The NFL has a system that offers a chance to acquire talent on an equal basis through sharing revenue, a salary cap, a roster limit and a draft. Any imbalance that takes place is based on different levels of competence in scouting, coaching and money management under salary rules.
And, now more than ever in this era of increasing anti-defense rules, finding the right quarterback and maintaining his health.
In all levels of football below the highest, the power structure is predictable, and imbalance is often grotesque.
Four decades ago, I wrote a cluster of articles on the Big Two (Michigan and Ohio State) and the Little Eight in the Big Ten. And, football in this now-bloated organization still revolves around what’s taking place in Columbus, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Mich.
Nationally, what has taken place in the past decade — from the end of the Bowl Championship Series and to the current College Football Playoff — is astounding:
Alabama has won five of nine FBS championships since the 2009 season. ’Bama went into Saturday night rated No. 1 and as a 14½-point road favorite at No. 3 LSU. Huh?
The two main state college conferences in Minnesota — the Division II Northern Sun and the Division III MIAC — have such football imbalance it could lead to a breakup of the conferences.
Minnesota-Crookston, Mary and Minot State (to name three) don’t belong on a football field with NSIC powers. Carleton and Hamline (to name two) aren’t going to be able to take MIAC football beatings much longer.
There was only minor whining over St. Thomas’ dominant athletic program until Glenn Caruso arrived to build a football powerhouse. Now, a constant issue at conference meetings is what to do about the drubbings the Tommies (and St. John’s) can administer to much of the league at their choosing.
My theory on this imbalance: Football already is rugged and demanding; what’s the appeal of being out there for 60 plays and getting run over by a freight train? Meaning, many capable players would rather wait for the fourth quarter of blowouts to play for the Tommies than to be 3 miles away, starting for Hamline.
Read Reusse’s blog at startribune.com/patrick.
PLUS THREE FROM PATRICK
What might work, and what won’t:
NSIC: Take geography out of divisions. Put teams in two divisions in a two-year scheduling cycle based on prior results. Meaning MSU Mankato and UMD are going to play a conference game.
MIAC: Order Macalester back as 10th school. Play seven MIAC games weighted by standings; set up crossover arrangement (best vs. best) with WIAC in Wisconsin.
Non-answer: Whining if St. Thomas or teams playing Minnesota-Crookston don’t pull starters in first half is not a solution. Best players deserve to play two-thirds of any game.