Packing Them In

Bryant-Denny Stadium is home to the Alabama Crimson Tide, who have won the national championship three of the last four years. Photo courtesy of Lance King/Replay Photos/Getty Images
Bryant-Denny Stadium is home to the Alabama Crimson Tide, who have won the national
championship three of the last four years. Photo courtesy of Lance King/Replay Photos/Getty Images

By Greg Echlin

The dust has settled. Or so we thought. Just when talk of more conference realignments seemed to have quieted down, Bowl Championship Series conference leaders raised the decibel level over the summer, saying they may need to form their own division of college football if the NCAA doesn’t reform its practices that allow all schools an equal say in the sport’s future. That kind of talk commands attention, considering how much college football pulls the train of collegiate athletics.

While what, if any, changes come in the way the NCAA oversees the sport remains to be seen, this season had already been stamped as a transitional one before a new college football playoff structure begins with the 2014 campaign. But the game continues to grow in prominence. This season will see the launch of 12 new college football programs at four-year institutions—nine on the NCAA level and three in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics—an unprecedented number in the modern era.

“A lot of college presidents felt that it just set up the year for kids when they came to school,” said Steve Hatchell, National Football Foundation president and CEO. “It brings the alumni back, unifies the students on campus and gets everybody focused on that one thing at the beginning of the year.”

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