With the upcoming addition of Texas A&M to the SEC, it's becoming clear that the creation of college football super conferences is just around the corner. Here is a look at how that could shake out.
The current set up of the big six conferences (Big East, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12) will be divided up into four large conferences of 16 teams each. Centered around the large money-making sport of college football, this will result in four super conference champions that will play a four team playoff for the title.
Each 16 team league will be divided into two eight team divisions with the winners of each division playing in the conference championship games.
The Pac-12, SEC and Big Ten look to be the conferences adding schools to see who can get to 16 teams the quickest. With Texas A&M jumping ship to the SEC, the Pac-12 is looking to poach four teams from the Big 12 to get to 16 first.
Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State look to be first in line for these four spots. This would crush the Big 12 and leave Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State on the outside looking in to be in the super conferences.
Look for the SEC and Big Ten to act quickly after the Pac-12 gets to the Pac-16. After A&M, the SEC will need three more teams to get to the 16-team mark.
Look for Clemson to be first on the list. With a strong football tradition and a rival of South Carolina, this is a perfect fit. With just two spots left, look for Miami, Florida State and Georgia Tech to be left out.
Florida and Georgia have become the best programs in their respective states so more representation in these states is unnecessary; Florida and Georgia have a relentless rivalry that is currently going strong. Look for the SEC to seek out more great football tradition and snag West Virginia and Virginia Tech for the final two spots in the super conference SEC.
The Big Ten will then be next to move. They key component here being the Big Ten Network, which generates lots of money for this conference. There is always national interest in football powerhouse Notre Dame; look for the Irish to finally cave and join as failure to move to the super conferences would all but squash any future national championship hopes.
NBC and the Big Ten Network would have to tie up a deal to get this finalized for Notre Dame. The Big Ten will then look for teams with solid TV markets. Missouri, with the Big 12 going down the drain, is a possibility as they bring in the St. Louis market and thus will likely get a spot in the Big Ten.
With two spots left look for Maryland with the D.C. television market, and Pitt with the Pittsburgh market to sweep up the last two spots. Other contenders include Syracuse and UConn with strong ties to the NYC Market, but their huge success in Big East Basketball will keep them behind.
With the Big 12 all but gone, the ACC and the Big East will have to combine forces to make the final super conference of 16, the EACC (Eastern Atlantic Coastal Conference).
Duke, UNC, Wake Forest, NC State along with Florida State, Miami, Virginia, Georgia Tech and Boston College will be the first nine, and joined by Big East members Syracuse, UConn, Rutgers, Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida.
With one spot remaining look for Villanova, much like UConn a few years ago, to make the jump up and serve as a possible replacement for TCU in the ECAC. Any stadium concerns can be alleviated with games being played at the Philadelphia Eagles stadium. Similar arrangements have been made for UMass at the Patriots' Gilette Stadium in Foxboro next season after the program announced the move up earlier this year.
This puts us at four super conferences at a time in the near future. Teams like TCU, BYU, Boise State, Kansas, Kansas State and Baylor will then have to mop teams up for a conference. This will create an eight-team playoff as the conference championships serve as the first round.
With four teams remaining after the conference title games, there will be a final four of football to decide the REAL national champion for once.
To see how the teams will be divided in their respective new super conferences look below at the divisions.
|Pac-16||SEC||Big Ten ||EACC|
|Stanford||S. Carolina||Penn State||Syracuse|
|Oregon State||West Virginia||Maryland||TCU|
|Texas||Auburn||Michigan State||Wake Forest|
|Texas Tech||Arkansas||Nebraska||NC State|
|Colorado||Miss State||Minnesota||Florida State|
|Oklahoma||Ole Miss||Notre Dame||Georgia Tech|
|Oklahoma State||Texas A & M||Missouri||South Florida|