Grading the Week: CU Buffs football just became less relevant, but Joel Klatt is here to assure us that’s just fine
Last week, former CU Buffs quarterback Joel Klatt’s alma mater became less relevant in college athletics.
This week, current FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt assured us that was a positive development for college football.
Joel Klatt — F
Yes, to the Grading the Week staff’s surprise, the leading voice for the television network that encouraged USC and UCLA to stick a knife in the backs of its Pac-12 brethren for a bag of Big Ten cash is convinced everything is going to work out for the better.
“I personally believe that we are headed, and it might take some time, but we are headed into a direction that the sport will be much better as a whole,” Klatt told BuffZone.com this week while addressing the current conference upheaval that has put CU athletics’ future in doubt.
“In my mind, I still believe that at the end of all this, it’s going to be better. … College football will be better.”
Don’t worry about CU being left behind or CSU’s dream of joining the big boys dying along with it. Shed no tears over the loss of rivalries like CU-Nebraska (already dead), Washington-Washington State (on life support) or Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (two years until it’s DOA).
And the further destruction of the regional charm that once defined college football fandom? No biggie.
Why? Because we’ll get to see USC and UCLA play Michigan and Ohio State more often. And that’s just great for college football — as defined by the TV networks that control it.
“The reality is that college football for a long time has been too big,” Klatt told BuffZone.com. “No one wants to hear that and I understand that that’s sad for some people and that makes them upset but that’s the reality. You can’t subsidize this many athletic departments without the ones that are doing the subsidizing just at some point saying, ‘Hey, listen, we’ve got to go and take care of ourselves.’ That’s kind of what’s going on now.”
It’s so true.
The days of Illinois, Purdue and Missouri carrying water for the Colorados, Oregons and Washingtons of the world has come to an end. It’s not Rutgers’ job to prop up Utah. And why should Mississippi State, Vanderbilt or South Carolina allow their valuable brands to be drained by the athletic departments of Kansas or Baylor?
The Ayn Rand objectivist fever dream that currently defines modern college athletics isn’t a symptom of a broken system desperately scrambling for survival in any form. This is just the natural progression of things — especially after a TV executive whispers sweet nothings into a few blue bloods’ ears.
Northwestern doesn’t fill half its stadium with fans of the visiting team — while leaving the other half only slightly filled — because it’s the Stanford of the Midwest. No, that’s just the Wildcats being accommodating.
Speaking of accommodations, we have no doubt that the Big Ten and SEC will make every effort to provide room for the lesser conferences when college football playoff expansion is decided in the coming years.
With an overwhelming majority of the sport’s big brands within their considerable footprints — and assuredly more on the way — they might only demand eight of the 12 spots available in the new bracket.
Because if there’s anything we’ve learned over the last two summers, it’s that the Big Ten (FOX) and SEC (ESPN) are always looking out for what’s best for college football.