Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In Perspective - A Look At the Conference Re-Alignments

In Perspective - Making Sense of Conference Re-Alignments

By Rodney Hays

This has been an exciting couple of weeks in sports. And those don't happen very often, so please, sit down and let me recap.

The week started like any other ... on Monday. But soon after it got crazy. One of the stranger things has been this whole ordeal over NCAA school switching conferences, issuing statements about not switching conferences and wondering why we have conferences in the first place.

Last week, Nebraska and Colorado made announcements they were switching from the Big 12 Conference to the Big 10 and the PAC 10, respectively. After the announcements were made many fans were left wondering, "Nebraska and Colorado were in the Big 12?"

Shortly after those announcements were made the speculation machine began churning and a reports about other schools defecting from the Big 12 were coming out almost every 30 to 45 seconds.

At first the University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas were going to join Nebraska in the Big 10. Then a report said that OU and UT were going to join the PAC 10, along with OSU, Texas Tech and Texas A&M. Then another report came out that said OU, UT, A&M and Tech were going to join the NFL. It was really a wild ride.

It looks like now everybody is happy. Nebraska will join the Big 10 and stop taking whoopings from OU and Texas and will begin to take whoopings from Michigan and Ohio State.
Colorado will be much happier in the PAC 10, where each year they will compete for fourth or fifth place.

And OU, Texas and A&M are extremely happy about big new television contracts and the chance to host their own TV networks.

My son suggested the new OU network could feature a show called "Fishing With Jackie Shipp," where Sooner defensive coach Jackie Shipp could regale us with tales of his playing days in the 1980s while he catches catfish, striped bass and blue marlin.

I would watch that.

I am a little confused about the whole thing, but I understand that college football is now a big business and schools must go where the money is. I don't blame them. I am also not above taking a job with higher pay, better benefits and a flexible work schedule (translation: lots of money for doing nothing).

I also have a couple of ideas for some even better conferences if anybody would like to hear them.

First, let me say that I believe conferences should be sort of regional to save money on travel and to spur on friendly rivalries between area schools.

Since I'm from Oklahoma, I love the rivalry between OU and UT, so as long as they play each other every October, I don't care what conference they hang their helmet on.

Now, the conferences I do care about.

I believe we need to make all California schools a conference of their own, so they never have to venture out into the rest of America.

Schools with mascot names like the Gauchos (UC Santa Barbara), the Gaels (Saint Mary's), the Toreros (San Diego) and the Anteaters (UC Irvine) all deserve to be beaten each year by the Trojans of USC, the Bruins of UCLA and the Dons of San Francisco.

Also, I think we should disband the Ivy League just because it sounds so pretentious and they don't play very good football.

I must admit though, the Harvard vs. Yale rivalry must remain intact.

The Harvard Business Titans began playing the Yale Future Heads of State in November 1875, when America was still just a young country and Twinkies were still just a cream-filled twinkle in James A. Dewar's eye.

Harvard won the first game 4-0. After that Yale won most of the games for the next 30 years or so. More recently, Harvard has had Yale's number winning 8 out of the last 9 games, including last year's 14-10 victory in New Haven.

I say let the two teams get together and play that one game and then let the players focus on more important things like running giant corporations and countries and Twinkie plants.
Schools like Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Penn, Princeton and, oh my lord, Dartmouth do not need to be wasting time with football.

There problem solved.

I also think schools with colors in the mascot names should be in a conference together. Let's call it the Rainbow Conference.

It could be headlined by Alabama's Crimson Tide. The other members would be the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, the Canisius Golden Griffins, the Niagara Purple Eagles, the Syracuse Orange, Saint Francis Red Flash, the Duke Blue Devils, the Delaware Blue Hens and the Presbyterian Blue Hose.

Can you imagine a more thrilling conference title game than between the Crimson Tide and the Blue Hose?

The title sponsor could be Crayola Crayons or Glidden Paints or Skittles. It would be a colorful conference.

Then we could put some of the really bad teams in one conference and make them play each other to see who the biggest losers are each year.

Or ...

We could just leave stuff alone and keep things the way they have been for a while and stop tinkering with things that seem to be working.

But that's probably me just thinking out loud. I tend to do that when I'm all jacked up on Twinkies.

Speaking of which, that might be a fun conference: The Twinkie Conference. It would be headlined by the Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts Fighting Pastry Chefs.

That would be delicious.

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