Kirk Herbstreit Calls BYU The ‘Anti-UCF’ For Their Approach To Earning Respect

Nov 11, 2020, 12:09 PM | Updated: 12:16 pm
Kalani Sitake - BYU Cougars...
BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake (Courtesy of BYU Photo)
(Courtesy of BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit has proven to be a big supporter of BYU football in 2020. After a dominating 51-17 win over Boise State last Friday, BYU has done nothing to hurt the respect coming from one of college football’s most prominent analysts.

Respect doesn’t come easy in the college football world. Remember UCF (University of Central Florida) in 2017? The Knights claimed a National Championship for their undefeated season that year. Throughout that season, UCF was vocal about the national pundits’ lack of respect and the College Football Playoff Committee’s low rankings. UCF’s athletic director and official social media accounts even got in on the cries for lack of respect.

Kirk Herbstreit calls BYU the ‘Anti-UCF’

Herbstreit respects the toned-down approach from BYU. He discussed that on his podcast this week, ‘CFB Podcast with Herbie, Pollack, & Negandhi‘.

“You ever notice, BYU, they’re like anti-UCF as far as the noise that comes out of Provo. It’s not like, ‘you better respect us,'” said Herbstreit. “You don’t hear anything from them, and I don’t think they’re gonna get on a campaign about, ‘we deserve to be in there, look at what we’ve done.’ You might hear that from a few of their fans, but I think they’re just enjoying the ride. I think they’re really happy with the season that they’re on and having and enjoying … So I honestly think BYU is just loving life after the year that they had last year, and they’re enjoying the attention. But they deserve it.”

BYU has taken an approach that they are not buying into any of the hype and letting their play do the talking. Both head coach Kalani Sitake and quarterback Zach Wilson have said that they aren’t worried about the hype and praise on numerous occasions. It can disappear as quickly as it can arrive, Wilson noted last month. They want to keep getting better as a team.

On the hype train since week 1

That’s not stopping Kirk Herbstreit from heaping praise on BYU.

“I’ve been on BYU since week one. I’ve loved them. I was lucky enough to call their game against Navy, and I left that game, thinking, ‘wow, Zach Wilson’s the real deal, and this team’s going to be fun to keep an eye on.’ Even if they’re not going to have marquee opponents, I just was really fired up to see them play. They’re 8-0. They’ve won by an average margin of 45-13, and they’re physical, they’re nasty, and they’re experienced. You know, last year, this team was riddled with injuries, and so many guys who weren’t ready to play last year played, and now those guys who had to step in and play, they’re all back. The guys that were injured are all back. So it’s one thing to go through it; it’s another thing to survive it.”

Herbstreit continued, “Now you’ve got a veteran team with a quarterback that can sling it around. He’s got tremendous skill in Romney and Milne that can catch the ball on the outside. They’ve got a couple of backs, an offensive line that’s similar to what Notre Dame has; I don’t know man, they’re a team I would not want to play.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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Kirk Herbstreit Calls BYU The ‘Anti-UCF’ For Their Approach To Earning Respect