Welcome to the game that ignores geography and is all about the Benjamins. It's "Who Knows Their Conference Realignment?"!
Once upon a time I could rattle off the schools in almost every league. Now I'm making spreadsheets to avoid writing something dumb like "Syracuse is the team to beat in the Big East in 2013-14."
Get a bottle of Advil, wash it down with some Jack Daniels and throw away your maps! (Obviously, college administrators have done that already.) It's time to test your knowledge.
(Answers are at the bottom. Don't peek.)
1. By 2014, how many leagues will Louisville have participated in since 1994?
2. How many leagues did Conference USA raid to continue its existence?
3. Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com (and his amazing mustache) get credit for this question. By next year, how many FBS programs will have changed leagues since Nebraska left the Big 12?
4. How many years will Syracuse and Maryland be in the same conference?
5. Which conference has the most Texas schools?
6. By this time next year, who will have coached in more leagues over the course of their careers: Larry Brown or John Calipari?
7. What famous basketball school has been in three different conferences the last three years?
8. Who will have left and joined the Sun Belt by the end of next year? (Hint, we're looking for 12 schools here.)
9. Who will be in the Big Ten's Legends and Leaders?
10. Which leagues have been unaffected by conference realignment in the last five years?
Answer (Question No. 1): The Cardinals get around. When they join the ACC, it'll be their fifth league in that time span.
Answer (Question No. 2): Four. The league has one new team from Atlantic 10 (Charlotte), four from the Sun Belt (Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee and North Texas), one from the Colonial (Old Dominion) and two from the WAC (Louisiana Tech and UT San Antonio).
Answer (Question No. 3): Let's see the answer, Brett:
By next year 43 FBS programs - or more than 1/3 of FBS - will have changed leagues since Nebraska left Big 12— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) July 1, 2013
Answer (Question No. 4): One. Syracuse has officially joined the ACC. Maryland books it for the Big Ten next summer. Mark Turgeon is jumping for joy that he only has to prepare for Jim Boeheim's zone one time.
Answer (Question No. 6): Assuming Brown does not leave for another job by the start of the season, he's the winner. Calipari has coached in only three leagues—the Atlantic 10, Conference USA and the SEC. Brown will have coached in four—the Pac-10, the Big Eight, Conference USA and the American Athletic Conference. That's nothing compared to how many professional teams he's coached. Ten!
How many questions did you get right?
Answer (Question No. 7): Butler. In 2011-12, Butler was in the Horizon League. In 2012-13, Butler was in the Atlantic 10. In 2013-14, Butler will be in the Big East. It sure would have been nice to have Brad Stevens for that transition, huh? Too soon Butler fans? Sorry.
Answer (Question No. 8): Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee and North Texas all left for Conference USA. Georgia State (from the Colonial), UT-Arlington (from the WAC) and Texas State (from the WAC) all joined. AND THAT'S JUST THIS YEAR!
Next year, Western Kentucky also leaves for Conference USA. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern come aboard. And then Idaho and New Mexico State return after both leaving in 2005, but they'll only be playing football. You follow all that? No? We're gonna need a spreadsheet.
Answer (Question No. 9): Nobody! The Big Ten figured out it was trying way too hard with those lame names and instead went directional with an East division and a West division.
Answer (Question No. 10): Wait. This is possible? Yep. Two leagues have gone unchanged: the Ivy League and the SWAC. Hooray conference stability!