Buckeyes focused on football, not realignment rumors

Spencer Holbrookabout 2 months
2021 Big Ten Football Media Day
Ryan Day and Ohio State aren't focused on rumors about college football's future. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS — Ohio State took center stage at Big Ten Media Days on Friday.

But the Buckeyes were hardly the headliner surrounding college football during their media session.

As the Big Ten powers were in Indianapolis for the annual press-conference festivities, the SEC was busy attempting a coup of Oklahoma and Texas from the Big 12.

It seems the movement is inevitable, as the Sooners and Longhorns could soon join the SEC, strengthening its grip on the sport and putting the Big Ten in a peculiar spot among the most powerful entities in the sport.

But the Big Ten won’t panic or make any rash decisions about its future in the process.

“Not yet,” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. “We haven’t had conversations, we’re not overreacting, it’s not who we are. When we expanded, the whole world [was supposed to] blow up, and it didn’t. Right? When we added cost of attendance, the whole world was going to blow up — and it didn’t. We added NIL and the whole world was going to blow up and it didn’t. We just have to pause, study, learn, do what’s right for us. But we haven’t had conversations about that move collectively.

“I really am not surprised, really not. Who knows what else is being talked about anywhere else in any other conference. I can see how they probably got there, but I’m not surprised anymore. I’ve been doing this too long. I kind of get it a little bit.”

While Smith is one of the key figures in the power balance of the Big Ten, talk of realignment wasn’t reserved for just athletic directors and conference commissioners.

Ohio State is preparing for a season. And the Buckeyes are expected to be one of the best programs in the country. Ryan Day and his staff are busy with their preparations and don’t have time to consider the ramifications of conference realignment just yet.

“I don’t know what to think of it,” Day told Lettermen Row on Friday morning. “You know, it’s like, we’re just trying to get ready to play this first game, and you hear things like that. And I don’t know what it means. I know there’s been a lot of change in college football in the last five years. A lot, when you think about all the things that have come through. And so with that, you know, what are the ramifications? What is it going to look like in five years? That’s what I think about. To say anything else is ignorant because I don’t know what else is going on.”

How can realignment alter the future of college football forever? What can the Big Ten do to counter the aggressive move made by the SEC with Oklahoma and Texas? Lettermen Row tried to make sense of the wild 48 hours at Big Ten Media Days in the latest Rapid Reaction presented by Byers Auto!