It's safe to say the last week has been one of the most transformative in recent college athletics history. Washington and Oregon to the Big Ten beginning in 2024; and Arizona, Arizona State and Utah announced that they Colorado in the Big 12 the same season.
During Alabama's Media Day Sunday, Nick Saban lamented on what the sport is losing as it continues to change.
"There's a lot of traditions that we've had for a long time in college football," Saban told 247Sports. "I think we're in a time of evolution for whatever reasons. Some of those traditions are going to get, sort of, pushed by the wayside, I think. It's sad."
There's no doubt money is the driving force in this wave of realignment. SEC and Big Ten schools are expected to take in well over $60 million a year under their new media rights deals, and the Pac-12 is on the verge of disappearing because it wasthat came close to what the two top conferences have signed. Saban hopes that, at some point, the foundation of college athletics will factor into the decision-making process.
"Whether it's good, bad or indifferent for college football -- I guess you have to define what is good and bad for college football," he said. "I think one thing I would just hope that we would keep in mind in all the choices and decisions we make relative to what we do in college athletics is the student-athlete. They're here to get an education. Hopefully some of the choices and decisions that we make for college athletics in the future will impact them in a positive way. I hope that we can keep that a priority."
The wave of recent moves has put several longstanding rivalries on the brink of extinction. The future of the Bedlam series between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma is in doubt with the Sooners on the move to the SEC in 2024. Cowboys' coach Mike Gundy addressed the future of the rivalry at Big 12 media days last month.
"The Bedlam game is over because Oklahoma chose to leave the Big 12, period. It's not nothing to do with Oklahoma State," he said. "Do I like that? No. Do I like that conferences have broken up in the past? No, I don't."
However, there is hope that some traditions -- such as the rivalry between Oregon and Oregon State -- will continue.
"Our goal would be to schedule Oregon State in every sport that is possible," Oregon Rob Mullens said on Saturday. "Football schedule can be complicated because of how far out it is and the difficulty of playing non-conference games later in the year, but our goal would be absolutely to continue to play Oregon State."
Other rivalries have come full-circle as a result of realignment. Texas' impending move to the SEC has brought back its annual in-state meeting with Texas A&M -- which had been dormant since the Aggies moved to the SEC in 2012.