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Doing The Conference Shuffle

October 30, 2011 - Al Stephenson
Have you noticed that many universities have been switching conferences lately? I guess you would have had to have been living under a rock to not notice it, right? So what's up with that? Why is all this positioning going on? Let me give you a reason. It's all about the money!

If you are looking for something or someone to blame, I'll try to help you out with that too. Here are some culprits. The BCS system, TCU, Boise State, Kyle Brotzman and if you really want to know who to put the most blame on, get out a mirror.

The BCS system decided that the major conferences should get an automatic bid to a BCS bowl game. One of those automatic bids went to a somewhat weak Big East. TCU and Boise State came up with football teams that were good enough to play in a BCS bowl game, but being in a lesser conference had to run the table and then hope they would get a bid. Boise State seemed to be in postition to do just that in 2009 when Kyle Brotzman (a senior kicker who was the best in school history) decided to miss a 26-yard field goal that would have won a game in regulation and a 29-yarder that would have kept the game going in overtime. Boise State does not run the table and is relegated to a smaller bowl game. How much smaller? Try a $500,000 payout versus $5,000,000!!!!!

Well Boise State and TCU cry murder, politicians get involved and nothing changes. Let the exodus begin. TCU says it will move to the Big East. But wait. Syracuse and Pittsburgh leave the Big East for the ACC, West Virginia bolts for the Big 12 (possibly), Mizzou (probably) heads for the SEC, there's talk of Oklahoma and Oklahoma St heading for the PAC 12, TCU decides it will be better served by joining the Big 12 and Boise State makes overtures to join the Big East. Holy Cow! All to grab a few more dollars. Keep in mind that few can be defined in many ways.

So where will it all end? Well that's up to you and me. That's right. You and I are really to blame. I watched college football all day yesterday. I had the remote in hand all afternoon, watching several interesting matchups. I was glued to the Ohio State-Wisconsin game and ended the day mesmerized by the Stanford-USC triple overtime thriller late Saturday night.

TV is quick to give us all kinds of games to watch, advertisers can't wait to pay big dollars to hawk their products on college football games because they know we, the fan, demand the games. We buy the sweatshirts, the caps, the mugs, the "you name it" and the money comes flying in. Yep, we are the real culprits in this mess.

It will all shake out eventually. The conference shuffle will ultimately stop. When it does I just hope the conference names get changed. The Big Ten went from 10 schools, to 11 schools, to the current 12. Get rid of the numbers and get rid of the geography titles. Boise State, should they realign, is nowhere near the eastern United States for crying out loud.

The view from my seat suggests that when all the moving and shaking is over and done it will be time for new names. How does the Starbucks Coffee League sound? Or just plain Morebucks League.

After all it is all about the money.


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