It’s all the rage these days. Everybody’s doing it. Peer pressure at its finest. And like almost all peer pressure mistakes, someone is going to get hurt and get hurt badly… in this case it could be tough times in Lawrence and Louisville among others.
Quick rehash for those of you investigating in Birmingham and not paying attention to rest of the NCAA Sports landscape: If Texas and Co. (UT, TX AM, Baylor, Oklahoma, OSU and TX
Tech) march off to the Pacific and
Nebraska and Mizzou migrate to the Big 10 (yes, even with 16 teams they will
probably still call themselves the Big 10) that will leave Kansas without a place to call home.
On the other coast the Big East would be ripe for picking as Big 10 and ACC work to get to the magic 16. The ACC would need teams just to get to 12, after the SEC comes a calling, welcoming the other Florida
schools into the fold. That would leave 4 power conferences of 16 teams each calling
the shots, controlling the bids and TV contracts. Then, of course, there would
be everyone else.
For Kansas and Louisville it could be the next closest thing to the death penalty for their programs. They are left with either joining another mid-major conference (nothing could be more embarrassing
for Tom Jurich than to slink back to Conference USA) or try to form some patchwork
conference with the castaways and leftovers. But even if you pull that off, the
Big 4 ain’t sharing any of that pie. (Mid-majors think they aren’t treated
fairly now… just wait) BCS bowl bids? Nope? Big conference rivalries? Gone…
Hope you like weekday football games because that’s the only way you’re ever
on ESPN now.
But, more importantly for these two schools basketball relevance drops in a big way. No more Big Mondays on ESPN… no more riding the coattails of Big Conference foes to 8 or 9 bids into the NCAA. Remember Memphis, the school that disappears off of
national TV in January when conference play starts only to re-appear in March
with 111 wins, look and see your future.
Then of course the next domino falls, recruiting. If recruiting has fallen on hard times now (here’s looking at you Louisville), it will only get worse. As great as the Mountain West/Missouri Valley
Challenge is, recruits aren’t knocking down doors to be a part of it. Kids will
have to search the television to find VS, CBS College Sports, or worse yet the
Mountain West Network to find your games. Slowly the drum beats into obscurity.Parting Thoughts:
Don’t get me wrong Cat fans, I shed no tear for Jurich and Pitino. But if a true Top 5 basketball program of all time, Kansas can be left behind it can happen to anyone.
This also should remind us that no matter how much we love our college basketball, outside of 3 weeks in March virtually no one cares. Football makes the money, pays the bills, and makes the college sports world go
‘round. And if the SEC does expand we can probably kiss our chance ever doing
anything in conference football goodbye.