After all, how do the smaller programs advance without the opportunity to punch above their weight? Marshall earned wins at South Carolina and Clemson early in the Thundering Herd's life in the FBS. If progress in Marshall's athletic department didn't come to a screeching halt in the mid-2000s, who's to say the Herd wouldn't have become Boise State? Last season, C-USA champ Tulsa avenged its season-opening loss to Iowa State by beating the Cyclones in the Liberty Bowl.
Marshall Coach Doc Holliday doesn't like the idea of a complete split.
"I think it's bad for college athletics," he said Monday. "I think the days when the Butlers of the world in basketball and those guys can't slip in and maybe have the opportunity to play for the championship, or the Boise States of the world or the Marshalls when we get to where we want to be, to not be able to have the chance to play for the ultimate prize, I don't think that's what college is all about."
Entire conferences like C-USA and the Mountain West might not have the power to go toe-to-toe with the SECs and Big 12s, but why shut out a team like Boise State that might be worthy?
"Some little guy sneaks up and shocks the world, what's wrong with that?" Holliday asked. "To eliminate everybody but the so-called elite schools from that, I think you're eliminating the purpose."
Either way, it will be captivating to watch the future unfold in what has been a symbiotic relationship between the major-conference teams and small-conference teams. The smaller schools bolster their athletic programs' coffers with the money made playing the bigger schools. And those bigger schools pad their bowl resumes with the wins against the smaller ones.
Teams in conferences like the Sun Belt might not be the only ones that should protest. The also-rans in the major conferences probably should object, too. After all, when the big conferences pull away from the little ones, who's left to be the punching bags?
There always will be a ceiling and a floor in college football. Take the little guys out of the equation, and it's not like the bottom feeders of the ACC will continue to hover in the middle. They'll find themselves on the new ground floor. Minnesota becomes the new Eastern Michigan. Kansas becomes the new Tulane.
Then they'll find out how the other half lives.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.