Is This the Point Where College Football Changes Forever?
If you are a die-hard fan of College Football you may recognize its biggest problem (IMO) is the inequality between programs. The game has become somewhat a mirror of current society where the "Have's" operate on one level and the "Have Not's" operate on a different one.
Your head would need to be in the sand to not understand for the past 5 to 10 years, only about 10 of the 130 programs in the FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) have a realistic chance of winning the College Football Playoff. Yes, that includes the BCS era too.
If the games were to go on as scheduled this year, some combination of Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma and LSU would likely be the four teams in the playoff. Honestly, despite what fans or alumni of those schools might think, it's bad for the game.
For alumni or fans or the other 120 or so programs in the FBS, the season, whenever it begins would be all about competing for a bowl game that the majority of alumni or fans will never attend. That's a problem.
Here's the example I always use: I'm a graduate of Georgia Southern University, a competitive Sun Belt program that made the jump to the FBS is 2013. Our program is a very proud one, having one multiple FCS (Football Championship Subdivision or 1-AA Titles) over a 30-year stretch and competing for that title almost every year from 1983 thru 2012.
These days, I know we will never win another National Championship ever again. Even if we win the Sun Belt Conference, the best we could do is a mid to late December Bowl Game in New Orleans or some thing on that level. It sucks knowing months before the season starts that it's the best we can ever hope to do.
We don't have the financial resources, facilities or TV money that an SEC, ACC, Big 10, Big 12 or Pac 12 team has and never will. We can't get 10 Five Star recruits to sign on the dotted line and commit to play for us. We don't have the depth to make a run at any of the Power 5 programs on a consistent basis.
Yeah, sure there might be an odd game where we could beat a lower level ACC or Pac 12 team but that is it.
Which is why I say inequality is the biggest problem in College Football. And it's one we likely will never see gets fixed unless something happens to level the playing field.
Well, we may be about to find out how the leveling happens. With most all of us in some form of lockdown or under "Stay at Home" orders, there is no organized activities for College Football. Outside a video conference or solitary workout, nothing.
The big programs are going to take some massive hits if the season doesn't get played. SEC teams could lose some $50 million because if the games don't get played or televised--there is no TV money. No, it wouldn't end those programs because most on the highest levels operate profitably, but it would lessen their ability to make the obscene expenditures they currently do.
College Football programs, the large ones in particular operate largely on "Athletic Associations" or some derivative of that title and those groups like so many other things and people making more than $1 million are largely tax-exempt.
It's the reason the Nick Saban's and Dabo Swinney's of the world make in excess of $9 million a year and most of the "Elite" programs have budgeted more money to pay assistants than many of the Group of 5 programs have for their entire football programs.
The game needs to change---not mirror current society where the rich get richer and the rest are left to fend for themselves. I know TV (ESPN), only cares about what people will watch and we've created a system now where unless one of those 10 or so programs capable of competing for a title are playing, the ESPN folks don't really care.
I also think if we don't have a regular season this year, we'll see the end of the "Bowl Games" as we know them, which honestly isn't so bad.
Yeah, I know, for many it's mindless entertainment to put on the TV during December while having to deal with family and the holiday season. I get it from that perspective.
I also get that ESPN makes a ton of money on those largely irrelevant bowl games in the middle of the month in a far away town whether anyone shows up or not. If you've ever watched one of those games, you can clearly see, nobody goes.
The College Football Playoff has made all of those games largely irrelevant because they don't hold any meaning. None. If you aren't in the playoff, does anyone really care?
I hate the fact we are in a world where the idea of playing the 2020 College Football season is even a topic of conversation---but it is. I also don't like to think about the impact of not playing and what it means for the workers. Those in Athletic Departments, those who work in stadiums under Game Day Operations and those in the towns who won't get fans making the pilgrimage in for a game, staying at hotels and spending money at local restaurants. The trickle down effect is monumental.
I also hate that some smaller programs may not be around if we don't play for similar reasons.
The optimist in me hopes we do play and if we don't, it forces the NCAA and the Football programs to reconsider the way they do business. There's no reason at this point to have "Power 5" and "Group of 5" programs playing for the same title. None.
There's no reason we can't have the Power 5 teams playing against each other all season long for the chance to get in the College Football Playoff. Let the Group of 5 do the same thing against comparable competition, what do we have to lose.
Sure, you can argue the small schools get big paychecks by becoming a "Sacrificial Lamb" so to speak with a "Power 5" team and it helps their bottom line. I get that. But it also triggers a whole slew of other issues that have been cropping up of late too including sagging attendance among other things.
Why not use this pause as a chance to regroup and make College Football an opportunity for all to compete for championships. What does anyone involved have to lose. It would be more fun and more interesting in my opinion for everyone involved.
Is it wrong to wish for that??