The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

December 2, 2012

Collegiate landscape makes for crazy geography

If your child is having difficulty with geography or math you may want to keep them away from what is happening in the world of collegiate athletics. If those subjects vex your kid now, the damage done by the recent spate of conference realignments would only further hinder the learning process.

We now live in a collegiate sports world where 10 is really 14, 12 is really 10, San Diego is now considered East and Louisville has found its way to the Atlantic Coast.

I feel for today’s kids if they learn geography like I did, which was studying up on the collegiate conferences and getting to know geography by which schools played in the Big 10, the old Southwest Conference, the Big 8, the Pac-8 and the Southeast Conference.

Of course back then the Big 10 actually had 10 teams and the Big 8 and Pac-8, had, you guessed it, eight teams. It all made perfect sense, really. Just as you could rest assured Bo Schembechler’s Michigan teams would lose on New Year’s Day in the Rose Bowl, you knew just by the name of the conference how many teams they had and/or where they were located. It made learning geography a lot more enjoyable than studying maps.

But those days are gone in today’s high-stakes, big-money world of collegiate athletics.

Just over the course of the past week, we have seen the Big Ten, which currently has 12 members, add Maryland from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Rutgers from the Big East, bringing its membership to 14 by 2014, and further losing its identity as a Midwest conference.

Meanwhile, the Big East continues to become less and less relevant as it hemorrhages schools, while adding teams as far as away as Boise State and San Diego State in a desperate effort to maintain relevance.

How strange have things become in the Big East? The only team remaining of the original football members is Temple. However, the Owls just re-joined the Big East this past season after being exiled by the conference for several seasons while the Owls played in the Mid-American Conference and rebuilt their program.

The Atlantic Coast Conference just announced Louisville (once thought to be heading to the Big 12) from the land-locked state of Kentucky, is coming on board.

But the biggest mess belongs to poor Conference USA, which is being picked apart by a desperate Big East that has swiped Houston, SMU, UCF and even Tulane from the C-USA ranks. In response, C-USA is adding Middle Tennessee along with Louisiana Tech, FIU, FAU, North Texas, Old Dominion, Charlotte and UTSA.

At least C-USA is living up to its name, but one wag wryly suggested changing it to the Statue of Liberty Conference as in “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses ... the wretched refuse ...”

Right now the smartest players appear to be the Big 12 (even though they remain at 10 teams), the SEC and the MAC, which have maintained a core of schools with a geographical and traditional connection, providing some semblance of stability in a very unstable collegiate landscape.

But, while the conferences have shown difficulty with lower math, they have no problem counting into the millions in TV and bowl revenue that is at the heart of the maneuvering. That is the real lesson being learned.

Ruthenberg is sports editor at the News & Eagle. Contact him at daver@enidnews.com.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Radio-TV for 7-29-14

    July 28, 2014

  • Judge OKs sale of Clippers

    A judge ruled against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Monday in his attempt to block the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

    July 28, 2014

  • OU logo color.jpg Probe continues into incident involving Sooner RB Joe Mixon

    Norman Police are still investigating the alleged assault in which Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is a suspect.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bradford Bradford: Yet another make or break season

    The St. Louis Rams quarterback is not surprised that once again, he’s supposedly at a career crossroads.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • celebration picture.jpeg DBAT Gallegos headed to Connie Mack World Series

    DBAT Gallegos, who has been battling adversity all season (lost five players through injuries) took advantage of their opportunities in beating Metroplex rival Dallas Mustangs, 3-0 Sunday in the finals of the Connie South Plains Regional.
    The victory put the DBAT (34-7) into the Connie Mack World Series, which begins Friday at Farmington, N.M.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Meadowlake retains Enid Ryder Cup

    Jay Betchan might have a statement a week before he tries to defend his Wheat Capital championship next week.
    Betchan completed a perfect 3-0 record for Meadowlake with a 6-and-4 win over John Petersen as the Municipal Course took the Enid Ryder Cup for the fourth straight year, 131⁄2-101⁄2 overall.
    The two teams split six singles matches Sunday at Oakwood in the final day of the three-day competition.

    July 27, 2014

  • Bruce Campbell mug use me Allie Reynolds belongs in Hall of Fame

    It was with a twinge of sadness watching the Baseball Hall of Fame ceremony on Sunday, knowing Oklahoma’s Allie Reynolds still is not in the Hall of Fame and there’s a good chance he won’t be in.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • DezPhoto.jpeg Bryant showing maurity as leader of Dallas receivers

    Dez Bryant is going into the final season of his rookie contract with the potential of a big pay day looming. And his answers on that topic sound more like a leader than the troubled rookie who didn’t pay his jewelry bills four years ago.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Photo.jeg Hall ceremony emotion for six inductees

    Frank Thomas choked back tears, Joe Torre apologized for leaving people out of his speech and Tony La Russa said he felt uneasy.
    Being enshrined in the Hall of Fame can have those effects, even on the greats.
    Thomas, pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, and managers Bobby Cox, Torre and La Russa were inducted into the baseball shrine Sunday, and all paid special tribute to their families before an adoring crowd of nearly 50,000.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gordon nails restart to win Brickyard 400

     With a fifth Brickyard 400 victory on the line Sunday, Jeff Gordon looked like the driver he was 20 years ago.
    Gordon nailed the final restart of the race — no given because restarts have been Gordon’s Achilles heel — to pass Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne with 17 laps remaining at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    July 27, 2014

Click here for NASCAR headlines
Sports Photos


Enid News & Eagle sports photos from the month of February 2014. Enjoy all the ENE photos with full access at http://enidnews.smugmug.com.