Sunday, June 13, 2010

The End of the World as We Know It?

The University of Nebraska is the twelfth member of the Big Ten Conference. Effective July 1.

The University of Colorado has decided to go to the PAC-10. And Boise State is no longer part of the WAC.

The Big 12 is in danger of disappearing.

(And I have learned that I could get addicted to hockey. Congrats Blackhawks!)

Is this the beginning of the end of the college sports world as we know it? Quite possibly, though only time will tell.

As with most change, there are positives and negatives to these developments. At first glance, most of the positives revolve around cash flow. Although football is the focus, research can benefit, as well.

But this being a sport blog, I'll focus on the implications for the teams and conferences. For the Cornhuskers, they will have a chance to travel beyond the windswept plains. The Buffs will spend quality time on the beautiful coast of the Pacific. But the Broncos are opting out of regular trips to Hawaii... As for the Big Ten, it will be entertaining to contribute to Nebraska's third largest city on fall Saturdays. (I've always wanted to visit Memorial Stadium, Neb...) And the PAC-10 will make it to the other side of the Rockies.

As a fan, there's a lot to be apprehensive about...from the name of the conference to the implications for rivalries. Part of the challenge of conference play is that the teams know each other very well. The unexpected can happen. But in large conferences, like the Big East, you can barely remember all the teams in the conference, and you certainly don't play them regularly.

But the bigger story is what this step toward mega-conferences would mean for college sports. The current changes feel like a desperate bid for relevancy. On the part of both the growing conferences and the moving schools...

There's much more to be said, but let's stay tuned for further conference developments...

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