You will not find a bigger soccer hater in the world than me. The game is incredibly boring, low scoring, filled with whiny players who flop at the presence of another player, and generally have fans who are either racist, violent hooligans, or snobs. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, in the world of sports that pisses me off more than when a soccer fan tells me “I just don’t understand the game”. I understand that ties are acceptable and 1-0 scores are celebrated.
With that being said, I think soccer in Europe (where it is actually played at a high level, sorry MLS) does on a very good level is how they setup the standings in their leagues. And I think this format of standings would revolutionize college football and eliminate 2 of the major flaws of the current format. If you don’t know what I am talking about, it is called the RELEGATION FORMAT. In English Premier League soccer, this means that the 3 teams that finish in the bottom 3 of standings each season are demoted to the second tier league in England, while the Top 3 teams are PROMOTED into the EPL.
Imagine if that actually occurred in college football.
There are currently 11 Division 1-A conferences in college football. While the newly formed AAC currently has a BCS bid, it really shouldn’t. They haven’t been playing high level football in 10 years. So, let’s drop them out of the automatic BCS berth category. I think that’s a movement we all can get behind. That leaves 5 BCS conference and 6 non-BCS conferences. You would pair up each of the BCS conferences with a non-BCS conference and give 1 conference 2 affiliates. For instance:
Big 10 and MAC
SEC and Conference USA
ACC and AAC
Big 12 and Sun Belt
Pac 12 and Mountain West
Every year the bottom 2 teams in each of the BCS conference would be demoted down to the lower tier conference they are paired with. And the top 2 schools would be elevated into the BCS conference. And this would happen each and every season. And like I said, this would help with 2 major problems:
1. Smaller schools like Arkansas St (the Sun Belt champion) or Boise State (the Mountain West champion) would no longer be able to say they are blocked out from ever winning a national title. This way they would be elevated into a BCS conference after winning their league. Then, it’s on them to finish out of the bottom 2 of that league to prevent being knocked back down. All 120-whatever teams in Division-1A football would have the opportunity to EARN their way into the big leagues.
2. The tricky part, and the reason this will NEVER happen, is the money. You would have to get schools to agree that the conference divide up the money to whomever is in the conference each season. It’s not the Alabama and LSU’s of the world who would hate this change, it would be the Kentucky’s and Vanderbilt’s and Indiana’s. The schools who routinely are fighting at the bottom of the conferences. The financial risk would be too huge for those schools.
As a fan, I would LOVE this plan, even as a UK fan. Knowing that every game truly mattered. Those horrible Vandy-UK games late in the season would suddenly hold a lot more interest from fans. Each and every game would carry a little extra pressure, not only for the potential of playing in a non-BCS conference the next season, but the financial possibilities.
Now, many of you will say HELL NO, that would be the dumbest thing ever. UK will get relegated in no time. Maybe, but then they would need to finish in the Top 2 of Conference USA the next year and it would be right back into the SEC. And frankly, if you don’t think UK could finish in the Top 2 of CUSA, then do they really deserve to play in the SEC? I would argue no.
So, what are your thoughts? Kentucky fans have a unique opinion on this idea because we have benefited from SEC strength for a very long time, and have profited greatly financially. But, as has been mentioned many times, some different limitations have prevented UK from every really competiting for the league title. So, relegation would be a real concern for the program. I would argue it would force UK to become even more invested in football than it has been. Some might argue it’s not worth the risk. Give you your opinion……