Marc Daniels Monday Notebook: 20-24 Team Leagues? What Are We Doing Here?

SEC Championship - Missouri v Auburn

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In 1991 the SEC had 10 teams and played only seven conference games. Heck, the 1980 Georgia Bulldog team that went undefeated (12-0) and won the national championship played only six conference games. The SEC debated about adding a ninth conference game this offseason as most major conferences have moved to. But they will stay at eight for now as the league will grow to 16 teams next fall with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas.

So with conferences growing we have reached a point where teams are not playing almost half the league but still crowning a title. But wait there's more.

We have done away with divisions so conferences can have the best chance of getting one of, if not two, their best teams into the college football playoff. But the buzz of realignment has some wondering how big the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 might get. 

During a recent interview on The Pat McAfee Show"  ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit said he wonders when, not if, the SEC and Big Ten expand again and get to 20 or more. He brought up the struggles of the Pac 12 and getting a satisfactory media deal for all current members and what the future of the ACC is.  

Herbie wasn't reporting anything specific but just speculating what others have wondered. But what are we really doing here?

Imagine if the SEC and Big Ten went all in and expanded to 20 or 24. Imagine if somehow the schools who want out of the ACC found a way and if some disgruntled Pac 12 teams were offered a chance to move east to the Big Ten and the Big 12 absorbed some ACC schools. And if the dust settled we had two or three leagues with 20-24 teams.

Who wants this? How do you truly play a schedule in football and choose a champion when your teams will not play even half of their conference opponents? And if you are thinking that this would lead to a breakaway from the current NCAA model and a new playoff, so what? That breakaway is not as easy as you think with a new decade contract for a 12-team playoff- with a media deal still needing to be finalized.

But do we have respect for the history of these leagues and at least try to be balanced in crowning a real champion. Not every 16, 20 or 24 team league will have a simple first vs second place with the two best records. What happens when one team goes 9-0 in their league and four teams finish 8-1? And those four teams didn't all play each other and we are now going deep into tiebreakers that no one will understand or like.

And if you have a national playoff with 8, 12 or 16 teams, are you really going to have a conference playoff where teams play more than a title game? Again, what are we doing?

The greed game is not new and money will always rule college sports. But this is getting out of control. Once you get to 20 and 24 teams, it means someone will finish 23rd and more coaches will get fired and more schools will be buying out contracts and paying more for the next coach.

Part of a conference was schools had commonalities and fans connected geographically as well. You played everyone, or almost everyone in your league and there was a system to crown a champion. These days we do not have conferences, we have conventions. Now we will have teams get to a title game because of fewest defensive touchdowns allowed while not playing three of the four teams they are tied with. Stop the insanity despite it becoming the reality...

Nuggets: I said last week the Magic drafted Anthony Black because he is a good player but also because they know they have decisions looming over the point guards on their roster. Markell Fultz will be an unrestricted free agent next summer if he's not signed to a new deal and Cole Anthony will be a restricted free agent next summer. Jalen Suggs is two years into a career that is still waiting to show what the Magic thought they were getting when they made him the fifth pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The team will not have all four on the roster for the 2024-25 season. That would mean Fultz and Anthony got new deals that likely would total around $50M a year. Someone has to go and the question is when and who. Black is not going anywhere since he's on a rookie contract. Fultz played the best basketball of his career when he returned from injury last season and was a key reason the team played so well. Anthony more than handled his minutes when called into action but might be the most likely player to move. His contract is trade friendly with Black's arrival, but what is the market for him. We may find out in the coming weeks as the Magic are not expected to be players in free agency, but may be in the trade market as they look for a shooter and that's where Anthony may be used. But the more likely scenario is are the Magic open to the idea of moving Suggs to add shooting? That might be the question of the summer...The College World Series has been amazing with fantastic finishes and many one run games. The Gators put up 24 runs to get to a winner-take-all final game against LSU tonight. Two way star Jac Caglianone will pitch tonight and LSU ace Paul Skenes- who routinely throws over 100mph- might be available late out of the bullpen. Skenes started last Thursday for LSU and now has had three days of rest. Can you imagine him coming out of the pen in a one-run or tied game in the 8th or 9th tonight? Must watch TV...Any medical update on PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan?...Who will be the first college to cut a deal with a foreign sovereign wealth fund? Nothing would surprise me anymore including a school explaining the partnership with their newest collective partner...

Final note: It is believed the Egyptians invented Tic-Tac-Toe. However, their version differs from what we know the game to be today. The Egyptians used to toss pebbles or stones into squared spaces to try and get three in a row to win.

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