College Football Conference Realignment: The Logical Superconferences
Conference realignment. Also known as The Great War of the B.S. Conferences.
Yes, B.S. Conferences. Not BCS.
The playground battle between greedy school children continues to bother college football fans from Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington.
Enough is enough.
It is time for Papa NCAA to step in with a belt in hand and whip some sense back into the circus-loving conference commissioners who seem to have eyes bigger than their stomachs.
Nobody wants the madness to settle until 64 teams have lobbied, bullied and bribed their way into power so a "national champion" can be crowned in a 4-team conference champions' playoff.
The desperation is laughable.
Oklahoma regents meet on Monday to take their school into a conference that references the Pacific Ocean in its name.
TCU will be playing in a league that houses its closest neighbor nearly 900 miles away.
Texas is forgetting that Austin does not touch an ocean. Even if it did, the Gulf of Mexico is not a stone's throw away from the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific for that matter.
Give me a break.
Every realignment prediction out there projects that Boise State is left outside in the cold come New Years bowl game season. How then can we be sure that the winner of a 4-team playoff would truly be our nation's champion when an undefeated Boise team would not even be invited to the party?
Does anybody care about that slight oversight?
If Boise, Idaho were located four or five states further east, the injustice of the mere suggestion would have already gone before a Supreme Court judge—not a far-out prediction considering Baylor's recent litigation threats.
Apparently, the senseless NCAA is going to sit back with a bag of popcorn while Mike Slive and Larry Scott lie their way to the high throne of college football where ESPN will crown them with an inscribed 14-carrot golden hat, "Bow Down to the Worldwide Leader."
Here is my hypothetical solution to fix the issues and breathe easy...
Goodbye to the BS, er BCS
Order is restored in my just and fair daydreams.
Ever logical, I have replaced the hapless NCAA president and the first thing I have done is destroy the BCS and reconstruct every FBS conference.
Mike Slive and Larry Scott are welcome to reapply for positions as conference commissioners, but based on their track records of "doing what's best for the student athletes" their chances for rehire are slim.
Y'all want four super-conferences?
While I may not agree, I listen to the cries from the majority and grant you your wish.
All 96 of 'em Can Play for the Championship
Each conference consists of 24 teams split up into Tier A and Tier B divisions. Anyone familiar with European soccer leagues?
The 12 teams in Tier A of each conference will compete to send their champion to the beloved 4-team playoff to determine the national champion.
The 12 teams in Tier B of each conference will compete to send their champion into Tier A, replacing the school in the higher division with the most losses on the season.
Any school placed in a Tier B division of its conference, therefore, has the right to compete for a national championship within only one year. Win your conference and you move up with the Tier A boys. Lose your conference and you move down to Tier B.
48 teams will compete for the national championship in a given year. 96 teams are considered Division I, FBS, or whatever you want to call it.
The 48 teams playing in Tier B divisions play with the hope of a promotion into Tier A.
Take Colorado for example. After considering your past few seasons, I have placed you in the Tier B division of the Pacific Conference.
Are you going to cry about it?
Simply win your Tier B division and you earn the right to play with USC, Oregon and Arizona State again.
Be careful what you wish for, though. Losing eight conference games in a Tier A division will place you right back where you started, unable to compete for a national championship the following year while playing in the Tier B division.
Now, a message to the schools not included in my 96-team league. Utah State, New Mexico State and Toledo, that means you.
Any team performing consistently at the bottom of its Tier B division can be challenged by a Division II (FCS) program. In the challenge, the performance of both programs over a five-year period of time will be reviewed and considered.
Louisiana Tech, I have included you as one of my last selections in the 96-team league. If you consistently lose games and play at the bottom of the Tier B South Conference, someone will challenge you and you'll be booted from the league.
Do not be shocked when you see the Big 12, ACC, SEC and Big East all broken up between conferences in the following slides. After all, I did say I used logic in creating the league. Rivalries, geography and tradition were the major factors considered in creating each conference.
The Pacific Conference
Arizona, Arizona State
Boise State, BYU
Oregon State, Stanford
Air Force, Colorado
Colorado State, Fresno State
New Mexico, San Diego State
Wyoming, Washington State
Washington State and Colorado fans will not like this slide.
However, let's consider this year alone. While the Wazzou Cougars and the Colorado Buffs would finish at the top of the Tier B league, I do not think either team would win it. After all, Colorado already has a bad loss at Hawaii.
If the league were to play this year, Boise State, Oregon and lucky Stanford are looking like the most likely candidates to reach the playoff for the national championship.
Meanwhile, Oregon State looks the most vulnerable and would move out of Tier A with a bad losing season.
At the rate New Mexico is going, it is looking like the first program in Tier B that would be challenged by an outsider and removed from the league.
The Midwest Conference
Michigan State, Nebraska
Northwestern, Notre Dame
Ohio State, Penn State
Purdue, Texas Tech
Baylor, Central Michigan
Indiana, Iowa State
Kansas, Kansas State
Minnesota, Northern Illinois
SMU, Western Michigan
Oh yes, I did.
Essentially, I kicked low-performing Indiana, Minnesota and Illinois out of the Big Ten and replaced them with Notre Dame, TCU and Texas Tech.
If this Tier A division were in play this year, the highly competitive league would beat up on each other soundly. Currently, Wisconsin looks like it would be the most likely champion. Purdue looks like the most likely team to fall down to Tier B.
Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Kansas State athletic departments are truly pulling out their hair in all of this realignment mess. Look how nicely things have worked out for them!
Granted, they are not in a division playing for a national championship. But, come on, how likely is it that either one of these four schools was going to win the Big 12 any time soon? Starting hot at 2-0 this season, Iowa State would look to be a potential Tier B Champion if this league played this year.
Indiana is so accustomed to losing that it very well would be the first program in Tier B to be challenged out of the Midwest Conference.
The South Conference
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State
Ole Miss, Tennessee
Texas, Texas A&M
Central Florida, Houston
Kentucky, Louisiana Tech
Memphis, Mississippi State
Rice, Southern Miss
South Florida, Troy
Texas and Oklahoma move to the South in a Big12-SEC hybrid Tier A division.
Each of the 12 teams in Tier A are playing well this season. If the league were in place today, I would predict Louisville to land at the bottom and to be booted down to Tier B while Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma would battle for the South Conference's spot in the national playoff.
AQ teams Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and South Florida fall short of making a Tier A division.
South Florida, though, looks strong with an upset win over Notre Dame already on its 2011 résumé. The Bulls would be strong contenders to move up to the competitive Tier A division of the conference.
Tier B bottom fillers Troy and Louisiana Tech could be challenged out of the league unless they were able to win games against better competition.
The East Conference
Boston College, Clemson
Florida, Florida State
Georgia, Georgia Tech
South Carolina, Virginia Tech
Wake Forest, West Virginia
Duke, East Carolina
Navy, North Carolina
North Carolina State, Rutgers
Current AQ schools Virginia, NC State, North Carolina, Maryland, Duke, Connecticut, Syracuse and Rutgers all lose their national championship qualifying status.
Yes, I am prepared for the million and one comments about how unfair this is and how wrong I am.
Lousiville (South Conference), Pittsburgh and West Virginia are the only Big East schools I selected to be in a Tier A division.
The ACC did slightly better with Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech, Boston College, Clemson and Wake Forest placed in Tier A.
Florida, Georgia and South Carolina fans are cursing me for ripping them away from their SEC loves. At least you have each other. At least you have rivals Florida State, Georgia Tech and Clemson to battle on field for conference supremacy.
The East Conference in place this year would likely give us Florida State and Virginia Tech in a championship game to receive a birth to go to the national semifinals.
Coming off a 30-3 loss to UCF, Boston College looks weak this year and with the East Conference set up the Eagles would possibly fall down to Tier B at the end of this season.
In the strongest of all the Tier B divisions using this season's credentials, I would pick Maryland to rise up to Tier A at the end of the year.
The Logic Will Hold
Consider this hypothetical league a foundation of reason amid the mayhem and chaos of the disgusting politicking swarming around college football this season.
What would this season play out like with a strong structure holding it all together?
Which four teams would we see playing for the championship? Which four teams would earn a spot into a Tier A division by winning a Tier B league?
A structure this reasonable is not going to happen for college football. We can expect to see Bobo The Clown take over as the official college football mascot.
Bobo will also wear a BCS t-shirt.
Thank you, BCS, for placing college football in a ridiculously unjust state that has both AQ and non-AQ schools scrambling for a better solution. All signs indicate the problems will get much worse before they get better. (Florida State is proposing it is a fit for the Big Ten?!?)
NCAA, I have no words to describe your incompetence while college football destroys itself. Please prove me wrong by doing something proactive and take control.