Saw this telling passage quoting South Carolina’s president today (which was a bit of relief, given the haste with which I typed out the last conference expansion post and the need I had for some kind of validation for my Prisoners’ Dilemma talk):
“I said, ‘Are you kidding?’ ” Pastides recalled. “I didn’t want to be the only one left out.”
Neither do any of his peers, which has led in part to the ongoing changes in college football.
Pastides understands he and other like-minded leaders might not be able to slow the expansion train once it leaves the station — as was the case with A&M — but he would like to limit how far it goes.
And it’s pretty telling. If everyone else is expanding—setting a new bar for financial viability—then being left in the cold with bad TV markets or with ridiculously long and expensive road trips is just not what a conference wants.
We’ve seen some slowdown in expansion/elimination talk with reaffirmations from the Big XII and Big East, but you’ve got to wonder how much of it had to do with UT’s unique situation involving the Longhorn Network, which makes moving unattractive to both UT and any conference that might have to adjust its rules. (And who could blame UT for looking out for its own revenue?)
Has it all stopped? I wouldn’t bet on it, because we all breathed a sigh of relief last year, too, when only Colorado and Nebraska planned moves out of big conferences. My gut tells me this isn’t yet over. But see this post for some thoughts on why, at the end of the day, it might not matter all that much for the sport…