Many of the great memories I have as a kid, center around college football on Saturdays.
I watched USC and UCLA battle it out at the end of every football season. I watched Michigan and Ohio State do the same thing. Teams represented their schools through tradition and pageantry.
Then you arrived at Bowl Season; New Year’s Day arrived.
I can still hear the sound of Keith Jackson or Brent Musberger coming to you live from The Rose Bowl as the Pac-10 champions and Big Ten champions battle it out on the gridiron. You could tune in to the Citrus Bowl, the Peach Bowl, the Holiday Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl, where legends were made in a day. Names such as Notre Dame’s Raghib “Rocket” Ismael, Penn State’s D.J. Dozier and pretty much everyone on the U.
But now that’s all over.
The Two Power Conferences In College Football: Fox Sports and ESPN
Now, we really only have two conferences and they can be called Fox (the Big 10) and ESPN (the SEC). We all know TV money drove the decision by Pac-12 stalwarts, USC and UCLA, to ditch their current conference for the financial boon they expect to find in the Big 10. Specifically speaking, this is how the financials currently break down for the various conferences i.e. how much each conference doles out to schools in revenue based mainly on their T.V. deals:
- The SEC = $55 million (average per school)
- The Big 10 = $54 million (average per school)
- The Big 12 = $42 million (average per school)
- The Pac-12 = $33 million (average per school)
For the SEC and Big 10, these numbers will only go up, while the other conferences must now decide how they can stay relevant across the college football landscape.
Sadly, the outlook is not good.
The NFL Link: Who’s In and Who’s Out
If trends continue the way they look to be continuing, the SEC and Big 10 will become the two main conferences linked with the NFL. This will result in football players at schools outside these two conferences trying to transfer into one of the two power conferences, leaving the lesser schools high and dry.
For a fan of the University of Arizona, this is not a good scenario for a program trying to resuscitate itself through the hard work of our second-year coach, Jedd Fisch.
Ultimately, though, everything comes down to money. The fact is the television stations are calling the shots now more than ever. Yes, college football as we knew it, is disappearing (and there’s nothing you can do about it).