College Football: Conference Realignment's Future
Conference realignment has come and gone for this offseason in college football. But it is far from over.
So what happens if the conference realignment reopens its books and begins to snatch up more and more teams into the fiasco we have gotten a taste of this summer? Where will it leave the Big 12, Big East, or BCS?
Hopefully in shambles.
If the teams in this conference want the kind of revenue that the bigger teams are getting, and want to grow as programs, then they will jump to the proverbial larger ship. The Pac-10, SEC, and Big Ten almost triple the growth of the Big 12.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that money runs the world of college football. The more revenue, the more of a commodity you are to a conference.
Honestly, an average Clemson team selling an 80,000 seat stadium with a deal with Raycom Sports would be sucked up by a conference MUCH faster than a red hot Boise State team that has blown through the college landscape for the past decade. Conferences are no longer about competing, those days are far behind us.
No, now the conferences are going for the quick buck for T.V. deals and attendance. The Big 12’s destruction has brought many questions up to me from family members and friends alike. I’ll do my best to answer them one by one.
This is NOT what ESPN says, or CBS, or anything. This is just more of a wish than an actuality. However, there is a good chance it will. This is JUST my opinion.
Where Does This Leave the BCS, Big East, and Big 12?
Hopefully in shambles.
Let it be known that I am a diehard OU fan. I love the Sooners. But if the teams in this conference want the kind of revenue that the bigger teams are getting, and want to grow as programs, then they will jump to the proverbial larger ship.
The Pac-10, SEC, and Big Ten almost triple the growth of the Big 12. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that money runs the world of college football. The more revenue, the more of a commodity you are to a conference.
Honestly, an average Clemson team selling an 80,000 seat stadium with a deal with Raycom Sports would be sucked up by a conference MUCH faster than a red hot Boise State team that has blown through the college landscape for the past decade.
Conferences are no longer about competing; those days are far behind us. No, now the conferences are going for the quick buck for T.V. deals and attendance.
The Big 12’s destruction has brought many questions up to me from family members and friends alike. I’ll do my best to answer them one by one.
The Big 12
With the abandonment by Colorado and Nebraska, this should tip off the watchful fan as a sign that things are as bad as feared in the power conference.
The conference has done its best to downplay any notion that the league is disbanding or even losing one of its members. Well we finally saw the bluff.
Colorado was an easy selection to see as leaving, seeing as it was offered two years ago. Nebraska has formally announced that it will be joining the Big Ten (making the Big Ten the Big Twelve and the Big 12 the Big 10, but I digress), shaking the college world and breaking an over one hundred year alliance with the Big 12/8.
So now the Big 12 and the rest of football have to believe that alliances mean nothing. History means nothing. Ndamukong Suh, a former Nebraska stand-out defensive lineman, tweeted on his Twitter page last night: “The Big Ten? MY Nebraska? I can never see my Cornhuskers playing for anyone other than the Big 12! No!”
Get used to it. This will never be the same. There is no more loyalty in football.
For the rest of the Big 12, it has been in divisions since this all started. Missouri is in a package deal with Nebraska, so they are expected to leave to the Big Ten any day now.
The Colorado situation is an interesting one, as it brings the other five teams it was in alliance with to the front of the stage.
Texas, Texas Tech, and Texas A&M have all met this week and agreed that until Nebraska made its move, they were loyal to the Big 12. With Nebraska’s move, one must suspect that the Texas based schools are on a war path with abandoning the Big 12.
Aside from the wild card in this, Texas A&M. It seems to be very attractive (and attracted) to the SEC and its revenue. If it can keep Texas on its schedule, it very well may make a move away from its allies.
Following suit will be its allies, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State—leaving just four teams remaining in the conference: Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, and Baylor.
Iowa State is expected to join in with the Big Ten in a packaged rivalry with neighboring Iowa. For Kansas and Kansas State, basketball isn’t enough in this case. Football is the sport, and while you’re good at both schools, location kills you.
And Baylor, you’ve been riding a pretty good train in the Big 12 for a while, so this won’t mean much, as it should be in a weaker conference anyways.
How Will the Rest of the Nation Respond?
No one is entirely sure. None of the other major conferences will make a statement on how they will handle the matter of expansion.
However, the SEC has gone on record that it has a plan if the matter of expansion rears its ugly head again.
And it is not hiding it, as they extended invitations to (that we know) Oklahoma and Texas A&M. And it must be known that the Big Ten is not done, which will bring the Pac-10 back out. But this is all guesswork after that.
But we can all assume.
So I will give you my predictions (well, wishes) for the major conferences.
Snatches up Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Texas A&M.
Florida State is a power move that would give the ACC almost complete control of the state of Florida. This means massive TV markets and many recruits.
Many of you may say, why not Miami? Well think, The U doesn’t play Florida anymore. And it has fallen from grace. Florida State still holds the rivalry with Florida. But I will say it could be a toss-up of Miami or Florida State.
Georgia Tech would give the control of Georgia as well as the rivalry of Georgia/Georgia Tech for much more than bragging rights.
Virginia Tech has been brought up as a team that the SEC has publicly gone on record as saying that it wants, but I just don’t see it leaving the dominance it holds in the ACC.
Now Clemson. Clemson has looked like an SEC team since they were brought into existence. The speed and technique they use has matched almost all of the teams in the SEC.
Also, they can compete. The rebirth of hot rivalries like Georgia and USC will be huge.
They are a sleeping giant, with the talent to win national titles but collapse in games that mean nothing. But surrounded by games that ALL mean something, maybe they can be awakened.
But the biggest thing Clemson gives is a hostile environment. 85,000 strong screaming at every home game for guys like BC and Maryland. Imagine the attendance to see a matchup of them and Alabama, LSU, or Florida.
They then snatch up Texas A&M under the sole promise that they can keep playing Texas.
The Big Ten
Grabs Nebraska, Iowa State, and Missouri from the Big 12, Louisville from the Big East, as well as Notre Dame once it realizes that it is going to be left out in the cold.
Nebraska brings a larger market, as well as a perennial power to add to the mix of Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Iowa.
Iowa State would bring the in-state rivalry with Iowa, but it is likely it would just be brought in to even it out at 16.
Missouri is more on the lines of a mix between Nebraska and Iowa State. It would be a good middle-of-the-road team in the Big Ten.
Louisville seems to be a smart move to me as the market would increase and it seems to be a stable football team, but also in basketball. And you will find, through the ACC’s moves, that this also matters.
Notre Dame could very well be the biggest chip in all of this.
The deal with NBC brings huge revenue, plus allows the it to have amazing games like Nebraska and the Irish, or Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, and they all mean a lot toward the conference title game. This brings in a larger market and a ton of revenue from the Irish.
They hold all the cards here, as they could pull the trigger before anyone else.
After the conference is left on life support from the SEC raid, it snatches up what remains of the Big East.
This move keeps the conference a basketball conference after it loses only two real powers in basketball in Clemson and Georgia Tech. It seems pretty content on focusing on that.
UConn, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Pitt, Rutgers, and the others seem as a nice upgrade to the ACC’s competition in football as well.
In fact, even though it loses the name value in Florida State and Clemson, it may actually get a nice deal out of merging with the remaining Big East.
Let’s face it, these teams can flat out play.
After Utah, it grabs Oklahoma, Texas, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech from the Big 12.
Who wouldn’t watch this? OU vs. USC, Texas vs. USC, OU vs. Texas, Oregon vs. OU, OSU vs. OSU—amazing football matchups. How could you not watch such high profile games, with almost all of the top of the conference playing for a national title.
Utah gives the Pac-10 a ton of new power and a sort of Cinderella story for its conference. Utah will play with the big boys in certain games and really fight to give itself a new name.
OU and Texas give the Pac-10 a TON more recognition and instantly gives it a solid argument as the best conference in the country.
The classic matchups would be generated, as well as a solid jump in basketball. Everyone wins in this deal, aside from maybe Texas. It would surrender a TV deal but would ultimately win out with the new money this conference would create.
The Mountain West Conference
Grabs Kansas, Baylor, and Kansas State, as well as Boise State from the WAC.
This leaves it as a new power player on the conference shake up with the death of both the Big 12 and Big East. Plus, I just don’t see Kansas and Kansas State flopping around with no home. They are worth too much.
Baylor will go with them as the credibility of competing in the Big 12 will be too much for this up-and-coming conference to ignore.
It then snatches Boise State, Fresno State, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, and Utah State—the power players of the WAC.
Rest of the Nation
After the MWC’s raid of the WAC, Conference USA and the Sun Belt will snatch the remaining pieces up; leaving whoever can remain in a fight for their life in athletics.
The New Rosters
San Diego State
The New Look
What will the football world look like after all of the dust settles?
The landscape will be completely different. Many colleges will find new homes, and new alliances will be formed. This will all leave five major college conferences in the BCS, or super-conferences: Pac-16, ACC, SEC, MWC, and Big Ten.
All will consist of 16 teams and will make up a huge percentage of the college football world. These teams will make the new leaders of the NCAA.
What will become of the BCS?
There are two possible scenarios for the BCS. Number one: It aligns with the new conferences and sticks by the same guidelines as before and dominate football while the $320 million contract between the BCS and ESPN runs out. Or two: or it disbands.
I’m going with the latter. Now every conference champion, regardless of wins/losses will claim it has a legitimate chance at a national title based on the new tough schedules.
Conferences will start to become big headed with the new power they have, and can’t coincide on a simple process like the BCS. The NCAA implements the playoff we all have begged for since the BCS started. At least we get some good out of this.
Overall, things may not get as bad as they seem. Nebraska, Boise, Utah, and Colorado may be the only teams that move around.
Maybe nothing at all will happen and life will go on. You have to remember, the colleges play a part too. And kingpin football may run the show, but basketball, baseball, etc. still count.
It would take a Texas or Notre Dame moving to put this in motion. But I’m not betting on it. The dominoes have begun to fall and it should be one heck of a ride. Buckle in, college fans, it’s the biggest shakeup in history, and the fate of football will fold out in the next few months, or years.
No matter what, I don't think this is done. And I’ll be watching, that’s for sure.