College Conference realignment is a somewhat volatile subject to discuss depending on which side of the fence your team landed on. For TCU, despite the emotional roller coast it sometimes took us on, our landing spot in the NCAA's game of musical chairs is where we've wanted to be for nearly 2 decades, so we like it. Getting into the Big 12 afforded TCU opportunities we never would've been able to imagine were we still in the Mountain West. Things like access to better bowls, a more secure position in the NCAA landscape due to the media rights waiver in effect thru 2025, a less volatile situation in the polls and of course, the big one, a LOT more money. Like, hilarious amounts of money. Like, more money from TV than some schools have in their entire athletic budgets. But while all of those things are great - and, oh, they are - there's one aspect to joining the Big 12 that pleases me just as much as the others, if not moreso: The fact that we're in it and SMU, despite inviting themselves into the Conference, isn't.
When SMU was invited to join the Big East, I think we were all somewhat disgusted by the way they rode our coattails into a better Conference situation and at the same time laughed at the Big East for basically becoming Conference USA 2. Still, it was extremely appalling to think that should things remain as they were - and recall that at this point a college football playoff was about as realistic as Mack Brown negotiating a teeth whitening package into his next contract - SMU technically had just as much access to the BCS as TCU, despite doing absolutely nothing to earn it.
Well, things have changed a bit...
True, the Big East was probably a dead Conference walking in the next round of BCS negotiations, had it stayed together, without TCU, Pitt and Syracuse - and maybe even with us - but when the dissolution of the BCS was an actual thing, it became all but official. Once a playoff was announced, the Big 5 leagues immediately locked in big money contracts with the bowl affiliates of their choosing - Pac 12/Big Ten in the Rose, SEC/Big 12 in the newly minted Champions Bowl, and the ACC with the Orange. Strangely enough, the Orange did not wish to continue a relationship with the Big East. Notre Dame leaving the BEast in all other sports, while a blow to a future TV contract, was basically just insult to injury at that point, with the nail in the coffin really being the playoff. Funny that a college football playoff, a thing that was supposed to increase access, has really done nothing at all except open the Championship to leagues without "SEC" in their names. Too bad...
So, if you're doing the math, SMU - unless they unlikely manage to win the Big East next year - currently has as much access to a major bowl - a major bowl being one of the current 4 BCS, plus the two TBD additions that will join the semi-final rotation - as they did when they were in the WAC and/or Conference USA. And truthfully, they may have made it harder for themselves - rather than compete with Houston, UCF, Southern Miss and, well, that's about it, for an undefeated season and outside shot at a major bowl bid, they're now going to be competing with Houston and UCF PLUS Boise State, San Diego State, Louisville, Cincinnati, Rutgers and South Florida. Except now, unlike the current situation where a non-AQ school could automatically qualify under certain terms, there is NO direct link for anyone outside of the Big 5 Conference to a major bowl game! As lyle so eloquently put it to me earlier, "their seat at the adult table just turned into the same card table in the living room with juice boxes instead of wine glasses."
So what are SMU and their Big East pals doing now? They're going to WHINE about it, of course! I expect the conversation went something like this:
BEast: "WAAAH, where is OOOUUURRR spot at the table?"
Big Five: "Well, little one, what exactly do you think you've done to earn it?"
BEast: "WAAH, Haven't you heard of a little school called CINCINNATI or another called CONNECTICUT? WEST VIRGINIA?"
Big Five: "You mean the last three BCS bowl representatives from the Big East, one of which is no longer a member and the other two who were each absolutely flattened in their games? That's your argument?"
BEast: "WAAAH, well... I'm ENTITLED because daddy told me so!"
Big Five: "That... that doesn't make sense."
BEast: "WAAAH, I'M GOING TO THROW A TEMPER TANTRUM RIGHT ON THE FLOOR OF YOUR OFFICE IF YOU DON'T LET ME HAVE MY WAY!!!"
Big Five: "Ugh, ok, you can have the Alamo Bowl if you'll just go away."
BEast: "WAAAH MY DAD IS GOING TO SUE YOU SO HARD!!!!"
Seriously, read some of the quotes. The have-nots have the wambulance on 24 hour patrol. Larry Scott of the Pac-12 summed it up pretty well, saying, "For me it's not a big deal because going forward will be on the playoff...It's a distraction college football doesn't need to focus on access..." Basically, "Ugh, ok, you can have the Alamo Bowl if you'll just go away... but I'll be damned if you ever get legitimate access to the playoff." Feeding back to my earlier point about SMU decreasing their access to a major bowl - if they add the seventh bowl as proposed and tie it in with the BEast, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA and MAC - the WAC will be dead of dysentery by then- that's FIVE CONFERENCES worth of teams competing for ONE spot, with one of the Big 5 likely filling the other side. Theoretically, the Big East winner is going to get it most years, but, let's say, as might happen this year, Ohio from the MAC runs up the ole W/L to 12-0? Or a team from the Sun Belt or CUSA does the same? You're putting a 3 loss BEast team in over them? Doubtful. Even though they haven't come close to doing it, wouldn't you think SMU has a better chance at going undefeated in CUSA than they do winning the Big East over Boise, Cincy, Louisville and SDSU? I do. Enjoy a lifetime of Beef O'Brady's Bowl bids.
And that's today's lesson in SMU Hate.