Daily Blog • June 11, 2010

When it comes to college football, I am a traditionalist.  The one thing I love about college football is of all the sports, college or pro, the regular season in college football is the one that means the most. I also love the rivalries and the tradition of the bowls. While I have been calling for a system that pits the #1 vs #4 and #2 vs #3 teams in the Jan 1 bowls for nearly a decade, I am vehemently against an 8 or 16 team playoff which would destroy the bowls and make the regular season meaningless.

In 1995 I was actually sad to see the SWC fold as I really enjoyed the great tradition and history of that conference.

From the recent news of Nebraska joining the Big Ten and Colorado heading to the Pac-10, it looks like college football re-alignment and expansion is going forward and I think it will move quickly. However, unlike some of the past radical changes to college football, I actually look forward to seeing which programs end up where and I salivate at the possibility of there being multiple super conferences.

As for the Pac-10, I think it is just a matter of time before they announce Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma St as new members thus making it the first super conference with 16 teams. I believe the original eight members will represent one division and the Arizona schools along with the new additions will make up the other.

I think the Big Ten will eventually invite Missouri and it will take the Tigers a half a second to say yes, thus giving them 13 teams. Also I have to feel that the Big Ten would like to grab some of the major markets on the east coast, like New York, and getting schools like Pittsburgh and Rutgers would fit that mold.

This brings me to Notre Dame, which clearly values its independence. The only way they make a move to the Big Ten would be if the Big East dissolves. Naturally, the Big Ten wants Notre Dame with a passion and if they were to get a couple of the Big East schools to join, they could force Notre Dame’s hand with the possibility of the dissolution of the Big East.

The SEC will then look to grab some of the best teams in the ACC. Miami and Florida St will be at the top of their list and schools like Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Clemson should also get consideration.  The Hokies particularly are a very strong program and would be a nice fit in a newly expanded SEC.

This would create three super conferences and the Big East and ACC leftovers would probably join to form a smaller conference.

As for some of the teams left out in the Big 12, my first guess would be that they would join the Mountain West. While I am sure many fans (particularly Kansas) are not thrilled with the possibility of that move, the Mountain West, with the future addition of Boise and perhaps the leftover Big 12 schools would turn into an even stronger conference. They already have three Top 25 regulars in TCU, BYU and Utah.

Without question big changes are coming and it should be a fun month of June for the college football fan!

As for my thoughts concerning the NCAA penalties on USC; I thought it was pretty harsh. While I was not in the meetings to see what the NCAA found, it was not like USC was showering multiple players with gifts to come to USC and play football. It implicated just one player getting involved with an agent after he was already established in school.

With the two-year bowl ban and the loss of 30 scholarships it is a similar case to Miami, Fl in the mid-90’s.  That bad news for Trojan fans is that it took the Canes five to six years to get back to competing for national championships.

In the short-term, I still think the Trojans can be a top team in the Pac-10 this year.  They will take an “us vs them” mentality and will want to show the entire country that they are still a top program. Naturally with the postseason ban for the Trojans my new choice for the Rose Bowl would be Oregon who I had tied for the top of the Pac-10 even before the recent news.

Next year, however, looks troubling for the Trojans as they will start to see a lack of depth with scholarship losses and possible transfers. With smaller recruiting classes the Trojans will struggle to be dominant like they were under former HC Pete Carroll from 2002-’08.

Update: The NCAA just annouced that the juniors and seniors to-be on the football team will be allowed to transfer to other FBS programs without having to sit out a season. Naturally if several players start to transfer, this now could effect USC's performance this year.

Yesterday we opened the polls on the homepage for you, the fans to vote on each and every conference matchup for six conferences. Last year you guys were more accurate than any other college preview publication and this is a great way for me to gauge how the public views each game. When you vote you have the entire conference schedule in front of you and the home team is capitalized. Get your votes in today and see how the fans think the big games like Oklahoma-Texas, Ohio St at Iowa, Florida St at Miami, Fl and West Virginia at Pittsburgh are going to shake out! To vote you do have register your e-mail address but this is just to make sure there is no stuffing of the ballot box.

Also please check PhilSteele.com everyday to get my Top 30 Countdown, which posted #7 Florida yesterday. Thru June 16th, I will post both magazine pages on a new team ranked in the Top 30 and you can get an early look on how I breakdown your favorite team. Remember those magazine pages are available for only 24 hours for you to download. Today, Boise St comes in at #6.

I will be back tomorrow with my weekend blog.