College Football Dead Period? Not A Chance As SEC Looks At Scheduling, Big Ten Prepares For Change, Pac 12 Looks For TV Deal

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So you think college football is about to take a backseat for a few months? Sure, the transfer portal period is over, the NFL Draft is finished and the Deion Sanders Spring bonanza has ended. But there are a number of items to check off the list over the next few months.

Did college football get it right with separate transfer portal periods? This is a question that will be answered over the next two years. During the 2022-23 period, 3,252 players entered the portal, up from the 3,083 in 2021-2022.

Did every player find a home? No, this will be something to keep an eye on until August, but players that entered the portal by Sunday night do not have a timetable for when they have to enroll at their next school. There will certainly be a number of guys taking their time over the next month to find a new home.

I still think the NCAA should’ve gone with the May transfer period over April, only because it’s a strain on the coaching staffs.

The SEC Has To Make A Decision On Future Scheduling Model

One of the hottest topics in college football has centered around the scheduling model for the SEC. The conference will get together with athletic directors this week to discuss the plans of having either a 9-game or 8-game conference schedule. Speaking with a number of SEC administrators over the last few weeks, the hope is that they can finalize this before heading to Destin for Spring meetings at the end of May.

One of the current holdups centers around some schools not wanting to jump head-first into the nine-game format. There are two formats currently on the table. One is the eight-game schedule that would include one permanent opponent, which has gotten more love than some might admit. The other is the nine-game schedule, which would see each team play three permanent opponents, while rotating the other six.

The latter seems like the favorite to win in the end, with opposing ADs being swayed towards making the nine-game format the permanent route. Teams are going to complain about who they draw as permanent opponents, because there’s no way to satisfy them all. But, if SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey can convince the outliers that this is the right way to go financially, they’ll budge.

Spring meetings are scheduled to begin May 30 in Destin, and the SEC would love to have this wrapped up before arriving in Florida. Most folks I’ve spoken with think it will get done, with the group then finalizing other rule changes, like how to take the fun away from fans storming the field following a big win.

PAC 12 Still Looking For A Television Deal, USC And UCLA Leaving

There continues to be strife among members of the Pac-12 in terms of a new television deal. What was once a powerful conference has now turned into a feeder system for the Big Ten and potentially the Big 12. Long gone are the days of the Pac-12 being able to ask for a strong contract when it comes to television rights. As USC and UCLA prepare to play its final season in the conference, it’s become harder everyday for Pac-12 leaders to sell the future in terms of television rights.

Having to rely on Oregon and Washington to carry the load in terms of viewers is not getting this conference very far when it comes to revenue. It’s gotten so bad for the conference that television networks like ION and the CW are involved in negotiations.

How embarrassing is it for the Pac-12? Having a re-run of NCIS lead you into your game of the week will become nothing more than a laughing matter. Sure, ESPN, FOX, CBS would like a small percentage of the television rights, but these networks aren’t paying serious money for this current product. This will not be the conference it once was, and the sooner its members realize that, maybe they’ll find a dollar figure good enough to move forward.

The Pac-12 needs to be satisfied with a monetary figure that resembles what the Big 12 is getting, which will hover around $31.5 million per year. But, if members of the Pac-12 decide to look for greener pastures in the Big 12, things will go south quickly for the once powerful conference on the West Coast.

Big Ten Preparing For Expansion, While Big 12 Looking For Additions

We are entering the final year of the current Big Ten model, with USC and UCLA set to join in 2024. In terms of how the conference will look, this will certainly be an eye-opening experience. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around a USC-Ohio State yearly matchup, or Michigan hosting UCLA in the Big House. But we’re finally here, with one last swan song coming for the Trojans and Bruins in the Pac-12.

There will be enormous interest in what the scheduling looks like with these new additions. Athletic Directors and Presidents work out the details over the next seven months. But one thing is for certain, the television money will make any trepidation go over smoothly.

Also, don’t forget that the Big Ten just hired former MLB COO Tony Petitti to be its new commissioner.

The new television deal will begin July 1, 2023. Thanks to the lucrative deal, each member insinuation is looking at anywhere between $80 million to $100 million per year. Also, let’s not forget the change in networks. FOX, CBS and NBC will all broadcast games on their networks, with NBC hosting the premier matchup in primetime this season.

As for CBS, they still have one year left with the SEC, so they will not start broadcasting Big Ten games at 3:30 ET until 2024. FOX will continue having the luxury of putting on games at noon ET, which has become one of its bigger draws.

Colorado coach Deion Sanders
Head coach Deion Sanders of the Colorado Buffaloes. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

For the Big 12, they’re still looking to add a few teams to its arsenal. The most powerful team it could add at the moment would be Colorado, who hired Deion Sanders to takeover. Coach Prime is a draw and if he can get Colorado back to winning some games, then the school will benefit financially from a new alignment.

In today’s world, there is no offseason in college football, which is just the way most folks like it.

Prepare yourselves, something dramatic is bound to happen.

Written by Trey Wallace

Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series.

Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football “Credit Card Scandal” along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.

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