It took a little longer than expected, but Boise State, San Diego State, Central Florida, Houston and Southern Methodist will all join the Big East in 2013.
Every BCS conference as well as most of the smaller conferences have now gone through some type of realignment in the past few years.
So how do the new conferences stack up for 2012? Let’s rank them and find out.
The conference is set to lose Boise State, San Diego State and TCU in the same year. That would leave it with just Wyoming, Colorado State, Air Force, UNLV and New Mexico as members. They went a combined 23-29 this season.
The conference may not be able to survive this in any capacity, especially if Air Force also bolts to the Big East. Without any new additions at this point, the MWC is on life support.
Boise State has moved on to bigger and better things and Hawaii has not been good without June Jones as head coach. Utah State nearly beat Auburn, and Louisiana Tech nearly beat Southern Miss, Houston and Mississippi State, but they all came up short.
There is really nothing good to say about the WAC any more.
Arkansas State went 10-2 this season and Western Kentucky continues its rapid ascension into relevance after being an FCS school until 2009.
But after them, there is really nobody of real note, especially after Howard Schnellenberger retired from Florida Atlantic.
Hugh Freeze has gone from Arkansas State to Ole Miss, but at least Willie Taggart will be at WKU for a little while longer.
C-USA got two teams ranked in the final BCS Standings, but one of those teams is heading off to the Big East, as are Central Florida and Southern Methodist. The only team that can be considered after that is Tulsa, and Bill Blankenship will be around for at least another year.
East Carolina is still a work in progress and has the potential to be good but no one else is relevant in any capacity.
The MAC has been such a offensively heavy league that it has coined the term “MACtion” in reference to all of the high-scoring games it has on a weekly basis.
Northern Illinois has been fantastic with Chandler Harnish under center, and Toledo had a chance to beat Ohio State, Syracuse and NIU to finish the year 11-2 or 12-1.
Some of the coaches will be gone next year, but there is a solid nucleus of teams that makes the conference better than the other mid-major conferences.
Kellen Moore and Case Keenum won’t be around for 2012 and Houston’s Kevin Sumlin appears on the way out. At least SMU’s June Jones appears to be staying put, but he and Chris Petersen are two of the most sought-after coaches in the country.
Assuming West Virginia leaves for the Big 12 by next season, there really just aren’t enough good teams to make the conference much more relevant next season than it was this season.
For the first time in its history, the ACC sent two schools to BCS bowls in the same year. But outside of those schools, no one has proven they can step up and be elite. They send dozens of players into the NFL, but for whatever reason that does not translate into wins on the football field.
All of the conference's heavy hitters—Virginia Tech, Clemson, Florida State and Georgia Tech—should all be better than they were this year, and Virginia, Wake Forest and N.C. State could all contend as well. But should is the key word. Until proven otherwise, the ACC is the fifth-best conference in the country.
There is an enormous amount of coaching changes going on in the Pac-12, but they got some of the best in the business in Rich Rodriguez and Mike Leach. Add them to Steve Sarkisian and Kyle Whittingham, and you have one of the best foundations for success anywhere in the country.
And of course, USC, Oregon and Stanford all finished this season ranked in the Top 10 in the AP Poll. The Cardinal will lose Andrew Luck, so who knows how good they can really be in the future, but the Trojans and Ducks are legitimate national title contenders.
Give the young coaches a couple years, and the Pac-12 could be the premier conference for college football, but it will take some time.
The Big 12 were the winners in conference realignment somehow, grabbing TCU and West Virginia from the Big East. Losing Texas A&M and Missouri hurts, but neither figured to be that good in 2012 anyway, whereas TCU and WVU are both on the rise.
The conference will be losing a lot of its biggest playmakers like Justin Blackmon, Landry Jones and possibly Robert Griffin III, but the recruiting classes have been stellar, and Kansas State should be even better than they were this year.
If Texas can get back to its dominance, then the conference could be even better.
Outside of the top three teams, there wasn’t much to get excited about in the Big Ten, but next year could be completely different.
Ohio State hired Urban Meyer, and Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin should all be better than they were this year.
If all of those teams perform up to their potential, the Big Ten will be without a doubt the second-best conference in the country.
The SEC is without a doubt the best conference in college football this year; they’re sending their top two teams to the national championship, for crying out loud.
A member from the conference has won the national championship in six straight seasons, and LSU could be even better next year.
Assuming Georgia’s juniors stick around for next season, the Bulldogs could have a special season and Auburn played an incredible amount of underclassmen this year. '
The SEC East was a little young this year but South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida could all surprise next season, as could Arkansas and Alabama, who is set to lose a bunch of talent.