Saturday, June 12, 2010

College Football Realignment

With the move of Colorado to the Pac-10 (soon to be renamed Pac-11?) and Nebraska going to the Big Ten (will they finally change their name to something with Twelve in it?), the college football world is set to go through a shuffle of major proportions. Talk right now is about the formation of some super conferences with 16 teams and two BCS bowl births. And the Big 12 (soon to be Big 10) is right in the middle of it.

I see a few good things coming from this, while it does spell the breakup of one of the best BCS conferences (Big 12), I think it will also lead to the inclusion of some of the up and coming mid-majors into a BCS conference. In the end it is all about money.

The Pac-10 is going to want to get a piece of the Texas TV market so more than likely Texas (and probably Texas Tech) will go to the Pac-10. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will also follow. Which then leaves one spot open. Many right now are speculating that will go to Texas A&M. As long time rivals with Texas, this does make some sense, however, it is not a done deal.

The SEC also would like to get a piece of Texas Football and Texas A&M makes a nice pick for them (granted they would prefer Texas, but Texas makes enough money on their own that they don't need the SEC. So, who would the 16th PAC-10 team be. Probably Utah. They have played well against PAC-10 teams in the past and have two BCS bowl wins under their belt (which is more than a lot of schools in the BCS conferences). The thing to get over here is BYU. Utah and BYU have been hand in hand from the beginning. Sometimes you just have to let them go.

Why not pick BYU? Well to their advantage they probably do have a more widespread fan base, but this also works against them. Their fan base outside of Utah is spread so thin that it wouldn't amount to much in the TV viewing ratings. Utah has been much more consistent in the last decade and already does a lot of recruiting out of California.

Back to the SEC, if they pick up Texas A&M then they need another 5 teams to get to 16. Florida St, Miami, Virginia Tech from the ACC are good candidates, as is TCU from the Mountain West if they want to increase the Texas market. West Virginia from the Big East.

This shakeup would then require a realignment of the ACC and Big East. Frankly the ACC would absorb the remaining Big East to reach its 16 teams. So, we are left now with a depleted Big-12. They're chance at survival results in absorbing the Mountain West conference. The new Big-12 would be dominated by Missouri, Kansas State, Boise State, and BYU.

Finally, the Big Ten will have four slots available. By this time Notre Dame should realize that they are going to get cut out, swallow their pride and join the Big Ten. The remaining three teams remain a mystery. Since it appears that the Big Ten (at least in words) is going to wait out the expansion, they may have the tables turned on them and be left with picking from the leftovers. Army, Navy, East Carolina, Bowling Green, SMU, and Houston are all possibilities.

The remaining conferences will probably do some realigning to consolidate into two super conferences as well. But the die will be cast. 64 teams in four super conferences leads nicely to a 16 team playoff.

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