Good evening. If you are not aware, last Monday athletic directors and presidents of the Big 12 Conference gathered in Dallas to discuss the possibility of expanding the Big 12 by 2 to 4 teams. By Monday afternoon, news began to trickle out from the meeting that the conference had decided not to expand at all, after spending months requesting materials and stating that expansion was in the conference’s best interest.
The University of Houston, my alma mater, was one of the candidates for expansion and widely touted to be the best candidate among all 16 (then whittled down to 11) candidates who had submitted an application.
While I won’t go into the nuts and bolts of why the Big 12 did not expand (payoffs by Fox and ESPN among them), I will say that it is disappointing that the Big 12 is not expanding, that it is abandoning the idea of long-term conference security in favor of a quick payoff and the almost certain dissolution of the Big 12 in 2025, that one of the widely perceived fears of allowing Houston into a Power 5 conference is their ability to recruit from such a deep pool of talent.
This turn of events cements my fear that Houston will never be allowed to join a major football conference, that Houston won’t ever get to win a national football championship because of their lower conference status, and that the current coach of the Houston Cougars, Tom Herman, is as good as gone as a result, it’s just a question of when.
It also cements my belief that Division I-A college football, from top to bottom, is bull$hit. It is a system governed by the schools who are in power conferences for schools that are in power conferences and in defense of schools that are in power conferences.
It rakes in tens of millions of dollars a year for schools in bowl appearances, sponsorship deals, licensing fees, and then cries poverty when student athletes ask for the smallest sliver of the pie. My apologies. I misspoke. I should say it rakes in that money for schools in power conferences and gives whatever scraps left to the so-called Group of 5 schools.
It is a system where past and present employees of schools dictate punishments for its fellow schools in a manner so arbitrary and futile that it makes Roger Goodell look downright wise. Did your school cover up a truly heinous child molestation ring that lasted for decades so that it wouldn’t hurt recruiting? Eh, a couple of years without TV or bowl appearances will show you what for. After all, it’s not the school’s fault. Horrific rape scandal? We’ll let that school create its own committee and if it apologizes and really means it, we won’t drop the hammer on them. After all, it’s not the school’s fault. A cornerback gets 20 bucks from someone to buy a cheeseburger? Immediate suspension of the player, loss of 20 scholarships, five years of without bowl appearances or television time. We can’t let this kind of rampant disregard of the rules stand.
And that’s not even getting to the whole idea that one half of all Division I-A schools, again the so-called Group of 5 schools, are instantly disqualified from eligibility for national championship consideration simply because of the conference they play in. Sure, before Houston lost to Navy (shut up) people were talking about Houston’s chances of making the playoff, but let’s be honest, Houston was never going to get into the playoff because “look who they played,” “that conference they’re in is vastly inferior to [insert Power 5 conference name here],” “a 2 win [middle tier SEC team] should be ranked ahead of Houston because,” and so on.
Find me one other major professional sports organization that has a set-in-stone system of haves and have-nots the way college football does. Even professional soccer leagues in Europe and Latin America at least have relegation so that teams in the lower levels have an opportunity to move up a weight class if it proves itself worthy over the course of a season.
Imagine if the NFL ran this way. Right off the bat, every team in the AFC is ineligible for the Super Bowl because they play inferior competition: each other. How do we know they’re inferior? A legion of John McClains who don’t watch the games and have their own biases said so. So right there, Houston can never win a Super Bowl, the Patriots will never go to the playoffs because they play the lowly AFC East. Every Super Bowl would feature two of the following teams: Dallas, San Francisco, Green Bay, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Charlotte. Every NFL Draft, all NFC teams would get to draft the first four rounds of the draft because all the best players will want to play against the best competition for the Super Bowl. Maybe in a few years, the NFL will decide that they should throw a bone to the top ranked AFC team and let them have a play-in game with the lowest ranked NFC team.
How is this okay? How is it okay with Division I-A football to have a system like this? It’s not like Group of 5 schools are all intrinsically bad and play unwatchable football and don’t deserve a dime. So why is this system in place? You can’t see it on the other side of the computer but I’m doing the Johnny Manziel money hand gesture. The lion’s share of money in Division I-A football goes to the Power 5 schools and that’s never going to change as long as there are Power schools and non-Power schools. But this is the system the NCAA wants: a few football powerhouse schools, a bunch of mid-tier Power 5 schools, and a whole lot of inconsequential riffraff at the bottom.
Now you might read all that (or you probably got bored and stopped reading halfway through, which I wouldn’t blame you for) and think, “He mad.”
Yes. Yes, I am. I’m mad at a garbage organization that is run by garbage people from garbage schools and creates a garbage system because of garbage reasons.
I’m mad about all of that, but I’m even madder that despite all this, I still watch college football. Why? Because I’m a friggin’ imbecile.
Okay, I’ll get off whoever’s soapbox this is and let y’all converse. The floor is yours.
The usual commenting rules apply. If anybody needs me, I’ll be in the angry dome.