The SEC-Big Ten battle for college football supremacy is just beginning


The British fleet had the Spanish Armada. The United States had the Soviet Union. The Beatles had the Rolling Stones. Now the SEC has the Big Ten.

For others on the planet of college sports activities, listening to that hurts. The fact all the time does.

Just as there have been different navies, different nations and different rock bands, in the end everybody else within the room, regardless of who they’re or what they’ve finished or what they nonetheless would possibly do, all of them find yourself standing towards the partitions and watching who actually issues do what actually issues.

Because there are solely two gamers in a chess match. And apologies for the cliché, however there are solely two true chess masters in right now’s collegiate athletics, two superpowers with the fanciest enjoying items, particularly Oklahoma and Texas and now UCLA and USC. The relaxation are enjoying checkers. They might need some good items right here and there, however they do not have a complete set.

Only the Big Ten and SEC do.

Besides, we won’t use the instance of Stratego or Risk. Those video games use maps. If we have realized nothing else over the previous 24 hours, it is that maps now not matter. The final place the place it kinda sorta did was within the Pac-12. Even whereas making loads of missteps through the years (see: a struggling TV community, a really dangerous non-Rose Bowl lineup, repeatedly whiffing on College Football Playoff berths, a convention title recreation nobody attended and a since-departed commissioner nobody appeared to love outdoors of San Francisco landlords), the one facet of being a Power 5 convention that the Pac-12 bought proper was geography.

It way back locked down almost each huge model title and TV market west of the Rockies. When the SEC was attempting to persuade us that Auburn was within the west and Missouri was within the east and the Big Ten was stretching itself like Mr. Fantastic to rope within the decidedly non-Midwestern Maryland Terrapins and Rutgers, and the Big 12 established an outpost in West Virginia — heck, even method again when the Big East was extending to Miami and the WAC’s battle to outlive pulled it from Hawaii to Louisiana — the Pac-12 was all the time the tidiest a part of the atlas. So a lot in order that when Texas and Oklahoma began sniffing round, the old fashioned membership scoffed as a result of the logistics of their membership felt laughable.

But that was 11 entire years in the past. As former Cal Tech visiting professor Albert Einstein would remind us, time is a relative idea, and on this period of college sports activities, 11 years would possibly as effectively be a century.

So it is that the video games we used to have to attend for New Year’s Day to see — USC vs. Michigan, UCLA vs. Wisconsin — and the hoops clashes we used to see solely in March — UCLA vs. Indiana — will occur each fall and winter. Hey, who cares if the vaunted UCLA volleyball crew and USC tennis crew must journey a bazillion miles with out constitution planes? The faculties say they’ve taken this into consideration and should present concrete solutions sooner or later.

Long bus rides and cartography considerations apart, these offers needed to be finished. Had to be. Had SEC commissioner Greg Sankey didn’t return the cellphone calls of the Longhorns and Sooners one yr in the past, he would have misplaced his job. Conversely, had the directors at Texas and Oklahoma not accepted Sankey’s invitation, they too would have rightfully been proven the door. In their protection, they waited patiently for the Big 12 bosses to make the strikes that might guarantee their league might sustain with the likes of the SEC and Big Ten. It didn’t. So, they left for a lot greener southeastern pastures.

Feel free to repeat and paste USC, UCLA, Pac-12 and Big Ten into these sentences you just learn. It works. Same scenario. If they do not ask they usually do not be part of or the Big Ten would not agree and everybody finds out later that it might have gone down that method, all of them get fired. Likewise, the flagship faculties of the Pac-12, each sitting squarely within the heart of America’s second-largest media market, waited for the convention to make the strikes its leaders have all the time promised — particularly, an enormous media rights deal and a greater seat on the expanded CFP desk — and it by no means occurred. They had been dropping floor, and it wasn’t getting any higher. So, sure, they reduce and ran.

And sure, I mentioned flagships. USC and UCLA weren’t constitution members of the Pac-12. When the Pacific Coast Conference was shaped in 1912, the primary within the fold had been Cal, Washington, Oregon and Oregon State. Washington State and Stanford joined a couple of years later. USC did not come on board till 1922 and UCLA in ’28. But within the century since, they’ve been the flagships of the league that turned the Pac-8, -10 and -12. One or the opposite has real best-of eras in a number of sports activities. All due respect to their colleagues on the West Coast, however when these of us who had been raised east of Denver have ever thought concerning the Pac-12 or the Rose Bowl, it has all the time been the Trojans and Bruins who’ve instantly come to our thoughts’s eye. No completely different from how when those that had been born within the Pacific time zone have been requested to play phrase affiliation with phrases like “Southeast” they’ve instantly considered Alabama vs. Auburn, or “Southwest” led to Texas vs. Oklahoma, or “Big Ten” conjured up Michigan and Ohio State in The Game.

The Trojans and the Bruins are the most important manufacturers within the Pac-12. Check that, they had been. Now they’re taking these manufacturers and going east, to Madison and Champaign and West Lafayette, marching Ray Bans-first into an acute case of frostbite.

It is unnecessary. It hurts quite a lot of emotions. We won’t ever get used to seeing their in-conference scores scrolling throughout the ESPN Bottom Line. But it is occurring. It wasn’t the primary huge transfer we did not see coming, and it will not be the final. But it would all the time be the weirdest.

Now we wait to see what occurs subsequent. Not within the ACC, Big 12 or Pac-12, as a result of prefer it or not, they’re the sparring companions relegated to standing across the wall of the health club watching as Rocky and Apollo put of their mouthpieces and climb between the ropes. Once once more, they can not do squat till the actual heavyweight contenders are finished doing no matter comes subsequent.

Ding ding.


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