Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Great Realignment of 2010



I still happen to think that what happened this year, in terms of the realignment of college football, is a huge deal (Relax, ladies. Florida State isn't going anywhere). It's a much bigger deal to see Colorado leave the Big XII and Nebraska join the Big Ten than it was to see Boston College go to the ACC.


So I mostly agree with what Stewart Mandel is saying here:

And so there are a lot of very happy, very relieved administrators around the country today -- not because they staved off a playoff (that was never imminent), but because their prevailing power structure will remain largely unchanged. The Mountain West, which will essentially swap Utah for Boise, will likely remain relegated to the kiddie table while the "Big Six" further solidify themselves. Nearly everyone with a stake in this thing managed to emerge a winner.
The Pac-10 may not have revolutionized college sports, but Scott still sent a strong signal that his league's days as a passive spectator on the national scene are over. His conference will still wind up adding two sensible new members (Colorado and, most likely, Utah). As both the ACC and the 10-team Big 12 have demonstrated in recent weeks, the ceiling for college television contracts has increased dramatically, and there's little doubt the business-savvy Scott will make his conference significantly richer when its contracts come up next year.
The Big Ten will continue to hold out for its ever-elusive dream girl, Notre Dame, but in the meantime, it quite seamlessly added one of the most prestigious programs in the sport to an already stable league. Nebraska, a big winner itself, got out from under the rule of the Texas-Texas A&M-Oklahoma triumvirate while joining a new set of 11 colleagues with which it already shares much in common academically and geographically.
The Big East can breathe easier knowing its league is not facing any sort of grave danger like it did in 2003, and like many predicted it would again this time around. While it remains possible the Big Ten will try to grab an East Coast school sometime before its seemingly interminable "timetable" expires, it looks more and more like Rutgers/Syracuse will only come into play if Notre Dame ever does an about face -- and this sudden halt to the conference dominos gives the Irish little reason to do so.
There will be a time when Notre Dame won't even get a call from the lowliest of conferences as it continues to slide into "Ivy League" status and join my beloved Princeton on the pile of has-beens and also-rans in terms of college football. Television contract notwithstanding, what is the value of a program that never wins and can't compete at the same level with the other big name teams that it plays each year? 
Just out of principle, the Big Ten should never consist of a single East Coast school. It should n't expand any further East than Penn State and it should rate a little more national coverage and consideration.

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