College football analyst Kirk Herbstreit took to social media Tuesday night to clarify a statement he made earlier on ESPN in which he appeared to suggest Ohio State's national title hopes could be dashed if other schools — particularly arch-rival Michigan — chose to cancel games against them because of coronavirus concerns.
"I still think Michigan waves the white flag (and) potentially avoids playing Ohio State next week," Herbstreit said on ESPN's College Football Playoff rankings show.
"Is that fair … Michigan could opt out, basically, and keep Ohio State out of (playing) six games to qualify for the Big Ten championship. That doesn't make sense to me."
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Kirk Herbstreit dares Michigan not to duck Ohio State next week pic.twitter.com/K608RMgpiv
After an uproar from college football fans, Herbstreit apologized to the Michigan football team in a video posted on Twitter.
"I had no business at all saying that. I have no evidence of that. It was completely unfair to the University of Michigan, to Jim Harbaugh, to his players and his coaches," he said.
"In college football, I really struggle with where we are — players opting out, teams canceling games — it just seems like it's a downward spiral. I think typically I try to remain positive and upbeat, and I think sometimes we all have our breaking points.
"Right now, at Week 14, with so much negativity surrounding the sport, I think that's sometimes a pressure point for me," Herbstreit said.
Just wanted to clarify something I said earlier tonight during our CFP rankings show. Apologize to @UMichFootball for my words. pic.twitter.com/tCBGjl7GTV
Herbstreit, who played quarterback for Ohio State from 1989-92, also emphasized his comments weren't partisan in any way, pointing out his "25-year track record of not being a guy who pokes at Michigan."
In the latest College Football Playoff rankings, Ohio State (4-0) is clinging to the fourth and final spot, despite not playing last week when coach Ryan Day and several Buckeyes players tested positive for COVID-19.
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