Hello, college football fans!
There have been several college realignment proposals at Bleacher Report in the last few weeks, including mine. Here are some others:
All five of them eliminated Big East and Big 12 football. True Blue's proposal expanded the MWC to 16 including four current Big 12 members and Boise State and said they would be the 5th BCS conference. The other four proposals have just four BCS conferences. I'm not sold on the Big 12 going under and think it will be 5 BCS conferences instead of 4.
Assuming super conferences of 16, four conferences would mean there would be 64 BCS teams, five conferences would be 80 teams. Counting the current teams in the six BCS conferences and Notre Dame, there are 66 BCS teams. So a proposal for four superconferences of 16 would mean at least 2 current BCS teams would drop out of BCS conferences (more if new teams like Utah or BYU are added to BCS conferences). Maybe if the BCS gives Notre Dame an exception like they have now they can keep it at 65 BCS teams and only one current team gets screwed.
Assuming they go to a 4 by 16 model, several schools in the BCS know will be in trouble for not having a seat when the music stops. I'm pretty sure all the teams in the Big 10, SEC, Pac 10, and ACC are safe. I don't think any of the Big four will boot any of its current members. It kind of makes them look bad and I would have second thoughts about joining a conference willing to boot one of its current members if I had a choice. I'm sure the Big 10 would be better off without Northwestern but we all know there's no chance they would evict them. You know no school will voluntarily leave either the Big 10 or SEC. As for the Pac 10, there wouldn't be anywhere for any of the current schools to leave for (especially if the Big 12 is no more). I can see an ACC school jumping for the SEC if given a chance (maybe but unlikely Maryland would leave for the Big 10). So if you are looking for the teams that would be screwed by a 4 by 16, of course the Big East and Big 12 schools are most vulnerable.
Running Down These Schools:
They have some advantages over the Big 12. There are fewer teams to accommodate and most of the teams are Eastern schools that are more valuable to other conferences than the Midwestern schools in the Big 12. Rutgers, Pitt, and Syracuse seem to top the Big 10 wish list from the Big East. If any of them do not make the final cut in the Big 10 and the ACC expands, it's likely the ACC will take them. I think UConn also will be a top candidate for the ACC should the Big 10 say no. Louisville, Cincinnati, West Virginia, and South Florida look to be out for the Big 10 as academics are outside of the Big 10's expectations. Of these four, Louisville and South Florida fit in the SEC geographical area (Louisville as a rival to Florida, South Florida as a rival to Florida if the SEC doesn't offer bids to FSU and/or Miami) although in many 4 by 16 proposals the SEC will take Texas, A&M, and possibly Okl/OkState. South Florida fits best in the ACC geographically (especially if the SEC loses one or both Florida schools). Taking into account football, West Virginia would be the strongest program and the ACC would probably take them if they expand. I would think Cincinnati would be in the worst case as the Big 10 pretty much doesn't want them and they are outside the SEC and ACC areas (although they could be taken by either, more likely the ACC, to expand into the Midwest).
Well Texas will wind up in a BCS conference should the Big 12 fold. It looks like it will come down to the SEC or Pac 10 (my guess is Texas won't join the Big 10). Three of the five proposals said SEC, two said Pac 10. Of course the travel would be much lighter in the SEC and unless the Pac 10 can really score big on their next contract the SEC would be more profitable for Texas. All things being equal, Texas will join the SEC. I think the best chance for the Pac 10 to give them a big package that the SEC is not willing to match in terms of inviting Texas's Big 12 rivals. You know Texas will say no to both the SEC and Pac 10 if either conference says they will only take Texas. At the very least, Texas A&M will be packaged with them. So the question now will be how many additional Big 12 rivals the SEC or Pac 10 are willing to invite. If the SEC says only Texas and A&M and the Pac 10 offers Texas, A&M, Oklahoma, and Ok. State, the additional Oklahoma schools may convince Texas to take the Pac 10 offer. The SEC can offer a max of 4 bids, the Pac 10 can offer 6. What if the Pac 10 offers bids to the entire Big 12 South or to Colorado and all Big 12 South minus Baylor? The SEC can't match that offer. Clearly the SEC has the advantage and the Pac 10 has to "sweeten" the deal to lure Texas away from the SEC (or from the Big 12 to begin with).
Colorado, Nebraska, and Missouri should be safe. If any of these three decides to stay in the Big 12, the Big 12 won't fold. And none of them will leave unless offered a bid from the Big 10 (Nebr. and Mo.) or the Pac 10 (Colo.)
Texas A&M for sure would go where Texas goes (or stays). They are in no danger.
Oklahoma is next on the safe list. Texas would prefer to keep the OU-TU rivalry and I imagine the SEC and/or Pac 10 will offer Oklahoma a bid to lure Texas. Should Texas go to the SEC and leave Oklahoma behind (no chance Texas goes to the Pac 10 w/o Oklahoma), the Pac 10 could offer Oklahoma a bid. Oklahoma State might be required to go with Oklahoma in any scenario as I imagine politics or T. Boone Pickens would get involved.
That leaves Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, and Iowa State.
Texas Tech could be a decent consolation prize for the conference (SEC or Big 12) that misses out on Texas and Texas A&M as both conferences would still like at least a footprint in the Texas market (then again, TCU and/or Houston could be considered over Texas Tech).
Kansas would give either the SEC or Pac 10 a team in the Midwest (assuming the Big 10 does not take them as expected) and of course their basketball team does have some value.
Baylor would be in trouble as they would be the 6th team from the Big 12 on either the Pac 10's or SEC's wish list (not to mention TCU and Houston could jump in as well). They don't have Ann Richards as a supporter anymore as well.
Kansas State would be in trouble. Kansas could insist on Kansas State coming for the ride but Kansas may have trouble getting one of the Big 10, SEC, or Pac 10 taking them by themselves, let alone take virtual deadweight Kansas State with them.
And by far the worst shape? Iowa State. The Big 10 doesn't need them or want them and they would be a far trip for any of the other three superconferences with little return. The only possibility would be if Iowa decides to force the issue with the Big 10 and demand for the Cyclones to be invited (like Mark Warner forced Va. Tech into the ACC) and even then I think the Big 10 would say no. There are plenty of teams that would take Iowa's place in the Big 10 if the Hawkeyes would be stupid enough to leave (assuming there is no Big 12), which I am sure there were not. If I had to bet, Iowa State would be out of the BCS should they go to a 4 by 16. Kansas State would be 2nd.
There may be some schools that may get the boost up to BCS even in the 4 by 16 scenario.
Utah would seem to top the list as assuming the Pac 10 goes to 16, the Utes would most likely have to be one of the six new teams. Other than Colorado, Texas, and Texas A&M, there are no slam dunk teams out there. There are academic and ideological issues with other schools and there is the stipulation that new members need a unanimous vote. But assuming they need 16 to keep up with the others, let's assume that they have to make some concessions.
If you are looking for schools that fit the Pac 10 academic expectations:
According to US News and World Report, these are the non BCS schools in the top tier that are west of the Mississippi: Rice, SMU, BYU, Tulsa, TCU, Utah, and Colorado State (Boise State and Air Force are not considered national universities). Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech are not top tier schools, all the other Big 12 schools are. The following Big 12 schools are AAU schools: Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Iowa State, Colorado, Texas A&M. No MWC or WAC teams are in the AAU, the only potential candidate from the West that is in the AAU is Rice. Assuming Missouri, Nebraska, Texas, and Texas A&M are out of consideration, Colorado and Kansas would seem to be the best candidates academically (I would imagine Rice and ISU would not be considered for the Pac 10). TCU and/or Baylor would seem to be their top choices among the remaining Texas schools (ahead of Texas Tech or Houston).
As for schools East of the river, I would think Central Florida may have a slight chance to get in the BCS in a 4 by 16 format but it would be unlikely (best scenario would be the SEC steals FSU and Miami from the ACC and the ACC adds them along with South Florida to keep a presence in Florida). Temple is a longshot but maybe the ACC would have some interest in their basketball program and the Philadelphia market. East Carolina would have no chance in a 4 by 16 format but may in a 5 by 16. Memphis could get into the SEC if Texas chooses the Pac 10 over the SEC but I imagine the Florida schools would be the SEC's next target.
Should the Big 12 stay intact (5 by 16 format), there would be room for 14 new BCS schools (assuming none get dropped). That would open up for many western schools as the Big 12 and/or Pac 10 would have room for 10 extra schools and the Big 10, SEC, and ACC would have room for 4 extra schools (not counting the eight Big East schools and Notre Dame that would have to find a place). If I had to bet, I think there will be five and not four superconferences as I think Texas will stay with the Big 12 unless they find it economically infeasible.