By Ed Daniels, Sports
I hear it, again.
You know, the idea that college football, with the current model that includes transfer portal and name, image and likeness (NIL), is in big trouble.
“It’s not the same anymore,” an avid fan told a reporter.
That’s right, that’s not the case. It’s called change.
And, college football is going to change again. There will be even more conference realignment and, starting in the 2026 season, an expanded college football playoff.
Surviving conferences will add more teams and revenue.
And, gaming will continue to be what it is, and always will be, especially in the South: that is, a passion.
In a recent interview session at Manning Passing Academy, the change in college football was all over the room.
Myles Brennan, who will compete for the starting job at LSU this month, and entered the transfer portal, to remove his name, was seated across from former LSU quarterback Max Johnson, who was transferred to Texas A&M.
A few chairs behind Johnson was South Carolina transfer quarterback Spencer Rattler, who was the preseason favorite for the 2021 Heisman Award at the University of Oklahoma.
Rattler eventually lost his job to real freshman Caleb Williams, who later transferred to USC when Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley accepted that job and a contract that earns him $10 million per season.
In the same room were several individuals who seemed to be real outliers.
Nicholls quarterback Kohen Granier, who led the Destrehan Wildcats to the Class 5A Finals in 2015, is the club’s leader to be the starter in 2022.
At the front of the room was Eli Manning, who spent five years at Ole Miss, redshirting his real freshman season in 1999.
Close by was his brother Peyton, who returned to the University of Tennessee for his senior season.
All three seemed like talented relics from another era.
In 2011, Nick Saban was college football’s highest-paid coach at just under $6 million per season. Saban was the only one of the 10 highest paid coaches in college football that season to always coach the same team.
In 1991, the headline in the Los Angeles Times announced that Arkansas was leaving the Southwestern Conference for the SEC. Speculation, at the time, was widespread that other schools, including Texas A&M, would also leave.
Twenty years later, the Aggies announced that they were effectively leaving the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference.
Fans on both sides mourned the loss of a great rivalry with Texas. The Aggies are so possessed by the Longhorns that the lyrics to their fight songs include “Goodbye to the University of Texas, so long to the Orange and the White”.
Not anymore. By 2025 at the latest, the Aggies and Horns will be in the same league again.
Last November, LSU did the unthinkable. He hired the football coach from the University of Notre Dame.
“I want to be in the American League East,” Brian Kelly said.
The Golden Domers creaked everywhere. But, that’s the change.
This summer, USC and UCLA announced they were heading to the Big 10. It was yet another college football apocalyptic event.
Last Saturday at the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame’s annual awards, a reporter asked Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Jeff Hundley how tickets were selling for the Florida State vs. LSU game at the Superdome on Sept. 4. Each school received an allocation of 30,000 tickets, Hundley said.
“The State of Florida sold theirs,” Hundley said. “And, LSU is close.”
Rumors of college football’s impending demise appear to be greatly exaggerated.
Ed Daniels is athletic director at ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at [email protected]