Okay, nobody panic, but there’s realignment happening again. Realignment talk is spiking, surging all over the country. Experts agree that there is somewhere within the range of a 98%-100% chance of every person in the United States being subject to a conference realignment in the near future and it’s not slowing down. NCAA conference realignment is EXPLODING and let’s face it, we are all going to get realigned, and you need to panic. But don’t panic. JoeBush.net’s resident conference realignment expert is here to tell you what measures you and your university can take during this period to stay off of shaky ground.
Let’s start where all great stories naturally start: Norman, Oklahoma.
The University of Oklahoma’s football team is truly the perfect exemplar of the current era. A consistently great regular season followed by inevitable ineptitude in the postseason. I cannot fathom what it must be like to be an Oklahoma fan. Twelve to fourteen weeks of complete dominance followed by an inevitable thirty point loss in the playoff semifinals. How much money have hardcore OU fans spent on travel, both down to Dallas for the Big XII Championship game that’s an inevitable walkover in their favor and then to the Playoff game that’s an inevitable walkover to Alabama or Clemson or LSU’s favor? Do they enjoy it anymore? Does it matter anymore? What’s that like? Fascinating, regardless. I don’t have to think about that, my team doesn’t win games. Oklahoma is college football’s Lexus owner, everyone can tell they’re doing well but nobody envies them.
At the moment, it appears that Oklahoma’s headed to the Southeastern Conference as soon as 2025. This will allow them to get stomped by Alabama and LSU in October rather than in January, which will likely save them some money on those egregious holiday season travel costs. This will also help college football as a whole to re-energize the national audience, as one of the four ordained playoff slots (SEC Champion, Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma) will be left vacant, giving new opportunities to teams like Notre Dame and theoretically at some point somebody from the Pac-12. Ultimately, I believe that Oklahoma is the only university making a choice right now that is also making the right choice here. In a way, they’re sacrificing for everyone else – They could have just taken a 12-1 record with a loss in Manhattan or Ames and a Big XII championship into the playoff semi, in which they lose by 30, to the end of time but they’ve chosen to sacrifice that for the good of the rest of college football. It’s Christlike, if you think about it, like they’re really nailing either Boomer or Sooner to the cross here.
Do you feel the winds changing? Does any of this feel sort of… I don’t know, planned? Why’s it all focused around 2025 and 26? I can’t be the only one to see the symmetry… Texas and Oklahoma plan to leave the Big XII for the SEC in 2025… Big XII Media Rights expiring in 2025… and at the same time, on another adjacent field… United Soccer League trying to institute promotion and relegation by 2026… Major League Soccer and Liga MX trying to join forces in a more thorough context than the shitty Leagues Cup tournament by 2026…
That’s right. This is all about the World Cup. The University of Texas has looked down the road at the big old stadium just East of the Pickle Campus, which is really a part of the University of Texas, people probably say “yeah I have class on the Pickle Campus later”, and they’ve seen a bunch of people in matching green and black striped jerseys going like WE ARE… VERDE… WE ARE… VERDE et cetera and like half of them have trumpets and The University of Texas Athletic Department is Pissing its Collective Chaps Right Now. You’re becoming a soccer city, you’re becoming a soccer city, you’re becoming a soccer city. Georgia Tech’s already given up on trying to take Atlanta back. I think Texas is seeing the writing on the wall and they’re ready to take drastic measures to hold on to whatever piece of Austin they still think they can keep Matthew McConaughey from stealing and shoving in the pockets of his green suit. This also, ultimately is the best move for the University of Texas.
Will a move to the SEC change their fate as a soccer city? Who knows? Maybe all it does is delay the inevitable, and they’re talking about even more drastic realignment measures in a few decades. I remember hearing on TV once from some actor that “time is a flat circle. Everything we’ve ever done or will do, we’re gonna do over and over and over again.” And I believe that actor was University of Texas alumnus Owen Wilson and I believe that show was the movie Cars 2.
Wait are we…. are we involved in this in some way? How’d we end up the third most loveliest girl at the ball here… How did little old winless twice in the past six seasons Kansas end up here? I’m not complaining. Some seem convinced that the Jayhawks are destined for the Big Ten, or at least are trying to get there. I don’t think that this is the best move for several reasons:
First: The cultural fit is actually too good with most of the other schools in the conference. How different is Lawrence from Iowa City, or Ann Arbor, or Bloomington? The quaint little town with a lot of heart and culture within an otherwise conservative midwestern state? At least in the Big XII we stand out from the others.
Second: More of their football teams get closer to as bad as we are than the ones in the Big XII do. Like it or not, Kansas fills a niche within the Big XII. Outside of Baylor in 2017, when was the last time there was a team even close to being as bad as KU within the Big XII? We’ve got a culture here in the Big XII and we can’t compete with the multiple doormats that make up the Big Ten like Illinois, Rutgers, Michigan, et cetera.
Third: I cannot deal with the “East Lansing” and “West Lafayette” bullshit. Just be in the city! Why do you have to have the special cardinal direction there? Fuck off. I will not stand for it.
The only benefit I could think of in joining the Big Ten would be the economic benefits in the community of Lawrence of leasing our stadium to Nebraska for a game every two years, but outside of that, do we want to live with those heathens? God, no.
Anyway my plan is to follow what I call The Connecticut Model. That is, try to join the Big East in everything else and go independent in football. Now, I know what you’re thinking – Joe, isn’t the Big East only for those religious types? It was, but the University of Connecticut (a godless institution if there has ever been one) rejoined the Big East as a member in all sports but football in 2020. And now I know what you’re also thinking – Joe, isn’t the Big East only for schools on the East coast? It was, but now it features teams from such midwestern strongholds as Chicago and Omaha! We’d fit in not all that imperfectly.
UConn is still in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and look at that schedule for this season!
Don’t some of those games look kind of… I dunno… winnable? Plus, they can schedule with local-based rivals like UMass and Yale and Army and aren’t tied down to trying to force a stupid rivalry with UCF! Wouldn’t that be great? Still playing good basketball in a good basketball conference and we can schedule some games against teams on our level in football. Is there a ceiling? Yes! Kansas would likely never compete for a national championship in football again, but if literally nothing changed, if conferences were to stay static from 2020 onward, would there ever be a chance for us to compete for a national championship in football again? In a situation where a decreasingly small pool of teams ever have a shot at competing in the college football playoff? I doubt it.
The Connecticut Model will set us free if we let it.
THE REST OF THE BIG XII
Shit I don’t care anymore I’m bored of writing this –
Texas Tech, TCU, and Oklahoma State to the Mountain West
Nobody tells Iowa State about what’s going on and they end up constantly planning for a next season that never comes
West Virginia to the MAC, which will be a smooth transition as their Men’s Soccer team already plays there
Baylor walls off campus, playing only intramural scrimmages against itself for the next one thousand years before anthropologists sneak in like Alex Jones at the Bohemian Grove and watch a game, one which has developed into a sort of spiritually perfect form of football though one player gets sacrificed at halftime each quarter in order to keep it perfect
Kansas State to the Mountain West