Over the last year, college football has undergone major change with the new NIL rules, the transfer portal, and the realignment and expansion process.
That revolution has led to questions about what the future of the sport will look like.
And now, after two bombshell moves – Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC and USC and UCLA to the Big Ten – is there any room for quality football outside the two leagues?
“There is a chance for a third conference to be watchable,” ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum said on Always College Football with Greg McElroy.
“Is that some variation of the ACC and the Pac-12? They could cobble a deal together where you get Clemson and Oregon and Washington and Miami. Games that you would like to do, as opposed to Washington State and Boston College.
“But ultimately, I think college football is headed for a cliff. I don’t think it’s going to happen immediately, but things move so slowly. Things don’t happen quickly in regard to change.
“And at some point, I do believe there is going to be a serious disconnect between the fans and the game. Not the players, but the game, and the people that run it. Popularity polls for politicians continue to plummet [and] I think the same’s going to be said of college administrators in the future.
“Fans love the players, they love the coaches. But I think they’re going to start turning on the presidents and even the commissioners.”
Though it's unclear what exact form that reaction would take.
As long as there's good football being played and fans still want to follow their schools, the audience will go where the game goes.
Only when the money coming in from the media contracts starts to decline is there a chance for decision makers to change course.
But looking at the increasing value of these TV deals, it'll be a long time before that becomes a possibility.
Until then, this is the direction college football is taking. Whether fans like it or not.
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