Current events seem to be moving us toward a Power 2 model in college football (sort of a college level replica of AFC and NFC). But, follow the money far enough and it seems the two power conference model will also be temporary. Over a long enough time period, that Power 2 system will eventually crumble in favor of ONE mega conference that compiles the single amalgamation of teams that will maximize its members’ individual revenues.
Why? Because – eventually – that is what maximizes the revenue for the teams that can make the most money.
This prediction is based on certain truths that schools have repeatedly demonstrated to be self-evident: 1) Geography loses when competing with money. 2) Tradition loses when competing with money. 3) Loyalty (or any concern for other programs) loses when competing with money.
Right now, the Power 2 are still adding those teams that can increase their per team revenues. But what happens when there are no more teams that could increase revenues per team? Don’t expect them to stop increasing revenues and to stand pat. Instead, would they not take the next logical step to increase revenues further?
Once there are no more teams to add to increase revenues that next logical step will be to increase individual revenues by subtracting teams.
Teams that take more revenues than they add can (and will) be eliminated. After all, why should Purdue, Kentucky, Iowa, or Vanderbilt be allowed to remain when booting them out will increase revenues for the teams that can kick them out. In other words, why should Bama and Texas each accept less money by keeping Kentucky in the conference? Will Ohio State and Michigan continue to subsidize Purdue, literally out of their own pockets, forever? Why should they?
Then what? What happens after revenues (per school) can no longer be increased by reducing conference memberships?
Eventually - Ohio St and Alabama will be in the same conference. That conference will also include Texas, Southern Cal, Michigan, etc.
After the Power 2 conferences have purged the teams that take more than they contribute, the final step will be for the top teams to – finally – maximize their revenues by combining together into a Power One conference format. One conference stretching from coast to coast. I predict about 24 teams (perhaps more, perhaps fewer). Inclusion in that one conference will be about brands and their television ratings when combined with the other teams.
If Clemson continues to compete at the top of college football, Clemson will likely be one of those 24. Note that “If” is a really important word in that sentence.
It is simply a matter of maximizing the money – the one (and only) thing we know we can count on with these programs.
Consider this comment from Dennis Dodd: “Would it [SEC] simply eject a couple of underperforming schools? Would the Big Ten consider doing the same if it had more prominent replacements lined up? One conference official reminded me that schools commit to a conference, not the other way around.”