This article is written by mkocs6 from Wagers and Lagers. Matt has been nice enough to share his work with us. So, in honor of this rivalry football weekend, here goes:
The Powderkeg, or How Europe in 1914 Explains College Football
The SEC is Germany, a rising continental power, scarily efficient and guided by a militaristic malaise all have begun to sense and defined by an inferiority complex due to defeats long forgotten by the rest of the conferences. The Big Ten is France, whose persuasive powers are in decline but whose influence remains significant even as it adds basically useless crap to its domain to expand its already absurd television revenues; furthermore, it recognized the SEC as the enemy earlier than the other conferences when the Southeastern Conference declared itself an empire at the Hall of Mirrors at Versai...er, I mean, won their first National Championship Game against Ohio State in 2007. Notre Dame is England, a traditional enemy of the Big Ten who with its gigantic, East Coast and urban empire financed by NBC capital, refuses to admit that its basic goals now align with the Big Ten, persisting in exclusively pursuing its own interests. Those are the truly great, modern powers.
The rest are of considerable importance, but their bases remain more localized. The Big 12 is Austria-Hungary, a once-promising interior power with ancient roots, which had great potential as a confederation of the Big 8 and SWC. Now, it has been overtaken by internal discord and mistrust, as privileged Texas and Oklahoma rule over subject schools after they were defeated by the SEC in their bid for mastery in the 2000s. Tamed, the Big 12 recently entered a partnership with the SEC. The Big East is the Ottoman Empire: now truly 'The Sick Man of College Football,' formerly propped up by the promise of Notre Dame, its glittering possessions have gradually been taken by force by other conferences to the point that its prestige has vanished and its power is only a husk. The Pac-12 is Russia, an unsteady giant on the periphery who has also aspired to be a modern power but is late to the television revenue game and remains culturally distinct from the SEC, Big Ten, and Notre Dame. Only a few understand the Pac-12, which is ruled by a powerful commissioner and has been drawn into defensive alliance with the Big Ten due to the dangers posed by the SEC and Big 12. The ACC is Italy, long an aspiring power recently courted by Notre Dame because it offers geographical advantages and cultural qualities, but perhaps most importantly because it will not force Notre Dame to tie itself entirely to the fate of the Big Ten. The ACC always tries to flex what muscles it has but is ultimately limited by a lack of industrial resou...er, non-basketball schools.
Eventually, someone--probably in 2014 and from the Balkans, populated by the increasingly confident mid-major/non-AQ schools--is going to do something which causes the whole thing to blow up, when a midmajor and the dynamic, subject schools of the Big 12 make common cause and hope to gain a greater share of television revenue and leave the oversight of Texas and Oklahoma. The Pac-12, hoping to annex some of these schools, will support them, prompting the Big 12 to ask the SEC for support. After offering the Big 12 a 'blank check,' the Big Ten will sense that it is finally the moment to settle old scores with the SEC, declaring its support for the Pac-12. At this time, Notre Dame will finally recognize that it must side with the Big Ten to in order to prevent SEC hegemony for the foreseeable future. Three years of useless fighting ensues, prompting a 2017 intervention by Congress, or the United States, who will not resolve but will take credit for the conclusion of the chaos while assuming a dominant role in the settlement of the dispute in 2018 and 2019.
The American arbiter, believing it represents fairness and impartiality even though it understands neither the stakes nor the nature of the struggle, will ultimately will favor the interests of the Big Ten and Notre Dame. It will also conclude, rightly or wrongly, that the SEC caused the entire fiasco, and will agree to give Alabama and Florida the Death Penalty, to ban LSU and Georgia from bowl games for two seasons, and to place the rest of the SEC on double-secret probation. Congress will also dissolve the Big East and the Big 12, and finally award Missouri to the Big Ten. The fight and its outcome leave everyone embittered and transform the culture and government of the sport in such a way that nobody truly walks away happy, while the United States government is the primary economic and political beneficiary of the upheaval. The lot of the working class, or the players, will begin to improve, if only slightly, as the Lost Generation, or the fans, wonder what all the fuss was about and try to make peace with the senseless, new world they inhabit.