Friday, May 7, 2010
The New BCS and Natural Rivalries
The landscape of NCAA college football is about to change dramatically. It is inevitable that the Big Ten Conference is going to expand, to at least fourteen and quite possibly sixteen schools. The Pac 10 and SEC Conferences, afraid that these changes are going to leave them unable to compete, have already been proactive about seeking additional members. When all the dust is settled, many predict that the Football Bowl Series will have four major conferences: the Big Ten, SEC, Pac 10, and the ACC. Such a move has major implications for the current state of the BCS. Some would even argue that such expansion will lead to the abolishment of the BCS in favor of a college football playoff system. I have argued in earlier posts for a playoff system, but I do not see that happening despite the inevitable change that is going to take place among the NCAA landscape. No, I believe that when all is said and done, we will have a new BCS, much larger than the old system. Proponents of the new BCS will argue that more inclusion should eliminate the need for a playoff system. And I would agree that should be a good thing. But what university president's and chancellors may have failed to consider in their quest to make more money is how conference expansion will affect the natural rivalries that certain schools have. I believe though, that once the New BCS has been established, natural rivalries will take on a survival of the fittest mentality, whereby only one of the two schools will emerge each season with a chance to play for the championship. Gone are the days where OSU and Michigan will play the final game of the season to determine who has a chance for the national title. The establishment of a postseason conference championship reduces the relevancy of that game. Just ask Texas, who already has a beef with the BCS from a couple of seasons ago-it beat archrival Oklahoma head to head only to be screwed out of the Big 12 championship on a technicality. With the arrival of the New BCS, however, the Sooner and Longhorn rivalry might fall to the wayside, unless the conference that picks up one of the schools also invites the other school to be a member. I think that is a distinct possibility, as UT and OU go to either the SEC or the Pac 10; the remaining schools in the Big 12 will possibly pull in schools from the WAC or the Mountain West or Big Sky conferences to keep pace. The Big East, another conference that will be raided, will also look to other mid-majors such as the Mid American and Conference USA to bolster its membership. In the end, the BCS will still comprise of 6 conferences, but they will be much larger conferences. And they should probably rename their conferences as well. For example, instead of the Big 12, how about the Cornfed Conference? And instead of the Big East, what about the Little Beast? I've got it: the SEC is named the Big Greasy. Point is, before the New BCS order, conferences were named based on the number of members that it had; post NBCS, they really can't claim to be the "Big 12" when they have sixteen members. Oh its going to be fun to watch. And for those of you who still believe that college football will need a playoff, don't worry, its coming. You just might have to wait another 10-15 years though.