Breaks, Struts, and a Realignment
The Colorado Buffaloes didn’t expect much as they drove their 2011 Subaru Outback into the repair shop off campus. The Subaru had plenty of wear and tear on it with all those road trips to Corvallis, Palo Alto, and Tucson – but not a lot of memories to go along with it.
Once shiny and new car smelling, the black and gold vehicle was now rusty and slow to start, presumably after years of fender benders around Westwood, radiator trouble in Tempe, and a flat tire in Spokane.
The break came when the Big 12 saw the broken-down Subaru and somehow thought it would look good on their lot, somewhere outside of Lawrence, Kansas.
A conference realignment was coming. From a Pac-12 dealership that was losing its top two models and failed to have a long-term lease signed on the property. To a Big 12 dealership that was growing so fast that it was now a Baker’s Dozen.
The struts? One winning season, not including the 4-2 Covid year, for a football team that had been in the Pac-12 for 13 years, and the Colorado Buffaloes (and that old Subaru) are now strutting off to the Big 12 with a Fox/ESPN payout worth an estimated $31.7 million per team until 2031!
The move from the Pac-12, which will take place in 2024-25, made plenty of sense as their current conference was due to lose both UCLA and USC to the Big Ten next season, while failing to negotiate a television contract that would secure the team’s financial future.
The Big 12 move means the return of Big 12 Colorado rivalries. The Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma Sooners, and Nebraska Cornhuskers! It’s like we’re in Back to the Future and that Subaru is now a DeLorean – set for 2001!
Actually, the Longhorns and Sooners are heading to the SEC, and the Cornhuskers bolted to the Big Ten a few years ago. But TCU and West Virginia joined Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, and Baylor just recently. While UCF (University of Central Florida), Cincinnati, and Houston are joining this season. And I’m pretty sure that the BYU Cougars are joining the Big 12 as well.
Confused? – Maybe a little conference clarity is in order.
• With the Pac-12 losing UCLA, USC, Colorado, and others – Is it now called the Pac-12 or the Pac-5? How about the Pac Your Bags Conference?
• The Big 12 will have 13 teams, the Pac-12 will have 9 teams, and the Big Ten will have 14 teams. Hey Mountain West Conference! Not sure what your realignment plans are, but I’m pretty sure by today’s standards you apparently don’t need mountains or a location in the West to be eligible – so expand away!
• The Big Ten has had a lot of changes with Penn State, Maryland, Nebraska, and now UCLA and USC added to the mix. But I completely forgot that Rutgers University moved to the Big Ten Conference a few years back. After all, what conference couldn’t use a team with a strong academic reputation, and no chance of beating your school on the football field.
• Wait – are the CU Buffs the Rutgers of the BIG 12 now?!
• If the Big 12 doesn’t work out for the Buffs, maybe they can make even more money in a few years by becoming the next Vanderbilt of the SEC.
• The number of Conferences and realignments are getting out of control. I thought the Colonial Conference was a gathering of insurance agents somewhere outside of Boca Raton.
• Considering the money that is flowing to all the coaches and players at Alabama, Georgia, and Ole Miss – the SEC should stand for the Securities and Exchange Commission.
• LSU, Tennessee, and Baylor are all on probation for on and off-the-field related issues. Maybe these teams should join the Parent-Teacher Conference.
• Clemson, Georgia, Alabama, and Ohio State should combine to create the NFL G-League Conference.
• If you like ratings, forming the Notre Dame and Friends Conference could work.
• Teams like Montana State, Idaho, and Northern Colorado of the Big Sky Conference should realign with Arkansas State, Louisiana, and Texas State of the Sun Belt Conference, to form a brand-new conference. The Big Buckle Belt.
• Rumors that the Mid-East Conference has been purchased by the Saudi Arabian Investment Fund, and rebranded as the Middle East Conference, have not been substantiated.
• As far as the FBS rankings – can playing an easy non-conference schedule really hurt you if you didn’t realize that the team wasn’t in your conference?
• With teams like Temple, North Texas, and Rice, should the American Athletic Conference be called the American Not That Athletic Conference?
• It’s a longshot, but I’ve trademarked the Big 15 and the Pac-7 hoping to strike it rich!
I kind of assumed that Deion Sanders would be leaving the Pac-12 in the next few years, I just didn’t think the entire Buffalo football team would be going with him.
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