As the New Year and a new decade is officially underway, I will ignore any resolutions for myself and instead, state the five things I would most like to see happen this decade, if not right now, in college football.
No. 5 —I would like to see a viable alternative to ESPN, if not a direct challenger, step up and compete with ESPN head-to-head. I like ESPN for the most part—aside from their insistence on pretending they are MTV with all their home-made music videos at every bumper opportunity.
I just wish we had a true alternative to their daily barrage of commentary about what THEY think the truth is, or an opposition to their one-sided opinions influencing the rest of the country.
I don't like how they pick one person (insert Tim Tebow comments here) or one school (insert Notre Dame comments here) or one conference (insert SEC comments here) and insist on force-feeding viewers constant information about what that particular person or entity thinks, sees, feels, or believes about a subject.
Honestly, when Michael Jackson passed away, I fully expected to turn on College Game Day and see a microphone shoved in Tim Tebow's grill asking him about his thoughts on the passing of the "King of Pop."
Fox Sports, if you are listening, lose all the regional stations, combine your resources and provide a truly viable opponent to ESPN and their coverage of college football. Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi...You're my only hope!
No. 4 —I would like to see college football as a whole stand up to Notre Dame, particularly the BCS, and make them participate by the same standards every other school has to participate by.
More specifically, insist they join a conference if they wish to participate in the BCS. Every other school has to survive a conference schedule if they wish to participate in the BCS.
As powerful as Notre Dame's appeal may be, if the rest of college football had the guts to stand together and offer an ultimatum, Notre Dame would have to listen. Notre Dame in the Big Ten would seem to be appealing on all fronts.
No. 3 —A Final, end-all, be-all conference expansion. The Big Ten takes Notre Dame. The Pacific Ten take BYU and Utah. The Big East takes Houston, TCU, Memphis, and Central Florida. The WAC loses Louisiana Tech and takes UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico and Wyoming. The Mountain West Conference disbands.
Conference USA West Division splinters off and forms its own conference, maybe even assuming the old Southwest Conference (SWC) moniker featuring SMU, Tulsa, UTEP, Rice, North Texas, Air Force, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Arkansas State, and Tulane. In the next few years, UT-San Antonio and Texas State both have plans to move to 1A/FBS football and would then join this new SWC to get to 12 fulltime all sports members with a conference championship game.
The Sun Belt conference would also reconfigure, swallowing the remaining Conference USA members. The new Sun Belt would consist of UL-Monroe, UL-Lafayette, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, Troy, UAB, FIU, FAU, Marshall, ECU, Temple, and Western Kentucky.
No. 2 —An end to inter-level games, meaning: No more FBC versus FCS matchups. These games are uninteresting, typically unfair for the little guy (I know no one forces them to play these games), and are the equivalent of paying for a win...shocking, I know.
To fix this issue, I would propose that a new group of FCS schools band together and move to FBS football as a new conference. Call it whatever you would like, this new conference would fix a lot of problems.
For starters, there would be at least 12 more FBS teams around for the big money conferences to schedule. With the average pay-out to lower-level FBS teams for a "one-and-done" approaching one million dollars, there is money to be made for this new conference.
With more lower level schools, there would be more opportunity available for inter-conference matchups between your Sun Belt conferences and MAC conferences, helping to level the playing field. These schools typically can't afford to pay huge amounts for one time matchups, but with more FBS schools available, the supply would help catch up to the demand for mid-major level competition.
The aforementioned new FBS conference formed from rising FCS schools would consist of Richmond, Old Dominion, James Madison, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee Tech, Towson, Chattanooga, Georgia Southern, Tennessee State, Liberty, Furman, and Appalachian State.
This conference would benefit from the demand by larger schools for on-and-done payments to smaller FBS schools and would save money by having a close regional conference no hindered by expensive travel costs.
Most of those schools have histories of playing each other, so developing conference rivalries should not be an issue, and with the constant expansion by ESPN in showing college football games nearly seven days a week, garnering a television contract to showcase their conference shouldn't be a problem either.
No. 1 —Eliminate BCS automatic bids altogether for any conference. People cry about a playoff, but the real issue for people stems from the lack of inclusion into the BCS for all parties concerned.
Eliminating the automatic bids would not be that big of an issue. Instead of the automatic bids, make the stipulation for BCS consideration/inclusion that your respective conference champion must be ranked in the top 10 of the final regular season BCS poll.
The conferences that already receive automatic bids wouldn't be affected that greatly, considering those conferences typically have their champion ranked in the top 10 annually anyway.
Also, keep the rule that prohibits a conference from receiving more than two total BCS bids per season. If there are not enough conference champions ranked in the top 10 to fill the BCS bids available, then "at-large" bids can be offered to other teams ranked within the top 10.
If, for example, the SEC has three or four teams ranked in the top 10, only two may be offered BCS bids. If there are more bids available than top 10 teams eligible to be given bids, then other conference champions can be considered from the reaming conferences that have not received a bid, with special consideration given to conferences that have a higher ranked champion than others.
With this elimination of automatic BCS bids, all conferences would theoretically have an equal shot to receive an opportunity to participate in the BCS, which would benefit potential upstart conferences like the proposed FCS-to-FBS conference mentioned above.
In closing, none of these things may ever come to fruition, but if I ran the world of college football, those areas are where I would start if I wanted to try and improve the overall landscape of college football. At the end of the day though, it is just a lot of wishful thinking.
Happy New Year everyone.