The corroded landscape of college athletics continues to shift and move at a torrid pace. It may be hard to keep up with all of the conference realignment and general rule changes. But there has been one constant that has held firm pretty much unilaterally. The SEC is by far the most powerful conference in the country, and frankly, the other leagues don’t really know what to do about it.
Sure the biggest story to prove that was last month’s announcement that Oklahoma and the University of Texas would be leaving the Big 12 to join the Evil Empire, errr the Southeastern Conference.
Say what you will about the SEC, their annoying fanbases, and overly confident athletic directors and presidents. But you can’t argue with the results. Major revenue sports, especially football, are ruling the current and future world of college athletics.
Perhaps the saddest part about that is, the other conferences are admitting it too. Last week reports started circulating that the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC were looking to create an “alliance” in scheduling non-conference games for the future. ESPN’s very own Paul Finebaum, a staunch SEC supporter, called the potential alliance “embarrassing,” and frankly, he’s right.
By having to team up to take on the mighty SEC, the Pac-12, Big Ten, and ACC essentially take on the old schoolyard mentality. The SEC represents the big bad bully that can’t be beaten on the blacktop basketball courts. The other kids, or leagues in this example, can’t win one-on-one against the SEC, so maybe they’ll have more luck when they team up together.
Yeah, that might be a silly example, but it genuinely doesn’t feel far off. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the SEC’s top officials aren’t laughing about these alliance stories back at their conference headquarters in Birmingham, AL.
This proposed alliance also has a glaring absence outside of the initial embarrassment. Where is the Big 12? Their exclusion from these alliance talks pretty much proves that the era of Power Five conferences is gone. Is it now a Power Four situation? No. It’s truly a Power One. The SEC rules all. Fans of college athletics from all over the country can see the writing on the wall, and most importantly, the other major conference can too.