College Football: Why Conference Realignment Should Not End College Rivalries

As I sit here watching West Virginia and Pittsburgh play in the 104th "Backyard Brawl,"  the ESPN announcer crew keeps mentioning that tonight's matchup might be the last for the foreseeable future of a great rivalry.  Both Pittsburgh and West Virginia are soon to be leaving the Big East for the ACC and the Big 12, respectively. 

While I have my own feelings about conference realignment and its detriments to college football, the end of great college rivalries should not come to an end because of realignment. 

Just look at the coming weekends and some of the major nonconference rivalries.  Florida/Florida State, Georgia/Georgia Tech and Clemson/South Carolina are nonconference affairs that have great emotion behind these rivalries. 

Even on a smaller scale, all three Utah schools played each other this season even after BYU went independent and Utah moved to the Pac-12.  New Mexico State plays UTEP and New Mexico despite being in the WAC, where as UTEP is in Conference-USA and New Mexico is in the Mountain West.

Because of conference realignments a few great rivalries have been forgotten.  When Penn State was independent they had a great rivalry with in-state rival Pittsburgh.  Virginia Tech had an outstanding rivalry with West Virginia. 

But now both of these rivalries have fallen by the wayside and almost forgotten about.  This should not be the norm.

Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds has told Texas A&M that their schedule is full till 2018, according to ESPN.com.  In my opinion that is a bunch of BS and is grandstanding by Dodds. 

Football schedules are flexible and deals are made all the time.  Virginia Tech added Alabama in 2009 and Boise State in 2010 the year before these games.  So saying that the Texas Longhorns' football schedule cannot be tweaked to continue the Texas/Texas A&M rivalry is absurd. 

With schools continuing to position themselves for success in current or new conferences, one thing should come to mind for athletic directors.  If they really are doing what is best for their program and institution, maybe keeping a nonconference rivalry alive would be a good thing. 

But if you want to be upset at someone for ending rivalries just look in the mirror. It's on you as athletic directors to be diplomatic and not act like children. Then again some athletic directors act like history means nothing. 

So if Alabama left the SEC for another conference would Auburn stop playing them?  I highly doubt it.

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