The continued conference upheaval in college sports, in particular basketball and football, still boggles the mind and the NCAA has yet to provide a reasonable answer. With the growth of certain conferences to nearly King Kong proportions and the possibility of classic rivalries on the line, action will definitely need to be taken.
In football it is a game of have and have nots. The BCS and it’s conference partners have had a head lock on the biggest games. Major conferences are adding more and more teams. The schedule makers jobs are becoming more and more difficult as 14 team conferences are making 13 game seasons hard to figure out, especially concerning fairness. Should a SEC team playing 10 conference games be weighted equal to a team in the Big1G? Should in state rivalries and tradition be pushed aside due to the expansion?
In basketball the regular season is still full of excitement but how much does it mean? A 4 or 5 loss team and a 10 loss team are separated by very little when it comes down to deciding the national champion. Now with the number of teams at 68 how much does the regular season matter? The NCAA tourney really started in 1975 with 32 teams and with it’s evolution to 64 seemed to be a perfect system. Yet as some clamor for more teams, actual sports enthusiasts want more value. Quality over quantity is a requisite for true growth and adding more teams waters down the product.
How can this be solved…Why not add an entire new top division? The teams in top conferences are already separated by tv contracts, facilities, and a myriad of other things…why not actually separate them? The national champion since 1991 in basketball has come from ACC (8), SEC (6), Big East (4), Pac12 (2), Big12 (1), Big10 (1). Those 22 titles are shared by just 12 teams!
In football over that same period not much is different: SEC (11 championships), Big12 (5), Pac12 (3), Big10 (2), Big East (2), ACC (2)…there were 3 seasons of shared titles. Of those 25 titles claimed, only 14 teams are on the list. What does this mean? It means that these conferences are not only separated financially but they are already separated in competition. I think the way only to bring a halt to the conference chaos is to create a new top division. This would also end the dilemma that we have regarding teams outside the major conferences. They would have a chance at the championship…in their division!
There has to be a change and something that increases quality and acknowledges the disparity in the perceived parity. 6 Conferences have won every championship in football and baskeball since 1991…actually you could go all the way back to 1950 and find that in football the champion has come from teams in one of the major 6 conferences today, with the exception of BYU in 1984 and the independent Notre Dame! In basketball, all but 7 have been won by a team in today’s major conferences going back to 1950! This separation isn’t a new thing but it is getting time that these conferences are separated.