Mid-July means a slow time for American sports. Yes, the good ol’ pastime of baseball is in full swing, but that leaves lovers of other sports wanting for more. Luckily for some college football fans, the Big 12 has stepped into the spotlight of late, with their talks of expanding from 10 teams to possibly 12 or 14.
Here in the Centennial State, those expansion talks hit home for two reasons: The Colorado Buffaloes were in the Big 12 for many years, and the Colorado State Rams are hoping to join the Big 12 soon.
Ram fans are frantic over the notion of joining a Power 5 conference, moving up and out of the Mountain West doldrums. Why? Simply, no matter how great a year CSU ever has, their football team can never compete for a National Championship.
It’s asinine for the NCAA to have a large group of teams who are designated to be playing in D-I football, yet, they’re not in the most elite group of the Power 5 conferences, and therefore cannot compete for a championship.
That’s where Colorado State currently sits, along with fellow “Group of 5” mid-major conference members. Those of the MW, MAC, AAC, Conference USA and Sun Belt are stuck as second fiddle to the SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 and the gulf of resources which separate the G5 and P5 is only continuing to grow.
The distance between the “haves” and the “have nots” is incredible, which is likely why the designation between the two groups of D-I conferences needed to be made in the first place. There’s simply no way G5 teams, with much less money and therefore less opportunity to build state-of-the-art stadiums, to sport 70 alternate and flashy jersey combinations or to pay the top-tier coaches can compete with the P5.
They can’t compete in recruiting, they can’t compete on the field.
The P5 are “The Avengers.” The G5 are “The Legion of Super Pets” (which is a real thing.)
Naturally, Colorado State desires to move up, into the P5. The Big 12 has a television deal with ESPN, and with it, comes more money as well as exposure, which helps land bigger recruits. Then, the whole thing snowballs and the program improves, in all likelihood.
Mike Bobo has already done well in recruiting by using Sonny Lubick Field at the on-campus stadium as a tool; imagine who he could land by telling them they’ll be playing on ESPN regularly and could possibly compete for a National Championship.
Well, what if CSU didn’t have to be picked by the Big 12 to join the ranks of the P5? What if the Rams could earn their way into the elite by enjoying an incredibly successful season?
One Colorado State Rams fan came up with a way for that to happen, if college football were to more closely resemble european football (soccer) with the promotion and relegation of teams.
I know, it sounds crazy. Maybe, just crazy enough to work.
Here, we see the two best teams from the G5 and two worst teams of the P5 for every conference last season. For example, it’s Air Force and San Diego State from the MW and Colorado/Oregon State from the Pac-12 who would switch affiliations for the next season.
At the end of it all, the two top G5 teams are promoted to the P5 for the next season – just as a number, they don’t actually lose their affiliation with their conference – and play with that conference for a year. If the relegated teams don’t like playing at the G5 level, or if they are indeed superior, they’ll be promoted right back to the P5 the next season. On the other side, it would give G5 teams all the more incentive to improve, to win at all costs.
As @StalwartSt says, “The perennially strong teams can remain strong and dominant in their P5.” And, it allows the G5 teams a chance at competing for a National Championship.
Hey, it’s crazy to believe the Power 5 conferences would ever agree to a format such as this, but in the end, shouldn’t the fans – the consumers – be the ones most satisfied? Using this relegation/promotion format would only serve to make things more interesting and exciting in the world of college football, to truly integrate the entirety of DI and make every individual team earn their keep.