Quote of the Day “The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them.” –Mark Twain
Consider this my application to become the National College Football Tsar:
First I re-align the conferences–with the amount of money involved and the ease of long distance travel, geography is no longer the primary consideration in setting up leagues. It is indisputable that schools with trillion dollar budgets like Florida are not fairly “tested” against schools that use the barter system like Mississippi State (forget for a moment that the Gators haven’t won in Starkville since….well, I can’t even recall. But definitely not since the Reagan era.). And schools like Vanderbilt that require their football players to be scholars, or at least literate, shouldn’t be forced to compete against the likes of Ole Miss (forget for a moment that the Rebs lost to Vandy this year). Exceptions to the rule happen. But year in, year out, the system, the schools and the fans would be better served by having similarly situated schools face each other during the regular season, then meet each other in the playoffs beginning in December (my second move). Here are some examples of my realignment plan, with change number 3–hipper, more marketable league monikers:
Conference I–The Vaders: Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, LSU, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Miami FL, Texas, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Southern Cal. These perennial powers will have unlimited budgets, player salary caps aligned with that of the Green Bay Packers and roster sizes limited to 55. The only rule for them when it comes to recruitin is there is no rule. There is no redshirting in this league. Coaches failing to deliver ten wins in a season for two consecutive years are automatically fired and reassigned one level down.
Conference II–The Bandits: Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Carolina, Clemson, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and just to piss off most Rebels and Bulldogs, USM. This league will be subject to a mid-range institutional budget and salary cap and will have strict rules on recruitin standards. The rules are necessary in light of most of the members’ checkered probationary histories. However, there will be no enforcement mechanism for violations. Rosters will be capped at 65. Every league game will result in a trophy being awarded to the winner. Note the balance in this league between cow college rednecks and blue blooded rednecks (and USM rednecks). Coaches must average 7 wins a year over 3 years, except at Mississippi State where 5 will do the trick. In keeping with the academic standards of the league’s general student bodies, players will be allowed six years in which to play four.
Conference III–The Metro: Tulane, Memphis, Pitt, Houston, Louisville, Cincinnati, UNLV, Temple, Rutgers, and Georgia Tech. The league name is TB’s nod to tradition. These schools will no longer suffer recruitin insults against their crime-ridden, treeless locale, frightening cheerleaders and soulless stadiums (stadia?). One of them will be unbeaten each year and one will be winless and for once they will get a shot at the big boys when the playoffs start. But they can’t be matched up in Round One vs The Bandits. They have a small budget cap and if any of them reach it they get kicked out of the league, not counting Georgia Tech who will probably secede at some point anyway. Coaches who fail to go undefeated once every 4 years are out.
Conference IV–The Missionaries: Notre Dame, Boston College, BYU, TCU, SMU, Baylor, Marquette, Georgetown, Villanova, Loyola (all of them). This lineup should ensure Notre Dame makes the playoffs at least once a decade.
Conference V–The You’re Gonna Work For Us One Days: Vanderbilt, Duke, Wake Forest, Rice, Stanford, Virginia, Army, Navy and the whole Ivy League. No athletic scholarships for these schools are allowed, but their players will all be on academic scholly anyway. They get unlimited rosters up to the point their endowments allow. They draw their coaches from fired Metro ones. Job fairs will be held in lieu of tailgating outside stadiums (stadia?). If they land a hot cheerleader, the Vaders must each disgorge a million bucks to a charity of the victorious college’s choice. Coaches who fail to average 6 wins a year in this league over a five year period are exiled to Siberia. Players in this league can play as many seasons as they like. Few will continue past four as they have employees to manage in the outside world.
The Big Twelve will revert to the Big Eight, the Pac Ten to the Pac Eight, and the Big Ten hasn’t been heard from in so long that I’m not sure they still play football in the midwest, but if they do, they can keep their little outfit together. All the league winners go to the playoffs which will be staged outdoors in regional locations to be determined by frozenness of tundra, snow forecasts and colorfulness of field. Only the final 4 get to come back down South to go for the title. And the second and third place finishers in each league will be matched up in bowl games. To be played on New Year’s Day. Two and three at a time. Like God ordained.