Map of the day

College football talent by state.  No wonder the SEC is so damn good:

Graphic 2

The map is from this article about the state of college football, conference realignment, etc.  I’ve read a lot on the matter in recent days, and this is definitely my favorite take:

By the third quarter, the story had broken: Maryland and Rutgers, a pair of athletic programs with questionable finances and perpetually bland football traditions, were barreling headlong toward membership in the conflagration once known, in its earliest days, as the Western Conference. It was all about television markets, we were told, about “expanding reach,” about every damned MBA concept you could think of except the actual product, because I guess the assumption in the Big Ten offices is that the product will eventually catch up to the money being thrown at it…

Which is why it doesn’t really matter what we think about anything. Legends? Leaders?  [ed-- that's the absurd names for the BiG football divisions] What the hell’s the difference? All that matters is that we continue to show up.

Here’s the thing: They’ve got us, and they know they’ve got us. There are millions of Big Ten alumni — including me — fanned out across America, burdened with positive feeling toward our alma maters, loyal enough to vast state institutions that we show up a hundred thousand strong on Saturdays in Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania, and we bleed out an extra six dollars to the cable company in order to watch two or three football games a year and 18 hours a day of high-definition propaganda on the conference’s Riefenstahl-ian television network. The Big Ten’s only advantage over other conferences is its sheer scale, and now they’ve gotten even bigger, and the presumption, I suppose, is that we should somehow celebrate growth for growth’s sake…

Iam writing this on Monday afternoon, with the Big Ten Network muted in the background. There is a press conference taking place at the University of Maryland, and every time I turn up the sound someone is copping to a wholly cynical point of view. For both the Big Ten and a cash-strapped Maryland program, it is so completely about the money that no one can even lie effectively enough to cover it up. “It is not only about money,” says one Maryland official, and then he follows up immediately with: “Somebody has to pay the bills.”

And now Delany is talking about how he built up equity in the Rose Bowl, and about how Maryland provides “terrific demographics,” and I want nothing more than to turn the damned thing off and cancel my whole damned sports tier subscription. But this is my conference, this lumbering and fatuous and fabulously wealthy brontosaurus, and I have no choice but to keep paying in.

Yep.  As long as we keep paying to fill stadiums and $5/month (or whatever) for the Big10 Network, etc, and watching whatever they throw on ESPN, they’ve got us and they’ll keep trying to ruin college sports in the name of ever more money.  And we’re all guilty.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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