If nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic has removed any pretense the NCAA controls anything to do with big-boy college football and scheduling is the first place they can start to separate things.
This all-conference scheduling has generated excitement at a time when fans were desperate for something to be hopeful about.
Maybe more importantly, though, it shows a path college football should stick to. Andy Staples at The Athletic had the same thought, apparently, in a recent story.
No more gimme games if you want to play in a Power 5 conference.
As always it will be about the money, but you will see college football improve. For a sport that has seen the top-tier programs work like crazy to avoid parity it’s something that is sorely needed to keep the game growing.
Oh, it will also shoot the money up like crazy.
ESPN is probably going to have all of the television rights for the SEC by the end of 2023 going forward. That’s when the bargain-basement $55 million deal with CBS ends. It will be higher.
Coaches will complain. That’s what happens in a profession that doesn’t like anything changing, but this year is forcing changes in nearly aspect of what had become a lot of routines in everyday life.
What is the downside? Playing 11 league games and adding one Power 5 game will make all the programs better.
Fans will be more interested. Television will be more interested.
And it would drive revenue up substantially across the board. The television money would likely go up. Fan interest would go up, which counts at more than ticket-buyers.
Expand the playoffs. Have a smaller number of bowl games, but the matchups will be better.
Rotate the cross-divisional opponents more regularly with one permanent opponent, rotating the other six. Every player will have a chance to play every team in the league in three years.
Add the conference title game. Then expand the playoffs to eight teams. Others that qualify can play in bowl games.
If you really want to throw a bone to the Group of 5 allow a couple of 7-on-7 matchups with other teams in the spring practices. Sorry linemen, but it probably is a little risky to have those guys out there where so many serious injuries that are completely unintended.
That’s just an idea to throw out there but, hey, we’re looking for new ideas, right?
Every fan should be in favor of this, especially Hogs fans who have often appeared with attendance numbers to turn out to see highly-rated opponents as opposed to teams (not counting the last couple of years) they should beat silly.
With everything going on, now is the time for change with a built-in excuse.