If you were not a member of a Rivals website, this summer has certainly piqued your interest.
Thanks to men like Chip Brown and others, the word expansion became the buzz of the college football offseason.
While we have received some movement, we certainly didn't get the extreme shifts that some people had written about and even predicted.
What we got were some positive changes for college football, that should change the landscape of the future of conference stability.
Let's look into the future for the 2010 college football season and see if we can find some story lines to look forward to.
Big 12 fans, you guys got poached.
There is no other way to describe it. Yes, Colorado was a bad football program, and I would agree that many fans couldn't tell you what conference they played in, but the loss of Colorado meant the loss of Nebraska. And YES, that matters.
Certainly Oklahoma and Texas have been, and currently are, the class of the conference, but without a team in the North to contend against, your champion will be decided between Texas and Oklahoma yearly.
Two teams a conference does not make.
I call this THE Ohio State effect. Fans of the Big 12 have lost their championship game, a tough game on the potential schedule, and a tough potential championship opponent.
Ohio State had this problem, once they beat the other tough team in their conference, they would not be prepared for the skill they would face in their bowl games.
Do we really wonder why the Pac-10 and Big Ten went after more teams? Its not just money, its relevance, and competition. Losing two teams does not increase the competition.
Remember this year's basketball tournament?
We had BUTLER in the finals! We had every team on edge, and the one team that was the clear cut No. 1 was beaten before reaching the Final Four.
Yeah, expect a story much like this again.
Boise State is primed for a championship game appearance, as long as they can get by Virginia Tech.
I believe this has to be the furthest away you can get for a neutral site game, but I digress.
Games you shouldn't miss this season:
East Carolina v. NC State
Houston at UCLA
Central Florida v. NC State
SMU @ Texas Tech
Navy v. Maryland
TCU v. Oregon State
BYU @ Florida State
Pittsburgh @ Utah
Air Force @ Oklahoma
Middle Tennessee v. Minnesota
Troy @ Oklahoma State
Middle Tennessee v. Georgia Tech
Florida Atlantic v. Michigan State
Fresno State v. Cincinnati
Nevada v. Cal
No, the little guy wont win all of these. And sure, the big guys are going to get some wins, but I expect interesting matchups and close games.
Well, the Mountain west was at 10, and now its back to nine.
Congratulations are in order for Utah, as they would be for any team that has gotten a fair shot at a BCS game every year.
With that in mind, lets not forget what the Mountain West lost—a third place team. And also what they gained—a National Title contender.
Yes, Utah has been to two BCS games, and I know they are no slouch, but if you had to pick who to lose, the positive is that you did gain a great replacement.
Hopefully, the Mountain West won't become a feeding ground for other BCS leagues, but I have a feeling that if the conference doesn't get the automatic qualifying status this time around, the option will be off the table as the three powers will move toward greener pastures.
And, I don't expect the BCS to give a bid to the Mountain West.
Remember when the Big East was a dead conference walking?
It seems that someone built a wall east of the Mississippi river. With all eight teams sticking around, the question raised now is who will win this league.
I think the smart money is on Connecticut, a team that returns nearly the whole squad, and more importantly their coach, Randy Edsall.
The other team I look forward to seeing play this year is South Florida under Skip Holtz.
Holtz knows how to recruit his area, whether or not his players were second-chance kids. It will be interesting to see what magic this coach has for the electrifying B.J. Daniels
In all honesty, if you're a fan of Syracuse or Louisville, don't hold out hope for this season.
For everyone else, you can certainly make an argument for your team losing in a BCS game this year.
Honesty time: NOBODY and I mean NOBODY has a shot in the SEC East other than Florida.
If you can imagine your team winning the conference: Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, or South Carolina, YOU are living in fantasy land.
The West: Honestly I don't see anybody taking out Alabama, but I think it will happen. That doesn't mean they will not win the West, but I think they will trip up. Its very difficult to imagine 25-plus wins in a row.
It's gonna take a team who wants to run a spread and take advantage of the Bama blitz.
Arkansas has the personnel, they just lack the defensive toughness to be the team I'd pick to pull the upset.
Fans of Alabama and Florida should be expecting another matchup in Atlanta, and maybe we'll get the competitive game we missed out on last year.
The Pac-10 has A LOT this year, not just the pride from last year's bowl performances.
Oregon loses the Rose Bowl, Arizona is shut out, Stanford goes down, and Oregon State and Cal both lose to the Mountain West.
Let's just say adding more teams was the good news out of last year's season.
Now the Pac-10 has lost USC!
Yes, USC can not compete in bowl games. What will the Pac-10 do if their champion is 8-4 against an 11-1 Big Ten team? I mean, besides lose again?
The loss of USC isn't the only hit, the defending champion Oregon Ducks pulled a Cincinnati Bengals offseason and seemingly tried to one-up each other on their police interaction. And no, they were not community service projects.
Personally I think it's not too much to believe that USC is the best of the Pac-10, and the league is going to take its lumps from USC's suspension.
Hopefully, Utah can take up some slack, because we all know Colorado won't.
Jimbo Fisher is already building a historic program back at Florida State, Butch Davis has turned North Carolina into a defensive nightmare, and Miami is becoming the U again.
Let's not forget about Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. This could be the beginning of an ACC movement toward a National Championship appearance.
It could also lead them down the same road they've been traveling on, where every team has a loss because of the top-to-bottom competition.
The ACC also meets the SEC seven times this season.
UNC v. LSU
FSU v. Florida
Clemson v. South Carolina
Wake Forest v. Vanderbilt
Georgia Tech v. Georgia
Auburn v. Clemson
Alabama v. Duke
If the ACC can win four, they'll be able to beat their chest again. The only guarantee this season is for Duke to get pummeled by Alabama.
Yes, Florida is not a guarantee. I'd still be on the Gators—Urban Meyer's spread is not nearly as dangerous with a stand-up pocket passer.
There are numerous players that you probably will miss out on this season, unless you take the time to set you TiVo for a Tuesday night game.
With the use of the spread offense, quarterbacks are even more important to teams who must rely on speed and deception to gain the upper hand on their opponents
Here is a list of just a few guys you need to watch this season.
Dwight Dasher, Middle Tennessee
Case Keenum, Houtson
Kellen Moore, Boise St.
Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
Ricky Dobbs, Navy
Austin Davis, Southern Miss
Andy Dalton, TCU
Let's be serious folks, do we honestly think that expansion is over?
Do we honestly believe that everybody is happy? I mean sure, Texas and Oklahoma have their golden roads to the BCS title, but what about the conference as a whole?
Does the Big 12 really believe that 10 teams is the magic number, especially if everybody else is getting bigger and working toward a conference championship?
What does the Big East have to do to deal with its membership issues in basketball?
They know they can not stay viable with this crop of teams, and they really can't afford to add any more squads to an already bloated basketball league. Sure we'd all accept Notre Dame, but that isn't happening.
With Brian Kelly in charge, you know he won't allow the tradition of Notre Dame to be changed for money.
Can the Pac-10 make it to magic number 16? It would only take one team from the Big 12 to leave for the original five to ship out to greener pastures. Texas A&M was close, as some have reported, but I see Texas Tech as the team who rocks the boat.
Tommy Tuberville has already fired the first shot with his opinion of the future of his league.
How about the SEC? If one league gets to 14, or 16 can they just sit by and do nothing? Remember, your reputation is built upon the top teams you put out. Depth is not a concern when it comes to the mythical conference standings.
It comes down to BCS titles and bowl games won. Besides Texas and Oklahoma, are there any teams that the SEC has to have?
The biggest question is the future of the Non-AQ teams. Boise State, BYU, and TCU have lost a conference mate in Utah and will be looking for their opportunity to compete for a BCS title annually.
The other schools who are looking to leave their conference include Houston, Memphis, Middle Tennessee, Southern Miss, Central Florida, and East Carolina.
All of these schools have the success in football, minus Memphis, and continue to look for their opportunity to move up the conference ladder.
Time will tell where are Non-AQ teams go, but expect them to move, whether they move to the greener pastures of BCS leagues or just move in together, this is certainly not the end of expansion talks.