Once the pandemic clears, a lot of things will need to be redrawn. College Football will be at the top of the list.
That's why Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde shook up the entire amateur football landscape and started over — creating 10 leagues to replace the Power Five. You can read about his handiwork here.
At Husky Maven, we took Forde's chalkboard diagrams and provided our own interpretation on how things will balance out, borrowing from history and using a crystal ball.
Consider two years from now, with the covid coronavirus pandemic finally subsiding, the University of Washington and the rest of the sports-influential universities coast to coast will have to start over after playing only a handful of games in 2020 and 2021. This will run similar to what happened after World War II.
Everybody was forced to rebuild their downtrodden football programs once peace was declared, armistices were signed and soldiers came home.
Back in the late 1940s, the solution to the aggressive relaunch was fairly brazen and not exactly recommended today: The Huskies and everyone else who gave two snoots about collegiate football began buying players.
Yep, wholehearted purchases.
Had to restock those rosters.
Booster money was the way to do it.
On actual orders from the UW school president at the time — as outlined in my book How Seattle Became a Big-League Sports Town: From George Wilson to Russell Wilson — the Huskies went out and paid for running back Hugh McElhenny.
The back-room orders were laid out to give him whatever he wanted and fix the teetering, war-torn Husky football program.
McElhenny, who's a very nice man, still alive and residing near Las Vegas, told his part about being well compensated and taken care of by the school in this 2004 Seattle Post-Intelligencer story authored by me.
The full account of the clandestine UW presidential involvement came out a decade later in my aforementioned book.
McElhenny didn't take the Huskies to the Rose Bowl in the end, but he put on a show whenever he had the ball in his hands. He became an Associated Press All-American as a college player and an NFL Hall of Famer. People in Seattle felt it was money well spent.
Fast forward to a few years from now and envision the college hierarchy agreeing to realign football, to make wholesale changes. It will be a pressing time to rebuild and repair the damage done to the game by the intrusive health crisis.
This will happen after the Huskies and all of the other teams agree to have their players wear self-contained helmets, like astronauts for fighter pilots, that prevent the spread of the lingering effects of COVID-19.
Besides the obvious belt-tightening measures, something else will come into play here, rising out of the sporting ruins.
The country, after fighting over everything from masks to no masks, will choose to come together. In every way. On every field.
Football will be a good place to start.
This means creating more geographical alliances rather chasing the previous goal of college football elitism.
For sure, natural divides will linger in the aftermath, but NCAA football will become a rallying point. Regional pride is the new shining light.
Using the Forde model, 10 different 12-team conferences are created using FBS schools. The words Power Five become a thing of the past.
It's a whole new college football world.
For the Huskies, this means joining a new Pacific-12 Conference that loses the last four schools that previously joined it (Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah) and adds four new ones that make more sense (Fresno State, Hawaii, San Diego State and UNLV).
The league championship game alternates between Honolulu and Las Vegas.
What makes it far more equitable is the Huskies and everyone involved will play every other conference opponent now, plus one non-conference foe. This is mandated for all members in each new league.
Cupcakes are found only in bakeries from here on out.
The Pac-12 defectors join Boise State, BYU and others in a new Rocky Mountain Conference.
Under the Forde model, the once standoffish SEC splits in four new conferences, with schools gravitating to each other based on a map, not driven by an ego.
The new Southwest Conference makes a comeback composed of all Texas and Oklahoma teams, making the Big 12 an afterthought.
Alabama, LSU and Memphis turn up in a revamped Sun Belt Conference.
Georgia, Florida and Miami join something called the Deep South Conference.
The Big Ten is no longer in operation, splintering into the Great Midwest, Great Mideast, Mid-American and Yankee conferences.
In the end, it could all just be a pandemic daydream.
It'll never happen, right?
Just like the covid coronavirus, it will never happen.