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Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  September 19, 2011 01:53 PM

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...that is the shift that college sports is undergoing with the conference re-alignment free-for-all. Collegiate athletics has become a multi-million dollar game of musical chairs between alleged institutions of higher learning, but the reality is that they're institutions of higher earnings.

The most important three letters aren't GPA, but BCS, as in college football's detestable, elitist, status quo- protecting non-playoff, because these moves are all football-driven.

Texas A&M's imminent departure from the Big 12 to the Southeastern Conference set off the latest round of realignment roulette, but the biggest tremors were felt when Syracuse and Pittsburgh announced they were abandoning the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference, following in the footsteps of former brethren Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami.

It's only a matter of time before Texas and Oklahoma sound the death knell for the Big 12 by going to the Pac-12 -- can't imagine that John Steinbeck ever pictured Oklahoma being geographically grouped with California in anything -- and look out because the SEC is still looking for a 14th team to pair with Texas A&M.

Not to be one-upped look for the Big Ten and its 12 members to take another shot at landing Notre Dame. Where does it end? Some poor school, be it UConn, Louisville or Kansas, is going to be left to press it's nose against the super-conference glass when it's all said and done.

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The word

Christopher L. Gasper riffs on the news


...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.

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