IT'S BOWL SEASON and we know that everything concerning college sports these days is predicated on being aligned with a superconference.
The urgency to be a part of this aligning has brought a demise to the Big East as we know it, has swallowed up the Southwest Conference and the Big 8 and is threatening many other non-power conferences.
It has caused 12 teams to be in the Big Ten (the conference spells it out hoping we forget that 10 represents the number of members), and there are 10 teams in the Big 12 (kudos for using the numeral).
When it comes to football, the exodus, or, more accurately, the money grab, has put midwestern schools Louisville and Cincinnati in the Big East, Buffalo and UMass in the Mid-America Conference (of which Temple was a member until jumping to the now-crumbling Big East), Utah and Colorado in the Pac-12 (which used to be the Pac-8 and its teams were actually near the Pacific Ocean), Missouri and Texas A&M in the SEC, and Louisiana Tech, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State in the Western Athletic Conference.
But the strange associations are not limited to FBS schools.
In Division III, Southern Virgina University, a Mormon-run school of 729 students, will be playing in the New Jersey Athletic Conference in 2014. The NJAC already boasts three schools from New York and one from Connecticut. When Southern Va. gets to play at SUNY-Brockport, it better start with a full tank of gas and a hybrid vehicle. It's a 1,074-mile round trip.
If there's a league that's a frequent flier's dream, it's the Pioneer Football League. It consists of 10 members from eight different states - Indiana, Iowa, California, Florida, Ohio, New York, Kentucky and North Carolina. If and when San Diego plays Marist, one of the teams will be trekking 2,905 miles!
The point? Stop naming conferences that limit you by region, numbers, states or direction. Like the Pioneer League, which should be the Lewis and Clark League, there is no hint of origin. The associations might be just as ridiculous, but at least we won't be misled into thinking that San Diego and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., might be a viable rivalry.