Kirk Herbstreit pushes back on allegations of Nebraska football bias

The ESPN announcer spent the day getting blasted about reported bias for Nebraska football and finally said his piece on Thursday night.

Kirk Herbstreit on the ESPN College Gameday
Kirk Herbstreit on the ESPN College Gameday / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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After getting blasted from Georgia Bulldogs fans and national media folks for an entire day, Kirk Herbtreit had enough. He wants you to know that he did not push 5-star quarterback Dylan Raiola toward the Nebraska football program.

In fact, in listening to Kirk tell it, the ESPN College Gameday personality thought it was downright odd that Raiola would ever consider the Huskers. In short, it appears that while Herbstreit spent Thursday getting heat from Bulldogs fans, he might spend Friday receiving some grief from Husker fans.

Herbstreit appeared on ESPN’s Paul Finebaum show on Thursday night, attempting to give his side of a story that exploded on Wednesday afternoon. The story was courtesy of Raiola’s father and famed former Nebraska football star Dominic Raiola. 

While Dom’s son was safely tucked away as a Cornhuskers signee since December, the elder Raiola appeared on a podcast with Rivals’ Adam Gorney to talk about the freshman quarterback’s journey from Georgia commit to Nebraska football signee.

As part of that story, Dominic claimed that Herbstreit gave Donovan the slightest shove towards Lincoln once he learned the quarterback wouldn’t be spending his college days in Athens. “He said, ‘Dude, is this true? He’s got to do it.”

“Dude is this true, he’s got to do it.” Eight little words that set social media afire. Georgia fans accused Herbstreit of tampering. Other media personalties talked about how appalled they were that Herbstreit would voice his preference for one program over another.

One can certainly take issue that Herbstreit really pushed Raiola at all, but that’s certainly been the narrative for the last 24 hours. So the former Ohio State Buckeye and current ESPN personality tried to set the record straight on the Finebaum show.

Kirk Herbstreit pushes back on allegations of Nebraska football bias

“That’s the most ridiculous thing anybody would do, but I did compliment Matt Rhule,” Herbstreit said. “If I’m guilty of anything, I said Matt Rhule is a good coach and he’s a good man. I believe he will bring Nebraska back.”

And then the overcorrection came. 

“I just said, ‘Wow, the fact that your son could go to any school, any powerhouse that’s competing for national titles an because of his respect for his own dad, he’s thinking about maybe going to Nebraska, a place that hasn’t competed for national titles in over 20 years. That says a lot about who the kid is.”

Thanks Kirk. We definitely needed that salt rubbed in our collective Nebraska football wounds.