The ACC raids the Big East, which ransacks Conference USA, which steals from the Mid-American and the Western Athletic, which pilfers from the Sun Belt. Down the conference food chain it goes, with schools making plans to jump from one league to another in a process that makes a farce of traditional conference allegiances.
The ACC started the latest round of realignment, or more accurately, cannibalization, when it persuaded Big East members Miami and Virginia Tech to switch conferences. Boston College eventually decided to jump as well, and the Big East is expected to invite C-USA members Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida to replace the defectors. Before long the makeup of some leagues will further defy logic (Louisiana-Lafayette in the Western Athletic Conference?), and only the most devoted fan will know—or care—which schools belong to which conference.
That hardly matters to school administrators, who are all trying to position their institutions for the biggest slice of the financial pie. Since that's the goal, it's time to eliminate the complicated maneuvering and cut to the chase. Regardless of conference affiliation, it's obvious which programs have the prestige and appeal to be worthy of the big-money BCS bowls and which do not. Why not merge the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Notre Dame and form the inevitable super conference, while the rest of the schools scramble for the leftover dollars? That's essentially what happens now, anyway.
THEY'RE NOT PRINCES
Sometimes, the computers are right. TCU, which beat Houston 62-55 last Saturday, is No. 12 in the BCS rankings. The 8-0 Horned Frogs not only have no realistic chance at the national championship but also even if they finish unbeaten are unlikely to qualify for a BCS bowl—which is as it should be.
Five of TCU's wins have come against teams with losing records, including a 13-10 escape against 1-7 Arizona. The Horned Frogs haven't played a ranked opponent this season, and their strength of schedule is ranked 99th. Their defense, which was supposed to be their strength, surrendered 684 total yards against Houston. It's little wonder that TCU coach Gary Patterson isn't complaining about the lack of attention his team has gotten. The Horned Frogs are probably better off if no one examines them too closely.
Stanford's quarterback situation has become a thorny issue for coach Buddy Teevens. Some of the older players grumbled quietly when senior Chris Lewis lost the starting job in Week 2 to redshirt freshman Trent Edwards. Former Cardinal wide receiver Teyo Johnson, now a rookie tight end with the Oakland Raiders, spoke for some of his ex-teammates when he criticized the decision after Stanford's 24-14 loss on Oct. 18 to Washington State. "If [ Lewis] doesn't start, it's politics plain and simple," said Johnson.
Lewis did start in the Cardinal's 35-0 loss to Oregon last Saturday, but Edwards was unavailable with a sprained right shoulder. It's unclear exactly who Stanford's No. I quarterback is, but what is clear is that under Teevens, Edwards seems to have made little progress and Lewis has regressed. Stanford, 2-4 this season, is 4-13 overall under Teevens. Edwards, who will be the undisputed starter next season, will have the next three years to improve. Teevens won't be given nearly as much time.