It’s everyone’s favourite topic! Don’t lie. Everyone says they hate it but secretly it keeps things exciting in the off-season. At least it does more so than spring games which I loath.
Maybe one day they will do the ultimate realignment and go back to the way things were in a way. Like dropping the Big Ten back to ten teams. Creating the Southwest Conference again and try and be less bold with under-the-table payments to players. Like instead of a convertible, buy them a nice minivan. See how easy that was? Re-start the Big East and invite Penn State for fuck’s sake. Let’s be honest though. None of this will happen. Because of greed. And money. Which causes greed. So yeah…..greed.
Since I got that out of the way early, I can look at realistic realignment. Or more like realistic realignment scenarios since there are many. All this will end up with a new D-4 and Notre Dame still putting just the tip in when it comes to the ACC. Let’s begin:
So many scenarios, so little time (to read or care).
UAB – Basically the beginning of every damn realignment scenario starts with this shitshow. Will they have football or won’t they? My best guess is they don’t at least for the next few years. Considering many conferences are trying to stay away from the hybrid method (different numbers of members for football and all other sports), the Sun Belt might stay away from this school. Prediction: UAB goes to a basketball-only conference for now. If they re-start football, they would move to either one of the better FCS conferences or the Sun Belt if there’s room.
ACC – So Johnny Tobacco Road is inquiring about changes in conference championships eh? Hmmmm…wonder why? There is no way Swofford is asking for no reason. There’s something up. And it better not have to do with Touchdown Jesus unless they are finally inviting them for football. And they won’t (at least until ND’s contract with NBC runs out). I have this feeling they are looking at another member. At 15 teams and 3 divisions, they’d want to have the best two be in the conference title game. So who are they looking at? Prediction: First choice would probably be either Cincinnati or West Virginia. If neither they look at UConn. Speaking of UConn…
UConn – It’s no secret their basketball (both men’s and women’s) belongs squarely in the ACC. The problem is their football program, save a year here and there, has been a dumpster fire at the FBS level. They aren’t making money either and I have heard a rumour of them dropping their football to FCS. The reason for this would be to join either the Big East or A-10 for basketball. Prediction: They wait on the ACC’s call. If they don’t get in, I think they bolt the American Conference in the next five years and drop football to FCS.
The American Conference – They have to be a bit worried. The ACC is obviously looking at expanding with the SEC, Big Ten, and Pac-12 not far behind, waiting for the first domino to drop. If Cincinnati gets a call from the ACC, they are gone in a heartbeat. Same with UConn. Plus UConn, along with Temple, may drop football to FCS to get their b-ball programs into better conferences. Let’s be honest: this is more of a hodge-podge conference than Conference USA is. Too spread out and the rivalries are few and far between. Prediction: Once the first domino drops (either Cincinnati or UConn), expect other schools to perhaps follow suit. UCF and USF could be paired for the Big XII or SEC. Houston and SMU could join the Big XII if the Big XII was desperate. Navy will be watching closely since they joined when Boise State and San Diego State were coming to the former Big East. Too many scenarios to think of but I can see joining with Conference USA somewhere down the line with the leftover programs.
FBS as a whole – We’ve gone through an almost-dormant period when it comes to realignment. This will probably end in the next year or two. It can’t stay the way it is. If UAB doesn’t immediately start up their football program again, it may start the ball rolling on other programs dropping to FCS or dropping football altogether (*cough*Hawaii*cough*). At the very least, anything happening in the above paragraphs will affect almost every FBS conference (and some FCS conferences as well).
Let’s be honest: realignment is about money. For the most part. Many teams are looking for the next big deal and this is one of the ways it can be accomplished. As I said above, I wish some conferences went back to basics. And now with potential changes to conference championship game structure, having massive conferences makes less sense now than ever. That won’t stop the Power Five though. One day, be it 3 or 30 years from now, one of the conferences will look around the landscape, mutter “Fuck it”, and invite enough teams to get to that elusive 16-team mega-conference. And we will all be a little worse off because of it.
In the next couple days I will do my final mock draft in preparation for the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday night. Maybe this time I will be able to watch all the other rounds (since last year it was tough getting through Day Two and impossible getting through Day Three when I fell asleep).