College Football Expansion: It's Time for Fans To Relax and Settle Down
When I first heard about the expansion, I was excited of the possibilities. I foolishly expected most to agree. Oh, how wrong I was. At this moment, it's common knowledge that the Nebraska Cornhuskers are heading to the Big Ten and their Big XII rival, the Colorado Buffaloes, are heading to the Pacific 10.
My question is simple. What's the big deal? Why the fuss? The rivalry?
You mean the rivalry that stands Nebraska - 48, Colorado - 18, and Ties - 2? Last time I checked, a rivalry actually meant that both teams kept trading blows. You can not lose 18 straight and consider it a rivalry.
Oh sure, in the 2000s, the Buffaloes have done pretty well against the Children of the Corn, going 4-6 against Big Red, including putting 60-plus points on Nebraska twice.
However, Bo Pelini is taking Nebraska in one direction, and Dan Hawkins is taking the Buffs in the other. Now, they're doing that in another way. One's heading east, one's heading west. And let's face it, Nebraska will have a much closer rival in the Iowa Hawkeyes, in terms of distance and records.
Alright, what about the Sooners? My friends, if you honestly are asking that question, you clearly have lived under a rock for the last 15 years.
These two are not the rivals they once were. It's evident that Tom Osborne feels the same way, and come on, he was in the heart of that rivalry in the '70s, '80s, and early '90s.
There's no reason to clamor on to the hope that this rivalry will mean what it once did, because, in hindsight, that's just never going to be the case. However, there is a bright side to Nebraska being in a different conference than their classic counterparts. If you don't know what I mean by that, think about it.
Florida-FSU, Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia-Georgia Tech, Michigan-Notre Dame, and USC-Notre Dame.
What do all these rivalries have in common?
I'll give you two guesses, but you should only need one.
Each team in the rivalry is in a different conference, or in ND's case, no conference. Yet, they're still able to schedule each other yearly.
In the Big XII, this wasn't the case for Nebraska and Oklahoma as the Big XII didn't use the SEC system of scheduling inter-divisional match-ups. If expansion goes to 16 teams for each conference, the best thing that could come from it is each team would only schedule its division opponents for seven conference games.
That way, they could schedule up to five non-conference games, including one or two out-of-conference rivals.
Think about it for a second. No inter-divisional match-ups mean that each division is playing a real round-robin type of conference schedule, instead of having teams from the other division costing a particular team a conference title game bid.
Here's another scenario that you might find interesting. First, let's go ahead and state the obvious, and that's that the Big East's days are numbered.
They will not survive this in any way, shape, or form that's meaningful if it goes the way we think it will. What could result from all of this, is the expansion of the Mountain West to a conference that has any combination of teams involving TCU, Utah, BYU, Boise State, Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor, and Iowa State.
I don't see this as impossible, because if the MWC wants to make a case to be in the BCS, they're going to have to make this kind of move, in which they have five teams that have been to a BCS bowl at some point (TCU, Utah, Boise, Kansas, and KSU), and three out of those five have won a BCS game.
In Boise and Utah's cases, they've won two, defeating Pitt, Alabama, Oklahoma, and TCU. This is definitely not a stretch. It'll just take some open-minded thinking from the BCS conferences.
Tradition dies all the time, folks. It died when Georgia Tech left the SEC in the '60s. It died when many of the independents like Miami, Florida State, and Penn State joined conferences. It died when Arkansas left the Southwest Conference in the 90s.
It died when the Big XII was formed. It died with the creation of the BCS and the slow expansion to 35 bowls.
And come on, how many of us want to see a playoff system? But what about tradition? Tradition means nothing to the Big Ten and Pac-10. They convince Dan Beebe to join their side of the anti-playoff talks, then screw him over by raiding his conference.
How's that for tradition?
Welcome to the next evolution of college football.
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