If a college football fan was to come out of a coma after 15 years right now, they wouldn’t recognize the sport we see on Saturdays in 2023.
Rules changes, uniforms, and technology aside, the structure of college football has been turned on its head with conference realignment and will continue to do so next summer.
Cal and Stanford will be in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) despite being located in a state that borders the Pacific. USC and UCLA will have conference games against Rutgers, Minnesota, and Penn State.
While the majority of us don’t like where things are headed in terms of geography in college football, it does feel nice to know that there might be some sort of finality to this wave of realignment, at least for the time being. However, it’s not unreasonable to expect more changes to come down the pike at some point.
Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham is one of the longest-tenured head coaches in college football and has seen a lot of things since taking over the program in 2005. While he will lead the Utes into the Big 12 in 2024, he doesn’t seem to think that things will stay that way for very long.
When asked about the nostalgia of playing Pac-12 teams for the final time, Whittingham seemed to suggest that there were more changes coming at some point, as he did last month.
“Football has changed so much,” Whittingham told the media. “We went years and years and years with very little change at all and now its complete upheaval and I can tell you right now, we’ll play UCLA again down the road because it’s going to change again. There’s gonna be a massive shift and I think UCLA and Utah will probably end up in the same situation, in a good situation.
“So, yeah temporarily, it will be a few years before we play again, but I think with the changes on the horizon, it’ll be, at some point back, together again.”
Now, this comment has caused plenty of rift on Twitter, as all things do, but it does make you wonder what he’s hinting at here.
Does Utah believe that they’re headed to the Big Ten at some point? Or, does Whittingham just believe that geography will play a factor at some point in conferences resetting down the road?
Who knows, but it’s not wild to suggest that things will change again in the 2030s when the conference’s grants of rights start to expire once again.