BCS politics: Hatch worrying about wrong issue
U.S. senators Orrin Hatch of Utah and Max Baucus of Montana continue their assault on the BCS, so much so that this week the BCS fired back with a statement from director Bill Hancock, who defended college football’s two-team playoff system.
I have two questions. For Baucus, I want to know why a senator from Montana is concerned with the BCS. For Hatch, I want to know why he’s worried about the BCS when the whole structure of collegiate athletics could change and really leave his state’s schools in the lurch.
Forget the BCS, which in truth has been good to the Mountain West Conference, of which both Utah and Brigham Young are members. The BCS is small potatoes compared to conference realignment, which could be very good — or very bad — for either Utah or BYU or both, depending on how things shake out.
If the Big Ten’s impending expansions triggers a domino effect that changes the face of the big-time conferences, Utah and BYU are poised to benefit. Or be shut out.
For example, if the Big Ten expands to 16 teams, and the SEC follows suit, and the Pac-10 might, too. The fallout could be four 16-team conferences that run big-time college athletics. The Mountain West won’t be one of those four leagues. If Utah (not a longshot) and BYU (longshot) end up in the Pac-10, great for them. If the Pac-10 instead adds schools from the Big 12 to form, with Arizona State and Arizona, an eastern division, then Utah and BYU will long for the days when their biggest worry was cracking the BCS.
Utah and BYU could be fallback schools for the Big 12, if the Big 12 survives. For instance, if Nebraska and Missouri bolt for the Big Ten, and the Big 12 replaces them with BYU and Utah, the tradeoff isn’t disastrous for the Big 12.
Losing Nebraska would be a big blow in football, but BYU and Utah are the equal of Missouri in recent years and vastly superior to Mizzou over the last quarter century. And basketball would be enhanced with such a trade. The most important aspect of all this reconfiguration — TV markets — would not be a huge killer. You’re basically trading the St. Louis and Omaha television markets for Salt Lake City.
But if we instead end up with four 16-school conferences, Utah and BYU become a little shaky. They clearly deserve to be among the 64, but that doesn’t mean they will be. Schools already with a stake in a major conference hold much more sway (Rutgers, Kansas State, etc.).
That’s what Orrin Hatch should be fighting for. If he wants to play politics with college athletics, if he wants to help the schools of Utah, get involved in conference realignments and leave the less-important BCS alone.
Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients