College Football Conference Title Game Rule Sounds Like Bad Redneck Joke

Donald FincherAnalyst IDecember 16, 2009

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 31: Head coach Joe Paterno of the Penn State Nittany Lions walks the sidelines as his team takes on the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 31, 2009 in Evanston, Illinois. Penn State defeated Northwestern 34-13. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Has anybody heard that joke "how many "rednecks" does it take to screw in a lightbulb?" The answer is to hold the lightbulb while the other nineteen turn the mobile home. It seems to me that requiring the conferences to expand to 12 teams to have a conference title game may be going about things in a similar fashion.

Having all kinds of conference realignment is the equivalent of turning the mobile home where simply changing the rule to not require 12 teams to conduct a conference title game would be the sensible equivalent of simply turning the lightbulb.

There has been lots of ink lately about conference expansion. The Big Ten is pushing the envelope on this one but it may end up affecting just about everybody except the SEC. They want Notre Dame and, truthfully, that would be the least impactful on the bulk of college football's teams because that would not result in a domino effect with other conferences.

However, assuming that it's not Notre Dame, then there are rumors that the Big Ten will be seeking a school from either the Big East, Big 12, and even ACC. If any of these conferences get hit, they'll be reaching down into Conference USA, the MAC, or the MWC (in the case of the Big 12) to fill a spot.

Furthermore, if the Big Ten does successfully go to twelve teams, two divisions, and a conference title game, there is a fairly wide-spread belief that the Pac-10 might make a move rather than risk falling even more behind the rest of the "power" conferences in their tv deal. They could use a conference game to negotiate a new tv deal that is much more lucrative.

The entire reason behind these machinations by the Big Ten is to add the coveted 12th team so as to stage a conference title game. And the conference title game isn't really to have the Big Ten sharing the stage in early December rather than being forgotten. If they wanted to do that, they could simply do what the other conferences that don't have title games have done and push the final Saturday of their regular season later.

Therefore, it's not really about being left out of the national conversation (as some like Joe Paterno have complained about) given that this problem could be fixed. It's really about the revenue. They want the revenue and they don't want to fall further behind the SEC.

So since it's really about the title game revenue, that brings me to my question. I realize that everyone is trying to get to twelve teams because that was the NCAA bylaw that allowed the SEC to do it in the first place. But rather than cause a massive shift in the college football world with all of the looting and pillaging of conferences that is about to occur, why can't the NCAA just change their bylaws to allow a conference with 10 teams to stage a title game?

Then the Big Ten and the Pac-10 would already qualify without having to raid other conferences (in the Big Ten's' case) or risk watering their conference's strength down (in the Pac-10's case).

Furthermore, the remaining BCS conference, the Big East, would then be that much closer to a title game too. Right now, they would have to add 4 football playing schools (or convince four of the basketball-only schools to start playing football) to reach that magical 12th member.  

With a threshold of only 10 teams, they could get there easier and without having to take so many lower tier teams because, let's face it, given their geography, their prestige (in relation to the other "power" conferences), and their smaller revenue base, their options are pretty much limited to teams from Conference USA, the MAC, the Sun Belt or Independents (Navy or Army).

And if they add one more school named after a city or a direction, their cachet goes down even further. So, if they're going to have to do that to expand, it would be best if they only had to take two of those type schools rather than four.

Bottom line is that when all of this is said and done, there could be teams or whole conferences (on the low end) that will be forced to drop football or revert to FBS status.  All of this because of a rule that could be changed with the stroke of a pen. Am I the only one that thinks this route makes much more sense?