Time to gather college officials and end moves

mlough@macon.comSeptember 22, 2011 

Welcome, coaches and administrators, and thank you for coming to this “Stopping the insanity” convention. I don’t want to use the words “kidnapped” or “blackmailed” here, but we weren’t going to have tables covered with good exam papers, a new video toy or tax write-off just to get college football coaches and athletics directors and administrators in one room.

You do get a T-shirt -- and hey, people almost fight or get trampled for a 75-cent T-shirt -- and a coupon for an appetizer at the restaurant of your choice.

We’re here to save college sports now, not in 10 years or so, when -- if we don’t do this now -- you greedy, arrogant wishy-washy wafflers will end up back in regionally logical conferences.

Then again, I’m not sure how smart anybody in charge of anything actually is.

Nevertheless, we must fix this now. We don’t need supermegapalooza conferences. They’re not healthy. We don’t need the major programs leaving the NCAA to run themselves. See: America’s government, avoid being like. See: Asylum, patients running.

We don’t need absolute and blind greed taking over -- see: Wall Street, forever -- and giving the shaft to all the sports not named football, which is already in effect.

I had a new conference plan about 20 years ago, but I can’t find it. I started anew in mid-summer and have tweaked that again. Yes, I think Temple is ready for its BCS conference return after absolutely reeking in the Big East and being kicked out of that conference.

We’re going with regions right now, since conference names aren’t important yet. There will be no ridiculousness like “Legends” and “Leaders,” rest assured.

I’d rather have more 10- and 12-team regions, but there are some programs on the bubble. And why we must have 12 teams for a conference championship, I don’t know. Baseball has four- and five-team divisions. Really, 10- and 12-team conferences make the most sense and allow for the retention of rivalries.

But all of you greedy folks -- hey, ESPN, sit down back there and shut up or make yourselves useful and find replacements for Berman and Holtz -- have lost all sense of tradition, and many of us hope you choke on the money you think you’re going to make but won’t because of the absence of logic and tradition.

So here we go.

Northeast: Boston College, Connecticut, East Carolina, Kentucky Penn State, Pitt, Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia.

ECU is a better fit in the Southeast, but that’s a crowded region. The Pirates have history with West Virginia, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech and aren’t terribly far from about half of this region.

Southeast: Auburn, Alabama, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee.

We mix the SEC and ACC, with one Big East team. Enough said.

Mid-south: Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Louisville, LSU, Memphis, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Southern Miss, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech.

Our choices come from SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA, and it’s regional.

Midwest: Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue, Vandy, Wisconsin.

Vandy fits in well and travel isn’t bad, brings the “Big Ten” a little bit south and retains a regional taste. Memphis was almost in here.

Plains: Air Force, Boise State, BYU, Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, New Mexico, Nebraska, TCU, Utah.

This is the “pay attention to us” region, with Utah, TCU and Boise State as well as established programs. It would be pretty underrated within about two years.

West: Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Hawaii, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UTEP, UCLA, Southern Cal, Washington, Washington State.

This is mostly the Pac-10 and picks up Hawaii and UTEP.

Our plan leaves out some folks who want in and some who perhaps should be in, like Central Florida, Troy, SMU, UAB, Tulane, Rice, Nevada, Navy, Fresno State. Sorry, but you know about the cookie crumbling and all.

One common denominator: All conferences have wannabes and strugglers, middling programs and the contenders. It has always been that way, always will be. Now, there are just some new names.

Yes, presidents can shut their hypocritical yaps about, “Oh, they don’t mix with us academically.” As if that really mattered. This isn’t a debate, it’s college sports. Teams and conferences on the NCAA’s speed-dial can hush up, too.

I hope none of you have any kids who play something other than the almighty football, because if they’re good enough to play in college at your school, you won’t see them much for their college career, and that’s your fault.

That’s what happens when people lose their minds. This plan tries to help you dingbats find them.

Meeting adjourned.

Contact Michael A. Lough at 744-4626 or mlough@macon.com

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