Clearly the game has changed.
Or maybe the playing field has tilted so much that it is hard to see the future.
With all eyes on the power conferences playing musical chairs, the are lots of questions concerning the rest of college football.
The bigs keep getting bigger as schools from Los Angeles have singed up to join the Big Ten. It was a counterpunch to the Southeastern Conference getting Texas and Oklahoma.
More change will come as the top two conferences battle for supremacy not only on the gridiron but on the television sets of America.
That is where the real money fight is taking place as ESPN and its puppet the SEC, battle Fox Sports and the Big Ten.
Last year the SEC distributed $54.6 million to each of its member schools in 2021 and the Big Ten $46.1 million.
As for the Football Championship Subdivision, which McNeese State plays in, there are even bigger questions. Here is a look at five of them.
1. Will FCS survive?
Yes, but nobody will be able to tell you what it will look like. The changes decided above will have an impact on those below, no question.
FCS has struggled to keep a national interest going to begin with as the bigger level has taken all the energy and run with it. A larger playoff in the highest division will make for tougher competition for viewers.
There are some who believe a good portion of the FCS schools will move into a second division with current Football Bowl Subdivision mid-majors that are left behind by the power conferences that remain.
That could lead to more regional conferences as programs try to find the dollars to compete. Local games could mean larger crowds and definitely less travel costs.
“Our athletic program doesn’t have a cost problem, it has a revenue problem,” McNeese State President Dr. Daryl Burkel has said.
Closer games against regional rivals could help that.
2. Will conferences change?
Since they are already changing, it is likely realignment will only grow with the next set of moves on the FCS level.
Look at the Southland Conference alone. It was left for dead last year and by 2024 will have eight football-playing teams eligible for the postseason unless more join.
Meanwhile, the Western Athletic Conference, which was on the rise last summer, will be down to three playoff-eligible teams by 2023. Help is coming to the league in the years after, but that is if all things stay the same.
Nobody is willing to put money on that. So yes, the conferences will change. It should also be noted that this year three programs are moving up to FCS from Division II while three are also going from FCS to FBS.
3. Can FCS compete for players with NIL money?
No. The name, image and likeness cash will continue to flow to big schools that get much more exposure. That’s the name of the game.
Those paying players NIL money are investing in those athletes to make sure they get the most for their bucks. Streaming games don’t get the eyeballs network television contests do.
In terms of advertising dollars it would be comparing prime time to early morning audiences.
4. Will FCS become the minor leagues to super conferences?
This is totally possible. With the NCAA transfer portal in place, players can easily move from one school to the next and up the ladder.
Schools like McNeese can easily invest two years in a player only to see them leave for a power program once they get better. Players are going to do what is in their best interests.
However, there will still be those coming down in search of more playing time. That has been and will remain the case.
Lost in a lot of this is the freshmen who will be overlooked for the quick fix. They might be the ones who lose the most.
5. Will money games remain?
This is the biggest of questions for those trying to balance the books on the FCS level.
If the power coaches have their way, yes. If the networks and fans have their way, no. You can’t sell these games for the same amount as big ones and networks are shelling out big money in hopes of larger returns.
This is an investment and the networks want their returns.
For starters, the games will stay, but slowly the pressure will come for big made-for-TV games that will pay the bills.
And that is when whatever level ends up below the power boys, like FCS, will scramble to survive.