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An Attempt To Predict College Football’s Landscape, Circa 2012

Nebraska is just one of the latest universities to switch athletic conferences

Colorado is going to the Pac-10 to make it 11.

Nebraska is going to the Big Ten to make it 12.

Boise State is staying in the West, but moving from the Coast to the Mountain

The Big 12 could hold no more than five teams after this weekend.

And Notre Dame is just twiddling its thumbs.

It’s an amazing time in college athletics. The ground hasn’t never been more unstable., but his isn’t just a large earthquake. This is rapid continental drift. This is Pangaea in the span of mere days.

Still, that’s too long. We complete reconstruction now. At least, a friend of mine named Jeff Riley does. On Thursday, he tried to envision how Division I-FBS college football and its 120 teams will be existing in a couple of years. He agrees with the popular notion that we are approaching the birth of four 16-team super conferences — SEC, Big East, Big Ten and what is for known as the Pac-10.

I would never attempt such a task because I would constantly get in my own way, coming up for reasons why my own arguments are wrong and trying to be too perfect with each of the 120

So, no matter how much I disagree with what Jeff put together, at least he did it. And be clear that he’s not some sort of official college football historian. He’s just a big fan and it’s always fun to try to predict the future.

Here is what he thinks with some random comments from me thrown in along the way:

So I set out with the task: I was going to expand the conferences for them.


The news is all a flutter about how Nebraska and Colorado are ditching the Big 12, and with Texas, Oklahoma and gang looking to leave too, the days of that conference are limited.


I started off with just making a list of who would go where, but then I thought: Why not go more? Why not revise the whole system.


Because, as I discussed with some friends of mine today, if this 16-team power conference thing works it will be the way of the future. Mediocre conferences like ACC are doomed to be ripped apart by rich and geographically secure giants like the ACC and Big East (Except for USF).


Ok, so here is what I ended up with.

I kept the idea of BCS and non-BCS intact. I know everyone wants a playoff, and this system will adapt to a playoff pretty well if one eventually comes about. But for now we have the bowls, so this is designed to have bowls in mind.

There are four 16-team “super conferences.” These 64 teams are your BCS teams.

I tried to reflect modern changes and switches with some semblance of realism. I kept in-tact the big rumors that Texas and Oklahoma are going to the Pac-10, even though it makes no sense historically or geographically. When creating the Big East and Big Ten I tried to think about the teams they liked taking in their conference and who plays whom.

Consequently, I did away with the minor conferences. I took the 56 other teams, the non-BCS teams, and I made seven different geographical and team-ability conferences consisting of eight teams.

Only a few teams dropped from BCS status into non-BCS status. Those were Kansas State and Iowa State. Which, hey, really, reflects reality as it is unfolding today.

With the non-BCS conferences I kinda went a little crazy with the adjusting. It, in no way, is realistic in today’s big-conference mentality to think that a bunch of eight-team groups could exist.

That and I forced all non-conference schools to get in one.

But in my mind it sounded cool.

Even though the conferences themselves vary in size, because the regionals on the bigger ones split the same as the smaller ones, all teams play seven in-conference foes, and then play five out-of-conference games of their choice.

They can sign up to play cupcakes or partake in the Boise St. method.

OK, so here it goes. I might pause every now and again to explain what I was thinking.

——

Big Ten (I kept this name because, it’s been years and years at 11 and no change. It’s clear they are keeping that old title).


East:

Indiana

Purdue

Notre Dame

Michigan

Michigan State

The Ohio State

Penn State

Syracuse


West:

Kansas

Minnesota

Nebraska

Mizzou

Iowa

Wisconsin

Illinois

Northwestern

It would be nice to see Notre Dame as part of a major conference, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Also, I don’t know who said it, but with all this controversy regarding where Kansas is going to end up, someone on ESPN hinted that they may have to settle for a conference “like Conference USA.”

U! C! F–fffuuuuuuuccc …

Southeastern Conference (I was most happy in how this one worked out. The expansion is natural and geographical).


East:

Georgia

Tennessee

South Carolina

UF

Miami

Georgia Tech

Florida State

Clemson


West:

Kentucky

Vandy

Alabama

Auburn

LSU

Ole Miss

Miss State

Arkansas

Florida and Florida State in the same conference, same division, vying for a title. Yes, because that rivalry needs something to make it more compelling … other than both teams being competitively equal.

That East division looks absolutely vicious.

Pacific Conference (Because it sounds better than Pac-16).


Plains:

Arizona

Arizona State

Colorado

Texas

A&M

Texas Tech

Oklahoma

OK State


Costal:

Cal

UCLA

Oregon

Oregon State

USC

Washington

Washington State

Stanford

Who did Arizona and ASU piss off? And c’mon … don’t we really want to have Texas and Oklahoma in the same division as USC? One can dream.

Big East (A cornucopia of strange connections and talent levels. Just like the Big East always have been).


North:

Boston College

Maryland

Cinci

UConn

Pitt

Rutgers

West Virginia

Virginia


South:

Duke

Wake Forest

V-Tech

ECU

Louisville

USF

NC State

UNC

How does ECU deserve to be here?

And you’ll have to excuse me asking all these questions. I haven’t got a chance to talk to Jeff about this yet, so I’m pretty much reacting to this here for the first time.

Football-wise, that South division is pretty unattractive, but Va. Tech would love it.

Ok, so that is your four major conferences. Now onto the minors. I gave them creative names.


Heartland Conference:

TCU

Kansas State

UTEP

Houston

SMU

North Texas

Baylor

Tulsa

That’s a fair conference with teams of varying levels of talent. Would probably try to think of a different name. How about Tornado Alley?

K-State will rant and rave, but some of the Big 12’s more undesirable teams have to go somewhere. This would be a huge downgrade for the Wildcats.

West Coast Conference:

San Jose State

Fresno State

Nevada

Hawaii

San Diego State

UNLV

Idaho

Utah State

Well, they didn’t all get creative names, but why fix it if it’s not broken?

People outside of the Pacific Time Zone will not care about this conference.

I live in Long Beach, Calif., and I don’t really care.

Mountain West:

Boise State

New Mexico State

New Mexico

BYU

Utah

Wyoming

Colorado State

Air Force

With Boise St., BYU and Utah, this would go a long way toward deciding which team is the best “mid-major” BCS threat each season. At least for now. We’ve got to get TCU into here somehow

Northern Conference:

Iowa State

Northern Illinois

Western Michigan

Central Michigan

Eastern Michigan

Buffalo

Army

Navy

Iowa State!! Hahahahaha. This would actually make it feel pretty good about itself. Eight wins will finally be within its reach.

Mid-American Conference:

Ball State

Kent State

Akron

Miami (Ohio)

OHIO

Marshall

Bowling Green

Toledo

We’ve definitely got to change Mid-American Conference. I’d go with the Big O. Six of these teams are already located in Ohio. It’s a natural fit.

Damn, how does Ohio have eight D-I teams?

Sunbelt Conference:

Tulane

Louisiana Lafayette

Louisiana Monroe

Middle Tennessee State

Arkansas State

Rice

Southern Alabama Temple

Western Kentucky

I found a mistake in Jeff’s proposal. Southern Alabama isn’t yet an FBS team — it will be in 2013. Meanwhile, Temple seems to be excluded here, even though its football program is part of the MAC. Temple doesn’t fit in the Sun Belt Conference, but …

Oh, that’s it. We’re gonna have to start over.

For right now, roll with it.

Southern Coastal Conference:

UCF

FAU

FIU

UAB

Troy

Louisiana Tech

Memphis

Southern Miss

UCF found a way to win be consistently good again — move back to a lesser conference.

——

What do you think? If you like it, comment below. If you hate it, then please, pretty please, comment below.

Iowa State!! Hahahahaha. This would actually make it feel pretty good about itself. Eight wins will finally be within its reach.
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  1. Jeff "Big Money" Riley
    June 12, 2010 at 12:48 am

    So I figure I’ll comment and address some of Byron’s concerns:

    1) Yeah, Notre Dame will go a millennia and never join a conference unless it is the Notre Dame conference and they play other Notre Dame teams in a time machine. I just needed a round number so I made everyone join something.

    2) It’s Arizona and ASU’s own faults for being in the desert.

    3) I needed a team for that spot in the country. So I picked ECU. They have OK football sometimes, and really like you said, that south conference is lacking for talent anyway even with the BCS teams already in the BCS in real-land.

    4) I’ll allow Tornado Alley. Or Cactus Conference.

    5) K-State will rant a lot, but hey, last I could find they’ve not really won a national championship, or much of any championship, in any sport, ever.

    6) Trade TCU for New Mexico. POW POW POWERCONFERENCE

    7) That is Iowa State’s prize for being downgraded to non-BCS conferences.

    8) UCF’s new conference would give every bro what they want: Doable conference wins. Except for that pesky USM there.

  2. Jeff "Rollin' on Twankies" Riley
    June 12, 2010 at 12:50 am

    Oh, and Byron, I feel like you and I could hammer out splitting up the Mid-American and adding in Temple somewhere where they make sense.

    We got them smarts.

  3. spokes310
    June 12, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Dear, Mr. Twankies,

    Geographically, Temple would really only work in the MAC. A lot of teams in the Northern are too fast west, actually. But I can’t see how we could split up that division. I may have them smarts, but not right now.

    It’s unrelated, but Memphis and ECU should swap conferences. At least Memphis has a marketable men’s basketball program and you would be able to re-gain that Louisville/Memphis conference rivalry.

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