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Sandy question #4: What's going on with BCS contraction? Will we see fewer BCS conferences in the near future?
Response: This is on the minds of all AD’s right now, as we’re discussing the feasibility of contracting from 6 BCS conferences down to 4 within 4-5 years.
Well, I don't know what to say....I get why contraction is necessary occasionally, like right now NBA contraction is a hot topic but most people agree the season is too long and very few people care and too many team are losing money because their market shares are so divided, but in football? The NFL is expanding and the FBS/D1-A is growing so why shrink the BCS? Well, basically it all boils down to greed, let me explain.
The Big Ten and Pac12 aren't satisfied with the minor movements that occurred this summer, the Big Ten wanted Notre Dame and the Pac12 wanted the Pac16 with Texas, the state and the university (I'm obviously oversimplifying the motives but for the most part it is apt). Now that ESPN and others have quelled the great conference shift by stabilizing the Big 12, plus add in a stronger Big East with the addition of a solid TCU program, and its easy to see that the status quo may continue for the foreseeable future. However, the Rose Bowlers have decided to change the parameters of the argument by separating the haves from the have nots even further with BCS contraction.
By changing the size of the BCS from 6 to 4, it immediately benefits the "major" conferences. Think about it, 5 BCS games means 10 spots to fill, and if there are only 4 BCS conferences then its a sure thing that two teams from each conference will make a bowl game plus 1 non-AQ and an at large, this means more money for the AQs. Most agree that the Big Ten, Pac12, SEC, and the ACC are all safe, so that leave the Big 12, Big East and Notre Dame to possibly lose their AQ status. This would be a blatant attempt to force Texas and Notre Dame to merge with the only remaining AQ conferences left who all expand to 16 while allowing them to simultaneously cut the dead weigh from the AQ ranks.
While I hate these realignment posts, I'm going to simply explain the most obvious moves that could occur to the new 4 AQs (NOTE: this is just an example, I know most will disagree but that's not the point of the post).
B1G+Rutgers+Syracuse+ND and Mizzou=16
SEC+Florida St+Clemson+GA Tech+Miami=16
This leaves many schools in the Big 12/Big East that CUSA and the MWC would fight tooth and nail over to get primarily Texas Tech and TCU. Sounds good though right? Could you imagine the MWC grabing Tech, TCU, Houston, Baylor, SMU, and UTEP?
Here lies the problem, before when the MW was going after AQ status they were comparing themselves to the lowly Big East but now the difference between a them and the lowest of the big boys will be even more significant. While the ACC will be significantly weaker than the other 3, the MWC would still be hard pressed to find its way into the AQ club. For arguments sake, let's say the MW does get really close to the new AQ standards like they were before this last round of expansion. What stops the big boys from simply changing the rules again, or expanding by 2/4/8 to 18/20/24? Nothing, the precedent would already be there. The Pac16 could take the best of the MWC and the SEC and B1G could take the best from the ACC and reduce the AQs down to just 3 conferences with 3 bids a piece into the BCS bowls.
This issue is setting up a bigger separation between the AQs and non AQs than the BCS could have ever imagined, and it is developing a blueprint for how the Conference Cartels can sustain their monopoly over collegiate football as we know it. My personal opinion on the subject is that either the US government should get invovled and fix this with some anti-trust laws (and that's from a libertarian so you know I think its a real problem) OR for the non AQ's to break off a start their own D1-A NCAA tournament with the MWC, CUSA, SBC, and MAC. What do you think? Is their an easy/better answer, or am I overreacting?