Hello, college football fans!
Last night wrapped up another college football season and another BCS season.
Of the conferences that currently have an automatic bid to a BCS bowl, all six have or will have invited at least one new member since 2010. Some teams were invited to new conferences, while others are either waiting or have been denied.
Several factors have contributed to certain conferences being invited while others were turned down.
With conferences cashing in on TV contracts, new members were sought to expand geographical footprints.
The Pac-12 expanded into two new states and two new TV markets (Denver and Salt Lake City). If it weren't for the dispute over the Longhorn Network, Texas could be in the Pac-12 today.
The SEC expanded into Texas (A&M) and Missouri.
The ACC added Syracuse and Pittsburgh to expand their presence in the Northeast.
The Big East (despite their conference name) added teams in Florida, Texas and California.
Other conferences chose members with the goal of strengthening football competitiveness and chose teams that did not significantly expand their geographical footprint. The Big Ten added Nebraska, the Big 12 added West Virginia and TCU, and the Big East added Boise State.
For the Big Ten and Pac-12, expanding allowed both conferences to introduce lucrative conference championship games.
The Big East, meanwhile, expanded to maintain its football conference after three longtime members received invites to other conferences.
While some schools were able to upgrade, others were not or are still waiting.
Some had to settle for their second choice conference. Missouri wanted to be in the Big Ten, according to the Chicago Tribune but instead joined the SEC. West Virginia had to settle for the Big 12 (no conference members East of the Mississippi) because the ACC and SEC turned them down, according to CBS Sports.
For some conferences, academics was an important factor in inviting schools.
The ACC's choices (Pittsburgh and Syracuse) are ranked in the Top 70 in US News & World Report's National University Rankings (while West Virginia ranked outside of the Top 100).
When Nebraska was invited to the Big Ten, all existing Big Ten members were members of the AAU. Nebraska was at the time (even though later they were voted out).
Another reason schools may not have been invited to specific conferences is the fear of competition. Some schools do not want to invite members that may directly compete with them.
NBC Sports says the SEC has a gentleman's agreement that they will not invite any member from a state that currently has an SEC member.
Connecticut wanted in to the Big East, but Boston College didn't want them in, according to USA Today. BC's athletic director Gene DeFilippo was quoted as saying "It was a matter of turf. We wanted to be the New England team.''
Meanwhile, The Inquirer said Villanova is not in favor of Temple joining the Big East.
Also, some conferences have decided to cap membership for the time being.
Since conference revenue is—in many conferences—shared equally, every additional member school results in the revenue pie being cut into more pieces.
While fans may want superconferences of 16 members, conferences don't seem to be in a hurry to expand to 16 teams. The Big 12 is staying at ten schools now, even though having just ten members disqualifies them from a lucrative conference championship game.
While some schools were denied bids to conferences, I have to think about current members of these conferences.
Many of the members of these conferences were charter members of the specific conference and have been members for over fifty years. Back in the earlier part of the 20th century, television money was not a factor. When the Big Ten was formed 1895, the television hadn't even been invented.
Of course, no member is going to be expelled from any conference (to my knowledge, only the Big East has ever kicked a member out). But the question I am trying to answer is if the conferences were formed "today," who would not be in them?
When I say today, I am considering this decade and possibly last decade (when several invitations were extended as well). Timing is everything.
If the Big Ten started from scratch today, Penn State would arguably not be invited. But a year ago, it would have been a slam dunk. Same with Miami and the ACC before all the allegations came out.
On the other hand, Baylor may be a hot property now with RG3 and their undefeated men's basketball team (their women's team isn't bad now either). But two or three years ago, Baylor was the joke of the Big 12, and many Big 12 fans would have considered them dead weight.
So who do I feel would not be in BCS conferences today if the conferences were formed this decade or this millennium as opposed to back in the 20th (or 19th) century?