College Football Realignment: Rise of the Southwest Conference
So, I think most consumers of college football news have come to the realization that there is another realignment storm brewing and it’s starting in the southwest…AGAIN.
This time the Mountain West is the culprit but I don’t think realignment will be confined to the Mountain West and Western Athletic Conferences.
The MWC has done a great job shoring up its position, with the possible loss of BYU, but other conferences are still sitting on precarious ground, most notably, the Big 12.
So that got me to thinking. What is the Big 12 Commissioner thinking about right now? OK, what is the real leader of the Big 12, Texas AD, DeLoss Dodds really thinking? I will go on record now and say that I believe he is thinking, “We need some stability so let’s bring back the Southwest Conference”.
Before I go any further, let's briefly review the history of the SWC. I know when most of us think of the SWC, we think of the teams that formed the league when it dissolved in 1996 but their history is so much richer.
In 1915, the SWC consisted of Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Rice, and Baylor. By 1919, TCU and SMU were added. By 1971, Texas Tech and Houston joined the league.
See where I’m going with this.
If Texas wanted, and I think they may actually be leaning in this direction, they may be considering bringing back all of the SWC teams from the past. To round out the new (old) SWC conference, they may include some teams that would surprise you.
So let’s look at what the new SWC would look like and then I will attempt to rationalize my thoughts.
New Southwest Conference
East: Arkansas, LSU, TCU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Tulane, Baylor
West: Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Houston, UTEP, SMU, Rice, North Texas
To anchor the new SWC East, they should go after LSU, Arkansas, and TCU. TCU will not be a problem. The incorporation of Arkansas will be made easier with the support of the Dallas Cowboy owner, Jerry Jones, who seems to be willing to put money up to encourage Arkansas to come back to the southwest. Arkansas would benefit because they would be able to reestablish their pipeline with Texas recruits, which is something they have had a hard time doing since joining the SEC. That leaves LSU. I believe LSU would take the invite because they would only have to get past TCU and Arkansas each year to get to the SWC Conference Championship.
The addition of the remaining non-BCS qualifying schools is a no brainer. As long as Texas and OU are on board, the others will follow.
Those are my thoughts. I would love to hear yours.
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