McMurphy's Law: Realignment rush puts rivalries at risk

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider
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Maybe it won't be for another five months that someone realizes the damage inflicted on college football because of the warp speed of conference realignment. Maybe it won't be five or 10 years. Who knows, maybe nobody will even care.

Yet, while conferences -- and their highly paid commissioners -- battle to see which league can have the most toys, there is one casualty to the game that will be lost forever: long-standing rivalries.

College football fans already lost Oklahoma and Nebraska because of conference realignment and the Sooners and Cornhuskers were actually in the same conference when it ended. Now with teams scurrying like rats off a sinking ship to the biggest piece of floating cheese, more long-time rivalries could become extinct.

Texas and Texas A&M have played since 1894. They despise each other, but in a good way. What other universities mention another school in their fight songs like A&M and UT?

They first played in 1894. Little known fact: the Longhorn Network actually was created in 10,000 BC. Even back then ESPN officials drew pictures of high school games on cave man walls for the LHN. The NCAA is still investigating, but the statue of limitations appears to have expired.

The future of the Aggies and Longhorns rivalry also is about to expire. Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds told the Austin American-Statesman last month he didn't know if Texas would continue playing Texas A&M -- in any sport, much less football.

So get a good look at this year's game on Thanksgiving from College Station, Texas, it might be the last meeting.

Who makes realignment cut?
Series Games
Minnesota-Wisconsin 120
Kansas-Missouri 119
Kansas-Nebraska 119
Texas-Texas A&M 119
Cincy-Miami (Ohio) 115
UNC-Virginia 115
Auburn-Georgia 114
Oregon-Oregon St. 114
Indiana-Purdue 113
Cal-Stanford 113
Army-Navy 111

Oklahoma and Texas first played in 1900. Or seven years before Oklahoma became a state. The Sooners and Longhorns have played every year since 1929, including the last 82 seasons in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. But at this year's Texas State Fair grab a Coney Dog, try some fried beer and elephant ears and enjoy what might be the final game between OU and UT if the schools go their separate ways.

Earlier this month Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops suggested he didn't think it was necessary to continue playing Texas, if the schools end up in different conferences.

"No one wants to hear that, but life changes," Stoops said. "If it changes, you have to change with it, to whatever degree.

"If it works, great, I love the game. But if it doesn't, it doesn't. Sometimes that's the way it goes."

Seriously? The way it goes?

Even five years before the first Texas-Oklahoma game, the first Backyard Brawl between Pittsburgh and West Virginia was played. That was in 1895. They've played 103 times, but with Pittsburgh headed to the ACC there's a possibility the series could suffer the same fate as a burning couch.

Missouri and Kansas held the first Border War in 1891. The Tigers and Jayhawks have played 119 times, the second-most played series among FBS schools. That also could be in danger since Missouri might be headed to the SEC and Kansas headed to ... well somewhere other than the SEC.

With Nebraska's departure to the Big Ten this fall, the Cornhuskers and Jayhawks met last year for the 119th -- and most likely last time.

So in the span of a couple years, college football could see the end of Texas-Texas A&M, Nebraska-Kansas, Oklahoma-Texas, Missouri-Kansas and West Virginia-Pittsburgh.

There's also a possibility some long-standing basketball rivalries may not survive conference realignment, including Syracuse-Georgetown, Kansas-Missouri, Syracuse-UConn and Syracuse-St. John's.

Former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese appears the only one that realizes the impact conference realignment has on the landscape.

"People are going about expansion," Tranghese said, "without giving an iota of thought of the unintended consequences."

To paraphrase a southern gentlemen: "Frankly Mike, no one gives a damn."

BCS Bowl Projections

BCS Title: LSU vs. Oklahoma. The Tigers' defense has been simply fantastic. Even with a suspect offense, LSU remains my pick to win the SEC -- and advance to the BCS title game. Waiting for the Tigers should be Oklahoma, coming off a nice win at Florida State. If the Sooners and Tigers advance to New Orleans it would be a rematch of the 2004 BCS title game in New Orleans.

More on realignment
Analysis
Gregg Doyel Gregg Doyel
Hey, Congress, it's time to step in and stop the TV-inspired realignment money grab ... like now. Read >>
Doyel: OU stoops to a new low on Monday.

Clark Judge Dennis Dodd
No honor, no trust,' in college athletics, says an AD. Conference realignment is a shiv in somebody's back. Read >>
Dodd: Missouri most attractive free agent

Clark Judge Ray Ratto
The death of a completely mythical world defended by people who have always known the truth is a sad occasion. Read More >>
Related links

Fiesta: Oklahoma State vs. Boise State. The Broncos continue to roll and roll and roll. Boise State's next -- only? -- test comes Nov. 12 against TCU. The Fiesta would pick the Big 12 runner-up here if Oklahoma advances to the BCS title game. I'll go with the Cowboys, but they must win at Texas A&M Saturday to have a chance for their first BCS bowl appearance.

Sugar: Alabama vs. Oregon: I'm projecting the Ducks to get yet another chance to try and solve an SEC defense. It won't be easy against the Crimson Tide, who finish as the SEC West runners-up behind LSU.

Rose: Stanford vs. Wisconsin. Until either team loses, I'm going to stick with this matchup in the Rose Bowl. Stanford probably won't be challenged until Oct. 29 at USC, while Wisconsin opens Big Ten play Oct. 1 vs. Nebraska.

Orange: Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia. The Hokies, although they've yet to be tested in the ACC, gets the nod as the ACC champions. Is West Virginia the Big East's best team? South Florida might have a problem with that, but we'll see how the Mountaineers stack up against the SEC's best when LSU visits Morgantown on Saturday.

Heisman Forecast

How my Heisman Trophy ballot would look if it was due today:

1. Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina. Lattimore leads the nation in rushing, averaging 178 yards per game. To put that in perspective, Lattimore is averaging more yards rushing than 76 of the 120 FBS teams.

2. Kellen Moore, Boise State. Moore went off for a career-high 455 yards and five touchdowns Friday at Toledo in a 40-15 win. The same Toledo team that nearly upset Ohio State, but after the Buckeyes performance at Miami, maybe that's not such a big deal.

3. Andrew Luck, Stanford. As expected Luck put up big numbers at Arizona (31 of 36, 325 yards, two TDs) to stay at the top or near the top of most Heisman projections.

Tweets of the Week

Some of the best college football-related tweets in the past week pulled from Twitter.

"Army beats Northwestern! That naked man running down your streets, Pittsburgh, is one Carroll Hoff 'Beano' Cook." -- Spencer Hall of EDSBS.com after Army defeated Northwestern Saturday.

"With all this conference bs I wonder how TCU feels." -- UConn junior DE Jesse Joseph.

"Always a good feeling when u get back to ur expired meter parking spot as the parking division rolls up and knows u won this one." -- Iowa State junior LB Jake Knott.

"Oh yeah can we please go to the PAC 12. The others can come if they want. Conference is breaking up Time for a new girlfriend." -- Oklahoma sophomore DB Tony Jefferson.

"Teacher goes anyone disappointed w/the football loss. Kid next to me goes anyone surprised...now what should I do??" –- UConn junior CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson on Monday after Friday's loss to Iowa State.

"damn, looks like i'm the only one in my class with a suit on for this career fair." -- Penn State senior WR Andrew Goodman.

"Is the PAC 12 thing real!? Oh my oh my oh my." –- Oklahoma sophomore WR Kenny Stills on the Sooners' potential future home.

"even though I'm in college, I wish we still did spelling tests." -- South Florida junior DL Anthony Hill.

"Who put my bed on the train tracks last night?" -- Maryland junior C Bubba Fulper.

"Awww heck no! I think I just gave this homeless guy a $100 on accident. I better go to heaven now." -- Minnesota junior QB MarQueis Gray on Monday evening.

"I thought it was a five that's what I get for texting at the same time !!!" -- Gray five minutes after posting the above Tweet.

Wait Til Next Year

Sept. 21, 2012: Reeling from the losses of Pittsburgh and Syracuse and needing to bolster the value of its media rights deal, the Big East announces the addition of the University of China as its newest member.

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