Kirk Herbstreit Bashes Utah and Mountain West: Mark May Calls Him on It!

Jeff KalafaAnalyst IIIDecember 10, 2008

On Sunday's ESPN College Bowl Selection Show, Kirk Herbstreit offended Utah and Mountain West Conference fans when he suggested that teams from non-BCS conferences can't be taken seriously.

Herbstreit, who just last year stated on ESPN that Les Miles had accepted the head football job at the University of Michigan, has had the propensity for delivering unfounded and questionable remarks concerning the sport he covers.

On the selection show, ESPN football analyst Herbstreit had reinforced his belief that only the six major football conferences could produce teams capable of playing in BCS Championship games.

Fellow analyst Mark May, probably the most knowledgeable of the ESPN college crew, heard Herbstreit's remarks and immediately challenged them.

May made it clear that Utah had accomplished just as much as Alabama, a team that could have easily gone to the championship game if it beat Florida.  He also pointed out that the Mountain West Conference had a great year and held their own against all competition.

It appears Mark May was correct in everything he said!

Utah, while finishing undefeated, had defeated No. 11 TCU, No. 16 BYU and No. 24 Oregon State.  They also went to Michigan on opening day and beat the Wolverines.

Alabama, before losing its only game to Florida in the SEC Championship, had defeated No. 15 Georgia and No. 25 Mississippi.  The rest of their schedule was weak this year.  Auburn, Tennessee, and LSU had poor seasons, and the Tide played an easy non-conference schedule.

The Mountain West Conference had a great year in 2008.  BYU beat Washington and UCLA.  UNLV beat Iowa State and Arizona State.  New Mexico beat Arizona.

Wyoming, perennial loser, went to Tennessee and won, and TCU held Oklahoma to 35 points, the Sooners' lowest output of the season.  It couldn't be more obvious to even the casual college fan that the Mountain West is a good conference—certainly worthy of being compared with most of the BCS conferences this year.

Herbstreit is supposed to be a learned critic of the sport he covers.  The kind of statements he made last Sunday evening were discouraging to Utah, the Mountain West, and college football fans.  It's hard to believe that someone in his position could appear so uninformed about Utah football and the Mountain West Conference.