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Will Conference Realignment Become Total Mayhem?

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Thanks to Texas and Oklahoma jumping ship and heading to the SEC, it seems that conference realignment rumors will be around for the foreseeable future. Every day, a new angle, possibility, or consideration gets floated, even if the idea has no plausible basis in reality.

Today on the Dan Le Batard Show, producer Mike Ryan Ruiz tried to suggest that the University of Miami could potentially flee the ACC for the Big Ten if Notre Dame decides against joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. Of course, local Canes media picked up the story as if the move were a real possibility, even though ACC bylaws currently impose massive fines for abandoning the conference before 2036. In other words, the ACC may absorb some more teams before all is said and done, but the chances of any school jumping ship are unlikely.

The “news” does raise an important point, though, and that’s the relative meaninglessness of geography in impending realignment. Interstate rivalries and geographic history is about to be tossed aside in favor of teams that can boost television numbers, it seems. The conferences that we grew up knowing and seeing in our head up against a map of the US are going by the wayside. Plus, given the extreme weakening of the NCAA by NIL laws this summer, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see total realignment under the governance of a whole new collegiate administrative body one day soon.

If all conferences “fold” in the coming years in favor of a totally reimagined college landscape, then the idea of schools playing other schools, regardless of geography, may become the new normal. Miami versus Ohio State every fall, while interesting to think about, would mean that college sports are undergoing much more than a little conference realignment. Anything is possible in this brave new world. I just hope that some of the local pageantry survives—the stuff that made college football great in the first place.

Written by TK Sanders

TK is a southerner who has lived on both coasts and definitely prefers sunshine to snow. A former entertainment executive in Los Angeles, he was run out of Hollywood for misgendering a director's dog, and is now forced to blog for a living. Breaking 80 will always be his number one goal in life.

Follow him on Twitter @outkicktommy.

6 Comments

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  1. Nothing says “College Football” as much a Traditional Rivalries …. many going back 75-100 years … and multi-generations of fans and families.

    95% of fans know in their heart of hearts that “their team” has no real chance at a NatChamp … BUT if we can just beat “those sorry sumbitches over at XYZ then it’s been a good season”. What conference those “sorry sumbitches” belong to is irrelevant. Clemson v So Carolina seem to “get that”.

    Missouri v Kansas means nothing to anyone EXCEPT MU and KU fans for whom it was Everything … as was Texas v aTm to many.. If all college Football becomes is simply chasing TV contracts it will have lost its soul .. IF THAT MATTERS any more.
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    • Whole-heartedly agree.

      KU-MU, NU-OU, UT-TAMU: each of those rivalries used to mean something. Not to mention all of the intra-state rivalries that have have been lost or which might be.

      Those rivalries meant something when teams were good and when they were bad (think Harvard-Yale and Army-Navy). These superconferences are so destructive to the general enjoyment of the long-term fans of these rivalries and the teams involved. I’m afraid that CFB will become just like the NBA, with eyeballs but no long-term loyalty

  2. you know WHY WE’RE HERE????

    I’ll tell you:

    THE PLAYOFFS killed college football. College football was NEVER about “championships.” College football was about “competition.” This is why 2-dozen times in the Bowl Era we had more than ONE “National Champion.”

    ANYONE and EVERYONE who is bemoaning “realignment,” this is you reward for demanding a playoff. If you wanted a regional cabal known as a “conference,” then you needed to keep the “Bowl System.”

  3. Truth. That`s a big part of the appeal of college football: The rivalry`s. It`s why I have season tickets. There`s NOTHING like being at the stadium on a Saturday afternoon. I know the University of Minnesota isn`t going to go to the national championship ( and probably not even win the Big Ten), but I just want to see some good football against teams they`ve been playing forever, in one of the top two conferences in the country. This whole realignment orgy isn`t going to turn out like people think (which is nothing but a money grab. There will be some unintended consequences.

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