â†µIn my daily travels through the web, I came across this headline from The Wiz: "Tommy West Is a Bitter Man." I watched the video, which is the one you see above -- Tommy West's exit presser after being bounced by Memphis -- and while some of his remarks at the end certainly came off as bitter, it would be a mistake to dismiss the bulk of what he said. â†µ
â†µThe first two-and-a-half minutes ring true. It's a harsh reality that people don't really like to talk about in college football: If you aren't trying to play with the big boys, there really isn't much of a point in trying to play at all. It might not be as glamorous to play in a small league, but there are only so many teams in the nation really built to compete, both from a talent and support system perspective. â†µâ†µ
â†µIt might be boring to be a low-level FBS school, but the only thing worse is being a faux-competitor in the FBS, trying to play with the big boys but knowing you never really can. Unless you're the beneficiary of a fat TV deal through your league (SEC) or just yourself (Notre Dame) there's a good chance you're bleed your athletic department's budget dry unless your team is one of the true college football bluebloods. â†µ
â†µThis is probably just as big of a problem for non-traditional powers that are winning, too. And it can't be a commitment to just maximizing what you've got; it has to be a full-blown escalation of everything about your program. Look at Boise State, TCU and Cincinnati this season. All three are unbeaten, but it's pretty safe to say at this point that none of them will have a chance to play in a title game. Chris Petersen, Gary Patterson and Brian Kelly -- if they finish unbeaten -- will have done everything they can at their respective schools. If, say, Notre Dame comes calling, what could any school say to their coach to keep them? How do you compete with any big, established name-brand? And when you lose that coach and try to find the next up-and-comer, a decision has to be made: Are you happy being fodder for big schools or do you want to play with the big schools? â†µâ†µ
â†µSo yes, it'd be easy to pass off West's remarks as those of a bitter man who just lost his job, but there should be a bit of a "look-in-the-mirror" moment for programs around the country trying to determine whether they want to get into this arms race. If you don't want to, just get out now. Otherwise you're just burning money. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.