Post-Gazette sports reporter Paul Zeise blogs about the world of sports, and Pittsburgh sports in particular, with an assist from Seth Rorabaugh and his Morning Links. Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulZeise and Seth @emptynetters.
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Let me see if I got this straight ---
** The Big East is saying good-bye to Rutgers and Louisville and hello to East Carolina and Tulane and is still trying to figure out if Boise State and San Diego State are actually coming or staying in whatever Western Conference they came from. This means that in 2014, the Big East will be nine former Conference USA teams, UConn, Cincy, Navy, Temple and USF
** The ACC is saying good-bye to Maryland and hello to Louisville and is wondering whether Florida State, North Carolina, Duke and Clemson are staying or going. Oh and now Notre Dame is making noise that it isn’t quite as happy as it was with the ACC a month ago.
** The Big Ten has said hello to Rutgers and Maryland is now trying to bring some combination of North Carolina, Duke and Virginia along to solidify their footprint in the mid-Atlantic region and to get to 16 teams ahead of the Super Conference era of college football.
** Oh, Denver left the WAC to go to the Summit and was replaced by Grand Canyon – or something like that. Wow, good thing that took place, that is the key to this all.
Where is all of this nonsense headed?
I’ll say this – if you read some of the anonymous quotes from trustees at places like Clemson and Florida State it is clear to me that this thing is going to blow up and sooner rather than later.
In fact, the trustee at Florida State all but told Matt Hayes from Sporting News –one of the best in the business – that he was rooting for Maryland to win this litigation with the ACC and get out of paying the $50 million exit fee because if they do, well, it becomes open season.
Here is the thing – this stuff is just starting. It stalled for about 50 seconds but it is back up and running and is only going to get more and more ridiculous as we move forward.
If there is any good news out of this it is this -- at least the ACC and Maryland removed this ridiculous charade of “student athletes” and “academics” and all that other nonsense and came clean about what their intentions were.
Maryland, of course, said it needed more money and the Big Ten provided it, the ACC said it needed the best athletic program available and Louisville, despite being not so high on the academic scale, fit the bill perfectly.
So at least now, we aren’t getting lectures about the importance of academics – it is at least being called for what it is – a money grab and a power grab.
So where does it stop?
Oh, I think it stops when there are four conferences left standing.
My guess is this is what the college landscape will look something like – four 16-team leagues - in five or six years:
Indiana, Illinois, Penn State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia, Notre Dame
TCU, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, West Virginia, Iowa State, Florida State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, N.C. State, Virginia Tech, Syracuse, Pitt, BYU, Louisville
Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Missouri, Texas A&M, LSU, Alabama, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Arkansas, Auburn, North Carolina and Duke
Arizona, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State, Stanford, California, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
At that point we will have these mega-conferences and they will rule the world of college football and the programs on the outside looking in will still have “access” to the four-team playoffs to avoid lawsuits but unless one of those teams is special, they will have no prayer of getting into the playoffs.
But will this be the end?
Oh, maybe for a little bit – but this is where it gets funny as we all know that these college presidents can’t help themselves and will eventually blow it all up again and start over chasing more dollars in other areas and we will be back here in the same place we are now.
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