Kirk Herbstreit Talks Dark Horse Teams to Reach College Football Playoff, Expanding Field to 8 Teams (Exclusive)

There are only a few weeks remaining in the college football season, and the elite teams are looking to solidify their spot in the playoffs. The first College Football Playoff rankings were released last week announcing the top four teams as Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State. And while it looks like those will be the four teams that will compete for a national title, there are a few teams who could make their way into the playoffs. PopCulture.com recently caught up with ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit and revealed the teams to watch that are on the outside looking in.

"Florida is playing as good as anybody in the country for the last few weeks with their quarterback Kyle Trask," Herbstreit told PopCulture. Herbstreit also said Texas A&M is having a strong season, beating Florida earlier in the year and losing only to Alabama. He went on to talk about the Group of 5 teams that could make some noise, including Cincinnati, who is 8-0 on the year, and BYU, who is also undefeated.

"I've been as impressed with BYU as maybe anybody this year," Herbstreit said when talking about other teams who could be dark horses to the College Football Playoff. "They got a great quarterback that's going to be an NFL player. They're a physical team and very skilled." Herbstreit also mentioned Oregon being a "forgotten team" because of the Pac-12's late start. Oregon lost to Oregon State this past weekend.

Two other teams that are undefeated are Marshall and Coastal Carolina. Because of the conferences they play in (Marshall in Conference USA and Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt), Herbstreit doesn't believe those teams have a great chance of reaching the College Football Playoff. However, the Ohio State alum feels this year would have a great opportunity to expand the playoffs to at least eight teams.

0comments

"If there's ever been a year where it needs to be eight teams or it needs to be 12 teams, this would be a great year for that," Herbstreit stated. "Marshall is going to have a very hard time coming out of Conference USA being recognized as a team that should be considered for the playoffs. ...I think it's awesome that Coastal Carolina is having the year that they're having. It's fun to watch, I'm a big fan of these teams and I'm a big fan of them getting the attention that they deserve. But at the end of the day, it's not about the most deserving teams, it's about the four best teams."

It looks like there could be a few teams that are undefeated and won't sniff the College Football Playoff. If that happens, could there be changes coming soon? Herbstreit said: "I think there's enough people that are making enough noise that eventually will get to eight or possibly 12 teams, which would allow some of these teams to have a chance to play it out, and see if they can win a big game."