With today’s (July 1, 2022) announcement of USC and UCLA moving to the Big Ten Conference in 2024, another nail has been hammered into the coffin of college football. Effectively, only two or three conferences (SEC, Big Ten, and ACC) will be home to the vast majority of major football programs leaving the other conferences and less-powerful programs gasping for talent and opportunities to grow/strengthen.
If all you want to do is watch powerhouses like Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson, and Oklahoma play every week, then you are probably happy. But, if you would rather see true competition and some semblance of a chance for all teams, then this is the latest move in an ongoing nightmare scenario.
For the 97-pound weaklings of the three major conferences, it’s almost more lucrative to just accept their share of television revenues than it is to bother building a competitive football team in order to fill the stands. Now that the Big Ten (with sixteen teams) will control the three largest television markets in the country (New York, LA, and Chicago), the cash register will be cha-chinging even faster.
The geographic expansions of the SEC, Big Ten, and the ACC over the past decade or so has decimated competitiveness in the sport and has led to the destruction of many a great traditions. Is it only me who misses annual rivalry games like Oklahoma vs. Nebraska, or Pitt vs. Penn State? Does anyone really think Maryland or Rutgers have a realistic chance in the Big Ten East with Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State all there?
The college football playoff is already a farce, as it’s solely a battle between titans from the same old leagues. What drama or Cinderella stories are there in college football anymore? Now, with this move by USC and UCLA to the Big Ten, it will be even harder for less competitive schools within the Big Ten or from the other conferences outside the big three, including the soon to be Pac 12 minus 2, to field teams into the playoffs.
I, for one, am tired of it. While college football used to be my favorite sport to watch on television, the destruction of collegiate traditions and competitiveness, as well as the rise of super programs and conferences has pushed my allegiance to the NFL, even with its flaws. The top conferences may not realize it at the moment, but their hellbent desire for money and power is sowing the seeds of their own destruction. It’s just a matter of time.
p.s. Paying college players is appropriate and overdue, provided there is parity between programs. Otherwise, the expanding gap between the haves and the have-nots will get even worse.