Has the all mighty dollar taken precedence over traditional rivalries? We will lose some great home and home rivalries if the current trend continues.
What is a premium? Traditional rivalries or conference realignment…ie super conferences? Has the all mighty dollar taken precedence over traditional rivalries? What is the balance when it comes to traditional rivalries vs conference realignment?
Traditional Rivalries vs Conference Realignment
What Have We Lost In The Big XII?
Long time Oklahoma Sooner fans have seen some great conference games eliminated by realignment. In the old Big 8 alone we have lost annual conference games with Colorado, Missouri, and of course the Big Red of the north…Nebraska. Texas lost Texas A&M, who, other than Oklahoma, was their most hated rival, to conference realignment.
What Will The Future Hold?
How long will it be before the Big XII disbands and arguably the greatest rivalry in sports is lost…Oklahoma vs Texas? Who can Oklahoma and Texas hate on then? Can anyone in Oklahoma or Texas imagine not having “that other team” to hate the second Saturday in October every year? It seems to be a foregone conclusion that if, or more likely when the Big XII disbands the Oklahoma/Texas annual shootout will go away as well. That would be a huge loss to college football!
Rivalries Are What Make College Football
Can anyone imagine not seeing such rivalries as Ohio St/Michigan, Auburn/Alabama, Florida/Georgia, Miami/Florida State? The rivalries, the hated opponents as well as the respectful rivalries, are what college football is all about. We shouldn’t lose anymore of those games than we have already lost, but conference realignment or the building of super conferences puts some of these games at risk. Nobody wants to see Oklahoma play FAU, or Texas play Tulane. We watch college football for the big games…the rivalry games! We want to see the pregame taunting, teams that dislike each other minimum.
What Can We Expect In The Near Future?
Will we see just a limited number of super conferences on the horizon? Will there be conferences made up of 16 or more teams where they don’t even play everyone in the conference or even within their own division? That would in all likelihood eliminate some or all of the great early season non-conference regional rivalry games. Some of the great inter-sectional games such as Oklahoma/Tennessee, Texas/Ohio St, Alabama/USC, just to name a few would go by the wayside. This is doing an injustice to the avid college football fan. The real college football fans want to see these games, regardless of which team they follow. Unless you are following a specific team nobody wants to see 52-3 halftime game against a cupcake opponent. The real fans want to see competitive rivalry games.
The Other Side Of The Issue.
Every issue has two sides. What are the positives for conference realignment? First and foremost is the financial side of realignment. Television revenue has a massive impact on college football. Everyone knows who controls the majority of television rights as well as revenue at this point. Universities are keenly aware of what it takes to operate a college football program. They are also aware of the revenue generated by those same football programs. Major college football programs are multi million dollar businesses today. Those dollars are generated through donations, sales, season ticket revenue, but a large factor are television contracts.
Will Playoff Expansion Coincide With Conference Expansion?
Is possible playoff expansion a positive for creating super conferences? If playoff expansion coincides with conference realignment that would definitely be a step in the right direction. The more nationally competitive teams would benefit if conference realignment or expansion happened at the same time as playoff expansion.
Who Would Benefit Most From Realignment?
What teams would favor realignment and who would be opposed? The lower rung teams would be in favor for financial benefits because many of those teams bring little or nothing financially to the conference table as it currently exists. The universities that would be opposed are the ones that are not financially hurting, especially in the athletic department. The schools that are fluid financial have no motivation to change…”if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.