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Miscellany

In with Conference Realignment, Out with Cupcaketember

While college presidents are busy pissing their pleats over the notion of Texas A&M bolting to the SEC, perhaps thus imploding the very NCAA, let us not forget that there’s a strong chance we’ll look back in 10 years and say, ‘Blessed be radical realignment!’ I’m sure whatever moneybags programs stride the earth in 16-team leagues will still schedule the gnats of college football every Cupcaketember. But we can finally drop the charade that they’re playing in anything like the same league, and just maybe we can finally reward programs that take the hard road.

As it is, Directional U’s are barely playing the same sport as the current BCS schools. Wait, you say: Boise State over Georgia! Florida International over Louisville! I’ll spot you those, so long as you are willing to sit on a hard bar stool and wait for any of the following 2011 games to appear on ESPN Classic:

West Virginia 55, Norfolk State 12

Mississippi State 59, Memphis 14

Michigan State 28, Youngstown State 6

Alabama 48, Kent State 7

Stanford 57, San Jose State 3

Nebraska 40, Chattanooga 7

Ohio State 42, Akron 0

Florida State 96, Louisiana-Monroe + Charleston Southern 10

Arkansas 103, Missouri State + New Mexico 10

Rutgers 48, N. Carolina Cent. 0

I didn’t spell out that last school because I’d never heard of it and don’t really care what its full name is. I doubt your average Rutgers fan felt any differently before, during or after that game.

Perhaps the exemplar of this parade of mediocrity is Florida Atlantic University, an aspiring somebody of a university that convinced itself a decade ago that football would be a quick path to fame. It worked; the Owls are now known nationwide as a dependable dessert tray. FAU’s record against power-conference teams since it began playing them in 2005 is an awesome 1-20, with the lone win against a 2007 Minnesota team that won just one game all year, at home, against Miami (Ohio), in triple-OT. The average score in those 21 games was FAU 10, Opponent 43. In other words, FAU’s forays into big-boy territory have been the equivalent of two solid seasons of ditch-at-halftime farces. It registered one first down against Michigan State on Saturday in a 44-0 Spartans romp right out of 300.

Who do these games serve, other than vain athletics departments happy to write a check for an automatic win, and dinky schools that take the lucrative ass-whipping to keep their programs viable? Barring some miracle upset (or meltdown, you sleepwalking Wolverines of 2007) fans on both sides have, in effect, nothing to cheer for. After the inevitable drubbing, the favorite sighs with relief, the underdog shrugs, and everyone turns to watch the likes of LSU-Oregon or Michigan-Notre Dame. This sort of lopsided spectacle may technically be sports, but it’s far from sporting. It’s humiliation for hire. It’s boring, it’s vulgar and it ought to be laughed out of the game.

Bring on the superconferences — four or five should do nicely. Shoot the BCS in the face at close range and bury it at sea. Install a playoff. Then watch as the cupcake diet drops, and the early season matchups become more about finding out what your team is made of than avoiding losses for a month. One day, years from now, when your three-loss team that played a full schedule gets hot late and makes a run for a no-longer-mythical national championship, you may have an Aggie to thank.

Previously: Iowa Shelled Out a School-Record $1.05 Million So it Could Beat Louisiana-Monroe This September
Previously: Why Would Ole Miss Pay Boise State $900k for a Game, but Nebraska Won’t Cough Up $1 Million?

 

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