Dear Reader, the following was my response to a suggestion that all teams including Florida International, play in a postseason bowl game and a criticism of the ridiculously bloated post season.
Florida International University, Bowls for everyone? All 128 schools play a post season game?
An interesting idea, but if there were a players’ union or at least player representation in the decision making process and the kids had a vote, I wonder how many of these meaningless postseason games would be played? Maybe if the participants were paid, the student-athletes would approve, but, as you so accurately noted, the vast majority of Bowls are money losers for athletic departments that are already bleeding money. And these games make zero sense for any player with a shot to be drafted or taken in free agency.
Big 12 — love the idea of the Big 12 adding and “merging” with the Pac, but I would make it three more teams with WVa heading to the Atlantic Coast Conference and Notre Dame becoming a full-time ACC member if it wants to stay playoff eligible. (Alternatively ND holds its spot if it agrees to share its playoff proceeds with 127 other schools. Or, more realistically, the ACC adds the University of Connecticut and WVa.)
The three schools: Houston, San Diego State + University of Nevada, Las Vegas. UNLV is a 1M plus population market, and if you build a new, more conveniently located stadium, fans, players and perhaps even the NFL will come. The LV demographics trump Boise, and Salt Lake City is already covered with Utah’s membership in the Pac.
Adding these schools to the existing Big 12, minus WVa, takes the heat off of the Pac-12 academics who might otherwise object to a Pac-12/Big 12 outright merger. USC and UCLA might complain about SDS, but the southern California market is huge with room for another player.
The Pac-12 and Longhorn Networks would then logically merge with the bigger network; especially, with the additional Big 12 eyeballs added in, certain to be broadcast nationally. It also would not hurt to have ESPN, the driving force in CFB, involved one way or another in the ownership of the merged enterprise.
The Pac-12, Big 12 conference champ game makes total sense with the winner virtually guaranteed a playoff spot. In 2015, Oklahoma vs Stanford would have been a heck of a game. (My guess is that, if such a merger occurred, the playoff field would soon go to eight teams?)
Of course, the Big 12 and Pac-12, as currently constituted, and the two networks could merge now without any Big 12 expansion. The “Pac-22” would be “zipped” for football. For all other sports Arizona, Arizona State and University of California Boulder would join the former Big 12 schools in the Eastern Division. This will not happen if $$$ does not trump academic snobbery. But, as you have noted, something like this happens or the Pac-12 and Big 12 will undoubtedly continue to fall behind the B1G and the SEC.
Four conference champs then perfectly fit into four playoff spots.
It would be a surprise if back-channel negotiations for a merger of the two conferences, as is, are not currently on-going. Bob Bowlsby obviously has ties to the Pac-12, and Larry Scott knows that he cannot stand pat. As things stand, it seems that Texas would be far more amenable to such a merger than when DeLoss Dodds was in charge of things in Austin.
Top photo from en.wikipedia.org