Relative to its peers in the Big Ten, IU football doesn’t have top-tier facilities.
While they’ve made major upgrades to Memorial Stadium in recent years, the Hoosiers don’t have a dedicated football only training facility or weight room, something many in the league have, mostly as a result of lucrative television deals.
But respected college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit believes what Indiana has to offer stands out compared to schools outside of the Big Ten and SEC.
And that highlights for Herbstreit why a move to the Big Ten by UCLA and USC makes a lot of sense. Both schools should expect a major increase in revenue by joining the conference in 2024, and that will allow them to become more competitive in the ever-evolving world of facilities wars.
“I mean, Purdue’s facilities, Indiana’s facilities, Northwestern’s facilities, blow anybody in the Pac-12 out of the water,” Herbstreit said Mad Dog Unleashed on Sirius XM. “If you’re a recruit and you go on a trip to Bloomington, Indiana, you would be blown away if you saw the facilities in Indiana.”
Host Chris Russo pushed back on the notion that Indiana might have better facilities than USC and UCLA.
“The Indiana facilities are that much better than some of the facilities in the Pac-12?,” Russo asked.
“Yes, Northwestern, Indiana, Purdue, I’m talking about a lower tier, or what is perceived to be the lower tier level (of the Big Ten),” Herbstreit said. “Ohio State, Michigan, the big boys, Nebraska, forget about them, I’m talking middle of the road, lower tier because of that amount of money that is brought into the Big Ten.
“And you should see what the Arkansas and South Carolina facilities are (in the SEC). And then you’re gonna go on a recruiting trip to USC and you just left South Carolina, let alone LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Auburn, the big boys. I mean, if you go to South Carolina, and all of a sudden you go to USC, it’s night and day. It’s very, very hard to compete with what the SEC and the Big Ten are cranking out from a revenue standpoint. And so you’re sitting there looking in the mirror and you’re USC and you’re thinking ‘man, I love our tradition. I love our heritage, our history, but man we’re gonna get left behind. We’re gonna get left behind. If we don’t think about joining one of these two power conferences, we have to do this.’ And so I think that’s why they’re there.”
The question for Indiana, however, will be whether they can stay in the Big Ten.
There are currently more than 120 college football programs in Division One, but Herbstreit sees a much smaller top-tier when the dust settles on the current realignment.
He didn’t name IU by name, but he mentioned others like them when discussing what programs may not be part of a future premier college football division.
What might college football look like when the smoke clears?
“My prediction is much like, we live in a world where before all this chaos, you had college football, the power conferences, you have Division I college football and then you have 1AA, which is the FCS like North Dakota State, right?” Herbstreit said. “It’s a different division. Then Division II and you go all the way down to Division III.
“I think what’s going to happen is this new world is going to essentially be of about 50 to 55 to 60 teams. I don’t know who’s going to be involved in it. But I think that’s going to become what we know as Power Five, Division I college football. And then whoever’s doesn’t make the cut. You mentioned maybe an Arizona, maybe a Wake Forest, whoever it is, doesn’t make the cut and doesn’t get into this new world, that I think we’re going to find like MAC football: Miami, Ohio, Western Michigan, where do they go? Where does Conference USA go? Right?
“I think they’ll go into their own division. I think they’ll add a division. So you have Division I, and let’s call (the next one) 1A … They can create their own playoff. We have a playoff in 1AA and we have a playoff in Division III. So I think that world gets left out, they’re frustrated, their fans are mad. But everybody can’t go to the big, big world. They just can’t. Everybody can’t be involved. And so people are going to be really frustrated with this. And there’s nothing we can do about it.”
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