Stick your conference pride where the sun don’t shine

Tennessee fans

There are 35 college football bowl games being played this year. It seems odd to me that there are so many games, given that only a handful of teams are playing.

We saw Pac-12 and Big 12 square off in Phoenix last night. Big 12 is getting a workout, as it has another game tonight in Dallas against SEC. It marks the beginning of a stretch of three games in four days for SEC, which has to be up and at ‘em for an early kickoff Saturday morning in Birmingham against Big East, the second game between the two in less than a week. Then, SEC has to be off to Miami to play for the national championship on Monday night.

Yeah, yeah — supposedly there are actual schools being represented in these games. You wouldn’t know it based off of what gets yelled at you when you turn on ESPN or click on your favorite blog these days.

Conference pride has always been woven into the fabric of college football. Today, however, it has hijacked the sport. It’s farcical enough that we as fans derive some sense of achievement from something we watch on television turning out the way that we hoped. Now, everyone takes pride in the achievements of some loose conglomeration of institutions tied together by TV markets, good ol’ boy politicking and taste for fried foods.

We now live in a college football world where what an individual team does only counts in so far as the company it keeps. Clemson winning a thriller over LSU gets co-opted as a mark on the plus side of the ledger for the ACC. The SEC is overrated because Florida lost to Louisville. Conference pride is on the line in the Cotton Bowl.

Honestly, have we all become so pathetically insecure that we need to bask in the reflected glory of rivals that we’re supposed to despise?

Screw. That.

As an Oklahoma fan, the day when my second-favorite team can’t be the University of Whoever’s Playing Texas will be the day I quit watching.