NCAA Football: A Revolutionary Division One Re-Alignment Proposal

David SingletonCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2008

Congratulations, Boise State. You went undefeated in your conference for the second time in three seasons and have climbed to number nine in the current Bowl Championship Series standings.


We hope that you have a wonderful time at the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl, which is played in lovely, picturesque, Boise.


Do you think I’m kidding? This scenario could happen.

The way that the BCS is currently structured, if multiple teams from the non-automatic qualifying conferences are undefeated and fall within the top 12 of the BCS standings only one of them gets to go to the big show. Considering that memories are short in today’s sports world, Boise State’s thrilling overtime victory over Oklahoma has been completely overshadowed by the absolute beating that Hawai’i took in the Sugar Bowl this past January.


A season full of hard work leads to a bowl game that is played in your own stadium. Instead of heading off to warmer climes, you get to stay home.




In that vein, I got to thinking: what if the non-automatic qualifying conferences simply seceded. I’m not saying that these schools should drop down to Division 1 FCS. Instead, these schools should consider forming their own playoff system.


If you aren’t going to be allowed to challenge the big boys in the current system, and if the rules can’t be adapted to even begin considering you as an equal, then secession may be the only logical response.


In order for this to work, however, there would have to be radical realignment because of the number of teams involved.


What I did was looked at all of the schools in the current non automatic qualifying conferences (Mid-American, Conference USA, Mountain West, Western Athletic, Sun Belt) and the two irrelevant academy teams, Army and Navy. (Western Kentucky begins play in the Sun Belt Conference in 2009.)


Notre Dame is considered an automatic qualifier for the BCS because, well, they negotiated those rights.


If you look at the schools above, that list totals 54 schools. I thought that adding one more school to the mix would help with realignment into five eleven team conferences. Why not offer an invitation to a FCS school that has made a national name for itself by winning three consecutive national championships and beating Michigan at the Big House? Appalachian State, come on up!


There you have it. 55 teams that will be aligned into five conferences with eleven teams each. Each team will play a ten game round robin schedule in conference and be allowed to schedule up to two non-conference games.


The realignment I propose is based mostly off of geography to help limit travel costs and minimize long road trips. Granted, that was not possible in some cases (or at all, in Hawai’i’s case). But an attempt was made, and in Hawai'i's case, I'm sure nobody would protest too hard if they had to fly out there. Also, some attention was paid to who was shifting conferences to try and preserve, or resurrect, traditional rivalries.


Three current conference names will remain, although obviously teams will be shuffling under those banners. Two new conference names were created to try and encapsulate where the bulk of those teams play. These affiliations will not affect the teams in other sports; this is simply a football realignment.


Also, this set up would allow for an eight team playoff: Five division winners advance, plus the three teams with the next best records. Ties would be broken thusly:


1)      Head-to-head result

2)      Record within conference (when examining cross-conference ties)

3)      Record versus common opponents

4)      Average of ranking in AP poll, USA Today poll and Harris Poll

5)      Tie broken by random draw



Without further ado, here is the new alignment for the teams that play in Division 1-NBCSS (Non-Bowl Championship Series Subdivision):


Eastern Conference


Appalachian State



Central Florida (UCF)

East Carolina

Florida Atlantic

Florida International

Kent State




Gulf Coast Conference

Alabama-Birmingham (UAB)




Louisiana Tech


Middle Tennessee


Southern Mississippi




Mid-American Conference

Ball State

Bowling Green

Central Michigan

Eastern Michigan


Miami (OH)

Northern Illinois



Western Kentucky

Western Michigan


Mountain West Conference

Air Force

Arkansas State

Boise State

Colorado State


North Texas

Southern Methodist (SMU)

Texas Christian (TCU)

Texas-El Paso (UTEP)




Western Athletic Conference

Brigham Young (BYU)

Fresno State



New Mexico

New Mexico State

San Diego State

San Jose State



Utah State


The odds of this happening are slim to none. But why not at least throw this idea out there as something to think about occurring in the future.



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