How a batch of ‘next generation’ ads have turned into power brokers in college football, shaping the future of the game

Chris Del Conte has long been the leader of a close-knit circle of sports filmmakers’ friends, if only for volume. At one point, they were all traveling professional climbers with ideas on how to reshape athletics in college.

They’re aging in their fifties now and they’ve only solidified their influence. In the past, the think tank for emerging thinkers consisted of seven advertisements and current influencers: Del Conte (Texas), Greg Byrne (Alabama), Scott Stricklin (Florida), Ross Bjork (Texas A&M), Wyatt Babcock (Virginia Tech), John Corey (Wake Forest) and Greg McGarrity (Gator Bowl CEO). Others scattered at home and abroad, but that only added to their vision for the future.

“Does the group have a name? I think Corey called it the ‘next generation,’” Del Conte said this week as Texans prepare to face #1 ranked Alabama. Now, we are approaching the “Older General”. Now, we’re near the end of the old bastards’ tail. But we started out as young bastards. “

If Del Conte isn’t the most attractive person on the set, he certainly stands as her unofficial historian.

“Our group came up with a lot of crazy ideas that are now paying off,” Del Conte added. “We were a group of guys. We became friends.”

A few years ago, these “bastards” began to see the future. The College Football Playoff expansion, reorganization, guerrilla marketing and mega-games featured, and the illustrious example (Alabama vs. Texas) are in our midst this week.

It is a direct extension of Texas and Oklahoma Migration from the Big 12 to the SEC in 2025 (at the latest). It is an occasional reaction to the expansion of the supplement. Which is why we see a lot of these high-profile games. This was confirmed last week when the CFP Board of Directors (university presidents) approved a 12-team playoff as soon as possible in 2024.

“The moves, the qualifiers and where we were headed all came out of those same conversations,” Del Conte said. “No one knows exactly what will happen, but we were just trying to anticipate what might happen and put ourselves in the best position to be successful.”

Del Conte, 54, arrived in Texas from TCU In 2017. It occurred to him that the Longhorns were either playing their traditional rivals in neutral spots or not playing at all. Oklahoma game in Dallas. Nebraska He long ago went to the Big Ten (actually Because Texas). Texas A&M He left for the SEC for the same reason, if you ask the Aggies.

Rivalry with the Old Southwest Conference Arkansas – Last played in Austin, Texas, in 2008 – Renewed for 2014 in Houston and last year in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

It all directly affected Del Conte, who is responsible for one of the two largest sports budgets in the country. He had to find a way to constantly fill his playing field. In return, it will help fund his other sports.

Not without perhaps a change of conferences. Not without adding a Joe Woodstock before the games.

Not without a tax exemption. In 2017, a tax reform bill removed the deductions ticket buyers had enjoyed for years.

“I guess we were all worried that people wouldn’t do it [donate as boosters] Because of the tax situation,” McGarrity said, previously Georgia AD from 2010-20.

There was, then, congressional convergence, final expansion, and willing scheduling partners that went with the reorganization. The next generation saw that one day, the four-team class would expand. They saw in the future that a record 10-2 – even 9-3 – would be good enough to get in. (Proverbs Utah He could have joined a 12-team stadium last season at 10-3.)

The force table was only becoming more important, which makes it a huge consideration in alignment. It is not only about playing better teams but also playing them more frequently. The Securities and Exchange Commission is growing to 16 teams. In 2021, Alabama played in Florida for the first time in a decade. Georgia has still not visited Texas A&M despite the team joining the league in 2012.

With 16 teams, SEC officials are doing their best to come up with a scheduling model that would allow teams to play each other at home and away within a four-year period. If not, what’s the point of adding two of the country’s biggest sports brands?

Three times in the past decade, the SEC has secured a national championship before playing the title match: 2011, 2017, and 2021.

Between 2020 and 33, Georgia made a conscious decision in their schedule to play 13 non-conference games against the Power Fives and Notre Dame.

The likes of Florida, Georgia, Texas and Alabama from that next-generation group were not only able to afford the scheduling, but the future imposed on them. Stricklin, 52, came into media relations before he became Mississippi Milady in 2010 and joined Florida in 2016. Byrne, 50, preceded Stricklin in Mississippi and has been in Alabama since 2017. Björk, 49, was in Ole Miss by Texas A&M. Corey, 49, was in Kansas State And the Tennessee by Wake Forest.

They all know, in the extended playoffs, that a 10-2 team that advances in play without a conference looked a lot better than a 10-2 team playing three or four sacks around the conference table.

Three or four years ago, Del Conte says, a group of next-generation peers got together Arming their schedules. Texas added Florida and Alabama LSU Georgia is in the tables until 2030.

In the span of four months from February 2019 to May 2019, eight national non-conference games were announced. All but one of them are scheduled after 2025. Feel free to connect the dots. CFP’s current contract with ESPN expires after that season.

“I spoke to the coach [Nick] Bayern Saban said. He and I have been on the same page about trying to create some of these [games]. Texas [in 2022-23] And Notre Dame [in 2029-30] They were the first two we announced.”

Alabama also has home and away games until 2035 with WisconsinAnd the FloridaAnd the West VirginiaAnd the Ohio StateAnd the OklahomaOklahoma and Boston College.

Combine that with the supposed table strength advantage that the SEC already has by playing its league roster. This is not a competitive imbalance in realignment, it’s one league orbiting the moon and others catching up with a public bus.

When the opportunity for the Texas Securities and Exchange Commission came, there was really no decision to be made. The school shared that concern about its regular game schedule against Bama, LSU, Florida, Tennessee, and, yes, rival Texas A&M. Previously scheduled non-conference matches against SEC opponents will be incorporated into future conference schedules.

Don’t shed a tear over Texas this week. It has the best of everything, including a place to drop in when you start playing musical chairs to reorganize again. It should have its notable impact on Nebraska and Texas A&M (at least) leaving the 12 largest in first place.

But it was also Texas that decided to stay in the Big 12 when Pac-12 approached an offer to make it Pac-16 in 2010.

Reorganization again became a competitive sport. The Big Ten stumbled USC And the University of California This summer as an answer to the Securities and Exchange Commission for a Texas and OU. Is it all done?

“USC, UCLA, did you see that coming? No.” Del Conte said. “But I think things were shaking… You could feel things just by the conversations I was having, and things were going in different directions.”

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