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College Football Spotlight

The Great Debate

October 19, 2003|Jay Christensen;Jim Rhode

IS THE ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE'S RAIDING OF THE BIG EAST FOR THREE OF ITS TEAMS -- MIAMI, VIRGINIA TECH AND BOSTON COLLEGE -- GOOD FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL?

POINT: The only thing sexier than bashing the ACC these days might be Carmen Electra's new workout video, but let's face the facts. This is about survival of the fittest, and the Big East, with all its whining and sniveling, is the loser. Half of the teams that have played for the national title since the bowl championship series was put in place for the 1998 season have come from the Big East or ACC. Why? Because going undefeated in either conference is like taking the family on a 12-week paid vacation to Krispy Kreme. Meanwhile, Southeastern, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pacific 10 conference teams experience a weekly bloodletting, beating their heads senselessly against one another until one succumbs. Something had to be done to level the playing field, so we welcome the new ACC to the carnage with open arms. The Big East -- nothing more than a basketball conference at best -- could have tried the same move, but kudos to the ACC for reaching out to form a conference worthy of a mega-power union. Now, with the riffraff cast aside, the BCS can get on with its plan to cut the NCAA out of the financial pie altogether.

Jay Christensen

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COUNTERPOINT: Things used to be so simple in college football. Conferences would have the exact number of teams that their names indicated. The Big Ten would have 10 teams. The Big 8 would have eight teams. What a novel concept! There was even a semblance of geographic integrity. The Southwest Conference's membership was virtually all in Texas. The Southeastern Conference? It was once like the name implied, its member schools were in the South and east of the Mississippi River. In the Pacific 8, all the teams were closer to the West Coast than the Rocky Mountains. But that college football landscape has long since been plowed over. Make way for the BCS superhighway. The nine-team ACC looks a little wimpy next to the Big 12 (well, for the time being), the 11-team Big Ten and 12-team SEC, so what does it do? It just super-sizes, baby. Devours a third of the Big East and suddenly it's a superconference. I can hardly wait for the day that the ACC No. 10 team accepts the bid to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Before then, the Big Ten might want to pluck some teams from country cousin Mid-American Conference, just to make sure some outcast such as Northern Illinois doesn't steal its BCS thunder. Can't change its name, however. What would Big Ten headquarters do with all of that unused letterhead? And oh my! Have to redesign its logo too? Enough already. Ah, but that's the trouble with college football -- enough is not enough anymore. Now you have greed and conference raiding, which strip away at the very foundation on which college football was built -- traditions such as the Big-Ten-champion-vs.-Pacific-10-champion Rose Bowl that are being brought to their knees by the almighty BCS.

-- Jim Rhode

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