Let me set the stage for you. The year is 2016. The world has survived the 2012 apocalypse and college football has survived realignment, emerging from the ashes like a phoenix, stronger than ever.
Four giants have taken control, uniting 14+ teams each under their banners. The SEC, B1G, ACC, and Pac-16 all vie for humongous TV contracts and millions of viewers each season.
For the sake of this article being based in reality, let us all assume the following has happened:
1) Texas and the Pac-12 got over their differences and formed the Pac-16 with Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech
2) Texas A&M joined the SEC along with West Virginia receiving the invite the following season
3) Syracuse and Pitt leave on schedule to their new home. Meanwhile, UConn and Rutgers get plucked out of the Big East and are warmly welcomed to the ACC, and
4) Notre Dame finally gives in and brings a more than grateful Missouri with it to the B1G.
These are all reasonable assumptions considering the circumstances the schools and conferences are in now. In five years, conference realignment will be finally over and we will be looking at our playing field for the next couple of decades (at least).
Now the Big 12 is left with TV contracts that the networks don't want to be sued over, and the Big East is left in obscurity. A merger might seem like the best option for both sides, but will it be enough? If not, who else gets the invite to a fringe BCS conference?