The landscape of college football will never be the same as realignment, which is changing everything for better or worse.
In some situations, I’m sure it will be better. In many others, however, it will not. One of those situations is how it is affecting rivalry games.
As schools depart for new conferences, we lose rivalry games. We’ve seen it before, for example, with the great Nebraska vs. Oklahoma rivalry, which is long gone following the Cornhuskers joining the Big Ten in 2010. This is just one example, with many already happening and more to come.
“It is great for the fans, obviously,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said. “It is great for the players too. Go to college and be able to experience playing in games like this that are so meaningful. Everybody that you interact with, it is just so meaningful, not that the other games aren’t.
“That is one thing you worry about. Five years from now it can be totally different. That is just the way it is. A lot of these types of games will go away. They already are.”
Another great example that Swinney pointed to is Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State, who announced that this season’s Bedlam was it’s final. It feels wrong, but it’s the direction things are going.
“They are not going to play Oklahoma-Oklahoma State,” Swinney said. “Are you kidding me? How can you not have Oklahoma-Oklahoma State? That does not make any sense. What? Can you imagine not playing Clemson-South Carolina (game)? I don’t understand it.
“I understand how we got here. I hate that for the players and I hate it for the fans. Again, as a guy who grew up in rivalry games and then played in them and then coached in them for a long time, it is what makes college football unique and is what makes college football special. It is what it right now. Hopefully, somewhere down the road, this whole thing gets blown up, and it will, we can salvage some of those things.”
Right now, we don’t have to worry about Clemson vs. South Carolina, but the future is unclear. I personally hate seeing these rivalries fade away. Rivalry week is the best week of college football, in my opinion, and it will be sad to see more and more of these rivalries end.