Programs

Do programs like Vanderbilt football belong to the era of “superconferences”?

After the surprising defection announced last summer from OU and Texas to the SEC and the imminent departure of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten, many college football pundits are ready to name the next era. of college football as “the era of the two superconferences. ”

The Sooners and Longhorns appear not to officially leave the Big 12 until 2025 due to a media rights deal, while the Trojans and Bruins are expected to officially leave the Pac-12 by 2024.

This makes a lot of sense in theory. Two conferences are quickly engulfing college football’s most famous programs. The SEC and the Big Ten take care of high-prestige football teams that have the biggest fanbases, the highest brand value, and the best TV/streaming ratings.

With the upcoming additions, the two leagues will each have 16 teams. College football has not seen a single entity with so many member institutions since the WAC days of the 1990s.

Although Vanderbilt football has been in the SEC for 90 years, the Commodores do not belong to one of two new emerging “superconferences” in college football.

A bipolar power structure in college football has indeed resulted in two superconferences in the making (and likely not yet finished) — but there are a few key assumptions many are making about these two leagues.

Why does Vanderbilt football automatically have a seat at the table in either of these two superconferences? Do the Commodores really sound like one of the 32 strongest programs in NCAA Division I FBS football, which will have a total of 133 members by next year?

This question does not only apply to Vanderbilt. Should Missouri feel 100% safe in its relatively new SEC home? Despite the mythical attachment to media market numbers, should Rutgers, Illinois and Maryland assume that they will forever be members of a mighty Big Ten?

It’s clear that football teams are driving the latest frantic cycle of realignment among the nation’s top college sports programs. Is that entirely true, though, if teams like Vanderbilt are included?

Football Vanderbilt is a founding member of the SEC, dating back to 1933. In addition to nine other current SEC members, these founding schools included Sewanee (now D-III), Tulane, and Georgia Tech.

The Commodores haven’t had a winning season since 2013, and over the past three seasons combined, they’ve compiled a 5-28 win-loss record. Vanderbilt’s conference futility extends far beyond that, though: He’s only posted a winning record against SEC haters three times since 1949.

Vandy has only spent time as an AP Top 25 ranked team in four separate seasons since 1958. It’s a large private research institution with a nice campus in Nashville, but it’s not a “movement and restlessness” in terms of the grid.

Everyone knows that the landscape of college football is changing drastically at the present time of NIL offers for student-athletes and open transfer portal. It looks like two superconferences are forming in opposite corners and three or four ACC teams are going to force their way out and join one of those conferences.

Additions to these superconferences are driven by large fanbases, incredible financial support, and the likelihood of bringing attention to the league – primarily through football.

It makes no sense for this new power structure to include a football program like Vanderbilt’s at the expense of much more accomplished teams like Oregon, Washington and Utah, three members of the Pac-12 who are suddenly outside.

If the SEC and the Big Ten really do become the exclusive “superconferences” that many fear they will be (and come with the question of whether they will challenge the NCAA), it’s hard to see that designation extended to a football team like Vanderbilt. .