College Football's Realignment Aftermath: Renaming the New Conferences
The names probably won't change.
But they could. And they should.
When Penn State joined the Big Ten in the 1990s, the conference now had 11 teams. Yet they played on as the Big Ten. The Big 12 is down to ten teams. Will that change anything?
Here are a few ideas on what the affected conferences could start calling themselves. Let's clear up the issue once and for all.
The Pac Eight, Mountain Two, and Desert Two
Certainly they regard distances differently out west, but has anyone told the Pac-10 that Utah and Colorado don't exactly touch the Pacific Ocean? When did they figure out that Arizona didn't either? Isn't there a country song about that?
At least the conference as it stands now only touches two time zones. That seems to be standard these days. Had the Texas and Oklahoma schools decided to join as well, a one o'clock kickoff could have meant three different things. That might have gotten tricky.
Well folks, it looks like the Trojans might have a few lean years. Who would you like to add to the conference to make up for their lack of clout?
How about anyone willing to join?
In this case, geography, football prowess and total number of teams seems less important than simply being willing to join up. Utah will be an interesting addition. Colorado will probably drop the level of play in the conference a few notches, despite the perceived weakness of the league already.
Boise State? Hawail? Kansas? West Virginia? Well, why not? Sixteen sounds like a nice round number.
The Big Four and the Little Eight
Let the record state that the addition of Nebraska is a fantastic move for the conference formerly known as the Big Ten.
It will elevate the level of play in the conference, makes sense geographically, and will probably spawn a great Nebraska-Iowa rivalry. It will give the Big Ten the right to have a championship game, which they desperately need.
Does it make sense for Nebraska? Probably so, because they were never that great a fit in the Big 12 North anyway.
The only problem is that the Big Ten was always stratified, and now they have become even more so. In this day and age Ohio State, Penn State, and Iowa rule the roost. Michigan has fallen apart with Rich Rodriguez at the helm. Wisconsin is mediocre at best. After that it gets really, really sparse.
Nebraska is a good team that is in the process of improving. They will join Ohio State, Penn State, and Iowa at the top of the conference when they come over. They had better schedule some tough non-conference games as well.
The Big Dozen
Simple math here folks. The Big Ten has had more than 10 teams for nearly two decades now, but the old name persists. Now they are up to 12 teams, but there is already a Big 12 in existence, albeit with 10 teams now, thanks in part to the Big Ten.
If Missouri later decides to join the Big Ten, perhaps they could become the Big Bakers Dozen.
Texas and Pals
This may make the most sense out of all the projected new conference names.
As we saw in the last few weeks, the bulk of the remaining Big 12 will do exactly what Texas does. If the Longhorns went to the Pac-10, the rest of the world was willing to join them. If they were to head to the SEC, we would be looking at a 16-team Southeastern Conference today.
It's all about money, and Texas has the most of anyone out there. Soon they'll have their own network and pay-per-view as well. They control the teams in the immediate region. For now, they're in their own league.
Hook 'em horns...
The Big Conference with Two Open Slots
Go ahead and post the classified ads. The Big 12 needs two more teams to exist on the college football landscape for the long term.
Who will they be? TCU? UTEP? North Texas? BYU? It really doesn't matter, but the number has to come up to 12, the minimum number of teams required for a conference to host a title game.
This is a great opportunity for a mid-major school to step up in class. Network deals and the money that comes with it have been promised to the Big 12, were they to remain intact. It's time to get a piece of the pie.