Tuck: Overexpansion Continues
Tulane and East Carolina. UCF, Memphis, Houston, and SMU. San Diego State and Boise State. Navy. Cincinnati, USF, and Louisville.
Is this some kind of a joke? Why even call it the Big East anymore?
Really, the point isn’t to rip a conference doing everything to stay alive, it’s to condemn other conferences for bloating to a size that isn’t ideal for the sport of football, or for that matter, any sport.
SEC- 14 teams
ACC- 13 teams (for now)
Big 10- 14 teams
Pac-12- 12 teams
Look, 12 is too many. Georgia and Alabama are meeting for the SEC Title this weekend and haven’t played each other since 2008!
The idea that we needed conference title games ($$$$) began this process of expansion. Now, it just isn’t about that extra game. It’s about extra exposure to the country, geography be damned. History doesn’t matter. Rivalries are irrelevant.
In a 14 team conference with an 8 game schedule Florida won’t visit Texas A&M again until 2024. They are supposed to play in the same conference, right?!?!
There is nothing authentic, traditional, or logical with what is happening right now. It isn’t fair either.
Florida played LSU and Texas A&M from the West division this year. Georgia played Auburn and Ole Miss.
Scheduling quirks that lead to advantages or disadvantages are common in all sports, yes, but not within your conference/division. It’s obviously impossible to play everyone once you go past a 10-team league. 12 has been awkward at times. 14 is dumb. If we get to 16, which seems entirely possible at this hour, that would be outright foolish.
It would basically be two leagues at that point. I think we’ve already reached a point where only your division games should count in determining the division champ. Steve Spurrier suggested as much during SEC media days.
We will reach a breaking point. It may take 20 years, but it will come. The travel. The loss of rivalries. The weird schedules. The feeling of playing teams you don’t care about playing.
The balloon will pop at some point. Schools will elect to go independent and make their own schedules and have their own TV contacts. There was a time when half the teams in the country were independents. They eventually joined conferences. They did it for financial stability. They are still doing it. I think we’ll eventually reach a point when they’ll leave for money. Money clearly is driving everything, and all these schools are for themselves and will do whatever is in there best interest.
The NCAA is pronounced the governing organization, but I am not even sure how long that will last. Clearly they have no control over most of what is going on now.
Perhaps I am fighting a fight that I can’t win. Maybe I should just sit back and enjoy what they give me. I don’t want to though. I hate seeing so much change. Change is inevitable. Change is progress. Too much change is not good for the sport however. Especially when the change is driven simply by greed. I just know that much of the history and pageantry involved in college football and the many reasons I enjoy it are not among the sports priorities moving forward. That disappoints me.