The Losers of College Football Realignment That No One Is Talking About

The Losers of College Football Realignment That No One Is Talking About

In the ever-evolving landscape of college football, with its super conferences and massive realignments, there’s a silent narrative that’s being overlooked. It’s the story of the underdogs, the smaller schools that might just get lost in the shuffle.

Consider the likes of Toledo, Eastern Michigan, and other “directional” schools. They’re on the brink of being sidelined. But why?

Take this example: When Youngstown State faces off against Ohio State in an early September showdown, they pocket a cool $800,000. That’s not just pocket change; it’s a lifeline. It’s the fuel that keeps Youngstown State’s dreams alive. Let’s not kid ourselves—college football isn’t just a sport; it’s a huge money-making business. And today, it’s not just big—it’s gargantuan.

Now, let’s talk numbers. The Big Ten, ironically, boasts 18 teams. A tad confusing, given its name, right? With 10 teams, scheduling 9 games was a breeze. Even with 14 teams, things were manageable. But 18? That’s not just a challenge—it’s a logistical nightmare. And don’t be surprised if that number soon hits 20. Because, let’s face it, 20 is a rounder, more logical number for scheduling. Notre Dame…pick up the phone.

But here’s the catch: With these expanding conferences, the Youngstown States of the world are at risk. The Big Ten might have to ramp up their internal conference games, possibly to 11 or 12. The casualty? Games against teams like Youngstown State, Miami of Ohio, and Toledo. Without that hefty paycheck from the likes of Ohio State, schools like Youngstown State could be staring at an uncertain future.

Now, one might argue: Why not have Ohio State, or even the Big Ten, simply cut a check to these smaller schools — the potential losers of college football realignment? Why, indeed? Here’s why:

  1. They undeniably have the funds, and they might just have to use them.
  2. The very fabric of football depends on a diverse ecosystem. It’s essential to have opportunities at all levels—for players, coaches, and universities. Remember Coach Jim Tressel? He carved his legacy at Youngstown State, which paved his way to Ohio State.
  3. Education and football are intertwined. For many, football is the golden ticket to higher education. Take away football, and you snatch away countless educational opportunities.

Imagine being a Youngstown State player, stepping onto the field at Ohio Stadium, facing the Buckeyes. It’s the stuff dreams are made of. These games also offer invaluable experience for Ohio State’s budding talents. The college football season is grueling, and without these slightly less intense games, it’s tough for coaches to gauge and trust their younger players.

Sure, an Ohio State vs. Youngstown State match might not be the season’s highlight. But it’s an essential cog in the college football machine. Yet, this issue is barely making a ripple in conversations. The looming reality? These games might soon be history. The repercussions? Either a significant loss for the sport, schools shutting down their programs, or the titans of college football stepping in. And that, my friends, is a chilling thought to end on.

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