August 04, 2023
OK … You Don’t Like It …. “It’s All About The $$$$” …. It’s Johnny Swofford’s Fault … . It’s Donald Trump / Joe Biden / Karl Hess / Dean Smith / Larry Monteith / Global Warming Fault …. IT’S COMING AND SOON and there is nothing You nor I nor all the beady-eyed barking board monkeys can do about it …..
College Football as most of us have known it has changed considerably in the past several years. That ongoing seismic change is about to undergo another Big Change as Conference Realignment rears its ugly head once again and “what was for so long” is not going to be “what will be going forward” PERIOD.
Several months ago I expressed the incredibly insightful fact the My Generation – Baby Boomers – born in the 40s-50s-60s have formed the rank & file of sports fans in general and college sports in particular and ACC Sports especially..
We were not around for Red Grange and Fielding Yost and the Four Horsemen and … ; but we were the first kids to have easy access to TVs … then color TVs … and know that Fall Saturdays were for College Football and Sundays were for Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown and The NFL.
Note: I had a baby sweater in Carolina Blue #22 for “Choo Choo”.
Many of us well remember as 8-10-12 y/os watching Frank McGuire’s UNC v Kansas and Wilt in Triple Overtime in March 1957 thanks to C.D. Chesley … and The ACC and ACC Basketball became a Big Deal …. “Sail With The Pilot” … “Thacker & Packer” … “The Dixie Classic” and heroes and legends became household names …
Televisions becoming affordable to the masses in the 50-60s was the stimulus that ignited College Sports and now it’s “multi-million $$$ media rights” in 2020s that is “stirring the drink” and reshaping everything we thought was permanent about college sports.
We are well beyond declaring “it’s all about $$$$” whether that is true … or whether it’s the “arms race” for ridiculously elaborate facilities and multi-million $$$ coaching salaries that REQUIRE $$$ is why $$$$ is so important. Ever considered that?
I hate comparing $$$ “back when” to “now” but Bill Dooley as HFC at UNC in 1968 made $35,000. A Kenan Stadium game ticket was $10. “Just 50+ years ago”.
Keeping up with the Alabamas and Georgias and Ohio States and Texas A&Ms …. and …. overly-caffeinated fans DEMANDING their “sleeping giant” awaken and Win Win Win and “play high stakes poker” … whatever it takes …. It TAKES Lots of $$$$.
Who among you has contacted “your school”and told them you don’t care if your team “wins”or not just as long as The ACC doesn’t implode.
You don’t care if “your school” doesn’t have the elaborate facilities to attract “bling-driven semi-literate 18 y/os” … or to hire “The next Saban or Smart” … or …
You’re OK with (1) 6-7 Wins … (2) beat the hated rival … and (3) spend Christmas in Shreveport every other year or so ???
OK, you know all the above …
What about coping with the Realignment Asteroid hurtling thru space headed right for College Football. When it hits – and it could be any day now – all the college football “dinosaurs” are going to be extinct. Just memories of “back when”.
If The Pac-5/6 goes away … how does that affect your life?
If Oregon State and Washington State no longer have “a conference” do you care? Really?
If Rutgers has to fly across the country to play UCLA or UCF has to fly to Colorado … why do you care? If I watch, it will be a football game played in a stadium. I don’t care where that stadium is.
College admins concerned about the “academic prestige” of other institutions is THE dumbest part of all of this. NOBODY but a handful of pseudo-intellectual “snoots” gives a rat’s behind about AAU membership. When was the last time you heard of a semi-literate 18/20 y/o 4-5 star recruit having “eligibility issues”? UNCCH’s “Great Unpleasantness” blew up that myth.
Closer to home ... Florida State barks that “unless all the other ACC schools give up some of their media $$$ to us … we will pay the ACC $120,000,000 and leave …” Geeeee, lets think about that … OK, FSU, can go just as soon as that check clears the bank. … … and the tomahawk chop is never again seen/heard in North Carolina … how will THAT affect you? Will it?
How’s about if Clemson also pays $120,000,000 to seek greener pastures ? You OK with that?
Miami? I won’t even ask … totally a “who cares”. Hey, did ya see where “The U’s” NIL Sugar Daddy got busted by the IRS and FBI? That seems to happen to those folks every 25 years or so.
The ACC bank account grows by $360,000,000 … divided by whoever’s left? That ain’t too bad!
“Your school” is still going to field a football team and play 6-7 Home games each Fall where you can tailgate with family and friends over deviled eggs and ham biscuits and swap lies about “the good old days”. … or not.
Maybe several other ACC teams will ante up and go somewhere else. Maybe “your team” goes, or maybe no one wants “your team” and your team is “an orphan” like Oregon State …?
So “your team” cobbles together a schedule of other unwanted orphans along the East Coast …. ECU and App State aren’t going anywhere. Navy, Old Dominion, Liberty, Coastal Carolina … those school play “competitive college football”.
OK, they are NOT SuperPowers but guess what … History says “your team” is NOT a Football SuperPower either … GULP! Reality bites.
Those schools aren’t ever going to “make the playoffs” but do you REALLY think “your school” is a sleeping giant in Football and destined to fulfill your vicarious dreams?
It has never happened … but if you wanna hold to your “win the lottery” dream … be my guest.
If “your school” is left behind after the smoke clears you will have familiar company … hopefully … Your Hated Rival or Rivals. IF that is the case, I maintain you have not lost a damn thing. EXCEPT the unenviable chance to be “every SEC or B1G team choice for Homecoming”…
Vanderbilt and Northwestern would love to share that “honor” with “your team”. They are tired of getting “wedgies” from the bullies 7-8 times a year.
HOWSABOUT: Declare Football, and its dozen games/year, as the only sport where “Conferences” matter.
All other sports play sensible regional schedules not dictated by any “conference” affiliation. IT can be done with a bit of out-of-the-box thinking.
I like to think I Iook at this mess a bit more objectively that those of you with deep emotional investment in “your team”.
I think whats happening is STOOPID. Way too many “babies are going to be thrown out with the bathwater” but it’s too late to stop it now.
Right now America is trying its “best” to duplicate Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union in the 30s … and doing a very good job of it. Arguably 40% of America either thinks duplicating those totalitarian regimes is “a good thing” or are simply “dead eyed clueless”. THAT scares the bejebbers out of me when I look at my four grandchildren.
FWIW… when I was with my “Fab Four” last week, I asked’em if they knew what a “Hated Rival” was. They don’t know … I hope they never know.
Talking about The College Football Apocalypse beats talking about “the weather” … BTW … Hillary Clinton says MAGA Americans are responsible for July being hot … wait ’til she sees what we have planned for August. Pretty much the same as the past 50 years. It’s called “Summer”. All those clueless jugheads still wearing their little Fauci masks probably believed Hillary … sigh.
That Realignment Asteroid is closer to hitting College Football NOW than when you started reading this… Say Goodnight, Gracie.