Conference Realignment Shake-Up(date): The New College Sports Landscape

Jim Cowan@jimicowanCorrespondent ISeptember 19, 2011

My predictions here are somewhat coming to a head. Syracuse and Pitt’s application and acceptance into the Atlantic Coast Conference was announced yesterday.

On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal—but it’s actually huge. The Big East is a complete joke regarding football. Big East basketball, however, was largely considered the best conference, year in and year out. So what, big deal about two teams out of the best conference? What does the ACC get?

The ACC acquires the second-best team in the league as far—Syracuse—as NCAA championship appearances at 34, behind only Louisville’s 36. Pittsburgh has had more recent success and has 22 appearances itself. Five Final Fours: Syracuse with four and Pitt with one. Then of course, Syracuse with its 2003 national championship.

These numbers clearly shoot the ACC to the top of the basketball world. If there was another conference claiming to already be in that spot, it was the ACC… before this move. 

What does this mean for the big picture? Well, it’s a move I expected later on, after the Big 12 blows up. It’s a preemptive strike that only proves to me that major realignment is not just rumor anymore.

I still expect the Big 12 to implode around Texas and their dirty TV network. Texas A&M will still head to the SEC. Rumors yesterday state that team No. 14 may be West Virginia now, yet another Big East defector. I expect Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to roll to the Pac-12.

There has been plenty of talk down here on where Texas will end up. I still think they’ll end up going independent and throwing their non-football sports into a legit conference. The rest of the Big 12 will just play the land-grab game and go where they can. 

Now, the Big East. If the West Virginia rumors are true, the Big East is finished. Despite the perennial Notre Dame conference talk, I still believe the school will stick to its independent roots. They will, however, realign the other sports with the Big Ten when the Big East explodes for good.


Beauty is, they’re Notre Dame, so they don’t have to make any brash decisions. I don’t really have a gauge on where the other teams will go, but I suspect they’ll remain somewhat regionally aligned.

The ACC may gobble up Villanova and Georgetown. Their football teams will remain in D1-AA though.

Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Rutgers are all in the area but are not sure if they have enough to offer the ACC to make that a thousand-team conference. I believe they do, but I’m not stroking the checks, either.

Louisville will find a home somewhere, but their football actually hurts them, I think; same boat for Cincy.

DePaul and Marquette are real toss-ups. They’re in Big Ten country, so maybe they join that conference?

USF will find someone down south to be friends with. Lucky for them, they’re on the upswing football-wise, or they’d be greeting the Conference USA or the like.

So yet another post with pretty much the same prediction. What we’re going to see, again:

The Atlantic Coast Conference, the Southeastern Conference, the Big Ten (+20), and the Pacific-30. It is coming. Some will be slow to find a home, and there may be some moving parts after the realignment. Rest assured, whatever the goofy names and logos will be, there will be North, South, East, and West conferences.