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Conference Realignment Is Killing College Sports

The Pac-12 is all but officially dead. Arizona is headed to the Big 12 — and seems hellbent to drag Arizona State kicking and screaming along with it — Washington and Oregon seem destined for the Big Ten and Colorado has already left. That leaves a handful of schools like Washington State and Oregon State essentially left for dead. Best of luck in the Mountain West, fellas.

Now Arizona will leave the Pac-12 for the greener pastures of Ames, Iowa, and Morgantown, West Virginia, while Oregon and Washington make their long-awaited trips to College Park, Maryland. Who knows the next time we'll see another Apple Cup or Civil War game after this year, but getting to see Oregon-Rutgers at the end of the season will make it all worth it.

The Washington State fan who wrote that Reddit post nailed it: we are creating a watered-down, shitty version of the NFL because ESPN and FOX are handing out blank checks to the "big schools" while the others are left to flounder and eventually die. And if and when that happens, great, because that's even less competition for the nationalized version of college football we now have.

I know I'm in the minority on this, but the NFL has never done it for me. There are 16 games every week instead of 60. The biggest upset you could possibly see is a 14-point underdog winning. There's no pageantry. No 1930s cars or live buffaloes leading the teams onto the field. The rivalries, to whatever extent they exist at all, pale in comparison to any one of dozens in college football.

Now we're losing a lot of that so FOX can have USC-Ohio State and Oregon-Michigan on a Saturday afternoon. And I don't blame FOX or ESPN for acting in their best interests. Everyone will be raking in cash when major collegiate athletics is left with three 24-team conferences. I blame the decision makers at the schools and league offices who are willing to throw away everything that has made their product successful and popular for 50 years to get another payday at the expense of the athletes and fans.

There's nothing that could ever make me stop loving or watching college football. But I think it's incredibly sad that there will be generations of kids who know the sport as nothing more than a worse version of the NFL with teams in cross-country conferences vying for 12 playoff spots — the bowls will soon go by the wayside, too, but that's a different conversation.

Your dad's college football has long been dead, but now yours is on life support.