Conference realignment is slowly veering to a halt, and although there are some big moves in store for 2014 and some smaller ones in store for the season that follows, there is not much on the horizon beyond that. And good riddance!
But not every team used the chaos of realignment as a ladder, instead ending up in a less favorable position because of it. Especially now that the process of the College Football Playoff is starting to sharpen into focus, some of the better teams in non-power conferences have a less realistic chance than ever of contending for a national title.
"We don’t think in terms of most deserving on the resume," said selection committee chairman Jeff Long of how the CFP teams will be chosen, per Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News. "We’re focused on the best four teams and the best ranking in the [playoff] top 25. Again, our focus is the best, not deserving."
Translation: "Sorry, smaller-conference teams, but no matter what you do during the regular season, you will never be playing for a championship."
This selection credo puts many of the best non-power-conference teams in an awkward spot. They would need to play in a bigger conference to stand a realistic chance of reaching their ultimate goal.
But that's not the only reason a team might need a new league.
Others could use a change of scenery for their own sake; because they have struggled so mightily in their current league, a transfer to a less-competitive schedule might be better for everyone involved.
This list includes both of those types of teams. It also includes a team that needs to move for geographical reasons after desperately clinging to a league during the brunt of realignment season.
Remember, too, that these suggestions exist in a hypothetical world where realignment is not so political. I understand that most of these moves are unrealistic in real life. There are too many moving parts.
But that doesn't make them any less necessary.