Every year, I am disappointed when the college football season is over, but it has it’s problems. Some say one of them is that the games are too long. I get that line of thinking, since I am always amazed when I cover my first basketball game on the year and it’s over in under 2 hours, as long as there isn’t a foul fest at the end. However, I don’t agree, because there are only so many football games, and I want to savor each moment.
Another common complaint is cheating, and boosters, and arrests. I got no answer for all of that. However I did have a bit of a brain storm as we at Hustle Belt Nation were covering the NFL draft.
One thing most fans agree on is that there are too many bowl games, with varying levels of interest from the fans and the players. Here in group of 5 land, we don’t feel like we get a fair chance when we do have a great team. Both of these problems vex me a great deal, and literally cause me sleepless nights. Or it’s the caffeine, whatever, it has allowed me to come up with the perfect solution.
Sometimes, the solution was there all along. I was reading some stuff from our founding fathers today, and I was amazed at how smart they were. Politically if we listen to them, everything will be alright. So this made me put that line of thinking toward college football. To find the future of college football, I looked to the past. Or more specifically, what they are doing on the other side of the pond.
I am not the worlds biggest soccer fan, but I do love the world cup. As I follow that, I get bits of information on the rest of the soccer universe. One thing that amazes me is that they have a farm system over there similar to major league baseball. Except it’s not the same. If you are a shitty “major league” team, you lose your spot to the best “minor league” squad. I am not going to get into the intricacies, because quite frankly, I don’t know them.
So how does this apply to college football, you are probably wondering?
Let’s go back to the draft for a moment. Along with covering the MAC, I also contribute to Off Tackle Empire, the SB Nation’s Big Ten site. We don’t really do much with the draft over there, as we are doing a thing where do a big weekly focus on each team. So there are two things going on with that. One, I am paying attention to how both conferences are doing in the draft, and two, we are covering Rutgers this week. This piece is NSFW, but hits the nail on the head on how the rest of the B1G feels about Rutgers.
Bottom line, the Big Ten fan base isn’t happy with how they do on the field. They also aren’t sold on Maryland, and say things like “Purdon’t”.
As for the draft, I did a quick count and if you take out the 4 more dominate teams in the last few years, (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin) the remaining Big Ten teams had 11 players drafted this season. The MAC had the same.
Boom, the light bulb.
The bottom of the Big Ten is roughly the equal of the MAC. Head to head, if you take the bottom 8-10 teams of the Big Ten and match them up with the MAC, it would probably be pretty close. Certainly if you take the worst of the Big Ten, and match them up with the best of the MAC, the MAC wins.
So this is what I propose.
Each year, you take the bottom 2-4 teams in the Big Ten, and match them up head to head against the top of the MAC in the bowl season. Whichever teams wins get to be in the Big Ten. The losers are in the MAC.
Let’s say Iowa has a bad year, and loses to Toledo in this bowl game. Iowa plays a MAC schedule, and Toledo plays in the Big Ten. If Toledo belongs, they wont be in the bottom 4. If Iowa is better than the MAC, they’ll play in a bowl game against a bad Big Ten team and get their spot back.
I can assure you fans from both sides will attend, and so will the TV audience. It’s much more drama than watching 6-6 Indiana take on 8-4 Utah.
Another great feature of this idea is that it’s repeatable. You could have the Sun Belt and the SEC team up. The WAC and the PAC 12 seem like a perfect fit. The rest we can work out.
I know it’s a crazy idea, and the Big Ten wont give up their guaranteed money from the home only non conference games, and certainly the bad teams in the Big Ten wont want to risk getting the boot, even for a year.
And that’s a shame. Because I guarantee profits would be up all around in the long term, and if they could work out an equitable profit sharing, everyone in the Mid-West would be tuned into this super 2 division conference.