Ten things college football needs to sack - NBC Sports

Ten things college football needs to sack
Coaches voting in polls, erroneous conference names are just a few items that must go
AP
So much for the Missouri-Kansas rivalry, which started in 1891. The changing landscape of college football is sadlyÿleading to the end of many tradition-rich, late season games, writes Joe Connor.
August 28, 2012, 2:08 pm

Ah, another college football season is upon us. So much to look forward to after an offseason filled with so much shock and drama. But there's still some George Carlin in me - "things I can do without" - in college football. And it has nothing to do with sketchy recruiting, fans behaving badly, an unfaithful pinhead coach that apparently can't ride a motorcycle properly or one Un-happy Valley. Here's my list:

No. 10: Idiot school presidents that allow rich traditions to die
Welcome to the 2012 college football season, and no more tradition-rich, late season games like Texas-Texas A&M (1894-2011); Kansas-Missouri (1891-2011); and West Virginia-Pittsburgh (1895-2011) thanks to the greedy, pencil-neck Dean Faber's and their power-hungry quest to join a new conference and pad their pocketbooks. Instead, enjoy that turkey with Texas-TCU! But, hey now, we've got new traditions to look forward to. It's the "Battle of the Columbia" - no, not the river. It's Missouri-South Carolina! Only 870 short road trip miles, Tiger fans! And West Virginia-Kansas, "Fight Fire with Fire" against Mountaineers (but don't burn them couches! That's a felony now)!

No. 9: Coaches voting in any stupid poll
You know it's a sad state of affairs when USC coach Lane Kiffin - you know, the one who abruptly gave the Vol Navy and The Hill the one-finger salute on his way out of Knoxville - has to remind us of just how stupid it is for coaches to be voting in any stupid poll. Especially one that plays a role in determining (breath in now people) the Bowl "Championship Series" title game (breath out, remember, only two more years until the playoffs). After all, as Kiffin rightly noted when he relinquished his vote, coaches have neither the time nor the genuine objectivity to be casting an opinion on teams others than there own.

No. 9: Coaches voting in any stupid poll
You know it's a sad state of affairs when USC coach Lane Kiffin - you know, the one who abruptly gave the Vol Navy and The Hill the one-finger salute on his way out of Knoxville - has to remind us of just how stupid it is for coaches to be voting in any stupid poll. Especially one that plays a role in determining (breath in now people) the Bowl "Championship Series" title game (breath out, remember, only two more years until the playoffs). After all, as Kiffin rightly noted when he relinquished his vote, coaches have neither the time nor the genuine objectivity to be casting an opinion on teams others than there own.

No. 8: Conference names that make absolutely no sense
Now back to Dean Faber. First, kudos to Pac-12 school presidents for agreeing to change the conference name from the Pac-10, following the admission of Colorado and Utah. Now, memo to the Big 10: time for a name change. No, I'm not talking about your "Leaders" and "Legends" divisions. First things first. You are educational institutions, are you not? Well, way to lead the next generation into an era of inaccuracy and confusion. You're not the Big 10 - you've got 12 teams. I mean, seriously. You're the Big 12. Wait, oops. That name's already taken - by the Big 12. But the Big 12 now has 10 teams (thanks a lot for causing us this mess, Nebraska and Colorado!). So now the Big 12 has a name problem, too.

Hey, here's an idea Big 10 (I mean, 12), why not call yourselves the "Biggest 12 Conference" since this name would match the arrogance of your "Leaders" and "Legends" division quite perfectly? And the Big 12 (I mean the Big 10)? Let's call you "The Stealthiest 10," for you created the public appearance of avoiding panic in times of crisis when it seemed your conference might well be obliterated.

The Big East? Well, in 2013, you welcome four teams west of the Mississippi River - you know, San Diego State, Boise State, Houston and Southern Methodist - so let's just call you "The Big Yawn." Bluto agrees.

No. 7: Listening to how the Big (L)East/yawn thinks it ever will be relevant in football
Already, there's been Ad nauseam from the (few, the proud, the remaining) Big Yawn conference members (that simply haven't fled yet themselves to the Big something) about how it belongs in the top echelon of college football along with the likes of the SEC. Please!

After all, this is a conference made famous by defections (see: Boston College, Virginia Tech, Miami and, starting next season, Pitt and Syracuse) and even coaches that scold their own fan base for caring more about enjoying another frosty in the parking lot than being inside for the kickoff (see: former Connecticut coach Randy Edsell, plus I can also personally attest to witnessing this behavior among BrewConn fans).

And if that wasn't bad enough, the Big Yawn has invited programs into the conference for next season that have a much more aloof fan base than UConn, which averaged less than 37,000 fans per game to a stadium that's a 30-minute drive from campus. Yes, SMU is in the large Dallas-Fort Worth market, but the Mustangs barely averaged 20,000 fans per game last season; ditto for Memphis, which will also join the conference next year.

The fact the Big Yawn didn't invite East Carolina speaks volume to its genuine ineptness and futility. The Pirates outdrew every team in the Big Yawn last season, selling out each contest and averaging 50,012 fans per home game. Not only that, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is on campus and part of a vibrant college town, and get this - it's in the East! What a concept!

No. 6: Off-campus venues and neutral-site games
Baseball is meant to be played outdoors in a park - and college football is meant to be played outdoors on a college campus. Period. Syracuse will take its hideous Carrier Dome and Pitt will keep playing its games in an NFL stadium when the two schools debut in the ACC next season. But The Big Yawn looks forward to welcoming fans and visitors to the San Diego State University Chargers and the Memphis Liberty Bowl University Tigers to their respective decrepit 1950/1960s half-empty stadiums a year from now, joining the Temple Philadelphia Eagles/Owls University and the South Florida Buccaneers/Bulls University of the existing Big Yawn.

I'm all for Oklahoma and Texas at the storied Cotton Bowl but Alabama and Michigan at Cowboys Stadium? North Carolina State at Tennessee at the Georgia Dome? Miami at Notre Dame at Soldier Field? Cincinnati at Virginia Tech at the FedEx Field? Listen, if I want to see a Cowboys, Falcons, Bears or Redskins home game, I'll buy an NFL ticket and go see a game there. And it's one thing if we're talking about moving a college basketball game to a neutral venue - there are plenty of more hoops games on the schedule. But you've only got a handful of home games on the football docket - and a beautiful campus and awesome, on-campus tailgating tradition to boot. Most importantly: why waste valuable home-field advantage, Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech? Why it's just stupid.

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No. 5: Stadiums going the corporate naming-rights route
When MLB went on a new ballpark feeding frenzy in the 1990s, it also marked the beginning of the end of grand old edifices named after respected individuals and team names to, instead - you know - the corporate hacks near you. Sadly, college football is following this disturbing trend, with three of the last four new stadiums to open named after corporate hacks (Minnesota, Akron and North Texas). Meanwhile, Rutgers and Washington changed their on-campus stadium to a corporate name following renovations, joining a corporately-named stadium group that includes Texas Tech, Wake Forest, Louisville, Central Florida, Connecticut and Western Kentucky, among others. With the likes of Baylor, Houston, Alabama-Birmingham, UMass, Colorado State and Texas A&M either building, renovating or considering new stadiums, here's hoping one might choose a more poignant name like "Alumni" or "Memorial" because there's only 16 of those names left on stadiums in major college football.

No. 4: More schools joining Division I (FBS) and many existing ones 'passing' as 'major college football'
Thanks to all the realignment absurdity, Idaho must go independent next year. How sad. "Who?" you ask, "you mean Boise State? I thought next season they were going to the Big ." No, Idaho, silly. The pride of Moscow. Idaho, that is. The poor Vandals (that's their nickname, I knew you knew that) are members of the Western Athletic Conference until it implodes after this season because, well, everyone except Idaho and New Mexico State got invited to other, more legitimate conferences offering more opportunities to make money, basically.

No. 3: ESPN annually airing miserable mid-week MAC games in November
You want to talk attendance? Let's talk Eastern Michigan! They're the Eagles too, only from Ypsilanti, and last year these Mid-American Conference members drew 25,599 fans to 30,000-seat Rynearson Stadium. That's not bad, right? One problem. That was their total reported attendance - for the season. Translation: the Eagles drew a measly 4,267 on average per game. Since most teams in the MAC have outdated facilities and abhorrent attendance figures, it causes me to question why on earth ESPN continues to air miserable, meaningless mid-week MAC games in November. I mean, I know content is king, but c'mon!

No. 2: Rewarding mediocrity with a bowl invitation
There were 35 bowl games last season, of which at least 28 teams were allowed to participate despite compiling a record of 6-6 or 7-5. Yes, I'm advocating taking away 14 bowls because rewarding mediocrity does not align with what makes America great. Now, I know I sound a little like a politician here, but dosh garn it, we don't strive for mediocrity people - and we certainly don't reward it! Plus, I don't recall my late father patting me on the back for bringing home a report card full of Cs. On the contrary, I recall getting sent to the penalty box - and for more than two minutes.

No. 1: The BCS and its awful bowl selection process
But just two more years, baby, and the playoffs are here!

Joe Connor is a contributor to NBCSports.com and author of the online stadium guide, "A Fan's Guide To The Ultimate NCAA Football Travel Experience," which is available for purchase exclusively at his Web site: www.mrsportstravel.com.

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