What College Football Conferences Will Look Like by the 2014 Playoffs

Carl StineCorrespondent ISeptember 2, 2012

What College Football Conferences Will Look Like by the 2014 Playoffs

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    The upsets, great individual performances and huge wins of the 2012 season are barely underway, but we are already looking ahead to the college football playoffs starting in 2014.

    While many of the "major" conferences have already experienced realignment in some way, the trickle-down effect is still being felt throughout the college football universe.

    This list is a primer of what changes are currently scheduled to take place across the landscape before we hit the 2014 season and the beginning of the playoff system.

    There is still plenty of time for all of this to change, and massive super-conferences could begin springing up and changing the entire landscape.

    For the time being, here's how college football conferences will look by the time the playoffs start.

Sun Belt

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    The Sun Belt is undergoing some major changes of its own.

    With Conference USA appearing to be stable after all the current scheduled transitions, the Sun Belt is prepared to welcome some transfers from the now defunct WAC, as well as newcomers to FBS.

     

    Sun Belt

    Georgia State, FAU, Troy, Arkansas State, ULL, ULM, WKU, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, Texas State, Texas Arlington

MAC

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    The MAC does not have a whole lot of change going on.

    UMass is part of the conference for the time being, but its status could be tenuous, as Temple left the conference for the Big East.

    The terms of Tempe and UMass' agreement with the conference states that if one leaves, the other one's status is in danger.

    For the time being, and until it becomes official, they remain MAC members.

     

    MAC

    Akron, Ball State, Kent State, NIU, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Toledo, Miami, Ohio, Western Michigan, UMass

MWC

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    The look of the MWC is changing dramatically.

    Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii joined in 2012 from the WAC, and Utah State and San Jose State are slated to join next season.

    MWC: Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada, Hawaii, UNLV, Wyoming, Utah State, San Jose State

C-USA

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    Conference USA is undergoing major additions.

    Six new programs join the conference in 2013: Old Dominion, FIU, North Texas, La. Tech, UTSA and Charlotte.

    With several programs departing for greener pastures, the look of this conference will be drastically difference by 2014.

     

    C-USA

    East Carolina, Southern Miss, Tulane, UAB, Marshall, Rice, Tulsa, UTEP, UTSA, La. Tech, FIU, North Texas, Charlotte, Old Dominion

WAC

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    The WAC appears to be toast.

    Idaho and New Mexico State are the only programs not slated to move elsewhere before the 2014 season.

    Both of them are going to participate in FBS football as independents next season, unless another conference bereft of participants snags them.

Big Ten

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    Given the conferences reputation as "stodgy," there is not much movement to expect here.

    There are currently no change on slate for the conference, although fans wish those ridiculous division names would go away.

    The conference is set, heading into the playoff format, unless Notre Dame decides it wants to lose its independence.

    Legends

    Iowa, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Nebraska

     

    Leaders

    Penn State, Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin

SEC

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    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    The SEC has won six straight BCS titles, spent the better part of the past decade dominating college football and appears poised to make a run at the title for the seventh consecutive season.

    With 14 programs already in the fold and no changes slated to take place, the current alignment seems to be the way the conference will look when the new postseason format gets started.

    Looks pretty good to me.

    East

    Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Vanderbilt 

     

    West

    Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Auburn

Big 12

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    This conference has already experienced some drastic shakeups.

    The current makeup of 10 teams is quite a bit smaller than its BCS conference fellows, but there are some elite programs and big-time movers and shakers leading the charge.

    While there are definitely some "mid-major" teams that have the potential to make the move to the conference, the current "party line" seems to be that realignment is not in the conference's foreseeable future.

    The Big 12 is loaded for the near future, with Oklahoma, Texas, TCU, Oklahoma State and West Virginia expected to all compete for the conference title.

    I guess quality is more important than quantity in this instance.

     

    Big 12

    Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Baylor, West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech

Big East

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    It's weekends such as the first one of the college football season that have earned the Big East it's reputation as the weakest of the BCS conferences.

    Syracuse lost to Northwestern, which is not awful, as the Wildcats are not the pushover that it seems they have always been.

    It's still nothing to brag about.

    Then there was Pitt.

    In new head coach Paul Chryst's first game, the Panthers were taken down by Youngstown State.

    Yes, the Penguins.

    With both Pitt and Syracuse leaving to join the ACC in 2013, this is the conference that will undergo the most dramatic change.

    Navy is slated to join the conference in 2015, but the group that will be playing in 2014 stretches four time zones and features six new members, and the conference is looking to add another.

    Barring any more raids for members by other conferences, the Big East will look something like this in 2014.

     

    Big East 

    Louisville, Cincinnati, UConn, Temple, Rutgers, USF, Boise State(football only), San Diego State(football only), UCF, Houston, Memphis, SMU

ACC

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    There have been rumblings that UConn and Rutgers will join Pitt and Syracuse as the newest members of the ACC in the near future, but as of right now, they remain Big East members.

    So, going into 2014 and the playoffs, the ACC is going to have 14 members, unless two more convenient applicants wish to join the conference.

    The current alignment includes two divisions, the Coastal and Atlantic Divisions.

    The conference has struggled during the BCS era to compete and hopes to get a fresh start with realignment.

     

    Coastal

    Miami, Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Pitt

     

    Atlantic

    Syracuse, Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Boston College, N.C. State, Wake Forest

Pac-12

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    The Pac-12 already shook things up by dividing into two divisions and adding Colorado and Utah.

    While there are plenty of candidates to join the conference out on the West Coast, conference commissioner Larry Scott has expressed that the conference has no designs on further expansion in the immediate future.

    There have been plenty of rumors over the past year, especially when the Big 12 was looking less than stable.

    All that said, the conference could jump to 14 or 16 teams in time for the playoff, but there are no current indications of any movement.

     

    North

    Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State, Cal, Washington, Washington State

     

    South

    Arizona, Arizona State, USC, UCLA, Utah, Colorado