FOXBORO, Mass. — When it comes to big-time news in college football, Patriots cornerback Terrence Wheatley is basically like everyone else in the New England region. He just doesn’t understand the motives and politics surrounded in the upheaval, implosion and expansion going on with the Pac-10, Big 12 and Big Ten.
"Nope, no clue," said Wheatley, who played at Colorado from 2004-07. "Outside of the competition aspect, I don’t understand any of [the conference realignment]."
Wheatley's Buffaloes are heading from the Big 12 to the Pac-10 (cue the Pac-20 jokes from here on out), and he's excited about the Buffs' chances to add a new breed of competition.
"I think in the long run, if you have two superpower conferences, I guess it will make the competition that much better," Wheatley said. "I know when I was there, it was hard to play schools in the Pac-10. I don’t think we played any Pac-10 schools. Typically, if we played out of conference, we played either ACC or maybe the SEC. Otherwise, you're getting guys from the Mountain West or the Sunbelt Conference. I think now it will be a little bit harder for everybody."
Wheatley isn’t overly ecstatic about the Big 12 getting the raw end of the deal here, especially since it appears as though Texas and Oklahoma — the conference's two marketing giants — are bolting for the Pac-10, and Nebraska is heading for the Big Ten. A flurry of other teams may also follow.
It's unclear what will happen to some of the great Big 12 rivalries, but count Wheatley among the many who will be downtrodden if the Colorado-Nebraska rivalry dies out. Wheatley has always shared many memories of those games, and it's been one of the best rivalries in college football for decades.
"I hope it doesn’t go away," Wheatley said. "When I was in high school, I remember watching some of the great games and some of the great rivalries. I guess that might go away now that you have two super conferences, but hopefully, they at least keep some of the more well-known games, some of the big-time traditions. Hopefully, they keep that intact."
When Wheatley was told that money was likely the driving force behind the massive realignment, he appeared even more disappointed. So, when it comes down to it, Wheatley is cool with the restructuring of the conferences if it's done with competition and the betterment of the game in mind, but if everything has been ransacked for a few extra dollars, that just won't fly.
"Well, money drives everything in today's world," Wheatley said. "Hopefully, that’s not the underlying reason, but if it's competition, then that’s great."