Kirk Ferentz Nov 11, 2023; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz enters Kinnick Stadium before the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

College Football bowl season is coming to an end as we enter the new year. One issue that has plagued the overall competitive balance in postseason play has been player opt-outs in non-CFP bowl games. And Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz believes that this is a huge issue in the sport that needs to be changed.

Player opt-outs have traditionally been reserved for players preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft. Generally, only the best NFL Draft prospects would even consider opting out of their team’s bowl games.

However, the rise of players entering the transfer portal in recent years has subsequently led to more players leaving their respective programs before their bowl games, dramatically affecting several teams in their bowl games this year.

A great example of this is the Orange Bowl on Saturday between Georgia and Florida State. Georgia would go on to win the game in a historic 63-3 blowout in large part due to Florida State having a total of 29 scholarship players either leave the program or opt out of this game.

Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz spoke about this issue on Sunday before his team’s Citrus Bowl game, detailing that he believes the current state of college football is “messed up”.

“We are in worse shape than we were two years ago,” said Ferentz via 247 Sports. “I did not think that was possible. We, the adults, have done a lot to really screw this thing up. We have a great game, so I do – old guy in the room – I have got some concerns about what the future is going to look like. I think most people are aware that we have some real issues right now.

“It is just a different world. Even 20 years ago, you had guys possibly opting out for the NFL, not near to the extent now. There are just a lot of parties involved now, and it is not always healthy voices that the players hear and some of the parties involved are not necessarily thinking about what is best for the individual young people. Just kind of flies in the face of what we try to do as coaches I think, so that is part of it.”

Ferentz is not the only coach to speak on this issue as of late. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart also questioned the future of the sport after facing off against a depleted Florida State team in the Orange Bowl, saying that he “felt bad” for Florida State players who did decide to play in the game.

[247 Sports]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.