Let’s set context…I do not hate Wake Forest…I respect them, but…they are an example.
I was reading an article about former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe and his regret that he turned down the Nebraska job while coaching the Demon Deacons and it dawned on me that in the wake (no pun intended) of the autonomy decision for the Chosen 5 conferences, teams like Wake actually could benefit the most. That’s right, the bottom feeders in the Chosen 5 conferences could stand to become the most rewarded collection of ineffective teams in the country simply because the squat in a chosen league.
One quote that jumped out at me was this:
When asked if he regrets not taking the Nebraska job, Grobe doesn’t hesitate. “I do now, I didn’t at the time,” he said. “I honestly took great pride in Wake Forest. I had some really good friends there. I trusted some people there. I thought Wake was a little different than other schools. I really, at the time, felt we were going to get a bigger commitment in terms of facilities and support for the program that never really materialized. We loved all 13 years we were in Winston-Salem, but I’m not real happy with the way things ended.”
The fact that Wake Forest has been raking in the big BCS pay checks and doing nothing in terms of major re-investment in the program really underscores how ridiculous the whole narrative on this P5 thing is. Think about it, Wake will benefit from the P5 membership in terms of money flowing into the coffers, they need not do anything in the way of improvements to their facilities, and if they continue to SUCK, that will be a bonus too. Think about it, if the P5 schools all go the route of only playing other p5 schools…well who do you think they are going to play the most in the short term??
That’s right. Wake will be part of a group including Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Indiana, Duke (they will suck again), Maryland, Virginia, Cal, N.C. State…you get the picture…who can command big checks from other top-level P5 teams to be the road team. Imagine that, Wake already counting on its millions from the Playoff system could negotiate more from being the homecoming opponent for teams like Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, and Oregon – the water always runs to the lowest point. All the while, the Central Floridas, East Carolinas, Boise States, Cincinnatis and Marshalls of the world will be talked about as being less than the Wake ilk simply because they do not fly a p5 banner. It’s laughable if it wasn’t so real. And the selection committees will consider a win over Wake more impressive than a win over UCF or ECU…sad but true.
No, it never was about on-field performance. It is not about ensuring the best two teams play for a title – sure, each P5 league has some of the best teams on the field – no, this is and will remain about money. And exclusion means more money for those in the circle. Right now, for the Wake Forests of the world, there is absolutely ZERO incentive to do a damn thing to get better. They know they will never be Alabama and they know that ECU, UCF, Boise, and others are being artificially kept from taking their place. It is a windfall that keeps on coming and if they ever get kicked out of the FSU (and the little dwarfs) conference, they will probably be paid handsomely to be kicked out. Over time, of course, if the raters determine that playing the P5 bottom feeders is not good enough, then the top teams in each P5 league will end up playing each other and leaving the Rugers-Wake, or Virginia-Kentucky, or the Cal-N.C. State match-ups dominate the Thursday night schedule (creating a two tier system even within their own P5 club. And still, Wake will collect big checks.
Look…I like Wake and applaud their commitment to both academics first and recruiting real student-athletes (mostly). But, this is about football and they simply do not deserve to be in the conversation. In fairness, most of the ACC doesn’t either, but particularly the bottom 4-6 in each of the leagues. That’s 20 teams that really are riding for free. Think about that.
Unbelievable. Schools like Wake offer nothing (save an easy win) and yet are able to hop on the back of the bike and ride for free.