College Football

Where we are headed in college football: Part 4

We are at the end of the scenarios.  The last one.  And arguably the most extreme.  The most predicated on what I believe should happen in a mostly ideal scenario.  I will be honest here: all this will not happen.  Saying that, some of these occurrences may happen but the idea that all of them could is probably a no-go.  I’ve seen many “fantasy” conference realignments in the past and many of them are not just improbable (like this one) but also completely dumb and may make no semblance of sense (unlike this one).  So let’s jump in, shall we?  Spoiler alert: this will be a long post.

Now we all know that there is a distinct divide between the Power Five and Group of Five conferences.  Some teams are wanting to sneak into the P5 whereas others are holding on for their Go5 lives.  Issues with the Big XII and ACC are going on almost every day.

Because of all this, I am implementing something fairly drastic.  First off, the top conferences will be on their own.  Their own bowls and they will be the only ones with access to the College Football Playoff.  The amount of teams in this “new” Power Five will increase so no real worries there.  It allows for more elite-on-elite games throughout the season than there is at this moment.  The amount of conferences in the top tier will be eight.  The biggest change will be the complete blow-up of the Big XII.  Welcome back the Big Eight and the Southwest Conference (golf clap).  As much as we hope Texas and Oklahoma want to play and get along and share the sandbox, they really don’t.  They want their own sandboxes or bigger portions of a conference sandbox.  So might as well split them up.  Yes they love their Red River Rivalry matchup but that’s where it ends really.

Here’s the new conference lineup, followed by the steps I took to get there:

SEC Big Ten Pac-10 ACC
Alabama Ohio State USC Florida State
Florida Wisconsin Oregon Miami
LSU Michigan Stanford Clemson
Georgia Notre Dame UCLA Georgia Tech
Auburn Penn State Oregon State NC State
Tennessee Michigan State Arizona State North Carolina
Texas A&M Iowa Washington Wake Forest
South Carolina Minnesota California East Carolina
Ole Miss Purdue Arizona USF
Mississippi State Northwestern Washington State UCF
Kentucky Illinois Duke
Vanderbilt Indiana Memphis
Big 8 SWC American Mountain West
Oklahoma Texas Virginia Tech Boise State
Nebraska TCU West Virginia Utah
Kansas State Arkansas Louisville BYU
Oklahoma State Texas Tech Boston College Air Force
Missouri Baylor Pittsburgh Fresno State
Colorado Houston Virginia North Dakota State
Iowa State Tulsa Maryland Colorado State
Kansas New Mexico Cincinnati San Diego State
Rice Syracuse Nevada
SMU Marshall Montana
UTEP Navy Wyoming
UTSA Rutgers Utah State
Connecticut San Jose State
Temple UNLV

Step-by-Step

I kind of wish I had those terrible IKEA characters to put in here…you know the ones that say lift in pairs, don’t lean certain things against a wall, and don’t stab yourself with the Allen key (or hex key for you people who just want to be insufferable cocks).

  1. Split the Big XII into the Big 8 and the SWC. Oklahoma and Texas each get their own conferences now.
  2. Re-create the Big Eight as it was before becoming the Big XII. I think it wouldn’t be a major issue to get Nebraska out of the Big Ten and Missouri out of the SEC if there wouldn’t be as much of a hit to their per-team revenue.
  3. As for the SWC, all the old members are back except one: Texas A&M. I’m sure they’d rather crawl on broken glass while naked than go back into a conference with the Longhorns.  To fill out the conference (but keep the southwest feel), they invite New Mexico, UTEP, and UTSA.
  4. The SEC loses Arkansas and Missouri but does not add replacements for them. Texas A&M isn’t as much of an outlier with LSU next door and now TV revenue is split only twelve ways.  The conference is not really hurt by this at all.
  5. To replace Nebraska, the Big Ten grabs Notre Dame. As I’ve said before, Independent Football is probably all but dead with the next major round of realignment.
  6. The Mountain West, now a “major” conference, gets Utah back from the Pac-12. Despite recent success, the Utes (along with Colorado) don’t seem like a program that will ever fully fit in with the Pac-whatever number it is.  The only way this would change is if they went on a sustained run of success.
  7. The Pac-12, losing Utah and Colorado, go back to being called the Pac-10. All we need now is Keith Jackson calling their games on ABC and all will be right with the world.
  8. The ACC and American also do a bit of a shuffle. The American becomes more of the northeast conference (think old Big East minus Miami) whereas the ACC goes south of Virginia.  Makes sense geographically.  So the ACC gets East Carolina, USF, UCF, and Memphis in exchange for Virginia Tech, Virginia, Boston College, Louisville, and Syracuse.
  9. Maryland and Rutgers leave to go to the American. They were never a good fit in the B1G, markets be damned.
  10. Also, the American picks up West Virginia who doesn’t belong in Big 8/SWC world anymore (and rightfully so).
  11. To even things out, The American Conference takes the top team from Conference USA, Marshall who should get an instant boost by moving to a better conference.
  12. Hey the Mountain West (along with The American) are joining the big boys! They get Utah back from the Pac, invite BYU, North Dakota State, and Montana and hopefully cash in at some point.

There you go, the top division (Power Eight?) are set.  Now we get to the CFP and bowl setup.  Here’s how it would look:

Bowl Bowl Tie-In #1 Bowl Tie-In #2
CFP Championship Orange Winner Cotton Winner
Cotton Bowl Fiesta Winner Rose Winner
Orange Bowl Peach Winner Sugar Winner
Fiesta Bowl CFP Poll #1 CFP Poll #8
Peach Bowl CFP Poll #2 CFP Poll #7
Sugar Bowl CFP Poll #3 CFP Poll #6
Rose Bowl CFP Poll #4 CFP Poll #5
Outback Bowl SEC #2 Big Ten #2
TaxSlayer Bowl SEC #6 Big Ten #6
Citrus Bowl SEC #4 Big Ten #4
Music City Bowl SEC #3 ACC #3
Sun Bowl Pac-10 #3 SWC #3
Liberty Bowl SEC #5 ACC #4
Alamo Bowl SWC #2 Big Eight #2
Belk Bowl ACC #2 American #2
Texas Bowl SWC #4 MWC #2
Pinstripe Bowl Big Ten #5 American #3
Cactus Bowl Pac-10 #4 MWC #3
Holiday Bowl Big Ten #3 Pac-10 #2
Armed Forces Bowl Big Eight #3 American #4
Las Vegas Bowl Big Eight #4 MWC #4

The bowl tie-ins are pretty easy to figure out.  Tried to go as regional as I possibly could.  The SEC and Big Ten received five actual tie-ins, the rest of the conferences got three.  As for the CFP, it has to be expanded to eight.  It’s going to be expanded anyway so why fight it.  They can’t go to sixteen since that would be ridiculous but eight probably will work (until the 8-seed wins the title and then all hell will break loose).  I bet you think “Oh, eight conferences, eight champions, right?”  WRONG!  Considering the strength of the conferences now, I have gone this route:

  • The SEC, Big Ten, and Pac-10 champions get automatic berths.
  • From the other five conferences, the top 2 conference champions also get automatic berths. This will be settled by the CFP ranking.
  • The other three spots will be at-large choices.

This makes it so that if one conference (cough*SEC*cough) has two teams in the top four, the worst of the two won’t be penalized.

What does this all mean for our friends in Conference USA, the MAC, and the Sun Belt?  Well, they would form the new Tier Two (Group of Seven?  Wait, no that’s been used before…) that would look like so:

Conference USA MAC Sun Belt Missouri Valley
Southern Miss Toledo Appalachian State South Dakota State
Louisiana Tech Northern Illinois Troy Youngstown State
UAB Bowling Green Arkansas State Illinois State
Middle Tennessee Northern Iowa UL-Lafayette Southern Illinois
Western Kentucky Western Michigan South Alabama Western Illinois
Tulane Miami-Ohio ULM South Dakota
North Texas Ohio Texas State Missouri State
Florida Atlantic Central Michigan Georgia State North Dakota
Old Dominion Ball State Furman Indiana State
FIU Army Wofford
Charlotte Akron Coastal Carolina
Georgia Southern Kent State Jacksonville State
Buffalo
Eastern Michigan
Colonial Big Sky Southland
Villanova Hawaii McNeese State
James Madison Eastern Washington Central Arkansas
Massachusetts Idaho Sam Houston State
Richmond New Mexico State Stephen F. Austin
New Hampshire Cal Poly Northwestern State
Delaware Northern Arizona SE Louisiana
William & Mary Montana State Abilene Christian
Maine Portland State Lamar
Elon UC-Davis Nicholls State
Towson Weber State Incarnate Word
Rhode Island Southern Utah Houston Baptist
Albany Sacramento State
Stony Brook Idaho State
Northern Colorado

Tulane and Hawaii move down from previous conferences since, well, they just wouldn’t fit in with the new money maker conferences.  Army is invited into the MAC and there are a few changes to the rest of the conferences (call-ups if you will).  This new tier will not have bowl games but will inherit the FCS Playoffs.  16 teams instead of 24.  I think it would work well with some better programs than they currently have now in the FCS (no five-in-a-row dynasty stuff then).

As for the new bottom tier of D-1, it consists of eight conferences where half of them don’t even compete in the playoffs.  The Ivy League doesn’t do the playoffs at all and the MEAC and SWAC do their own fun-time HBCU championship.  The other five conferences might as well join D-2 at this point.  To be honest, they are probably so low on the food chain that myself (along with a lot of others) wouldn’t care unless you were an alumnus of that school.

Alright, now to broadcasting info since this breaks into what my blog is all about (for the most part):

  • CBS would still get the SEC game of the week.
  • FOX would get either the Big Ten or Pac-10 game of the week.
  • NBC, with Notre Dame going to the Big Ten, would probably get the ACC or American game of the week.
  • ABC would get the Big Eight, SWC, or Mountain West game of the week.
  • CBS would most likely show a doubleheader. With ESPN’s hold on the rest of SEC football, I see them picking up another conference, most likely the Big Eight or SWC.
  • FOX would probably move to tripleheaders on the main network as long as they didn’t interfere with Major League Baseball. My best guess is they would have one Big Ten and one Pac-10 game and then one more from either conference.
  • NBC would show a doubleheader I’m sure, with one game each from the ACC and American.
  • ABC would get their normal tripleheader with the best game from the three conferences above getting the primetime 8:00 pm slot.
  • ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, FOX Sports One, and FOX Sports Net would pick up most of the rest of the games (anywhere from 18-24 each week).

Again, this renders the conference networks moot at this point.  The only other way they could possibly survive is if they overpay to get their selection of games past the game of the week in their respective conferences.  So basically it would be like Tier Two rights.  I can’t see that happening, especially with ESPN having a finger in the pie with the SEC Network.

Saying all this, live sports on TV might cease to exist like it is now a decade later.  We may be watching all college football games through the various conference networks online by then.  This would affect my media prediction here as well as the previous three scenarios.  But until that starts to take shape, we have to assume the networks (and ESPN) would have some semblance of control over live broadcasts.

So there you have it.  All four scenarios.  Guaranteed none of them are correct but you never know what insanity will befall us over the next few years.  No one, back in the late 80s, would have ever thought the Southwest Conference would be dissolved around the middle of the next decade.  This despite the fact that we had the SMU death penalty and almost every team mired in some sort of controversy.  So my predictions are always with the idea that none of this at all may happen and it may be steady as she goes as we head into 2026.

Next up is the biggest games of the college football season.  No CFL post this season since I have less knowledge than ever about the CFL.  I was shocked to see how much tickets were going for for Ti-Cats games.  I think that’s absurd but that’s just me I guess.  Following the biggest games posts will be the various network predictions and then we get into conference predictions.  Finally getting back into posting on a regular basis so I better get myself organized.  That’s always a fun exercise.  And by always I mean never.

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3 thoughts on “Where we are headed in college football: Part 4

  1. Missing picture here. There are only 5 GNAC in D2 left, and the only place they could go to is the Big Sky Conference.

    Central Washington
    Simon Fraser
    Western Oregon
    Humboldt State
    Azusa Pacific

    Dixie State, Colorado Mesa, Colorado State Pueblo, and maybe Western Washington if they restart football. Montana State-Billings also looking to add football as well in the future.

    I would throw Arkansas Tech, Delta State, Central Oklahoma, West Texas A&M, Angelo State and the other possible Lone Star Conference schools into the Southland. West Texas A&M were former D1 conference champs in the Border Conference beating out Arizona, Arizona State and Texas Tech.

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