June Jones sees the writing on the wall.
With the four-team playoff and college football’s top five conference pushing toward greater autonomy, SMU’s head coach knows that opportunities for schools in the outlying conferences — American Athletic, Conference USA, MAC Mountain West, and Sun Belt — aren’t going to have much impact on the national scale.
So, on Friday, Jones went on a Tampa Bay radio station and proposed a (harebrained) solution — move the non-power conference to the spring.
"I'll go ahead and say it right now," Jones told Tampa's WDEA-AM. "I think the have-nots should go ahead and move to the spring just like the USFL did. I think that there's an opportunity to do a complete other side of that division, and I think that if we don't think that way as a group of have-nots, we're going to get left behind. I can see in 5-to-7 years, possibly, the public would demand to have the two leagues play, just like I think the USFL had in mind, originally, of the winner of the USFL playing the winner of the National Football League."
You can listen to all Jones' ramblings here:
Jones has a history with the United State Football League (USFL). He was a wide receivers coach for the Houston Gamblers in 1984 and then the Denver Gold in 1985, so his crazy has a backstory. But just because he's using his history to put this idea out for national consumption doesn't mean it's a good idea.
No matter how much people would love to see college football played year round, there’s a multitude of reasons why this won’t work. Setting aside the fact that college football is made for the fall, this would conflict with the NFL draft. Would the NFL have to hold a separate draft for players in the league? That’s not likely to happen. What about recruiting? Would these teams be working on a different recruiting calendar? What if a player wanted to transfer from Michigan State to Western Michigan, would he just play back-to-back seasons?
Also, this would change the way schedules are composed. Several of these non-power conference teams play power conference teams and get paid a lot of money to do so, which helps fund their athletic departments. On the flip side, are the power conferences really ready to play 12 games against other power conference teams? FCS teams — and Kentucky and Colorado — only have so much room on their schedules.
And then, of course, there’s attractiveness. Fans aren’t filling stadiums to watch Toledo and Bowling Green or Troy and Western Kentucky as it is, so what makes Jones think that would suddenly happen? These matchups aren’t marketable now and won’t be marketable during a spring season. Millions of people aren’t tuning in to watch Colorado State play Tulsa in a national championship no matter how badly they need a college football fix.
Quite honestly, the non-power conference teams are in a better monetary spot today than they were even a year ago. Those conferences will make $75 million, which is more the five times what they made in 2013. Think they’re going to make that much going out on their own?
I applaud Jones for thinking out of the box, but his logic is flawed. Telling the non-power conference teams to go out on their own without any tangible plan is reckless and would lead to a lot of schools crawling back to the system that's already in place.
Oh, and one thing Jones forgot to mention, the USFL only lasted three years before it succumbed to its superior product, the NFL.
Thanks to Football Scoop
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