Mountain West, Big East, ACC, SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Mid-America, et al. College conference realignment reminds me of the good old days, circa 2007, when Goldman Sachs sold worthless collateralized debt obligations to clients and then bought positions opposite the positions they had just sold. Goldman made dollars into the tens of billions and used their customers as road kill.
Greed beyond measure — no restraint, no end to it until everything falls down. Which brings us to college football. On Friday the Mountain West Conference declared they will join football forces with Conference USA to become one tradition-steeped, academic enriching conference of 122 colleges stretching from San Diego to Uzbekistan. Football will start the moment television contracts are signed and go year-round. All games are scheduled for prime time and will be televised six days a week. Tuesday night will remain football free as an experiment and in recognition of the fact that no one wanted to sponsor Tuesday nights.
Okay, that might not be precisely what happened, but it’s close. The announced setup is, “We’ll start play next year or the year after, depending on money and if we can patch this pig together in time.” The football-only conference will have between 16 and 22 teams unless more teams or, for that matter, less teams seem like a better idea when money is put on the table. Maybe they’ll have a divisional format. Better, maybe they’ll have divisional playoffs and then a conference title game. Best, wildcard playoffs, divisional playoffs, and an East versus West championship game for the Galactic Grand National Super Bingo Championship of All Football. The CUSAMWC will have football teams in five time zones and 16 states. When you think about it, isn’t that what we all want?
Consider the rivalries! San Diego State gouging, biting, and spitting on our despised arch enemy, the East Carolina Pirates. Or, how about SDSU sucker-punching the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles’ marching band? That blood feud goes back generations. Or, simply, San Diego kicking some University of Central Florida butt. Just the sound, “University of Central Florida,” is like putting your fingers in a door jamb and then slamming the door shut as hard as you possibly can. That’s what the University of Central Florida sounds like to a true San Diegan. How’s that for a grudge match?
I’m talking quality matchups, talking big-league college football. I can’t wait.
Follows is a scorecard of the backstabbing, money-grubbing, conference-jumping schools. This is offered in time freeze, good for this moment only. Colleges will keep circling the campfire, waiting for the right moment to lunge at your throat. Their positions on the big board will be different tomorrow, but for now:
Eastern Carolina (C-USA) has applied for membership in the Big East.
The Big East would like to invite SMU, Houston, Air Force, Boise State, and Central Florida to join them on the death ship. Oops, I should add Navy and Temple to the list.
The WCC added BYU for all sports, save football, and say they’re done, but — cough — could expand further if Air Force is available.
Pittsburgh will leave the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) sometime in the next two years. Unless a better deal comes along. Ditto Syracuse.
TCU remains number 1. Since 1995 they have been members of the Southwest Conference, Western Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mountain West Conference, the Big East, and, lately, the Big 12. TCU is a role model for the 21st Century, the first free agent University. Well done, lads.
The Big Ten says they’re not looking to expand, but, hey, just as an exercise they might consider adding Boston College, Missouri, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, UConn, and Rutgers.
If anybody leaves the Mountain West, Utah State would like their seat. In the meantime, the Aggies would accept an invitation to the WAC. Just saying...
Or, we could give all this up and understand that Division I football is a pro sport. There are 120 Division I football-playing schools, give or take. Since a lot of schools are joining conferences for football only, it’s a small step from there to a true national collegiate football league.
Look, college football is only about money. Let’s admit it and maximize income while providing a better product for the sporting public. See, everybody wins. Yes, some win more than others, but that’s the Goldman Sachs way.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should stop screwing college athletes. I mean, come on, we’re getting them for a few bucks under the table and tennis shoes. But, we should put some money into NCAA enforcement in case those arrogant bastards get ideas.