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 UCLA and USC to the Big Ten?

From where I sit, this makes about as much sense as Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC.

Like the Longhorn-Sooner shocker, which gutted the Big 12, the UCLA-USC bolt cuts the heart out of the Pac-12.

For what? Big television dollars. Once you get past all the highfalutin chatter, that’s what these moves are all about.

A lot of experts will tell you that once the SEC lassoed Texas and Oklahoma, the Big Ten needed to respond—or be left behind.

I will tell you that the SEC and the Big Ten ought to be leading college football, which drives all college athletics, to a place that makes all college athletics better. They should not solely be engaged in an arms race for television dollars.

Now, that said, they can still do that. It won’t be as easy now—because of all the animosity and hurt feelings generated by raiding some of the most attractive schools from other conferences.

The madness needs to stop.

From poaching schools, to handing out fistfuls of dollars to athletes under the Name, Image and Likeness chicanery, to coaches receiving contracts bigger than the GNP of developing nations, to players jumping through the portal at the drop of a two-deep chart—college athletics are bursting with Me-First selfishness.

There’s always going to be an element of that. Actually, there’s always going to be a lot of that.

I love the anarchy and innovation in college sports, where the right coach can come up with offenses and defenses that surprise and fascinate those of us who crave dramatic football and basketball. Pro sports lack the college spirit and craziness to do that. They are too talent-based, too tied to strict financial realities.

Anarchy and innovation on the field are wonderful. They inspire.

But when the only rule to building a conference is ``follow the money,’’ that is absolutely not good.

What’s next? Maybe the SEC and Big Ten mega-schools decide they don’t want to share. Why should Vanderbilt and Northwestern and Missouri and Rutgers get the same bloated check as Alabama and Ohio State, the schools that drive the TV money machine? Adios, amigos.

Here’s the other thing. It sounds enticing to have a conference lineup filled with powerhouse schools. But guess what? A lot of them are going to discover that those dreams of glory now can easily end up with a nightmare of disappointment.

So now the SEC and Big Ten have a fistful of national-champion contenders who are inevitably going to be disappointed. Unlike eye-popping television contracts, Won-Lost records are a zero-sum equation. When Texas and Alabama play, somebody is going to lose. When Ohio State and USC face each other, somebody is going to lose. Take it right on down the line.

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So what’s the remedy? SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and his Big Ten counterpart, Kevin Warren, need to initiate a plan to restore some sanity to college athletics.

They need to include not only their conference members, but also other major-conference teams—and some qualified minor-conference teams—and come up with a national organization plan.

It doesn’t need to be everybody who raises their hand. But it should include the schools who have the resources, the drawing power and the commitment to play big-time football.

The NCAA is in way over its head when it comes to this.

I have long believed college football was headed toward four super-conferences. It needs that move now more than ever.

Skeptics will say the SEC and Big Ten have shown they don’t care about anybody else. Why would they invite others to their gluttonous party?

Two reasons.

1) If they all get together, they can drive up the value of college football to television partners. Sure, this stuff gets tiered. Top games are worth more. But if you look at the immense broadcasting pies that the NFL and the NCAA basketball tournament bake, an alliance of all the serious college-football programs could generate a scary amount of revenue—from broadcasting and every other source of sports marketing.

Interestingly, the two commissioners who have been left holding the bag, the Pac-12’s George Kliavkoff and new Big 12 honcho Brett Yormark, are experts at the marketing/money side of big-time sports.

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips, who has spent a lifetime figuring out how to make college athletics a win-win for everyone, including boosters and fans, also has the skill-set to bring everybody to the table and stop the madness.

2) It is absolutely the right thing to do.

The poaching, the money-grabbing, the utter disregard for decades of sportsmanship and rivalries and traditions has to stop.

USC and UCLA to the Big Ten sounds like a glitzy response to the SEC’s eye-popping addition of Texas and Oklahoma.

Super-sized, unwieldy conferences may create epic revenue streams. But they are not good for competition. And they are not good for fans of competition.

Stop acting like mobsters carving out territory. Start acting like grownups who care about athletics with level playing fields that everyone can enjoy and admire.

There will be just as much money in that. Maybe more.