Missouri in the SEC?
Maryland in the Big 10?
Houston in the… BIG EAST?
Better yet, TULANE to the Big East?
A Texas-TCU game… on Thanksgiving?
College football is essentially a parade of post-graduate women who, mired in long-term relationships that their friends and family deem steady, suddenly find the need to “break free” and “find themselves.”
Let’s take the easiest possible example: Texas A&M.
For over 100 years the Aggies played in a conference where they had natural rivals, and one large rival (who could possibly be the more successful boyfriend) looming large over them. While many cite the advent of the Longhorn Network (maybe the boyfriend got a promotion, or his shiny new toy was too much for this blue collar-esque girl) as the reason for the breakup, it was essentially anger and frustration built over time, with the girlfriend finally looking for a reason to get out what was a seemingly successful relationship.
The girl, fresh off her breakup, now looks to date men who bring similar backgrounds (passionate, virulent fanbases) and welcome a new, fresh type of woman (the state of Texas, for recruiting) who more fit the background of males she looks for. This is a relationship that actually makes sense, even if the Aggies lost their biggest rival.
What about the girl who was every boy’s preschool crush during snack time, who struggled with self-image problems for the better part of her adolescent life, who slowly and quietly bounced from boy to boy to boy, while building her assets from looking like Roseanne Barr to Sofia Vergara? The girl everyone thought had finally found “the one” until HER dream guy came along, who had been keeping an eye on her dating profile for 15 years since he last spurned her?
That’s TCU, who bounced from the now-dead WAC, to Conference USA, to the Mountain West (keep in mind, Fort Worth is neither mountainous nor “west” of Texas) to the Big East (the original “one”) to finally landing in the Big 12.
A program that was hot in the 1930s and 1940s, that struggled for more than fifty years after being left out of the new Big 12 conference in 1996…until LaDanian Tomlinson, Dennis Franchione, and his defensive coordinator Gary Patterson came along to turn the program from the “it’s 4 AM, I’ve been drunk for 5 days from the Jimmy Buffet concert, and this tub of lard looks nice” girl to the “Hey, how would you like to wear your little black dress to my companies charity ball at the Ritz-Carlton” girl.
TCU is the comeback story, the little girl that could. The girl who everyone looks at and goes “It couldn’t have happened to a better girl, even though your parents are ungodly rich.” TCU is another example of a woman trying to find herself, where the end result actually makes sense.
On the other hand, there are two girls in the group whose attempts to “find themselves” leaves their parents, their ex-boyfriends, and friends to shake their collective heads.
Maryland, the girl, while decent in one particular aspect of her life, was always jealous of her two other friends (Duke and North Carolina) who, except for THAT ONE TIME, achieved more in the success department. The girl, who eschewed common sense for… money? That girl who had that same, steady boyfriend, who then left him at the altar. WHY DID SHE DO IT?
“Well, I had been thinking about this for a long time.” Who did she tell? And why did she suddenly go from the All-American boy, who was a family friend, and who she never fought with, to the boy whose popularity peaked in high school, who is trying to remain relevant by promising shiny new toys to his other girls?
The same goes for Rutgers, the delightfully average girl, who always promised rides on her parents’ sailboat (New York TV market), whose parents never actually had that sailboat. The girl who is never happy, who brings men to her because of the idea of the sailboat (capturing the New York market) , but doesn’t offer much beyond that. The girl, who people don’t mind sleeping with because well, HER DAD HAS A SAILBOAT, and who gets what she wants… without ever deserving it. She will never fail to remind you on a date though, that her dad really does have a sailboat.
The greatest part about a person’s (or in this case, a team) path to self-discovery and fulfillment is that it’s always changing.
So who knows, by the end of Maryland’s path to conference enlightenment, it could find itself in a conference with Oregon just due to the fact that both schools share the same appreciation for ridiculous uniform combinations.
Stay tuned for the next episode of the Real Housewives of Football.