For years, the word has been brewing that the supremacy of college football will only be challenged by a select few. A major step in that direction has been taken with the reported defection of USC and UCLA from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten† That seems to be just the beginning, as other Pac-12 schools could follow suit. Today’s Paul Myerberg in the US believes this will all eventually lead to the Big Ten and SEC becoming two super conferences at the expense of the remaining Power Five conferences.
All I can say is that this absolutely sucks. It doesn’t matter what this may mean for Notre Dame. What about college football as a whole? Geographical regions and rivalries suddenly mean a lot less than who can make the most money making ESPN, Fox and any other network or streaming service pay for showing the games to the public.
What happened to the thrill of preparing to defeat an opponent only a few hundred miles away? Are we really going to see Rutgers travel to Los Angeles for a game that starts at 9 a.m. local time? This is an absolutely ridiculous thought, and one that is inexplicably about to become a reality. Say goodbye to team buses for most conference games and hello to frequent jet lag during those games.
Yes, I know this is all about money, and I know players are now allowed to get through NIL deals. But here we have to bring up the cliché that money is the root of all evil. In this case, it destroys everything that has made college football beautiful for over a century. The future of the sport seems to be a professional league disguised as college football, and that’s not what it should be about.
You may remember the big backlash when the European Super League was announced a year ago. Pretty much everyone who loved football showed such outrage that the league eventually ended before it even started. Where is the anger about this? It’s probably too late, but if fans don’t make the slightest fuss, this will be our new reality:
If this is to be our new reality, there must be a complete reshuffling of the levels of college football. The idea that all Football Bowl Subdivision teams fall under the same umbrella has been laughable at best and an outright lie at worst. When all of this happens, all of the remaining Power Five programs will have to compete for their own championship, just like all Group of Five programs. None of the latter group will ever make it to the College Football Playoff, so why string them along?
This latest proposal means that the sport that future generations watch will not be the one that we, our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents watched. Only the most prominent college football programs are allowed to compete for the mountaintop, and any other school can forget about ever rising to that level. Very few of the top players in the country now go to Group of Five schools, and this will ensure that none of them will go there because they want a chance to go all the way, and they want the greatest possible exposure.
If none of this bothers you even the slightest bit, then I don’t know how you can enjoy watching the rich get richer. It’s not that college football has a whole lot of integrity these days, and this will destroy all that’s left of it. We are at a tipping point and history will remember it as such. That is, if history has not been bought and paid for by some other power entity that will ruin that too.
Follow Geoffrey on Twitter: @gfclark89