So I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal about the remnant Big East / Big XII teams that are being viewed as leftovers. What if UofL takes matters into its own hands and executes a little "strategery."
1. The college sports landscape is changing dramatically with the formation of likely four super-conferences (ACC, SEC, Pac-1x and Big "10").
2. The landscape is shifting in the favor of large, research universities with large student enrollments that tend to be "state schools." In other words, this is the traditional profile of a "football school." On an exception basis, smaller schools are allowed in these leagues (eg, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Duke, Stanford, Wake Forest) under the guise that there is a significant academic priority among the conferences.
3. College football has the worst post-season configuration (BCS instead of a playoff) of any athletic league in the entire world. Despite this fact, college football is the driving factor of the conference realignment at the expense of other sports.
4. I have not heard a single, compelling piece of rationale for why colleges are leaving their existing conferences. The only logic I have heard is that these schools "don't want to be left out."
5. Success in college sports have historically had a positive impact on the "brand" and reputation of the universities which rolls over on the academic side as well. For example, the University of Wisconsin saw a material increase in undergraduate applications after their Rose Bowl trip in the Ron Dayne era.
6. The new super-conferences have no problem excluding the other schools in the FBS, but really NEED these schools to fill out their non-conference schedules (eg, Toledo playing at Ohio State in game #2 of the season).
7. Despite having the most profitable athletic department of any NCAA school and having the new "gold standard" of basketball arenas, Louisville is not a significant player in the conference realignment talks.
What if Louisville did the following:
1. Lead a coalition of the non-super conference schools to form their own football division (yes, division not league). This division would include Big East, Big XII, MWC, WAC, MAC, independents, others.
2. This coalition would agree that it would NOT schedule any games versus the super-conferences. In other words, the teams in the super conferences would not be able to fill out their schedules with non-superconference teams. They would either have to schedule games against the former I-AA teams or negotiate home-and-home series with other super-conference schools (which is difficult).
3. Here is the critical move: the new division of football (which includes Louisville) organizes a playoff format to its championship series.
Here's how it would benefit Louisville:
1. The would avoid being a "victim" in the process and would control their own destiny.
2. The introduction of a playoff would revolutionize college sports.
3. Each team in the new division of football would have a real chance at being a national champion.
I'm sure I've left out a few things, but just wanted to put down some quick notes.