2017-05-17 / Sports

THE PRESSBOX

College football landscape not done changing
BRANDON POPE

Talks have recently begun that Notre Dame is strongly considering becoming a fulltime member of the Atlantic Coastal Conference in all sports. That could have major ramifications across the college football landscape as far as conferences are concerned.

The Fighting Irish are already a part-time member of the ACC in football, while still keeping an independent status, but if they join full-time, that will bring the ACC to 15 teams, which will intrigue other conferences to expand. Ultimately, I believe that the power conferences in college football will top out at 16 schools apiece.

If that were to take place, which recent trends suggest, then one conference of the power five will, in all likelihood, collapse. Which conference will that be? I believe it will be the Big 12. Since teams began switching conferences over the last several years, the Big 12 has easily been the most unstable. This year will finally be the first time in years that they’ve had a league title game.

And as far as major programs go, they’ve almost been picked clean by most of the other conferences. Texas A&M and Missouri moved to the Southeastern Conference, Nebraska went to the Big Ten and Colorado moved over to the Pac 12. Those losses had the Big 12 scrambling just to get back to 10 schools, eventually adding West Virginia and Texas Christian.

As the Big Ten, ACC, SEC and Pac 12 look to one or more teams to get up to 16, one can only speculate who will be the first to poach the ultimate money makers for Big 12 football; Texas and Oklahoma. And trust me, the other four conferences would not care whether or not it made geographical sense. College football is all about the money and not the ‘amateur athletics’ baloney that they want you to believe.

Honestly, I think the Big Ten would have a legitimate shot should Texas and Oklahoma begin to field offers, and I know for a fact that they would make a huge pitch for both schools. The additions would solidify the Big Ten’s West Division, and of course from a money sense, would put the Big Ten Network in both states.

That may not sound like a big deal, but remember, it’s a money thing. The Big Ten added Rutgers to get BTN into the New York-New Jersey market and added Maryland to get it into the Baltimore-Washington D.C. market. It may be all about greed, but they know what they’re doing.

The only reason I bring up Texas and Oklahoma is the fact that they are traditional powers who are in a conference that gets shortchanged when it comes to the college football playoff because they are in the perceived worst conference of the power five.

Another interesting question is, if the conferences condense to four leagues of 16 schools, who will be left out? There are enough schools in the current power five to accomplish that criteria, but Notre Dame will not be left out. Here come the musical chairs.

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