College football is changing before our eyes and will probably never be the same. The product on the field will still be entertaining and draw attention to the television sets, but it will look and feel very different in 10 years.
Conference rescheduling has changed the face of college football over the past 30 years. From the dissolution of the Southwest and Big 8 conferences to the expansion and contraction of the Big East to the realignment that saw four of the Big 12 programs find a new home a decade ago to what we’ve seen as powerful programs for the past year the move to large conferences.
Oklahoma and Texas’s commitment to the SEC and USC and UCLA’s promise to the Big Ten were the last straws that broke the back of the tradition-rich college football we love.
As the sands shift in college football, profitability and value are just as important as results on the field.
Now that the conference rescheduling has just begun, let’s look back again Forbes’ 2019 List of the 25 Most Valuable College Football Programs† It was the last time it updated the list, but it’s telling.
The new SEC, which includes Texas and Oklahoma, includes 12 of the top 25 programs on the list. The only conference schools not listed are Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Missouri, and the state of Mississippi. The new Big Ten has eight of the top 25. Oregon, Notre Dame, Clemson, Washington and Florida State make up the rest of the list, and each has been discussed for possible move to the SEC or Big Ten.
The ACC would be in good shape without the media rights agreement, which runs through 2036. Since media rights deals are estimated to be worth more than a billion dollars in the future to the Big Ten and the SEC, the ACC has fallen behind financially.
That reality could create a situation that leads to more moves for college football’s most valuable programs in the near future.
January 1, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana; Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) warms up ahead of the College Football Playoff semifinal against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Friday, January 1, 2021. Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports
Ole Miss Rebels
January 1, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin reacts after a game against the Baylor Bears during the first half of the 2022 Sugar Bowl at Caesars Superdome. Stephen Lew-US TODAY Sports
ties from Wisconsin
October 12, 2019; Madison, Wisconsin; Wisconsin Badgers defensive end Isaiah Loudermilk (97) celebrates after tackling Michigan State Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke (14) during the third quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Jeff Hanisch-US TODAY Sports
Michigan State Spartans
Dec 12, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Jalen Nailor (8) makes a catch and rushes the ball into the end zone for a second quarter touchdown against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
October 1, 2021; College Park, Maryland; Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Spencer Petras (7) scribbles during the second half of a game against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field in Maryland Stadium. Scott Taetsch-US TODAY Sports
September 4, 2021; Lincoln; Nebraska Cornhuskers linebacker Luke Reimer (28) puts pressure on Fordham Rams quarterback Tim DeMorat (17) in the first half at Memorial Stadium. Bruce Thorson-US TODAY Sports
Joe Nicholson-US TODAY Sports
USC Trojan Horses
Dec 4, 2004; Pasadena, California; USC running back #5 Reggie Bush outshines the UCLA defense en route to an 81-yard touchdown run in the Trojans’ 29-24 victory over the Bruins in Saturday’s Rose Bowl. Photo by Joe Robbins – USA TODAY Sports.
September 11, 2021; Fayetteville; Arkansas Razorbacks running back AJ Green (0) celebrates after scoring a fourth quarter touchdown against the Texas Longhorns at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas won 40-21. Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
South Carolina Gamecocks
Dec 5, 2020; Lexington, Kentucky; South Carolina Gamecocks running back Kevin Harris (20) scores a touchdown during the third quarter against the Kentucky Wildcats at Kroger Field. Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Florida State Seminoles defends Asante Samuel Jr. (26) after Clemson fails to complete the pass as the Florida State Seminoles face the Clemson Tigers in college football at Doak S. Campbell Stadium on Saturday, October 27, 2018. Alicia Devine/ Democrat
Dec 6, 2019; Santa Clara, Califonia; Oregon Ducks run back Cyrus Habibi-Likio (33) storms into the Utah Utes during the first half of the Pac-12 Conference championship game at Levi’s Stadium. Kirby Lee-US TODAY Sports
Penn State Nittany Lions
Nov 9, 2019; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrates after sacking Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (not pictured) in the second half at TCF Bank Stadium. Jesse Johnson-US TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2021; Knoxville; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Josh Heupel talks to offensive lineman Javontez Spraggins (76) during the first half against the South Alabama Jaguars at Neyland Stadium. Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports
April 17, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; LSU Tigers huddle together during warm-ups for the annual Purple & White spring game at Tiger Stadium. Stephen Lew-US TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2010; Auburn, Alabama; Auburn Tigers quarterback Cameron Newton (2) straight arms South Carolina Gamecocks linebacker Tony Straughter (44) in the second half at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn defeated South Carolina 35-27. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
December 19, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia; Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts (84) runs the ball against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jordan Battle (9) and defensive back Josh Jobe (28) during the fourth quarter of the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Adam Hagy-US TODAY Sports
Dec 12, 2020; Columbia, Missouri; Georgia Bulldogs defending defender Eric Stokes (27) returns an interception against the Missouri Tigers during the first half at Faurot Field in Memorial Stadium. Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Nov 13, 2021; Charlottesville, Virginia; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Logan Diggs (22) carries the ball past Virginia Cavaliers in linebacker Nick Jackson (6) during the fourth quarter at Scott Stadium. Geoff Burke – USA TODAY Sports
Nov 16, 2019; Waco, Texas; Oklahoma Sooners running back Rhamondre Stevenson (29) and quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) in action during the Bears vs. Sooners game at McLane Stadium. Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Ohio State Buckeyes
January 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) catches a touchdown pass against Alabama Crimson Tide defending defenseman Brian Branch (14) in the third quarter of the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship at Hard Rock Stadium. Douglas DeFelice-US TODAY Sports
Alabama Crimson Tide
January 10, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana; Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young, 9) falls back to pitch against the Georgia Bulldogs during the third quarter of the 2022 CFP college football national championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Kirby Lee-US TODAY Sports
Nov 2, 2019; College Park, Maryland; Michigan Wolverines defending lineman Kwity Paye (19) and linebacker Jordan Glasgow (29) prior to the snap during the 2g against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field in Maryland Stadium. Tommy Gilligan – USA TODAY Sports
September 11, 2021; Fayetteville; Arkansas Razorbacks running back AJ Green (0) rushes for a second half touchdown against the Texas Longhorns at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas won 40-21. Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M Aggies
Sam Navarro-US TODAY Sports