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OPINION | WALLY HALL: Change is here, and expect more on the way

by Wally Hall | August 26, 2021 at 2:37 a.m.

In an obvious response to Texas and Oklahoma joining the SEC, the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 announced an alliance.

The new alliance said it would not be poaching teams from each other.

Once and for all, the SEC didn't poach Texas and Oklahoma.

No one could poach the Longhorns or Sooners. Those programs are so big, powerful, wealthy and successful that it would have to be their idea to leave the Big 12 -- which has only 10 teams.

The alliance did not say it would not poach remaining Big 12 teams.

Baylor, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and to a certain degree West Virginia belong in a power conference, not a league that is falling apart on an almost daily basis.

It is sad to the see the Big 12 disintegrate, but it is a fact.

There is a big realignment party going on, and the conference is not invited to the dance. More than likely, though, some of its members will be.

It would be surprising if Baylor isn't already talking to the Big Ten -- which has 14 teams -- or even the Pac-12.

The Bears are not perfect, but they do bring hundreds of thousands -- maybe millions -- of TV viewers.

It also would not be surprising if Oklahoma State and Iowa State are whispering in the ear of the Big Ten.

At least one of those three schools is going to jump, and when it does the Big 12 is history.

The one who makes the first move -- and it is strictly based on future financial stability -- will leave the others with less negotiating power.

It is about survival in a world that is going to have an even number of power conferences, either two or four.

Some are guessing it will be two, but the number that works best is four with 16 teams each.

What should happen is the 64 best overall athletic programs get divided into four regions.

For the sake of simplicity, call them the East, South, North and West conferences.

Central Florida might be added to the South and someone else left behind. There definitely could be changes on that landscape, too.

Each football league would play a 10-game conference schedule and two games against little brothers who are going to really need the money when the four conferences leave the NCAA and start their own organization for football.

The NCAA needs to keep the basketball tournament. It does a great job with it.

Once those four are out of the NCAA, the small share of their money now paid to all NCAA members will be gone.

Each of the four would get three teams in the College Football Playoff.

Since each league would be divided into divisions, the division champions and one at-large team from each would be in the playoffs.

Conference championship games would no longer exist with the Fabulous Four because you are adding more games to the schedule for the playoffs.

Which raises the question, what happens to the bowl games?

Just like now, some of them would be used for the playoffs. Some, like the Big 12, will be gone.

If yours truly were in charge of all of this, the championship game would be played every year in AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It is a great stadium that is centrally located with a huge airport and tons of hotels.

Obviously, that makes too much sense.

Anyway, change was inevitable. While it may have been kick-started when Texas and Oklahoma asked to play in a different backyard, it is a long way from finished.

What the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12 said with their alliance is they are players in the game, and the Big 12 is not.

Print Headline: Change is here, and expect more on the way


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