final ballot. He punished Ohio State for beating an SEC team that had, in his own words, the “best offensive line and quarterback the Buckeyes would see all year.” (Note: He was right.) Strangely, Herbstreit rewarded Oklahoma by moving them all the way up from 14th to seventh for beating UConn, a four-loss team that somehow managed to get schooled by Michigan this season. In terms of difficulty, beating UConn in 2010 ranked somewhere between boiling water and producing flatulence.

Arkansas dropped as many spots in his final poll for losing to Ohio State as Ohio State did for beating Arkansas. It was a fantastic palindrome of Herbstreit failure. If it was a deliberate betrayal of the spirit of voting, he should have his ballot revoked by the AP. If it was by accidental negligence he should have his ballot suspended. If he’s become so entitled by his celebrity that he’s not going to take the process seriously he should forfeit his ballot. No voter had Ohio State ranked lower than Herbstreit. Not coincidentally, no voter was ranked lower than Herbstreit either.

Captain Kirk seems like a distant memory these days.Captain Kirk seems like a distant memory.

Polarization has never been bigger in the media than it is now. The format has been discovered and replicated in news, sports and lineup programming. Much of the programming on Herbstreit’s network relies on manufactured conflict where one talking head takes a position against another talking head, who takes the opposite position. In ESPN’s college football landscape, these two positions are normally labeled as Holtz and May. Wait, you mean they don’t just naturally disagree on every single topic? It’s scripted?!

Despite the rapidly souring distaste for Herbstreit amongst Ohio State fans, his declining favorability cannot be solely attributed to his refusal to be a blind Buckeye homer (which, like his bashing, would also bad). For football fans who expect more layered analysis than middle-aged men shouting catchphrases, trying too hard to be controversial, praising position coaches and hoping to someday get an Applebee’s commercial, Herbstreit has succumbed to a media disease he should have been immune to: He’s become a shill.

Herbstreit now reliably regurgitates talking points that fulfill a boring narrative which serve to divide college football into good and bad. He suffers from an acute case of message fatigue. Think about what Herbie says in every single game or analysis that he delivers: Speed and confidence. Passes the “look” test. Creating in space. Making all the throws. Looks good in a uniform. It’s as though he’s imitating himself in the video games he provides the voiceovers for every year. He has become the purveyor of Mel Kiper draft mad libs disguised as a football broadcast. Herbstreit Bingo doesn’t exist only because it would be over in the first quarter.

If you can reach satiety just by hearing footballish-sounding expressions whether or not they’re relevant, substantial or interesting, then you probably admire Herbstreit’s work. You also probably can’t get enough of Chris Berman snort-grunting through a highlight and love Paul Keels on Ohio State radio broadcasts, just because he has a deep voice and talks about your favorite team. The next time Keels gets through a single Ohio State football game accurately conveying what’s happening for the radio blind without consistently fumbling names of players no casual fan would confuse in anything other than his classic disinterested monotone, it will be the first. But there’s no accounting for taste. We’re all snowflakes like that.

Herbstreit is a 41-year old millionaire who just this past season engaged in a public war of words with 21-year old Terrelle Pryor. After Pryor singlehandedly pulled off the play of the year at Iowa’s senior day and kept his team from losing the game and the Big Ten title, Herbstreit chose to chastise him – again, on a national broadcast – for his body language after a play that absolutely nobody noticed or was discussing.

Pryor responded by calling Herbstreit a “Fake Buckeye” on his Twitter feed. Disloyal, scorned or bitter would have been more accurate. Pryor has beaten Michigan three times, Oregon in the Rose Bowl and Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl. Herbstreit played in a forgettable era when tying Michigan was considered a win while losing close games to Georgia and Syracuse in second-tier bowls were moral victories. Pryor plays his old position in an era completely void of moral victories, dealing with more pressure than Herbstreit could possibly fathom.

He must understand what Pryor has to deal with as Ohio State’s quarterback, which is why engaging in the kind of character assassination – and that’s what it was after the Iowa game – was all the more galling. DeVier Posey dropped a perfectly-thrown touchdown pass and Pryor briefly reacted with emotion. Then he won the game by himself, and Herbstreit chose to cling to and resuscitate that forgotten reaction, despite having the perfect opportunity to praise Pryor for “making a play in space” or “looking good in his uniform.”

Ever since Herbstreit vowed not to send his fictitious college-aged son to play in a Tressel offense in 2004, Ohio State has captured at least a share of every single Big Ten title – six in a row – produced a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and won three BCS bowl games. Between his plastic analysis, his hysterically brief involvement in “scoop” (Les Miles replacing Lloyd Carr, anyone?) and his forced disdain for Buckeye football, the only real entertainment left in a Herbstreit broadcast is waiting for the next absurdity to escape his breath

To his credit, it would be difficult to escape the influence of the ESPN machine that blindly and often incorrectly showers praise upon the unbeatable SEC (.500 in bowls this season despite being favored in most of its matchups – don’t tell anyone!) while transforming any setback by a Big Ten team into a loss that reflects on the entire conference. If Herbstreit drops Ohio State three spots for beating a good SEC team, you have to wonder what he would have done to them had they lost.

This won't hurt a bit."This might hurt a little."

Herbstreit regularly ventures toward breathlessness in extolling the virtues of the superior roster depth in the SEC without ever bothering into examine why or how SEC teams accumulate that depth. He rarely demonstrates the curiosity or the scrutiny to be an analyst or a journalist of value; except, of course, when he’s discussing that Tressel offense or Ohio State’s quarterback. His colleagues Lee Corso and Holtz both provide their fair share of catchphrases, senior moments and gaffes, but each wears his school biases on his sleeve and both men are (or were) smarter than the average bear with regard to football analysis. Herbie has no excuse.

Outside of that fringe element of Buckeye extremists, nobody expects Herbstreit to be an Ohio State homer-slash-mole implanted within the bowels of ESPN. Nor is he expected to be a smug antagonist like Mark May; Chris Spielman and Robert Smith both manage to bring value and relevant insight to their work without devolving into Ohio State fight song lyrics or outright bias. Herbstreit’s favorability decline has far less to do with his curious prejudice as much as it has to do with his atrophied ability to be a capable steward of college football broadcasting. The world does not need any more Dick Vitales. One is already too many.

Herbstreit’s decline following his famous 2004 declaration gained steam through the third quarter of the Alamo Bowl, during which ESPN famously devoted its broadcast burying the Ohio State football program as Herbstreit – just as famously – sat silently in the broadcast booth.

Herbie could still reroute his legacy; even those lousy 2004 Buckeyes figured it out, destroyed Big Ten champion Michigan and won their bowl game, constructing two improbably glorious season-enders the likes of which Herbie himself never tasted. For Herbstreit to once again be seen as a credible and beloved homegrown analyst, he’d need to rediscover the wisdom that originally brought him to national prominence. That, and hope for a lot of incredibly short memories.

You can follow Ramzy on Twitter.


Comments Show All Comments

btalbert25's picture

This is a good article.  I for one, don't think he needs to be a homer, but once in a while it would be nice to hear something positive come out of his mouth about Ohio State.  Hell if he is so worried about ESPN canning him for showing favoritism I'm sure the BTN would be happy to offer him a lucrative contract.  This whole fiasco with TP though has made Herbie look like a moron and a child.  He has made TP look like the more mature person in all of this. 

We chastise TP for running his mouth about Herbie, but what about Herbie?  He's a MAN, he's 40.

Kyle Rowland's picture

Couldn't disagree more. Pryor looked like a total idiot, especially when he called Herbie a fake Buckeye when he was out pawning his Gold Pants and title rings. 

Part of Herbie's job is to cover OSU. He HAS to talk about Pryor. If criticizing him is part of that, so be it. That's what happens when you are the QB at Ohio State. Pryor, though, didn't have to attack Herbie back. Analysts are critical EVERY GAME and you don't see the players jawing with them all the time. This was a case of Pryor being immature, which he is. 

-1 HS
JakeBuckeye's picture

To be fair, Herbstriet doesn't have any Gold Pants or title rings, LOL.

tomcollins's picture

You are correct that Pryor is immature and an idiot.  However, he's the second most idiotic and immature person in the Pryor-Herbstreit quarrel.  I'm convinced the voting was not done to appease ESPN, but to stick it to Pryor.

I've taken him off my wifes "sleep-with" list.

+1 HS
Kyle Rowland's picture

And that is sticking it to Pryor how? Because they might have ended up sixth instead of fifth? No one cares. Everyone will remember that they were 11-1, Sugar Bowl champs and everything surrounding it. No one cares nor do they remember final rankings. 

Where did OSU finish in 2003? What about '04 and '05? My point exactly. 

-1 HS
Jdadams01's picture

Kyler, the point isn't where OSU finishes and where Herbie had them on his ballot. The point isn't that Herbie or Pryor is being immature. The point is that someone who is supposed to be one of our own seemingly has turned his back on us. We deal with enough negativity regarding the Buckeyes from everyone else at ESPN and now a former player, a captain, a guy we all loved constantly berates our beloved program. We don't expect him to be biased, but we expect him to respect his home and alma mater enough to give us a fair shake. And it doesn't seem like he's done that for a long time. He seems to go out of his way to bash Ohio State when there is nothing that deserves major criticism, especially when compared with other programs. On top of that, when there are opportunites to praise Ohio State, he passes them up. I agree that analysts will criticize at times, but they should also praise when there is an opportunity. He doesn't. So yes, Kyler, no one will care where we finished in the polls when they look back on this season. But they will remember that Herbie made us look bad to the whole nation. What Herbie does is worse than Mark May in my opinion because the nation looks at Herbie as a "Buckeye Expert" and if he says something about us, the nation believes it.

buckeye33's picture

"My wifes sleep wish list"... love that expression.  I always felt that if she were "balling up" there is nothing wrong.  I've allowed her Tom Cruise, Kevin Costner, Tom Selleck etc. but she still thinks Herbstreit is cute.  Wait until she finds out that I've taken him off her list !!!

Any ideas for a replacement ?

ERIC OSU's picture

Selleck's mustache continues to exude itself as one of the most prominent afrodisiac's...damn

btalbert25's picture

I don't see how selling gold pants or title rings makes you a fake Buckeye anyway.  Those are things.  It's totally objective what those are worth.  Some may treat different trophies as prized possessions, and others may not give a damn about the trinket or trophy.  Some people don't need awards to validate the game they played.  They played the game, and have the scars and memories as their validation.

Denster's picture

Awww man, good one bro!

"It's a double-barreled pistol that fires hard work and victory..."

SLVRBLLTS's picture

Yep, once Pryor sold his gold pants charm, he sold his buckeye soul. I will still root for him while he's here for the other seniors in next year's class. They deserve to go out with a championship.

Herbie is just a talking head. He works for a company that has a lot of stock on the rising tidal wave we call the SEC. I want a real answer why he dropped us in the final poll, but I still think his heart is still in Columbus.

"Because we couldn't go for three"

btalbert25's picture

How does selling a trinket somehow make you less of a Buckeye than others?  Furthermore, who are we to judge how much of a Buckeye Pryor and the Tat 5 are or Herbie for that matter.  Throughout my years as a student and baseball player I won several awards and achievements to which I couldn't tell you where most are today, and most assuredly, if someone ever offered me 2,000 for them, I wouldn't hesitate to sell them.  That doesn't mean that I'm not equal to my best friend who was equally as decorated as me but he opted to display his trophies proudly. 

Bottom line, those guys play the games, they put in the ridiculous hours and deal with people criticising their every move on sites like this, radio, and TV.  Unless you have played, and put in the dedication all of these kids have, Herbie included, you can't guage what kind of Buckeye either is.

I have criticized Herbie, but as I said earlier, I still like him a lot and know he loves the Buckeyes.  However, I do feel he has taken some steps to hurt the Buckeyes reputation nationally, and totally understand why some dislike him.  Just as I totally understand why some don't like Pryor and the Tat 5.  We just have no right to judge what kind of Buckeye they are when they have put more work and dedication to the program forth than the majority of us could even imagine.

Kyle Rowland's picture

Very interesting and insightful article, Ramzy. Though I have never bought into the anti-Herbie sentiment, I thought this was solid.

He is paid to be an analyst and give his opinions, period. Yeah, other analysts don't critcize their alma maters. I think that's because not many people have the guts. I still can't get over how people don't understand what it's like to be in the media. You are not a cheerleader. You tell it like it is. I was a vocal critic of Pryor this past season and was called out on the OSU Scout message board. Doesn't really bother me since it comes with the territory.

So, Herbie voted OSU ninth in his final AP ballot. Who cares? IT DOESN'T MATTER. Ohio State wasn't going to finish No. 1, so I couldn't really care less about the polls. The fact that fans get so upset about poll voting is hilarious to me. I know people are going to try and tell me different, but the end of season polls are worthless unless you're the national champion.

The guy loves Ohio State. His dad was a captain on the 1961 team. He grew up quarterbacking the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl in imaginary games in his yard. He married an OSU cheerleader and could live anywhere in the country. Guess where he lives? UPPER ARLINGTON, just off Lane Ave. You know why? Cause the guy loves OSU. Ever see his kids on GameDay? Decked out in OSU gear. 

To me, the Herbie hates OSU talk is a total myth. 

KenK's picture

You're talking about events from years ago, you need to update your perspective. Herbie has devolved into an ESPN paid media-whore. The ESPN spiel is pro-SEC, at the detriment of other conferences. Herbie has his hand up the Golden Goose's ass with his ESPN contract, so of course he is going to parrot the company line. He has merely sold his soul.

Johnny Hooker: "He's not as tough as he thinks". Henry Gondorff: "Neither are we".

btalbert25's picture

For the most part, no one has ever said the guy should be a cheerleader.  He should just throw them a bone once in a while.  He has admitted, that he's tough on the Buckeyes to appear impartial.  It doesn't work though.  No matter how much credit he gives other schools and how little he gives Tressel and the Buckeyes non Buckeye fans scream that he's a Buckeye Homer.  It's funny, his attempts to be impartial and fair have actually lead him to be disliked by non Buckeyes and Buckeyes alike.

He chose to have a pissing contest with a college kid.  He chose to criticize Jim Tressel for playing the Tat 5, and not only say he shouldn't play them, but also call into question Jim Tressel's integrity.  Saying that playing them destroys the very pillars of Tressel's program. 

The contempt and anger fans are showing toward Herbie aren't because he doesn't wear scarlet and grey on the set or constantly pick the Buckeyes to win.  In my mind it's because he's undermining the program.  He's spreading negativity toward the program on national TV. If that's his opinion, so be it, but that doesn't mean we as fans have to like it.  If he were pointing such criticisms toward Florida or Alabama, their fan bases would be pissed too, but no one is calling them out.

Dropping in them in the poll is an extension of that.  I totally agree with you the final poll means nothing unless you are number 1, however beating a top 10 team in a BCS bowl doesn't warrant a drop 3 places in the polls.  I don't know if he was making a statment and showing his displeasure for the Tat 5 playing, if it was another childish prod at Pryor trying to get him to say someting again, or he lost a bet, but his ballot was atrocious, and not just the Buckeye pick.  He lost integrity with his picks, and obviously didn't take his ballot seriously. 

I like Herbie for what it's worth but I totally understand why people are fed up with him.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I just wonder if he will be man enough to defend it this offseason at alumni events and other local functions where he certainly will be met with tough questions. 

nickma71's picture

The media in America doesn't tell it like it is. It isn't a "medium", it is a soap box used to form public opinion. Ask the college football fan if the SEC is faster than Ted Ginn. I use the extreme to make a point. Nobody I have seen play ran as fast on the football field as him. And Florida isn't faster, that is poppy cock. But people think it, because the "media" tries to shape the opinions. And is successful against weak-minded fools.

RunTellMatt's picture

Outstading article.  Everything I was thinking but couldn't find the words to say.  Dropping the Bucks in the final ballot was the last straw.  F**k Herbstreit.  If his boys are anything like him (e.g. lacking character, loyalty, talent, etc.), they won't be getting an Ohio State offer anyway.

builderofcoalitions's picture

I really never gave Herbstreit any thought. He picked Ohio State in 2003 after pulling out a victory party flyer put out by Miami players prior to the game. That was good enough for me. After that, I really didn't care what he said.

This post puts it all into perspective, though. All I could say after I was done was "Eff yeah." Herbie is a fake Buckeye. Now, I can go back to not listening to him and getting my analysis from blogs like this one.

This is possibly my favorite post on EW ever. Of course, it had to be the work of Ramzy. If you don't use Twitter, his feed is worth it.

Because we couldn't go for three.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

Aren't those photos of him at bowl games?  Not sure how he has ever been biased with what words come out of his mouth of recent.  I used to be a big supporter of his and I'm having to buy into the whole idea of Herbie selling out to his employer.

JakeBuckeye's picture

Yes, we all know that off the field is a big buckeye and a big fan. That doesn't mean we have to give him a break for repeatedly shitting on us to furthur his own career.

LeeNorthbrook's picture

"Herbie the Impaled" would be a better title. And rightfully so.

Matt's picture

Great to see you on 11W, Ramzy; you're by far my favorite Ohio State-related scribe and your work never disappoints.

Denny's picture

Two things came to mind while reading this:

1) Boiling water by using flatulence as a heat source is difficult. I've tried.

2) My senior year we gave out 800+ Herbie heads at my house. That was neat.


The_Lurker's picture

Enjoyed the read. A few thoughts...

  • I don't think Herbstreit hates Ohio State. (The widely available sideline photo of him jumping for joy during the NC game should prove that).
  • I do think he's become a corporate shill for eSECpn.
  • I do think he was being ridiculous, getting caught up in a battle of words with a kid.
  • I do think his ballot choices regarding Ohio State and Oklahoma were, at the very least, peculiar and illogical.
  • I don't think his ballot matters at all, however, even things that don't matter can be irksome or can strike a nerve.
  • I do think he has devolved from an insightful and colorful television commentator into a cliché-riddled afterthought who merely fills broadcast time while Brent Musberger is checking his bets at bodog.com.

ESPN itself is becoming an unwatchable entity in many ways. The quality of the in-game announcers continues to erode (seriously, Pam Ward?). The predictable point-counterpoint format for pregame, halftime and scoreboard shows has grown hackneyed. And the network's rumor mongering has completely replaced any qualititative journalism that once existed (and sometimes still does on programs like Outside the Lines). Honestly, I'd rather watch Ohio State games on the Big Ten Network, even though most of their announcers suck too. At least that way I won't have to wonder if I'm getting the game on ABC, ESPN, ESPN3 or ESPN Standard Definition (or not at all) in my area.

RBuck's picture

Took the words out of my keyboard....+a gazzilion.

Long live the southend.

BucksfanXC's picture

Every time I turn on a game with Pam Ward, everytime without fail, my wife asks me, "Who is this guy commentating this game? He's awful and his voice annoys me." I've told my wife it's a female named Pam Ward about 19 times in three seasons together, cracks me up.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Doc's picture



Yet another gem.  I love your articles.  You are correct about Herbie.  He used his OSU connection to ride himself to the top of college foosball and now that he is there he is pissing on the school and fan base that got him there.  My wife is a casual observer of sports and she even has wondered what has been up his bum.  I think the entire thing boils down to jealousy.  He was a mediocre qb on mediocre teams.  Pryor, no saint himself, has accomplished more in his freshman year.  That and ESPN's love of all things SEC.  Spiels and Special K would never throw tOSU or its fans under the bus like Herbie does repeatedly.



CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W


Ramzy..... wow!!!!!   Thank you, thank you, thank you.....  I have been posting my increasing dislike for Herbie here for a few years.  He has lost his edge and has become so full of his own ego and self promotion that he no longer has credibility.  I stopped watching Game Day in 2007 when the SEC speed thing was repeated 25 times a broadcast.  Herbie no longer adds value and just repeats the same old mantras over and over......  his outing of Pryor, Herron, Posey, Thomas, and company was the absolute final straw for me because HE DID NOT HAVE TO DO IT DURING A BOWL GAME IN PRIME TIME!!   He went out of his way to thrown a player he despises (Pryor) under the bus along with his buddies.  That was nothing less than slander of college age kids and Herbie showed himself to be an ego maniac using his position to throw people under the bus to further his career. 

His varsity letters should be revoked..... 

Keith's picture

Goodness gracious, that should be blessed & framed on archival paper and submitted for Pulitzer nomination.


Run_Fido_Run's picture

Great article by Ramzy. He makes a great case against Herby/espn, especially by including the supporting links.

No, it's not like Herby hates Ohio State now. But, for the last eight years or so, he's been creeping farther and farther away from the mother ship, as he glanced back out the window of his new home on the eSECpn battle cruiser.     

bcWEcouldn'tGOfor3's picture

Herbie picked Ohio State to beat Oklahoma in the BCS CG before the start of the season.

He still likes the Buckeyes...but he is a businessman.

Plus a lot has happened over the past season that may have instilled a sense of anger at Ohio State.


Is outing the Tatoo-Five on national television a sign of disloyalty or is it a sign of anger towards these individuals who spit in the face of a presitigious program that Herbie takes pride in being an alumni of?

JBuckeye's picture

I tend to agree with you. It's no secret that Pryor has never been a "program" guy.  Anyone who followed his signing day drama can see that. He's moody and melodramatic when he doesn't get his way on the field.  By what he said about being successful in other offenses shows where his head is at, and that is all me me me all the time.

I think that Herbie just doesn't like Pryor all that much, and I agree with him on that assessment.  However I do think that Herbie has become a bit immature himself by dogging the whole team when it's just one or two guys he dislikes.

osukdawg76's picture

Solid article that touches on many things that aren't discussed enough, namely the quick blurb about oversigning practices in the SEC.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.



Buckeyeholicwompa's picture

"Arkansas shot their was last week!"


And now Arkansas shot their wad againt OSU!



BuckeyeBoyer85's picture

Classic. Gets me every time.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

SuperBuckFan08's picture

In other news, Texas may have just boned the Big 12 into non-existence:




Texas inked a deal with ESPN for a 24hr tv channel called BEVO TV that will broadcast strictly Texas athletics round the clock. 


Kiss the Big 12 goodbye...

Because I couldn't go for three.   -Woody-

osukdawg76's picture

We all saw this coming.  Hell, Stevie Wonder saw it coming and he's blind.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.



buckeye33's picture

Don't think you needed to add "and he's blind" ?   Redundant

tomcollins's picture

Big 12 will still be around.  They just will be even more of Texas's bitches.


I'm amazed this deal is worth $300.  Do people outside of Texas even care about UT?

AJ's picture

do people outside of Ohio care about tOSU?

"Without winners, there wouldn't even be civilization." -----------Woody Hayes

Colin's picture

But we don't have our own network...

BucksfanXC's picture

Raises hand.

But I still live in Big Ten country.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Kyle's picture

First this is a great read, regardless of your thoughts on Herbstreit, because it makes you think.  That is the mark of a good article and a good writer.


I think Herbstreit is still one of the best analysts in college football, maybe the best.  Where he has maybe lost some credibility to me is when he veers away from pure analysis into the realm of opinion and conjecture.  Leave that to Lou Holtz and Mark May to banter about.  Stick to x's and o's, talking about schemes and matchups and breaking down plays.


College Gameday used to be a show I didn't miss.  Over the years it has devolved into the same show every week chock full of gimmicks ("celebrity" picker anyone?) and recycled human interest stories all topped off with a heaping helping of pro-SEC felatio and Corso getting players and teams confused.  It is really too bad because that show was the gold standard for many years.

Kurt's picture

I mean, damn, it could be much worse as an OSU fan to have an alum in a position of such visibility... he could be like Charles Barkley is to Auburn and embarrass us.  I'll take that he's critical in a sense that he wants constant betterment.  That's not such a bad thing.

Buckeye Black's picture

No one is questioning his fandom.  He lives in Columbus and does cheer for them when he isn't working.  He shouldn't have said what he said about addition by subtraction.  They tat5 did nothing illegal, but were treated by the media as criminals.  If selling personal objects is all the players get in trouble for, then Tressel is recruiting high character individuals.  Herbie just needs to go back to making balanced statements.  Spielman is the last one to say his mind and not what ESPN wants.

tomcollins's picture

The rankings are the biggest thing that tipped me off.  However, I do wonder how much of the rankings are done by assistants, much like the coaches poll.

btalbert25's picture

For a voter to go from one of the most consistent and best voters to the worst voter on one pole tells me, even if assistants did the vote, he must have got a new assistant.  It's clear that some sort of point was trying to be made, axe was ground, or bet was lost on that final poll.  I hope he has the stones to defend his ballot and be honest about it when the inevitable questions follow.

tomcollins's picture

Yeah, I think it's not that he dislikes Ohio State, he dislikes Pryor and how Tressel handled it.  He's been a great voter all year.  This one was to prove a point.  What that point was, who knows.  It was a dumb point to prove.  Hopefully the more reasonable Herbie comes back.

I'm surprised there have been no questions to him on it with any responses from him.

btalbert25's picture

I really think that's all he was trying to do.  I would like to ask him or hear someone ask him, if you were trying to prove a point why wouldn't you just Omit Ohio State from your rankings and defend your position that you feel the players shouldn't have been allowed to play there for you have vacated them or something along those lines.  I think people would've been pissed, but a large percentage, including myself, would respect his stance.  What he did here just seems like Jackassery, and almost like he was just trying to provoke Pryor, Tressel, the Tat 5, or even Gordon Gee into saying something about it publicly. 

Run_Fido_Run's picture

The wacky ballot wouldn't be a big deal, by itself. As Tom suggests, though, it's a red flag of sorts. I'm more bothered by the roles he has played in promoting eSECpn's past & present mini-campaigns against Ohio State, as Ramzy does a brilliant job of recapping. In some cases, Herby was conveniently silent when he should have stuck up for his alma mater. In other cases, he gratitously volunteered statements that were out-of-line.

Back during the Clarett soap opera, I agree with Ramzy that espn made a business decision to soup up a renegade Buckeyes meme, while in reality Ohio State has always run a relatively squeaky program by football-factory standards. Espn did not have an axe to grind with OSU at that point, but espn calculated that they could get away with running their schtick because they were the only game in town.

When the BT Network became a successful commodity, things changed. Espn became eSECpn and truly had an axe to grind against the BT, but they also lost leverage in the process. The BT and eSECpn still have an uneasy truce, as both competitors still benefit from eachother's products. However, lots of covert skirmishing goes on.

Eventually, the BT will be mostly/entirely separate from eSECpn, at which point Herby will have to officially pick sides.        

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Sorry. But f*ck Herbstreit. I have been saying it since the championship game against Miami. And this article expresses all the same stuff I have said about him here and other forums for years and all that ever happened was I got blasted for being wrong. I guess I should have created a blog w/a catchy title and everyone would have agreed. The dude is a suck-stick and I hope he gets hit by a scarlet and grey bus w/the #2 on it. Eff Kirk. Eff him up his stupid a$$.

P.S. Geat article. Sorry. Shitty day at work....

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

bdegroff's picture

I really think Herbie has fallen into what ESPN pushes. Unfortunately it is the truth. The SEC is the conferenence to beat in college football. What bothers me the most is the fact that Herbstreit cant root for his own alma mater. He show no interest in the program. He had every right to bash the school for what the dumb-5 did. However, if the NCAA really wanted to suspend them from the Sugar Bowl, they would have. He really needs to back off his high horse. Realize who he is and take the punches that will be thrown his way.

tomcollins's picture

I think he roots for the program, he just really has it out for Pryor and wants to show him who the boss is.

btalbert25's picture

That just makes him look like a Jackass though.  Badmouthing Pryor and voting OHio State lower in a poll that has no bearing on the national title isn't really going to get anything accomplished.  Like him or not, Pryor is 3-0 against Michigan, has 2 BCS wins, has finally broken the SEC curse, and is poised to win 1 more against Michigan, and who knows what kind of success the team can have next year.  I would guess it's going to be pretty good, as they will definitely make it through the first 4 unscathed, and with a Michigan State team that has some significant losses, they'll be poised to be 5-0 for the return of the Tat 5.  If Herbie's goal is to be anti-Pryor, next year will he will be insufferable for the whole season.

tomcollins's picture

I agree, but he might not see it that way.  He was trying to make a point, although it just made him look like a jackass.

We'll see what he does next year.

misterbulbous's picture

Herbstreit lost credibility with the SEC when he "broke" the story about Les Miles taking the Michigan job prior to RichRod...perhaps he is overcompensating with his BigTen degrading to win fans back.  Aside from the drama, his announcing style has become horrible in terms of the incessant need to shout.  Don't know what it is but he is becoming increasingly overbearing in his delivery...extremely annoying.  Anyone else notice this?

BuckiGirl's picture

I've politely commented on Herbie's Facebook page, twice, asking to explain his Ohio State vote in the final AP ballot. No response.

I don't expect him to be a homer, in fact I'm glad that he's not, but I think he should act like the grown man in the Terrelle Pryor/Kirk Herbstreit equation.

I'm disapointed in Herbie. Ohio State gave him his start and he has given very little back to the university (monetarily or in any kind of service really). He's certainly no Archie and no Spiels in my book.

Irricoir's picture

Obviously by now you understand that the B1G does not allow it’s teams to sign more recruits than they have scholarships available for. That’s a rule for the conference. I agree with it but not if every conference doesn’t require it’s teams to abide by the same rule. I still think it’s wrong to take a scholarship from a kid and kick them to the curb because someone better came along. I think it shows a poor job in scouting on the coaches fault. Coaches should do more than look at rivals and scout and just start going after top players. Who has been more successful at that? I have some numbers for you. Gage these numbers against the teams performances in the last 4 years. 2006-2010

Florida   93recruits/23.25average

Alabama   113/28.25

LSU   105/26.25

Ole Miss    115/28.75

 Auburn   119/29.75


Ohio State   78/19.50

Penn State   85/21.25

Iowa   88/22

I respect Florida’s numbers. Quality over quantity is a good practice. Why does the SEC need so many more numbers than the B1G. We both play 33 men if you count special teams as individual players. Double that for the sake of injuries and what not. Throw in extras that get you up to the max of 85 players. Why do you need more? That’s why I say coaches have to be fair and judge the quality of the players they are getting. Coaches shouldn’t have kids come and start summer conditioning like Les Miles did, then figure out his numbers aren’t adding up and remove a kids from the program or tell him he has to transfer or take a grey shirt. It’s a whole lot easier to get the players you want when you have the numbers to choose from. Why do you think they separate high schools into divisions based on the size of the school? You have to agree with me instead of just taking the “Win at all cost” approach.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

luckynewman13's picture

I used to love Herbie---LOVE the man (I personally witnessed his children get baptized for crissakes). But to me his corporate shillhood for eSECpn has become obvious and sad. A lot of what Kirk said about Pryor on the Cowherd show rang true for me, but it was still completely inappropriate. I don't know if he actually feels this way about just #2, the whole program, or if he just loves tOSU a lot and he's just overcompensating, but he needs to look over some past video of the games he calls and try to face the person he has become.

741's picture

OK, I will confess having committed a venial sin against our Buckeye god... I have come to the conclusion that Desmond Howard is actually a better CFB analyst than Herbie. (He certainly dresses better than Herbie.)

His involvement in the Nick Lachey "Hail to the Victors" incident still offends, but the guy knows his X's and O's as well as the Jimmy's and Joe's.

btalbert25's picture

I totally agree, if I were to turn on Game Day and remove all bias from the equation, Desmond is the my favorite person on the show. 

nickma71's picture

Good article. I haven't like him in some time either. Yet I like Mark May. And crazy doctor Lou.

slovak71's picture

I agree with several assessments. Pryor is immature and it bothers me that he sold those things that he worked for. Whether he sold them now or later it hurts to a die-hard Buckeye. But, hey, he worked for them and they are his. Break a rule, but not a law. However, the man has a giant Block O and Buckeye leaves adorning his arm. I'm pretty sure he loves this place and playing ball here.

We're living in a day and age, where rah-rah college tradition is losing luster and it's all about $$$$$. Doesn't matter what arena or business. Money drives everybody.

Herbie goes out of his way to say anything positive about OSU. He is anti-Homer. Ned Flanders, perhaps.

I was a student when Herbie played at THE and I try to dearly forget those years, along with a couple #8's at the same position.

I will remember Pryor, good and bad, mostly good.  Go Bucks!

OHIOinME's picture

Holy Moly!  Your like a geiser of hate and discontent.

hangonskokie's picture

I can't apologize for Herbie, esspecially for his treatment of TP, but I think a lot of this stems from his network, which is hegemonically trying to marginalizing the Big Ten conference. Call me a tin-foil head, but I'm honestly noticing a lot of suspicious biases, and much of it started when the BIG TEN became the first conference to control the majority of the television revenue IT produces via BTN, which has become a stageringly successful ventue.  

Compare the boradcast of the Sugar Bowl versus the National Champion Game... I litterally had to turn the sound off during the Sugar Bowl because the broadcasters HAD to mention the suspensions EVERY time one of the players involved in the scandal made a play. As soon as the ruling came down (a decision made not by Ohio State but by the NCAA) It was open season on those five players - players who broke no law, and maintained satisfactory grades throughout their careers. Hell, I remember Herbie and Musbeger breaking into the Las Vegas Bowl broadcast to explicitly mention the scandal brewing at Ohio State - a scandal, which at that point, was little more than Blog rumblings.

Now, lets talk about the National Championship Game where there was little talk of what, if proven, would have been a much greater scandal involving Cam Newton - who, by the way, legitimately FAILED out of Florida for cheeting not once but twice, and who was also charged with recieving stolen property in the form of a laptop. But, in Newton's case, this is all just an example of how he matured and overcame "adversity," and how coach Gene Chizick considers him family (one year on the active roster and no degree counts as "Family" at Auburn... but Jim Tressel needs to set an example by throwing five suspended players under the bus.)

But then again, I could just be a Chicagoan with Basbosol on my face, Rotel chilis in my stomach, and Sarlet and Gray tin foil on my head...

Has anyone seen anything reported explicitly about SEC on Sports Reporters or Outside the Lines? Those programs seem to be pretty legit from a journalistic perspective.  

Run_Fido_Run's picture

No tinfoil hat, you're right on the money.

BuckeyeChief's picture

My view:

Herbie, for whatever reason, has sold his soul. Speilman has called out the Buckeyes for soft play, many times, but never threw the program under the bus. Herbie has a hate for Tressel and the program that I can't put a finger on; envy maybe?

A 41 year old engaging in a war of words with a 21 year old is ridiculous; for everyone calling out the Tatt 5 for their mistakes, I would like to appluad you for being perfect and never making a mistake. Great job!

Herbie lost me a few years ago on "the Herd" when Cowturd was dogging out the Buckeyes and their irrational fans, and went so far as to dog out "the cinnabon loving women and their cankles" and calling us "Cankle loving Buckeye fans" and Herbie laughed and agreed; I swear to god, I have not listened to "the Herd" since the "addition by subtraction" comments. I had the arguement on a ship today, when someone said I shouldn't talk about Cam Newton because the Buckeyes where just as guilty; my response was "Selling your services for $200,000 is cool, after getting kicked out of school for cheating and theft, but selling your own shit isn't?" ...no response buddy!

Amazingly, the only ESPN show I listen to now is the Van Pelt show, because he is an SEC homer, but highly critical of the Newton saga, and got into it with Cyclops Stuart Scott after the Texas Fiesta Bowl, when Cyclops dogged the B10 and said the Buckeyes got housed; Van Pelt was (on air) like, dude are you serious? That game came down to the wire.


What nobody realizes is shit rolls in cycles; alienate your base, and when you need them, they won't be there.

"2014 National Champions...deal with it!!!"

Poe McKnoe's picture

In terms of difficulty, beating UConn in 2010 ranked somewhere between boiling water and producing flatulence.

Ahh, but at what altitude are you trying to boil said water?

gravey's picture

I don't listen to Herbie anymore.  He's not nearly the analyst he used to be.  He's actually pretty bad anymore.  His ballot was inexcusable and I doubt he'll ever recover his credibility in Columbus.  You didn't have to be a homer.  We'd respect that. 

Turn in your Buckeyes Kirk.  You've gone over to the dark side.

Type G's picture

I hate homer fans because they are devoid of any reasonable perspective, but going out of your way to constantly badmouth your alma mater is even worse. At the end of the day I rather be a blind loyalist than a traitor.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with criticizing players and coaches of your favorite team, but unlike Spielman, Herbie does it without class or tact. I'm sure Herbie still loves the Buckeyes, but he has continued to bite the hand that has fed him and that puts into question just how much of a fan he still really is. Then again, the current hand that is feeding Herbie (ESPN) hates all things Ohio State so I guess he feels the need to become a lap dog for them. Whatever. More ammunition for us to get fired up and prove all the naysayers wrong next season and the seasons after.

"No time for love, Doctah Jones!"

FailtotheVictors's picture

Has anyones opinion changed due to recent events?

- Respect the Rivalry -

-1 HS