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Conference Chaos

In the grand scheme of life, the insane level of fandom for college sports is a little odd. When you break it down, it is just older adults obsessing over 20 year old kids playing games. Sounds weird when it’s said like that, huh? But I’m not here to judge. I’m one of those old people cheering on younger kids so I’ll just leave that alone.


Now that I’ve called my fellow college sports fans weirdos, let’s talk about the real purpose of this blog.


The college sports scene is just like any other. It is broken down into divisions and conferences. The divisions are relatively easy to understand. Big schools like Michigan, Alabama, USC and Texas are in Division 1. Tiny schools like my alma mater Westfield State University in Massachusetts are in Division 3. Division 2 contains those schools in the middle. Pretty simple really. There are more divisions like what used to be called Division 1A, but let’s move along.

While divisions have to do with the size of the school, Conferences are even easier to understand. Historically, they were teams in a particular division that are located in a similar area. These conferences even had names that told you where they were. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) had teams like Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. The Mid-American Conference Conference (MAC) had teams like Toledo, Central Michigan and Northern Illinois. The Pacific Coast Conference (PAC12) had teams like UCLA, Washington, Arizona State and Stanford. All these made sense. There even used to be a conference called the Big East, which, you guessed it, had teams from the Eastern side of the United States.


Now, some of the conferences weren’t named geographically. As a matter of fact, there were two conferences with BIG as their name. The Big 10 and Big 12, which at one point, the Big 10 had 12 teams and the Big 12 had 13, but that’s neither here nor there. These conferences were still somewhat geographically focused. The Big 10 was mainly in the midwest like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois. The Big 12 was centered in the Southwestern area with teams like Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State.


Needless to say, it made a little bit of sense.


Then the 21st century happened and things got a little wonky. Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M are joining the SEC. That’s a little strange. I mean, those three are half of the title. They are south, but they’re not really eastern. But you can make the argument. I won’t like it, but you can make it. Then it was announced that USC and UCLA are going to the Big 10. Again, it doesn’t make sense geographically for teams from California to mainly play teams in the Midwest, but I have to say, there’s no geographical word in the name, so it’s not particularly egregious.


Then we get to this morning.


After my morning stroll with Mrs. Blind Owl, I pulled up my phone to see that Stanford, Cal and SMU have been invited to join the ACC. If you’re not up to date, the ACC stands for the Atlantic Coast Conference. Now, I’m no topographer, but I don’t think the state of California, which is where both Stanford and Cal are, is not on the Atlantic Coast. In my opinion, that’s a problem.


Before you yell at me, I understand why these teams joined the ACC. They are looking for better competition with UCLA and USC leaving. The ACC has some of the top teams in the country and Stanford and Cal want to be mentioned in the conversation of being among top teams. Monetarily and competitively, I totally get it. It makes all the sense in the world.


My big issue is the idiocy of having a team in California or Texas playing Ckemson or Boston College in the same conference. It’s dumb. If you were a fan of Stanford for example, your team would be at a distinct disadvantage if you have to fly six hours to play a game at noon on Saturday, or 6am back on the Pacific coast. The fans will hate it, the players will hate it, and everyone else will hate it.


This madness isn’t over either. There will be more movement and it will get even dumber.


In typical BO Blog fashion, I come to you with a solution. What the NCAA needs to do is make a set number of conferences that are based on geography. I think 12 conferences is a good number. With the NCAA going to a 12 team playoff in football, the 12 winners of the conferences will get in. In other sports, it would be just as easy. Life is a lot better when it’s easy. Some teams will hate it, because they have a good conference and think they’re better than someone that wins a division. But that’s the way it goes in literally every other sport. I wouldn’t be offended if they wanted to add wildcards and such. That could work and placate the whiners out there.


I have a demand to end my gripe that when I really think about it, is just semantical. I demand the ACC change its name the second these teams enter. If they don’t, I will consider the possibility of boycotting the A******* Coast Conference. Who’s with me!!!



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