Rumors are running rampant about changes to the landscape of college football. One of the biggest stories making the circles are the rumors of a ‘super league’ forming and breaking away from the rest of college football. The questions on everyone’s mind in regards to these rumors are how is this going to work, and is it good for college football?
These are legit questions. If this super league does come to fruition, it will cause a dramatic shift in college football and many of its traditions. Let’s tackle the first question, what exactly will this super league look like?
The rumors going around are that the SEC and the Big-10 are putting together two mega-conferences, which would work similarly to the NFC and AFC in the NFL, consisting of up to twenty programs each. Both conferences have already got the ball rolling in this regard with the SEC soon to add Oklahoma and Texas, along with the Big-10 looking to add USC and UCLA. Outside of this, everything else is just speculation up to this point in time.
The SEC will at this point consist of sixteen teams, leaving four spots open in this current scenario. The programs that seem to be the most popular guesses to join next are North Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, and Miami. However, these are just estimated guesses and speculation.
The Big-10 will also consist of sixteen programs after the additions of the LA schools. This would leave four slots open for the Big-10 as well. Who could fill those slots? Maybe Oregon, or Washington, maybe someone out of the ACC? Notre Dame would make a ton of sense. But once again, all we have right now is speculation.
The problem is, there are many great programs that deserve to partake in this league, with only a limited number of slots open, if we’re only talking about two conferences. But, what about everyone else?
Are two conferences enough? Let’s just say in a hypothetical situation, the rumored teams go to the SEC and the Big-10 add say Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Notre Dame, just for conversation’s sake. What about Oklahoma State, Arizona, Virginia Tech or Cincinnati who just made the playoffs? These are just a few names, there are many others that deserve consideration.
Television deals and the money they involve are the driving force behind these decisions. Let’s go in to another hypothetical. If the SEC is played on ESPN/ABC and say the Big-10 goes with Fox, there is still CBS/Paramount or NBC/Peacock. Why can’t the Pac-12, Big-12, and ACC join together in some form to make a third conference? There would still be enough between these three conferences to make a viable viewing option for the remaining networks to play/stream college football.
As far as the playoffs are concerned, there is no getting around an expansion in this scenario, and expansion wouldn’t be a bad thing, especially in this scenario. Of course, for college football traditionalist, this will be a hard pill to swallow, much like the playoffs itself was in its infancy. However, the game is changing, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. That being said, some traditions don’t need to change. Rivalries are important and need to be preserved as much as possible.
Keeping things in as much of a regional format as possible would also be ideal. Bragging rights matter to fans, wither it be school to school or region to region. That’s what makes college football special and why it doesn’t need to be the NFL 2.0. College football needs to be unique to the pro league, somehow. That being said, seeing major programs break away and become self-governed isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it may flourish even more than it does now.
If, this is where the game is heading for major college football, then find a way to include the schools that deserve to partake. Even if that doesn’t fit into two conferences, find a way. Keep rivalries intact. It matters to the programs, it matters to recruiting, and it matters to the fans. Try to keep regions intact, as much as possible, for the same reasons just mentioned.
College Football has never stopped growing, and it will continue to grow. It is the only entity in football that can realistically remain close enough to the NFL. However, that doesn’t mean it has to become the ‘next’ NFL.