There’s been a lot of speculation about how the turf wars will turn college football into two giant haves and a group of have-nots rushing in, trying to bite each other’s ankles.
By that I mean the voracious Southeastern Conference, which adds Big 12 legends to Texas and Oklahoma, give or take an oil derrick, and the obsessive copycat Big Ten Conference, which appends the superstars of the Pac-12 USC and UCLA, plus unlimited Fast Passes. at Disneyland.
With the SEC and the Big Ten taking the lion’s share of TV dollars, the Big 12, Pac-12, ACC and all other outsiders will be forced to play barefoot football and do their weightlifting with rocks. . In the caves.
There is another way. It’s unlikely. In fact, it’s quite far in this world of Me-First. But it would bring some sense to college football.
If I was Czar for a day, here’s how it would go.
In the days of yore, we used to hear that major change wouldn’t happen because university presidents didn’t want it to happen.
Well, these college presidents, who have been silent for too long, are deciding what they want to happen: a return to sanity in college football.
They’re tired of money dominating the world of college football. They want a throwback to the days when conferences were defined by regional rivalries, not TV ratings. They don’t want their “student-athletes” to travel thousands of miles and play football games every hour of the week, every day of the week just to maximize the dollars paid to athletes by name, image and the resemblance.
When Teddy Roosevelt, a big fan of rugged athleticism, was president, violence in college football was out of control. We’re talking about too many deaths per Flying Wedge. He called a meeting at the White House and got a sweeping change.
That’s what we’re talking about here. . .
College presidents believe, thanks to my persuasive czar reasoning, that college football schools will generate excellent television revenue by banding together and negotiating multi-network broadcast packages, as the NFL does.
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They believe the ideal size of a conference is eight, 10 or 12 teams. Anything bigger is a chain store, not college sports.
They are sad that the NFL, for all its warts and flaws, is the business model. But they think college football champions shouldn’t be determined by the size of their budgets.
They are appalled that some ultra-rich schools have built obscene locker rooms with Olympic-sized hot tubs and hired chefs from The Five Seasons for their practice tables. Meanwhile, other schools have to do their own laundry and take yellow school buses just to go 2-10.
To accomplish all of this, university presidents appoint SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to execute the plan. He is assisted by the other four commissioners of the Power 5.
The first thing to do is to set a salary cap. This includes the salary of the head coach, assistants, the amount of NIL paid to athletes and the amount spent on facilities.
Schools are free to exceed the cap. The penalty is not pecuniary. It’s won. If you spend too much to win, the winnings are deducted.
The nation is divided into eight conferences, with eight to 12 schools per conference. The winner of each conference advances to the playoffs.
The conferences go as follows: four of the current Power 5 – the Big Ten, SEC, ACC and Pac-8/10/12 return to their traditional schools, with some adjustments. The other four conferences are a Big East, a Rocky Mountain, a Southwest and a Big 8/12.
The Big East is anchored by Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia, Boston College and Syracuse. The Rocky Mountain is anchored by Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, and BYU. The Southwest is mostly made up of Texas schools. The Big 8/10/12 is anchored by Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa State.
If schools that are not currently in the Power 5 want to get in the game by making the necessary financial commitment, conferences can go up to 12 schools. This includes schools like Houston, Boise State, Army, Navy, San Diego State, UNLV, and many more.
Notre Dame needs to stop playing The Bachelor and get married. At a conference. Any conference. As long as it’s within 1000 miles of the Golden Dome.
And that’s how we stop the madness and get college football back to what it should be.