This weekend we found out that the Big Ten was accelerating the timetable to expand the conference after previously announcing they would take 12 to 18 months. Prior to this latest discovery, the thought of adding another one to five teams seemed like nothing more than a dream, but now it appears that it is a quickly becoming a reality.
If your like me, your already sick of all this expansion talk. It's getting old reading writers and bloggers list potential candidates, and even more annoying is the constant drama going on with Notre Dame. If it wasn't enough that they appear every Saturday on NBC or that the media spends more time talking about their losses than most team's wins, this expansion talk has now put them even more in the spotlight. So, excuse me if I want this expansion stuff to pass quickly.
Unfortunately, it has most likely just begun. Jim Delany and the Big Ten may be opening a can of worms, that could have expansion be a central issue in college football for years to come. As Matt Hinton of Dr. Saturday says, the Big Ten might be starting a conference war.
"Under that timeline, the Big Ten -- and the Pac-10, too, which wants to have its new configuration in place when it goes into negotiations for its new television contracts this summer -- could send the first domino in the great Conference Realignment Wars of 2010 tumbling before the start of the season, a potentially torturous process depending on how many teams the Big Ten decides to poach. By the end of the year, the chaotic march toward the long-envisioned age of the superconference, already responsible for the death of the old Southwest Conference and dozens of other eruptions that have shaped the landscape over the last 40 years, is likely to resume in full force as the SEC mulls its counterattack and the "affected conferences" scramble for their lives."
What does that mean?
Well, the expansion talk may have just begun rather the coming to the end. Let's face it, college football is no longer a sport centered around the beauty of a Saturday afternoons, it's become a business. Conference superiority is starting to outweigh the joy of long standing rivalries, and television revenues are speaking louder than what may be best for the sport. I like what Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com had to say:
"Regional conferences have morphed into national networks and we may never look back. But heed these words of caution before we take off into a true age of Airplane Conferences.
'You [still] need to have the ability to drive to each other's campus, one former major-college athletic director said, 'and really hate each other.'"
I may not be popular for saying this, but I am ready for expansion talk to be done. Don't get me wrong, I hate the SEC chants as much as the next guy, but I'm not ready to watch the headlines of the most superior sport on the planet be dominated by expansion talks. I really don't want to have conference commissioners and college presidents ruining things out of greed, much like the talks of adding teams to NCAA Tournament. Why make the best spectacle in sports a money hungry ego contest?
Maybe I'm being overdramatic, and maybe adding a few teams to the Big Ten won't bring about such drastic changes. But we have ask ourselves, are we ready for what could possibly take place? Will we be content with the ramifications of this conference shakeup?