While he’s now moved into an ambassador role for the Florida Gators, he still comes out to give his opinion on changes when asked. This week, Spurrier was heard dishing on the recent conference realignment that’s sent shockwaves throughout college sports.
College football is finally upon us with Week 0 kicking off the season. We saw Notre Dame roll Navy in Dublin. USC was able to pick up a win over San Jose State behind Heisman winner Caleb Williams. Vanderbilt and Hawaii gave fans some entertainment in a 35-28 Commodore victory.
The opening weekend officially put a close to the offseason, which has been full of change.
We’ve seen rule changes set into motion, which fans finally got to see played out on the field, though not many were thrilled with the adjustments after Week 0 wrapped up.
We also saw a whirlwind of conference realignment moves as teams jump from league to league in pursuit of media money.
The PAC 12 was hit hardest with eight of its current members planning to be out of the conference by 2024. The Big XII and Big Ten were the biggest winners, feasting on those West Coast departures to further bolster their own leagues.
There are certainly pros for the universities hopping to new homes. Most notably, the yearly payout from television rights agreements, which differ from conference to conference.
The cons may be more noticeable to college sports fans, however, as we could lose some of the historic rivalries and storied leagues we’ve grown accustomed to watching.
It could also prove detrimental to non-revenue sports teams, who don’t have the luxury of private flights and one contest a week.
Steve Spurrier was recently asked about the realignment, giving his thoughts on the movement.
Spurrier doesn’t think realignment is “real smart.”
The former Florida and South Carolina leader had the following to say on the conference hopping when talking with Chris Will of Inside the Gators.
“I don’t think it’s real smart. It’s all about money and so forth. If they continue to play their in-state rivals and all that, it might make a little more sense.”
He went further to say that conference realignment should be limited to football to ensure sports like baseball and softball aren’t negatively affected by the drastic changes in travel.
“If Arizona and Arizona State want to go with the Big XII, just go with football, and leave all the other sports to play the people close by. I wish they would do that and that would keep it a little more in the common sense area than travelling clear across the country for a tennis match or a swim meet… I don’t like it, but it’s the way it is right now.”
The opinion echoed that of UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, whose Bruins somewhat sparked the exodus within the PAC 12.
Realignment talks might be put on hold now that the season is under way, but they’ll be sure to arise in the future. College football fans should cherish this 2023 campaign as it will be the last “normal” season we see.
Changes are expected to take place in 2024, so enjoy the rivalries and tradition while you can.