Conference Realignment: Big East, Mountain West, Conference-USA Mega Conference?
The Boston Globe recently leaked information about a document they obtained outlining a potential merger of the Big East, Mountain West and Conference-USA creating a 32-team mega conference.
The idea is that the conference would be split into four divisions with a four-team playoff at the end of the season. The winner of the playoff would be the conference champion and would have an automatic bid to a BCS bowl.
The four divisions would be called the West, Mountain, Central and Big East.
The West Division would consist of Boise State, Hawaii, UNLV, Nevada, Fresno State, San Diego State, Utah State and San Jose State.
The Mountain Division would have Air Force, Wyoming, Colorado State, New Mexico, UTEP, SMU, Tulsa and Houston.
The Central Division would be made up of Marshall, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, UAB, Rice, Temple and Louisiana Tech.
And finally, the Big East Division would consist of Louisville, UConn, Rutgers, Cincinnati, South Florida, Central Florida, East Carolina and Navy.
West Virginia is not included in this plan, as the Mountaineers would likely head to the Big 12 to replace a Missouri team that may end up in the SEC along with Texas A&M, but they can be easily integrated.
Basically, each team would play a non-conference/division schedule of four games and then each division has a seven-game round robin for each team. The winner of each division would then move into a playoff where the winner of the semi-final and final would be crowned the conference champion. That team would then get a berth into a BCS bowl or even the BCS National Championship if ranked in the No. 1 or 2 spots.
For the winner it turns out to be 14 games, but for the teams that do not make the playoffs and do not become bowl eligible they would only play 11 games, which is problematic due to a lack of revenue. To alleviate this another non-division game could be added, but that would force the champion into playing 15 games total (14 games is the most currently played by any team).
With or without the Mountaineers, this setup is extremely compelling and is likely the reason why invites have not been issued to Boise State and others to join the Big East.
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