The year: 2016.
Continually higher energy costs, an eight-year recession, and a concerted effort by lawmakers to "fix" college football have all lead to a complete restructuring of college football with little regard to past rivalries or previous conference affiliations.
The affect on Nebraska football has been lessened by the fact that there’s been no change to their half of the conference. The Big 12 has been renamed to the "Plains Conference". The Texas schools have been removed and replaced by Arkansas, Arkansas State, Tulsa, and Memphis.
Bowl games have been replaced by regional conference championships. Bowl games outside the championships have been abandoned because fans cannot travel to other sections of the country. Costs and regulations have made airplane travel too expensive for all but the richest of fans. The use of gas-powered vehicles has been outlawed while the range of electric vehicles hasn’t expanded far enough for fans nor teams to economically travel to play non-conference opponents. Trains are restricted to commerce and cargo only.
To even the playing field, the federal government has placed a limitation on college head coaches compensation so that they may earn no more than a maximum of $500,000 per year. To encourage acceptance of the new solution, television and online streaming have been limited to regional play only, meaning that fans never get to see teams from other parts of the country.
The result is a college landscape reflecting fairness, uniformity and economics, but with a playoff.
The Year: 2032
The new structure of the college football landscape is anything but successful. The game has been largely abandoned. Older fans, those that can remember, long for the chaos that once was college football. Old-timers tell their grandchildren about "polls" and how they could have endless arguments with fans clear across the country. Northerners reminisce about how they used to escape winter, if only for a few days, by flying to warm climates to watch their favorite team play someone from the South.
Bored but encouraged, a new generation prepares to embrace the past.