Conference realignment has always been prevalent in collegiate athletics, even if it isn’t getting the national attention it is now. Heck, there was a time when Rice was in the same conference as Arkansas. But it’s very sad to see one of the most prominent conferences in the country, one that has completely dominated a large part of the country, dissipate within such a short span. With all of these big moves scheduled to take place before next fall, make sure you enjoy College Football in 2023. Because if all of these changes go through, we won’t see another season like it.
Coast-to-coast travel has been very uncommon across collegiate athletics, and even professional leagues limit it as much as possible. Welp, it’s going to become a regularity very soon. Do you consider Piscataway, New Jersey and Eugene, Oregon to be convenient to each other? How about Morgantown, West Virginia and Tucson, Arizona? Or Stanford, California and Syracuse, New York? Yes, travel from the east coast to the west coast, in both revenue and non-revenue sports, is on the horizon in not one, not two, but three of the most prominent athletic conferences in the USA.
There’s also this little thing called the College Football Playoff that’s set to bump from four to 12 teams for the 2024 season. While on the outside that may appear to be a good thing for a team like Syracuse- it might now have a chance to reach the sport’s holy grail once in a blue moon- it hinders the regular season product. Games played from September-December simply won’t matter as much because the ticket for the train to the College Football Playoff just got a lot less expensive. Under the current format, a second loss has been the equivalent of a death warrant for playoff-hopeful teams, as it should be. Now every team seemingly has a get-out-of-jail-free card.
The worst part about this is there’s no end to it in sight. Just because the ACC might add now doesn’t mean it won’t subtract later. Where on Earth might that leave SU? Much of the recent realignment has spurred on TV ratings, and while Central New York isn’t a particularly small market, it isn’t a large one either. And be honest, do you really see the Orange fitting in the SEC or the inappropriately-named Big Ten? It’s tough to, isn’t it? Seeing the occasional Syracuse vs. Cal matchup might actually be kind of fun, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of conference realignment. It’s hard to not be nervous about the future.
In Season 3, Episode 10 of Ted Lasso, Rebecca Welton asks her fellow owners “How much more money do you really need? Why would you ever consider taking something away from people that means so much to them?” This was in response to them considering forming a “Super League”. And that’s exactly what is happening in college football. No matter what Jessie J says, it’s very clearly all about the money, money, money, and it has torn college football to shreds.