Friday, June 11, 2010
COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S SILLY SEASON
The Big XII is dying. Being ripped limb from limb by the other BCS Conferences, who like cannibals are gobbling up their fellow NCAA power broker. The Big Ten wants Nebraska. The Pac-10's taken Colorado. But they also want Texas and as many as 5 other teams. Oklahoma might even join the SEC.
How'd this happen? Well, the Big Ten and Pac-10 are the epitome of all that's wrong with college football. That's how. They're greedy, more than the other conferences. They're hogs among pigs.
The Big Ten and Pac-10 are the two biggest defenders of the BCS system, which is almost universally seen as inadequate, unfair, and recognized to be bullshit. These two also have their sweetheart deal with the Rose Bowl, the only BCS contest which strictly adheres to conference affiliations.
You can understand their desires to expand to 12 teams. That gets them a lucrative Conference Championship game. And adding Nebraska to the Big Ten gives that conference yet another historic, nationally followed team.
But if the Pac-10 snatches 2 teams from the Big XII, that conference loses its legitimacy. Losing Nebraska is a big enough blow. But take out two more and the house of cards collapses. Don't forget that the Big XII is a mere 16 years old, and was a combination of the Southwest and Big 8 Conferences. Texas and Oklahoma don't want to be the kings of a worthless kingdom.
But the Pac-10 doesn't just want to expand to 12. Nor do they want to take the geographically logical approach and offer a promotion to top Mountain West teams to join their league. The Pac-10 looks to become the Pac-16. That's right, a 16 team monster of a league.
Such a behemoth is grotesquely greedy. This isn't an attempt to improve the quality of the conference. It's not for geographic realignment. It's for TV money. The Pac-10 wants to lure powerhouses like Texas and Oklahoma, get themselves a better broadcasting rights deal, and get even more Bowl money.
The Gator Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Sun Bowl, the Alamo Bowl, and many more smaller bowls are what awaits the Pac-10 if they absorb the Big XII's powerhouses. The 12 team SEC and ACC have 9 bowl tie-ins each. The Pac-10 only has 6, but could easily double that to 12 if they expand to 16 teams. That's a lot of money just waiting to be nabbed.
This isn't new. The ACC raided the Big East quite recently. But they didn't destroy it. The Pac-10, however, seems hell-bent on destroying the Big XII, and pillaging its TV contracts and bowl games.
And what if the Pac-16 divides itself into 4 division, with a two-round playoff of its own to determine a Conference Champ? That's 3 times the "bonus" title games that the SEC, Big Ten and ACC have.
And if it works, the SEC and Big Ten will soon want to expand to 16 as well. They'll plunder from the ACC and Big East.
But as ugly as it sounds, maybe it's a step in an ultimately good direction. The current mishmash system of different sized conferences is an utter mess. There's no strong central governing body. The conferences are too independently powerful. It's like the USA before the Constitution, just a collection of allied but independent units. Each state printing its own money, making its own laws, conflicting with other states.
There are about 64 programs worthy of being in power conferences. Baylor doesn't belong in a BCS league. Boise State does. These 64 can someday be divided among four 16 team conferences. And the winners of these conferences could meet in a playoff.
Maybe. But I doubt a playoff system will come directly from this. As I mentioned, the Pac-16 is looking to absorb bowl games. Streamlining will be an unintentional result of this carnage. But in the end, conferences like the Pac-10 and Big Ten only want money. They don't care if the declared national champion truly deserves a Championship. They just want ESPN to pay them to play the Insight Bowl.