The College Football Landscape – an Analogy

In most sports, the landscape resembles a sloped hill or mountain with the champion left standing on top at the end of each season.

Teams must work their way past all other teams who at one point were better than they. Coincidentally, the closer you get to the top, the more financial rewards follow. This is especially true for professional sports.

Now let's compare this landscape to college sports. The main elements are the same, but the financial rewards differ. In basketball, everyone has equal access to the top – same with baseball, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming, track, etc.

Division I college football is the only exception, thanks to the pompous and mighty BCS. Now, instead of a sloped hill, we have two separate mountainous islands separated by a major gulf of water. While these two islands are sloped, they are disconnected from each other. The sad part about it is that the highest elevation on the Non-BCS Island is higher than most of the BCS Island.

A key difference between these two islands is the climate. On BCS Island, money does in fact grow on trees--the native ABC tree to be specific. Other varieties of vegetation such as the ESPN and ESPN2 tree (also of the Disney family of trees) inhabit the island. These trees seem to thrive under the clouds and moisture provided by college football fans.

Non-BCS Island, on the other hand, faces a much harsher climate. The rain isn't as plentiful and trees like the ESPN2, KSL, and Sportswest, don't fare so well. It doesn't help that the weather gods (a.k.a. major sports media--who often think they are gods), direct most rainfall towards BCS island.

Despite the contrast in landscape, you will occasionally convince a BCS Islander to come play a game on Non-BCS Island, but this is typically done in exchange for two games on BCS Island. Otherwise, BCS Islanders would be just as content to stay and play amongst themselves.

While BCS Island is the big Kahuna of College Football Islands, it is still a relatively small land mass when compared to Lake Tax-Exempt. To avoid banishment from this coveted lake, BCS Islanders had to come up with a strategy to convince the Powers That Be (PTB) that they could play fair with the rest of the islands.

In order to claim "equal access" to a National Title, the BCS Islanders decided to create a bridge between the islands where if one of those non-BCS schools happened to climb high enough, they could cross. Unfortunately, this bridge is more like a sagging tightrope than anything navigable. There's one more catch, a ticket to BCS Island--if you make it across--is always a round-trip ticket.

Lately, we've seen a war break out on top of BCS Island with the Big East taking the blows delivered by the ACC. Meanwhile, the tide is starting to rise and Non-BSC Island is losing some real estate. Teams like Utah State and Wyoming are at risk of washing away into the sea.

What will happen next is anyone's guess. Will the civil war on BCS Island force teams off like an episode of Survivor? Will the money trees on BCS Island begin to suffer the effects of greedy over-harvesting? Will the media gods warm up to the excitement and authenticity of Non-BCS Island and guide nourishing precipitation to its inhabitants? What about the PTB? Will congressional hearings mandate an alternative to the sagging tightrope of access between the islands?

This much is certain: Non-BCS Islanders must stick together, or be washed away by the rising tide. While many wish to desert the forsaken island in favor of greener pastures, those who are lucky enough for a one-way ticket off Non-BCS Island must always remember their roots. The time will come to build a real bridge, and with all the resources being located on BCS Island, an advocate or two could turn the tide in shaping the future of the college football landscape.

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