College football realignment has been at best, a nuisance. Every time you think the landscape has settled down and there's some sort of normalcy, another school jumps ship or a conference makes new overtures to some left out university … then chaos hits all over again.
I'm not a fan of playoffs but probably more than that, I like the bowl system. At least I liked the bowl system before they added so many that 6-6 Northern Poly College gets invited to play in the Widget Bowl against 6-7 Southeastern State Tech (they got a waiver for the losing record). Yes, I made all that up but you get the gist. So yeah, the system is broken along with the bogus national championship games.
But I kept wondering how the heck are they going to do this? Fine, they take the top four after the bowls are played with national semis followed by a national championship game. But who are those top four and how to you choose among the many conferences? With six conference champions, it is almost impossible to decide who will go and who won't go. Someone will be unhappy.
But then college football realignment reared its ugly head and the rats starting leaving one of the BCS conferences: the Big East. See, the Big East isn't like any other conference. It has several powerful basketball teams who don't field a major college football team. Also, from the standpoint of football, the Big East is a relatively new league (roughly 20 years old) that hasn't really built rivalries. All of this has led to volatility with teams coming and going.
The latest to leave the Big East are Syracuse and Pittsburgh (source - N.Y. Post), who depart for the Atlantic Coast Conference the year after next (more on the ACC shortly). And West Virginia is leaving for the Big 12 next season (source - ESPN). To show you how unstable the conference is, TCU joined a year ago and then reversed itself before ever playing a down in the Big East but instead left for the Big 12. And that's where the story really develops.
One of the premier schools in the ACC is Florida State. Yes, they've fallen a notch or two since the national championship years but still, Florida State is a top tier team in college football. But there's talk and rumors that they might leave the ACC for the Big 12. And, maybe take Clemson with them. Oh, and it gets worse for the ACC. Another powerhouse in the conference, Miami, just may leave the suddenly sinking ship too (source - Sports Illustrated).
Now, without going into the who, when, where and how this all transpires and why; think for a moment what we're left with - four major conferences: Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC and Big-12. These four major conference champions will be playing each other in semi-finals and a final - you end up with a national champion. Yes, an actual real honest-to-goodness national champion, who probably played a conference championship just to get into the playoff.
These four majors will gobble up whatever decent teams are left, possibly to make 16 team conferences and voila! No more BCS and we do get a legitimate champion (okay, as legitimate as we're going to get). I didn't see this exact scenario coming but was wondering whether we would end up with larger but fewer conferences. In fact, I figured the Big 12 would be where the ACC is now.
So, with the Big East continually flexing between being a basketball conference only and the ACC abruptly losing teams like the WAC has over the last couple years; the landscape becomes more clear.
Personally, I think this is mostly insane but I realize in the end, it's all driven by power and money … lots of money. Fan's have little say in the matter.
But, some might say none of this can happen. Really!?
The mighty Big 12 was a sinking ship not too long ago and lost several teams including Nebraska and Texas A&M, before bringing on enough other new quality teams to stay afloat. I'm sure the Big East, a few years ago, didn't think they would have to invite schools like SMU and Boise State plus San Diego State. I still don't get that one.
So college football realignment continues to run rampant and destroy any vestige of what used to be. Is this good? It depends on if your teams are benefiting or not. I follow two: USC and Hawaii. None of this has hurt the Trojans so far and maybe has benefitted them. The Warriors have not been helped but then again, they're happy to have jumped the WAC ship when they did.
In the mean time, take two aspirin and anticipate many more schools to make big moves in the coming months.
Sources - USC, Hawaii, CBS Sports
Daryle lived in Los Angeles Ca. most of his life and has been a longtime fan of USC, having followed the Trojans since he was just a youngster. Fight On! Also, through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of Hawaii since visiting and playing there 40 years ago - and now it's like a second home. Go 'Bows!