Now that the NCAA has granted autonomy to the Power-5 conferences (plus Notre Dame), we have to begin to examine what the ramifications of this huge change to the college sports landscape will be.
The most obvious result of power being granted to the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and Notre Dame is how their money, conference strength and television exposure will begin to squeeze out those residing in smaller conferences, and the independents who don’t sport the muscle of the Fighting Irish.
Teams such as these were known as “BCS-Busters” during the era of the now defunct championship series. They managed to work their way up far enough in the rankings and within the computer algorithms to begin to disrupt the rosy world of the teams in the big conferences.
In most cases, things would right themselves, as it usually only took a single loss by one of these teams to send them plummeting down the BCS ladder, never to be seen again until the following season.
But they were there, and they had that opportunity to have a shot at the national championship. At the very least, if they took care of business in their own conference, they could make an appearance in a BCS Bowl, giving them instant credibility…and cash.
But now the College Football Playoff fans have been begging for is here, and in turn, teams that once had the chance at becoming a BCS-Buster are now essentially screwed.
The playoff has chosen six bowl games – Sugar, Rose, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta and Peach – that will rotate as two semifinal playoff games each year. The four teams who are chosen to be a part of that playoff scenario by the selection committee will be placed in the two playoff bowl games, regardless of conference affiliation.
Two of the original BCS-Busters, Utah and TCU, made their move to the big conferences years ago, and are safely nestled within the Power-5. And there are some teams who aren’t completely screwed (yet), but their fight will be even tougher than it was during the BCS years.
The AAC is in one of the toughest positions of any of the non-Power-5 conferences. Some of their most powerful members – Rutgers and Louisville – saw the writing on the wall, and have left for the comforts of the Big Ten and ACC, respectively. This left the AAC, and their remaining membership, twisting in the wind.
So what happens now to these other teams from the other non-power conferences? As I said earlier…screwed. And here are five teams who will feel the effects of this change in the worst ways.