Conference Realignment is ruining CFB

Once upon a time college football conferences were decided geographically. The Big 10 consisted of midwest teams, the SEC had teams from the south east, Big 12 had teams mostly from the south. It all made sense, Georgia fans were in close proximity to Alabama fans, Florida was close enough to LSU. Rivalries were real simply because the people you worked with may support the other teams in said conference. Fast forward to now, and UCLA, and USC are in the Big 10, their new closest conference game, aside from when they play each other, is 22 hours 45 minutes away for USC and 22 hours 55 minutes away if you’re UCLA. This game is in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Now I’m no UCLA or USC fan, nor am I a fan of a Big 10 team. But this conference realignment doesn’t make sense to me at all. Why would a USC fan want to wake up at 9am for a 11am kickoff versus Iowa? They wouldn’t and they won’t. Sure the schools will get 100M (projected) from the College Football Playoff Committee. But what do they gain from a fan aspect or even a player aspect (outside of NIL deals) The USC Trojans will NEVER be rivals with the Penn State Nittany Lions. The UCLA Bruins will never be rivals with the Michigan State Spartans. The fans will care because it’s their team, and the games may even be good. But this isn’t what college football is about.

You can do realignment correctly, for example when the Mountain West expanded in 2012-13 and took schools from the WAC. They took rivals from schools already in the conference, for example adding University Nevada to compete with UNLV. Also adding San Jose State and Fresno State to keep that rivalry alive as well. Even C-USA when adding schools this realignment circle added at least one rivalry game to its schedule, being the Battle of I-10 between UTEP and NMSU.

I wasn’t a huge fan of Texas and OU leaving to the SEC but at least the proximity makes sense. You get Texas vs OU, Texas vs Arkansas, Texas vs Texas A&M, OU vs Missouri. It ADDS something to the conference besides money. UCLA/USC to the Big 10 makes no sense and soon we’ll have 3-4 main conferences and everyone else will just be following along. This isn’t about college sports and what makes them great. Rival schools competing, talking trash to traveling fans at home games, or even going to away games if you have no plans on a Saturday. This is money hungry schools, wanting more money and it is ruining college football.

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