Go big or go home: Connelly’s ludicrous

  • Costs Connelly, ESPN Staff WriterJun 1, 2023, 08:00 AM ET


      Bill Connelly is a staff author for ESPN.com.College football’s Great Realignment has been on time out in current months.After the seismic moves we saw in recent summers

      — Oklahoma and Texas revealing they were joining the SEC in 2021, USC and UCLA announcing they were joining the Big Ten in 2022– there aren’t all that many conceivable earthquakes staying. However with the ACC uncertain, members of the Pac-12 continuing to wait(and wait, and wait )for numbers on a new media offer, and the Huge 12 seeking to do something strong, discontent and uncertainty are high.With the ACC’s long grant-of-rights deal still lawfully impenetrable at the minute– and, for that reason, the idea of

      ACC programs leaving for another conference remaining impractical in the short term– the next if-then moment is pretty well comprehended: At some time, the Pac-12 will announce its brand-new media rights numbers, and either they will be good enough or they will not. If they’re equivalent to the Huge 12’s recent numbers, then the Pac-12 will likely keep its 10 remaining members in place and attempt to add two

      more.(Present signs are that San Diego State and SMU are at the top of the expansion desire list.) If the numbers are dramatically inferior, things might get unusual. The easternmost members of the conference– some mix of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State– might invite an aggressive advance by the Huge 12. That could develop a prospective cause and effect: Possibly the Huge 10 takes an accelerated take a look at Oregon and Washington(and perhaps Cal and Stanford )? Possibly those schools look the Big 12’s way?The Pac-12’s persistent hold-ups in announcing media rights definitely do not develop optimism, but for now I continue to presume that chances favor the Pac-12 patching together some sort of union of broadcasters and appealing just sufficient yearly revenue that it keeps its members in location in the meantime. However if there’s one constant in recent summers, it’s that our presumptions are regularly wrong.The next years or two of realignment could be both interesting and dismaying We’re facing one of 2 futures in this period of college football: Either( a)the Huge 10 and SEC become the sport’s 2 dominant monetary forces, producing more of a Power

      2 of sorts than a Power 5, or(b) the Huge Ten and SEC become so powerful that we wind up with the feared”incredibly league “situation, in which they become either an official or informal leading department for the sport.There’s a possibility that, when the ACC’s grant of rights gets closer to its expiration, both the Big 10 and SEC pluck away its most valuable schools, ensuring that practically all of the sport’s big brands reside in one of two neighborhoods. We have actually seen a lot of speculation that the members of these conferences will form some sort of extremely league amongst themselves, a rather fatalistic vision. However there actually won’t be a need for any formal separation at that point– the Big Ten and SEC will form the anchors for all of college sports regardless.Editor’s Picks 2 Related That doesn’t have to be totally unhealthy, by the method. Look at European soccer: Over the past ten years, teams from England’s Premier League and Spain’s La Liga have scooped up 15 of 20 spots in the Champions League final and won all however one title. But well-run(and well-monied)clubs in other countries– Germany’s Bayern Munich, France’s Paris

      Saint-Germain, a diverse smattering of Italian clubs– still make big runs when they have all their ducks in a row. Germany still has an item appealing enough to outdraw the Premier League in terms of attendance, and the pressure that features extreme riches has led to loads of panic costs and panic firings from Barcelona and lots of English clubs. That unlocks for well-run clubs outside of those locations to take advantage.As long as schools in other conferences have a factor to invest, and fans continue to have a reason to care, football in conferences beyond the Huge 2 can remain both appropriate and interesting. None of this power concentration is optimal, however a reasonably healthy ecosystem can still exist.More than any future realignment relocations, the single crucial function, when it pertains to the health of the Huge 12, ACC and Pac-12, might be the structure of the upcoming 12-team football playoff. For 2024 and 2025, the playoff will include a minimum of 6 conference champs, 4 of which will get first-round byes. That alone makes winning those 3 conferences essential and worth making every effort(and investing )for. With that requirement in location, these conferences will stay feasible for that reason alone. But there’s no assurance the requirement will remain in place when contracts are renegotiated for 2026 and beyond. If the Pac-12 gets severely decreased in coming adjustment moves, that could affect things, as might a power relocation from a figure like SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.If the right people desire additional power conference concentration, and if the television earnings is there for it– it certainly has actually been so far, however there’s no assurance that continues– it’s difficult to understand what may stop it. And we’ve possibly seen a few of the last big crowning achievement swings readily available; there truly aren’t lots of big brands delegated alter conferences unless the Big Ten and SEC begin stealing from each other.For now, though, let’s fantasize. For the conferences that are falling behind the Big 2, let’s think of some big swings for them to take. A Huge 36? A Pac-91? Why not

      ? Here are three (mainly )unrealistic however fun situations for the future of college sports.(Please keep in mind: There are no wrong answers in the brainstorming procedure.)

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