College football as you currently know it won't exist in just a couple of years
We've all been seeing bits and pieces of evidence over the past couple of years. We are now at the point where all of the history and pageantry most of us identify with College Football is about to go out of the window.
By this time in 2025 or maybe 2026, the historical game with regional or state rivalries that many people of a certain age was the definition of college fun will become a full-fledged, highly profitable business. It will be a business where a select few school will rake in ungodly amounts of money and those left behind will race to grab the bread crumbs.
The move in June announced by USC and UCLA that they will leave their forever Pac-12 home for the big money of the Big 10 may not be the final nail in College Football's coffin, but it most certainly will be looked back on as the "straw that broke the came's back."
Why is this all about to happen? Well, really it isn't that difficult to understand or explain. Not at all. It's about money. TV money.
Withe USC and UCLA moving to the Pac-12 is added on top of Oklahoma and Texas moving to the SEC, the tea leaves are not hard to read.
The "Super-Conference" era is upon us.
You can expect to see more movement very shortly. Oregon and Washington will leave the Pac 12. Almost any of the ACC schools could move at the drop of a hat. And most leaders at these schools will say the "had to do it."
College Football will look very similar to soccer's "Premiere League" with most of the good, big name/big money teams in one large grouping and then a second level with the Big 12, AAC, Sun Belt and other leagues playing in the next level.
No, there won't be teams moving between the two leagues based on their success because even that will be too much for fans to handle.
You can forget rivalries. You can forget traditional games, we are looking at a world where teams play 9-10 conference games and 2 non-conference games. And that's it. You'll see a form of playoff, the top 3/4 teams in the East and West will square off, but that's it.
You won't see many Alabama vs. Troy games or anything of the sort, the mega-conferences won't work that into their new TV deals. Why should they?
If you are asking "Is this all about TV rights deals?" Yep, that pretty much is the motivation behind everything now done in the game.
ESPN owns the rights to everything but the Big 10. They will continue to do so. They take over the SEC television deal in full beginning in 2024. If one of the "Super league's" includes the SEC, you can bet your house that they'll pay the SEC whatever they ask for the rights to the games.
So, what can we expect to see if 2025 or 2026?
Simply said, you'll see the SEC, with either 16 or more teams in it being broadcast on the various ESPN networks. You'll see the Big 10, with their 16-20 teams playing on FOX Sports. The playoff, which is NOT run by the NCAA will continue their ESPN deal and while you might see the quarter and semi-final games split between networks, ESPN won't be given up the College Football Playoff Championship game.
And for the teams in these conference, the money just keeps. rolling in. We're already talking about $100 a season paydays per team in each conference, expect that to jump.
Do the schools need that kind of money? NO! But do you really think they'll say know when the Brink's truck starts backing up to their doors?
For some of you, this is too much, you'll complain that I want the College Football that you grew up with. Unfortunately for you, those days are gone. They are not coming back. Ever.
Get used to world where College Football is treated like a professional sport. Get used to seeing players and schools literally rolling in the money. Get used to a world where you no longer have "rivalry" games with your traditional rival. While it's great to wax nostalgic and do things like dress up for homecoming, those days too, will be a thing of the past.
For many in the south, their lives each fall revolves around going to tailgates and games, those things won't change. But the days of doing traditional games that have been played for generations are about to go out the window.
Which for many of us is roughly the equivalent of losing your soul.
And to be perfectly honest, all this shuffling of schools, realignment, NIL deals for players and more already should tell most of us that the game we grew up enjoying has already lost its soul. A long, long time ago.
And it's not ever coming back.