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More Musings on Realignment Realties for the UW

As the conversation continues, and nothing happens, here's the approach the Huskies could take.
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This just in on college football realignment: Nothing happened. 

For the 18th consecutive day — since USC and UCLA not only asked for a bigger allowance but also new parents — the Pac-12 Conference continues to hold conversations with everyone of which none have led to anything, with recent talks with the Big 12 reportedly breaking off.

It's like league commissioner George Kliavkoff and University of Washington athletic director Jen Cohen continue to sit at a big poker table with a bunch of card sharks, stoically peering over their hands, trying to figure out who's bluffing whom and how long can they sit there?

Will they preserve the Pac-12 or will the league go the way of the Southwest Conference and Big East and simply disappear, leaving individual teams to scramble for their sporting lives?

Will it matter?

Name, image and likeness (NIL) might be changing college football faster and in more disruptive ways than whether you compete in the Big Ten Malibu Beach Division or not, as Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin so adroitly pointed out at SEC Media Day. Sure, the top players are being handsomely compensated, but more and more programs will be sitting street corners with their hands out.

"You legalized cheating," Kiffin said matter of fact. "So get ready for the people who have the most money to get the best players. So there you have it." 

Yes, the SEC, which has always paid players whether it's in the rulebook or not, should continue to dominate the college football playoff system in place. It has the best talent, the most attendance, the biggest TV deal.

"We're a super league," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said, mentioning how unconcerned he was with anything the Big Ten just did. By the way, he meant to say "the," not "a." 

College basketball used to be like this, sort of tilted. For most of a dozen years, UCLA won everything. The Pac-8 had a super team, rather than a super league, but the same thing happened — one entity dominated over and over until it got really boring everywhere except in Westwood. 

Ask Bill Walton how fair this was back then. Conference of champions? No, just one school continually walking off with the best coach, the greatest players, the most generous donors, all of the trophies. 

What happened to that empire was the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams, whose postseason mission now was see how many upsets each could pull before bowing to a handful of blue bloods who still win everything. 

Washington football should be resigned to this role, regardless of whether it's in the Saddle Division of the Big 12 or the non-smoking section of the Tobacco Road Division of the ACC.

After all, the Huskies have won just one national championship in 132 seasons. 

Again, only one.

The danger of becoming really successful, if even for an instant in today's college football world, is there is nothing at all to prevent the super conference teams from poaching your best players and even your highly successful coach.

To the UW's credit, it hired Kalen DeBoer, who might be a real effective football leader. He's also someone who might be content to coach at the UW for the next 18 seasons, which is what Don James and Jim Owens each did.

Unless we're wrong here, DeBoer won't be using Montlake as a coaching stepping stone such as Steve Sarkisian did to get to USC, rehab and now Texas. 

DeBoer and his staff appear to be tireless and creative recruiters who are into national recruiting and serious program-building, and the loss of a player or two to the SEC or Big Ten in future seasons won't be crippling compared to what they're trying to do overall.

Be a spoiler. 

Throughout the latest flurry of realignment chatter, full-on speculation and downright lies, the UW still seems to command a lot of respect for what it is and where it is with its lakeside stadium, and whether it joins another conference or helps keep the Pac-12 together.

Let the Alabamas and the Ohio States have the national championships. They've paid for them. By the way, that recent Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher name-calling and pie-throwing contest about who cheats the most was hilarious.

The Huskies and their fan base still might get an absolute thrill out of facing someone such as Georgia for the first time in the CFP quarterfinals and somehow upsetting an SEC team feeling too cocky about the matchup.

Instead of March Madness, you would now have December Delirium. 

It satisfies people in college basketball, why not in the football world?

Consider what Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwicz cautioned at the SEC media gathering, "I think the beauty of college football is the rivalries that we have. I think it's the shared traditions and pageantry of the game. I think we got to be careful we don't miss that or lose that in search of better TV contracts."

So the Huskies won't be playing USC anymore. As long as they still get a chance to get all charged up about facing Oregon every year, life hasn't changed much.

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