Alabama Football: Three conference ‘Alliance’ idea is to buffer SEC

Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football fans can watch recent developments from the B1G, the ACC and the Pac 12 with interest but without concern. Whatever ‘Alliance’ may evolve will not threaten the SEC. What is good for the SEC is good for Alabama Football and vice versa. The rest of college football must scramble to keep up.

The possible alliance between the three formerly Power Five conferences is about scheduling more high-profile matchups and reaping more future media deal dollars. ‘Formerly’ in the preceding sentence was used because current trends indicate the future will be a Power Four group of conferences. In the Power Four will be 60, some-odd teams that can decide to rebuild the upper tier of college football to best suit their needs.

The eight Big 12 teams jilted by Oklahoma and Texas may be able to expand the size of the Big 12. That rebuild will almost assuredly require what are now Group of Five teams. The Big 12 name may or may not survive. Whatever it is called, it will not be a Power Five conference.

Realignment is not just about dollars. It is also about power to gain the most expanded Playoff opportunities and to control the destinies of the upper-tier programs in the potential Power Four structure.

Will such changes slow or quicken the diminishing control of the NCAA? Elite college football programs possibly exiting the NCAA is a real possibility. On Saturday, Dennis Dodd provided a detailed look into what college football’s near future may hold for a new ‘Power Four.’

"Maybe separation was bound to occur given college athletics’ gravitational forces orbiting around monstrous amounts of cash, but the swiftness with which it could happen this time has some heads spinning."

The crux for the top eight to twelve programs in the B1G, the ACC and the Pac 12 is not to be left behind by an ascending SEC. Those programs may be forced to act quickly. Dodd made a powerful example of how much power the expanded SEC could flex.

"If the SEC was to increase its annual scholarship limits from 25 to 35, the other three would have to do the same to keep up.The four power conferences could then agree to a common set of playing and eligibility rules"

Yes, the other three of the Power Four ‘could’ agree to model the SEC, but in actuality, they would have little choice. They would have to adapt or lose ground. Following the SEC’s lead would come easily to programs like Ohio State, Clemson, Penn State, Michigan, Southern Cal and a few others. Their interests are consistent with the interests of the top SEC programs.

How would this affect the Playoffs and impact Alabama Football?

Most likely the current 12-team format will be adjusted to the Power Four probability. Group of Five slots in the expanded Playoff might not go away but would probably be limited. Assuming two Playoff slots are allocated for the highest-ranked Group of Five teams, will a new Big Four be content with 10 Playoff slots? Or, could there be an abrupt move to separate Power Four and Group of Five championships? The pace of restructuring the Playoffs may slow while realignments and alliances are worked out.

Next. Fun facts from the 2020 season. dark

Thanks to Alabama Football and the SEC’s Greg Sankey, the SEC will remain in a strong position whatever transpires in the rest of college football.