Daniels: CFB Should Remember Its History Instead Of Destroying Its Future

Oklahoma Spring Game

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Somewhere in a breakfast diner in Lincoln, Nebraska sits a long time fan of the Cornhuskers that remembers every play from the famous "Game of the Century" from 1971. At an old car repair shop outside of Dallas a grizzled mechanic with oil worn hands has many tales of the days of the Southwest Conference. In Athens, a fast-talking man can remember listening to the legend Larry Munson describe every move that Herschel Walker made as he ran over defenders while his transistor radio still sits on a front porch. And on a zoom call Tuesday, three leaders of college athletics did their part to make no sense as the great game of college football continues to leave its history behind.

Whatever that "alliance" press conference was, it was embarrassing in many ways. No written agreement(to protect themselves legally), a promise to not pouch members(did they pinky shake?), promises to play games against each other in future years and a reminder how smart their schools are. That's what was supposed to be a big announcement between the Big Ten, ACC and Pac-12.

It's an overreaction to the decision of the SEC to take Oklahoma and Texas and the fear that those guys in the south are getting too big and powerful and they need to be stopped, or at least slow them down.

The Big XII wasn't invited because the other three have already discarded them. If they cared so much about everyone, why wasn't the league impacted the most?

Years ago the Big Ten and Pac-12 created a pact to play regular season football games. That flopped. A few games were scheduled but in the end, everyone just did what they felt they needed to do for themselves.

But look at what college football has become. I get it. It is about the money and the billions of dollars thrown out by networks to televise college football games and the power of these networks. But have we left the college football soul behind. The days when schools had real rivalries because they played their conference foes, or at least most of them. We have tossed aside history and big games that fans and players looked forward to every year. 

Look, I get it and say all the time, sports evolve and they need to. But our obsession to get a playoff has led to the sacrifice of the fabric of this game. You play someone every year for a century? Who cares? Your fans enjoy playing this rival because of how heated it gets? Not my problem. Today, it's about eyeballs and who can deliver streaming numbers and who makes our own conference network more valuable..

We traded a rivalry game like Oklahoma and Nebraska for Rutgers and Ohio State or the "must see game everyone wants" Missouri and Texas A&M. We had Texas and Texas A&M every year and then they stopped playing. And Texas A&M fans started bragging, not about their win streak in the series, but about the amount of money they were now making in their new league.

The Southwest Conference was a great football league. Yes, its cheating ways ultimately led to the league going out of business and becoming part of the Big XII, but the nine schools played each other every season and every game was a rivalry. The Pac 12 used to actually have members in the "PAC" area of the country. Now Colorado and Utah are members. West Virginia's annual game with Pitt may not have meant much to you but people from those areas cared about that game more than anything. The "Backyard Brawl" was their Iron Bowl and now it's not played every year. The two have played 104 times. The last meeting? 2011.

We can go on and on about how things have changed. But change is inevitable and it won't stop in college football. But we are racing to something that I don't know is good for the game. Will the Big Ten, ACC and Pac 12 stop playing SEC schools? Do ACC fans really want more games against Oregon State and Cal instead of anyone in the SEC? Are these conference commissioners doing what's best for their schools and their fans or just doing what makes the money today, tomorrow and in years to come? My guess is they are interested in chasing money because it's what we have done to college football. I get it. But it doesn't mean it's good for the game.

College football has been about its history, pageantry, rivalry games and stories told by its fans sitting in those diners, auto repair shops and front porches all over the country. It shouldn't be about overreacting supposed leaders angry because someone did something they would have done if they could. When you abandon your history you might find yourself creating a new one that destroys your past.

Final thought: Oklahoma and Nebraska have played 86 times. The last regular season meeting? 2009

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