College Football Teeters on Total Makeover and What It Means for UW

Blockbuster news report suggests Oklahoma and Texas are seeking SEC membership.

With each passing week, college football continues to move closer to a complete makeover, whether the fans like it or not. The game waits for no one.

First, the transfer portal created free agency for players to change schools at any time, a process made more attractive by pandemic provisions providing instant eligibility.

The NCAA finally gave in and enabled its athletes to benefit personally from their college sporting experience through name, image and likeness allowances, with new Alabama quarterback Bryce Young nearing $1 million in deals without ever starting a game for the Crimson Tide.

A committee investigates whether to expand the College Football Playoff from four to 12 teams, with former WSU coach and current Mississippi State leader Mike Leach suggesting, facetiously or not, that he'd like to see something more along the lines of a 64-team field.

On Monday, the SEC announced it will call for game forfeits rather than postponements from its member schools if they're unable to field lineups for scheduled football games because of COVID-19 issues sidelining players.

Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich this week disclosed he won't attend Pac-12 media day in person next Monday in Los Angeles, rather make himself available remotely from Pullman, because he chooses not to get vaccinated. Interestingly enough, WSU has informed all students they must be inoculated in order to come on campus and attend classes.

Will schools clash over vaccination or other pandemic prevention measures?

And now, in potentially the biggest blockbuster of all, the Houston Chronicle newspaper is reporting that Oklahoma and Texas have reached out to the SEC about joining the game's elite conference — a move that could spur Power Five football schools everywhere once again to consider forming a long-awaited super conference or super conferences. 

Rightfully so, George Kliavkoff, the newly installed Pac-12 commissioner who took over on July 1, had this reaction on Twitter, "Just when I thought my first month on the job could not get more interesting ..."

University of Washington football, as it operates now, might have to step back and see where it and the rest of the Pac-12 stand on expansion. Does the school encourage the Kliavkoff-led conference to raid what's left of the Big 12 for new members? The league tried this once before with little success. 

Or, as blasphemous as it sounds, does the UW pull back from the Pac-12 and even shop itself around?

The SEC already operates with 14 schools after adding Missouri and Texas A&M in 2012, and it likely won't oppose bringing in marquee schools such as Texas and Oklahoma. Texas, of course, operates its own TV sports network that has contracts running through 2031, and this is a revenue source that creates a financial advantage unlike any other in college sports.

Should this sort of free-for-all expansion begin, look for the Big 12 to raid lower conferences for replacement schools or for its higher-profile members such as TCU, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Iowa State and West Virginia to cut their own deals, move elsewhere and collapse the conference.

If things heat up by Texas and Oklahoma moves, the Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC all would have to respond in some manner, by consolidating with other schools or leagues, or get left way behind on a competitive level. 

The previous Pac-10 Conference at one time tried to coax Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Colorado, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M to leave the Big 12 and join it, but succeeded only in interesting Colorado plus picking up Utah. 

Kliavkoff has a lot of work to do. 

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