Thursday, June 10, 2010

Conference Realignment and The Year 2025

In sports, like in life, things change. The NFL used to be a 10 team league. The NBA used to be an 8 team league. The NHL used to be a 6 team league. They are not anymore. Things change.

College sports conferences used to be very small and very regional. The Big 6 became the Big 8. The Southwest Conference was 7, then added Tech and Houston. The Pac 8 added Arizona and Arizona St. to form the Pac-10. The Big 10 has grown. The SEC has grown. Things change.

Now, things are really changing. The demise of the Big 12 is the first step in what I believe will be a radical and total reshaping of Division One college football. Think about it this way: things have changed very rapidly in the last 15-20 years. In that time, the Big 12 has come and gone. Other conferences like the WAC and Mountain West and Big East and ACC and C-USA change seemingly all the time. The Big 10 is always looking grow. The haves want more, and they want to distance from the have nots. And it's going to happen in a big way, sooner than you think.

Consider the panic that has set in during the last week. You will, from here on out, see teams constantly trying to set themselves up in a super-conference. Nobody will want to be left out, which will cause things to happen at a rapid pace.

I believe we are headed for four, 20 or 22-team, super-conferences. By the year 2025 at the latest, things will look something like this:

The Pac-20

Northwest Division
Washington
Washington St
Oregon
Oregon St.
Boise St.

California Division
USC
UCLA
Stanford
Cal
San Diego State

Mountain Division
Arizona
Arizona St.
Utah
BYU
Colorado

Southwest Division
Texas
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Oklahoma
Oklahoma St.


The Big-20 (formerly the Big-10)

Plains Division
Nebraska
Iowa
Wisconsin
Minnesota
Missouri

Lakes Division
Michigan
Michigan State
Ohio State
Syracuse
Cincinatti

Northeast Division
Penn State
Pittsburgh
Boston College
Rutgers
West Virginia

Valley Division
Notre Dame
Indiana
Illinois
Northwestern
Purdue


The SEC

West Division
Arkansas
Alabama
Auburn
LSU
Ole Miss
Miss. State

North Division
Tennessee
Vanderbilt
Kentucky
Louisville
South Carolina
Maryland

South Division
Clemson
Georgia
Georgia Tech
Virginia
Virginia Tech
Wake Forest

East Division
Florida
Florida St.
Miami
Duke
North Carolina
NC State


The Super-West

Patrick Division
Kansas
Kansas State
Colorado State
Air Force
Wyoming

Adams Division
UNLV
Nevada
Fresno
Hawaii
New Mexico

Smythe Division
Baylor
SMU
TCU
Houston
UTEP

Norris Division
Marshall
Memphis
Ohio
Tulsa
Southern Miss

(Late editor's note: I just realized that the Super West might really suck in football, and nobody will think they deserve a Final Four bid. I may have to change out a few teams to create balance)

That's it. That is your new Division One. Each football team will play 11 games--4 or 5 against your division mates, 4 or 5 others against rotating members of your super-conference, and a few non-conference games. Then, at the end of the regular season, each conference will have a playoff featuring the four division winners to determine who goes to college football's Final Four.

The Final Four, of course, will feature the four conference champions. The schools will love this format because each conference will make lots of money with their own, four-team playoff. College football will make a ton of money in the end with the Final Four. We will have a playoff, conferences will make a ton of cash, and everyone will be happy--everyone except the former division one schools who got left out. I can't really see that any of the schools left behind would have much of a case, based on program success, revenue, stadium, size, etc. Anyway, that's life. Things change.

Given the events of the last 7 days, the exact configuration of each conference is of course subject to change. I may not hit on all of the teams and their exact landing spots, but I am confident that we will be looking at this kind of set-up. And perhaps a lot sooner than 2025, because things change. They always have in conference and league lineups, and they always will.

8 comments:

  1. This is great Junior! Thanks for this...you make it very clear to understand. I'm officially a college football fan now.

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  2. The great sports mind of Craig Miller strikes again. I agree with this type of format however I believe it will happen way before 2012.

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  3. I've just realized something about my new alignment--The Super West really sucks as a football league. That will lead to a lot of dissension. People will be outraged that they get a Final Four bid. Of course, their TV deal will be nowhere near the other three leagues. I might have to switch a few teams around to create more balance, although the other three big conferences may not want to take any of the Super West weaklings. Or maybe this is how it will play out, but the big three conferences will work to eliminate the Super West. Always a problem with collge football.

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  4. In 2025 the Super West division may be just that. I am 25 years old now with a 1 year old son, I might be watching my son quarterback for the NCAA Super West champion UTEP.....

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  5. Isn't this just a blue print for a playoff system for college football? I like it.

    I hear this a lot, but people don't realize the college town "market", isn't what the divisions are about. What are the major schools in Houston, DFW and San Antonio? SMU/TCU, UH and UTSA. Those aren't the schools the PAC-10 is looking at because colleges are in small dinky towns most of the time with names like College Station, Lawrence, Manhattan, Lubbock and Waco.

    No, these super divisions are after alumni dollars. And the alumni dollars exist in DFW, Austin, Houston and OK City.

    The more alumni you get, the more alumni MONEY you get. I have very rarely met a rich college student.

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  6. Since BCS there are 4 teams routinely screwed, and I hope the eventual realignment/ playoffs would solve this. UTAH, BYU, TCU, & Boise State. Utah might be able to get in the mix this round, but why not BYU? They are routinely posting good teams... Remember the BUTT kicking they put on OU in the pigskin classic? These are my 4 teams who deserve more respect, it is still a few years away.

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  7. Tour de France? I'm goin with the guy with the motor in his bike...

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