Back in 1992 we held conference expansion; Florida State left the Independent to join the ACC, Penn State left the Independent to join the Big Ten, South Carolina and Arkansas left their respective conferences (Arkansas the Southwest, South Carolina the Metro) to join the SEC, and Miami joined the Big East. That idea turned out to be pretty good ones as Florida State ended up turning the ACC into their own personal little playground, Penn State did nothing but do what they were brought in to do periodically challenge Ohio State and Michigan as conference top dogs, and Arkansas and South Carolina was only brought in as extra bodies to offset the Big Ten’s expansion, and Miami joined other Florida powerhouse programs FSU and UF to form the Mecca of college football championships and first round picks.
Fast forward to 2004 we see another conference realignment, this time with the ACC raiding and almost nearly destroying the Big East by taking Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. The Big East in response destroys Conference USA and takes USF, Louisville, Cincinnati, and add UConn’s football program to the conference.
Now we sit at the crossroads of a conference realignment that not only affects the schools involved and their fans, but also every single college football fan from FBS to FCS to Division II to Division III. We are looking at conferences that were around since almost the beginning of football, which will have members from a conference most of us only occasionally watched, and that will bring matchups we would have to have waited until January to see.
In case you been under a rock for the past 3weeks let me catch you up to speed and bring you up to today. The Big 10 decides they want to expand, so they reach out to Nebraska out of the Big XII conference, nothing wrong with that; ONLY that removing 1 school from the Big XII would mean no conference title game that they don’t want anyway. The Pac10 decides if those Midwesterners can do it then we can and they invite Colorado to join the Pac10 (which they do). For all you who can do better by visual here it is
Big 10- Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State PLUS Nebraska
Pac10- Arizona State, Arizona, USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Wazzou PLUS Colorado
Big XII- Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State Mizzou MINUS Colorado, and Nebraska
There it is as of now.
Fast-forward to later this summer going into next summer, and the moves that WILL happen. There are no if ands or buts about it, these moves will happen and then I’ll talk about the moves that may need to happen, and won’t happen.
Because of the dismemberment of the Big XII that leaves about 10schools without a home (look back at the list), so what is to happen to those schools? Why not form their own league and be happy? No, there’s no money in that. The Pac10 WILL make an offer to Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to join the Pac10 and form the first ever mega conference. This will then leave the remaining 4 schools without a home; oh contraire, the Big10 will not to be put on the back burner by a conference who wasn’t even invited to the party will then invite Mizzou, Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State to join the Big10 creating another mega conference. Again for the visual people
Big10 (after expansion with the 5 Big XII schools)- (West) Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Mizzou, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State (East) Northwestern, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Indiana, Penn State, Wisconsin
Pac10 (after expansion with the 6 Big XII schools)- (East) Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State (West) USC, UCLA, Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Wazzou.
Big XII (after 11members leave)- Baylor
Baylor would then have to join the MWC or go independent.
Lets say no more moves happen and the Big XII gets out of this whole thing only losing Nebraska and Colorado, who do they get? Well, this is where everybody in the nation is affected. Utah, Boise State, and TCU will be the next ones in line. Why? TCU has already proven they can beat the Big XII elite, Utah has gone undefeated a bunch of times and with the TCU rivalry they can get some good TV time especially if both make the title game, and Boise State has been riding a high horse since they beat Oklahoma back in 2007 and it puts the mystic of Bronco Stadium with its Blue Turf to the test when Oklahoma, Texas, or Texas Tech comes calling. The FBS landscape would look like this with no mega conferences but now have 5 of the 6 major conferences with championship games (yes, if ya’ll are thinking what I’m thinking read my next article “BCS, Expansion, and a True National Champion”)
Big 10- (West) Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern, Wisconsin (East) Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue, Penn State
Pac10- (South) Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Cal (North) Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Wazzou, Colorado
Big XII (with new members)- (North) Boise State, Utah, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, (South) Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor
Only time will tell but don’t be surprised if any of the 2 possibilities happen. I’m leaning more toward the former of the two.
Part 2 of this series talks about the ramifications the alignment will have on the SEC, Big East, and ACC