Conference Musical Chairs, From This Cyclone’s View: Part I

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September 8, 2011 by MarkHanrahan20

College football is well into week two and all anyone can seem to talk about is conference realignment.  Never mind the games on the field, the Top 25 poll, or even some of the classic rivalries being renewed this weekend (including my beloved Cyclones).  Funny thing is, I am all for realignment, and even posted some ridiculous scenarios years ago about expanding to six, 20-team leagues, setting up for a great 8 team post-season… Now those scenarios don’t seem all ridiculous.  The problem is, my model was based around creating a fair opportunity for everyone to feel like they had a legitimate shot at a national championship.  120 teams battling it out ON THE FIELD to determine a true champion, where nobody can claim they didn’t get a fair shot.  This new talk of conference realignment isn’t based around the game on the field; it’s not based on tradition, or even the quality of teams… No, the talk of conference realignment going around these days centers around one thing, greed.

The way it stands now, I am starting to think a lot of this conference realignment is just rumors and innuendo.  There are a number of people in the media throughout college football that want nothing more than a playoff to determine a National Champion and it’s easy to see how a Super Conference scenario would achieve that.  The flaw that many people are pushing is that by expanding these conferences, and adding to their “footprint”, all of the member institutions would see huge financial benefits.  I just don’t see how that’s going to happen.  Every time you add a team to a conference, which just splits the pie into more pieces.  How many teams are really going to add enough to a conference that they will pay for themselves, as well as make up for the money the other teams are giving up?  Of all the teams being talked about in this conference musical chairs, I can think of two;Texasand Notre Dame.  Dallas Maverick’s owner, Mark Cuban had a great blog on this topic, hitting on a lot of the flaws brought up with expansion, many of which people are conveniently overlooking. 

Among the topics Cuban touched on, the one that seemed to hit home, especially here inIowa, is the fact that the inventory will be diluted.  We are already seeing this happen with the Big Ten and their coverage of college basketball.  Before the B1G Network, Iowa Fans inIowawere able to see all of their games on local TV, at the same time every day.  When the B1G Network started, fans were told not only would they be able to see all of their games, but they would be broadcast nation wide, so fans across the country could see their beloved Hawkeyes!  Now what?  First there was the game time debacle, where a number of games were moved to late or early starts, making it difficult for fans to tune in, much less actually GO to the game.  This year, eight Hawkeye games this year will be seen only online… The fact is, there are just too many games for the conference network to handle.  As Cuban pointed out, you can expect the same thing to happen in football if we move to this Super Conference model.  More games will be shifted to online outlets and we will have games starting as early as 9 am or as late at 10pm to fit into time slots.  

Now, too keep this from getting too long, I’m going to cut it off here, and hit back in the next couple of days with a couple of  follow up entries.  Tomorrow I’ll touch on my original model, which we will just call the “Fair Play” model for conference realignment.  Later this weekend, I’ll hit on what I actually think will happen when this all plays out… If you are a fan of tradition, it won’t be pretty, but in the long run (15-20 years), it might just work out…



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