By now, everyone has already heard the reports that the Pac-10 is looking to poach half of the Big 12, including the Oklahoma Sooners.
Judging by the noticeable increase in pontification in the last 24 hours, the news has clearly captured the imagination of the pundits. There's so much to sort through here that I don't feel like I have a particularly well-considered opinion to offer. (I mean, read that last sentence for proof of how discombobulated I am.)
A couple knee-jerk reactions:
- If this goes through, get ready for mass migrations resulting in four new 16-team super-conferences with two divisions of eight, based around the Pac-10, Big Ten, SEC and ACC. And, of course, this would clear the way for what would be an eight-team playoff in effect: the division winners playing for the conference crown, then the four conference winners squaring off.
- The scenario above also could signal the death of the NCAA, at least as we know it. The big boys would splinter off and form their own governing body. The smaller schools could keep the NCAA if they wanted. Maybe they could create some agreement to maintain the college basketball postseason as it's currently structured.
- There's obviously an appealing logic to four conferences and the playoff structure. However, I can't help but fear that the sport would become a sterilized version of itself, a mini-NFL.
- Sorry, playoff lovers, but the regular season would definitely lose some luster in this scenario. If a 9-3 team can make it into the postseason tournament, all of a sudden, every regular season game suddenly doesn't mean so much.